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Low GRE quant score

  1. Aug 7, 2015 #1

    I am a hopeful candidate for next year's admissions. I feel like a I have a fairly ok resume,

    State school (top 30 for physics, 15 for CM)
    Physics GPA:3.85 (all A's in upper level physics courses)
    Materials Science GPA :3.9+
    2 summers research experience in a condensed matter lab, no publications but hopefully possible by the time I apply, we're making good progress currently.

    Then I take the general gre twice.

    V:155 both times
    AW:4 and haven't gotten my 2nd score yet, expecting a 4 again.
    Q158,159 (ugh).

    I planned on applying to

    Stony Brook
    CU Boulder
    Ohio State
    Penn State
    Texas A&M
    UT Austin

    for AMO/CM experiment

    But I'm not really looking to apply anywhere that I'd have less than say 30% chance of getting in. Is my Q score going to affect me terribly? I know I haven't taken the PGRE yet, I guess if I had an idea of what kind of PGRE score I'd need to override my low quant score that would be very helpful too.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2015 #2
    With that resume, a lot will depend on your letters of recommendation, but none of those schools seem like too big a stretch. With good letters of recommendation, I would not put your odds of admission below 30% to any of them. The admissions committee will have a look at what math courses you have taken and what grades you earned in them. As will play better than Bs with the suboptimal GRE quant score, but it would be a bigger deal if you were aspiring to theory rather than experiment.

    You should visit most of the schools you actually apply to and get some face time with the relevant profs. I've met those guys and worked for/with several of the exmerimental AMO guys. If they go to the admissions committee and say, "I want this guy" your admission is guaranteed. Sell yourself to the prof, to his grad students, and to his post docs on your visits. Having a senior grad student or a post doc say to the prof, "I really want to work with this applicant" can go a long way also.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  4. Aug 7, 2015 #3
    Thanks for your reply! My math class grades.

    Calc 2 :c+ (majored in alcohol at the beginning of college, no intent of grad school)
    Diff eq:A
    Advanced calc (laplace transforms,fourier):b+

    I know I can get at least 2 quality LOR's and the 3rd will still be very good. I'll definitely be emailing professors and grad students at these schools. I've already found someone I'm very interested in at boulder, just need to sit down and send the emails. Thanks for your input (:
  5. Aug 7, 2015 #4
    Some groups with which I am personally familiar are Hal Metcalf's group at Stony Brook, Lou DiMauro's group at Ohio State, and George Welch's group at Texas A&M. All three are top notch experimental groups. All three will weigh your research supervisor's assessment of your lab skills and promise as an experimentalist more highly than your math grades in your first two years. But I would own up to what happened early and convince them that you are past that. Ohio State and A&M are not places for grad students still working through alcohol issues. Profs at those schools (UT Austin, and CU Boulder also) regularly lose grad students to the undergrad party life, and they try and avoid that by selecting good candidates who give evidence they are past that.
  6. Aug 7, 2015 #5
    I am way past that, it was 4 years haha. Good to know though. I feel like my advisor thinks well of my skill so knowing that's one of the most important factors is reassuring.
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