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My grad school chances.

  1. Aug 28, 2009 #1
    Here is my deal. I went to college once and graduated with a BS in chemistry. I worked for a couple of years and decided to finish a physics BS. I want to go to grad school for physics. I would like to study AMO physics. Bose-Einstein Condensates in particular. However, I am open to many areas of research in condensed matter also. I have some odd stats. Here they are:

    My overall GPA at the culmination of my chemistry undergrad was 2.7.

    My overall GPA when I finish the physics degree will likely be around 3.15. My physics major GPA will be ~ 3.5.

    I earned an F in a general physics class. I repeated it for a B. I earned a B in the second semester of general physics (those were taken during my first college stint).

    Since then, I have received As in every other physics class I have taken - about 40 hours in total. Also, I have received As in 4 math classes after the usual Calc 1-3, Lin. Algebra, and Differential Equations. I have only earned As since the chemistry degree debacle.

    I have two 2nd-author publications and I will have good letters of recommendation.

    I will be taking the PGRE soon. I have been studying for a long time and I feel that I will do well.

    I plan on applying to all of the top ten AMO schools.


    Naturally, I would love to go to Colorado, MIT, etc., but I think they are probably very, very long shots, haha. I will also apply to UIUC and Washington PhD programs, and Cornell's MEng in applied physics.

    Let us pressume that I ace the PGRE. What do you think my chances will be? How about if I only get a 700?

    Please give me all the guidance that you can give. Thank you very much in advance.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2009 #2
    I know that upper division physics and math courses will probably hold more weight than your chemistry or overall gpa.

    Are there any physics professors that will write you a great letter of recommendation saying that you are as good or better than any student they have had? That would be fantastic. Letters of recommendation do play a fairly large role in admissions.

    Your physics gpa looks pretty solid, not unusually good, but good enough for a decent program. I wonder, what were those upper division math courses you took?
  4. Aug 28, 2009 #3
    Yeah, my letter writers will probably say that I am an excellent student and at least a good researcher (how good can you be at the undergrad level?). I'm pretty sure I received the highest grades out of everybody in the classes they taught. Two of them I have done research with and I'm pretty sure they will state that I am competent in the lab. Definitely more competent than other undergrads in the labs at the time.

    As for the other math classes. They were advanced linear algebra, discrete math, probability models, advanced calc, and abstract algebra. That actually makes it five other math classes.
  5. Aug 28, 2009 #4
    Does anyone think I will have a chance at any of the schools in the link or the ones I listed? I hope I do, but I guess there are plenty of other schools to try. I wish I would have been on the ball during the first degree.
  6. Aug 29, 2009 #5
    I have been told that having publications has a lot of weight when you are looking at graduate study.
  7. Aug 30, 2009 #6
    I'd say you seem to have a shot at them if you ace the pgre's. If you only do pretty well, maybe Rochester or Boulder, but I'd throw in some lower tier schools for good measure.

    Note:I'm not sure how good this advice is since I'm in math rather than Physics.
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