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Need grad school advice

  1. Dec 18, 2008 #1
    Hey everyone,

    So, here I am, going over my grad apps and making sure that I've got everything together. Want to make sure I'm not shooting too high or anything.

    About me:

    Undergrad: State School with unrecognized physics dept.
    GPA: 3.76
    PHYS: 3.86

    VERBAL: 570
    QUANT: 790
    WRITING: 5.0
    PHYSICS: 800 (retake)

    Research: REU at Top 20 Physics Dept. (if rankings actually mean anything)

    Other random info:
    I'll have a law degree from a top 10 law school. I've been slacking, so my gpa is about a 3.0. In the meantime, I've taken a few grad physics classes here (really strong physics department) and have a Grad physics gpa of a 3.85.

    Without getting into the details of my research interests, etc. (which are unrelated to my REU experience), if you were to judge how competitive my application will be, what would you say? What sorts of schools do you think I should be applying to?

    Much appreciated!!!!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2008 #2
    Oh, the law degree, why? I don't know, it seemed like what I wanted to do at the time.
  4. Dec 18, 2008 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    The missing key factor is your letters, particularly from your REU and graduate faculty. If you are at a Top 10 school now, and you are compared favorably to the grad students there, you could be looking at Top 10.

    I don't think the law degree will matter one way or another.

    The raw Physics GRE score is hard to judge by - the percentile is more useful. About 1/2-1/3 of the people who take the GRE are accepted, so that should let you know where you stand: e.g. the 85% percentile means that you are somewhere in the 55-70 percentile range among people admitted to grad schools, so you would be (based on that score alone) competitive for schools in the second quartile. There are just under 200 schools offering PhD's, so you'd be looking at rankings between 50 and 100.
  5. Dec 18, 2008 #4
    I see, an 800 this year corresponded to the 74th. I should have a strong letter from my REU advisor and professors that knew me very well in undergrad, however I haven't had the opportunity to really get to know any of the faculty here. I wouldn't feel comfortable asking any of them for a letter of rec.

    Oh, if it helps anyone, I also was a TA for 5 semesters and have pretty much guaranteed admission to a couple of programs in the 2nd quartile. However, My main concern is those programs in the 1st.
  6. Dec 18, 2008 #5
    Sorry, read incorrectly. Barring anything unforeseen, I pretty much have solid offers from schools in the top 40 or so.... I would just like to break into that top 20 range.
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