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Odds of getting into UIUC

  1. Jan 14, 2007 #1
    Hi. I am sort of an idiot and only applied to one graduate school in physics, namely the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Most likely to do Condensed Matter, but I'm not completely sure. I just submitted the application today as a matter of fact. Anyway, I am obviously anxious because I sort of have one shot here. (Of course, I'm now preparing to apply to more schools for the following year in case I don't get in.)

    Anyway, here are my stats. Two of my letter of recommendations should be good/vgood. One of them is sort of an x-factor; but this was my "research" professor (though it's hard to imagine he would write something bad). I did some relatively simple research on the flow of carriers in ZnO after the surface is struck by a light pulse (and I am going to broaden that this semester). My major is a math BS and physics BA (missing one lab for BS) from the University of Florida. My overall GPA is 3.92 (low grades in two non-science classes) and major GPA 4.0. I also took the first year graduate math courses last year. I might have done the same for physics this year, but graduate courses are expensive, and my mother pushed me to take premedical classes as a backup. And I did last semester (man.. those premed folks are real competitive), but I decided it was waste. So this semester I just have optics, solid state, and a writing course I need to graduate. My GRE is 550 Verbal, 800 Math, and 4 on Writing. And Physics GRE 880. I literally did these at the 11th hour too, so maybe I could have done a little better with some preparation, especially with the writing. I don't know where the personal statement stands, so I'll just say average.

    I hear they only accepted 50 of 500 last year, so I'm pretty ambivalent. If the odds aren't so good, I better really focus for next year.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2007 #2


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    It sounds like you have a fair chance of being accepted. But yes, you were being an "idiot" for applying to just one school. What were you thinking?! :)

    UIUC is considered by many (certainly by me) as having the top ranked condensed matter program in the country (unless they lose more faculty members). You could have increased your chances by also applying to many other schools with strong CM physics program, especially with your grades.

  4. Jan 14, 2007 #3


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    I'm sure that there are some other graduate schools with deadlines that haven't passed yet.
  5. Jan 14, 2007 #4
    Just a single data point but I can tell you about one of my friends who got in their last year. He was a double major, math and physics, with an overall GPA of 4.0. He did two REU's and worked in a lab on campus for at least a year. He had good letters of recomendation, and was a generally bright guy with an interesting story.

    Your GRE scores are higher, but you didn't say where you attend college. He went to UC Berkeley. It seems like you'd have a good chance of getting in, assuming you come from a good school. On the other hand, I've seen people turned down by low level programs, and accepted to great schools. It's kind of a crap shoot. If I were you, I'd apply to other schools, even if you're late in applying.

    Just so you know this guy didn't end up at UIUC. He was into the same sort of physics you mentioned, but he didn't enjoy the culture of the program their. It's good to have options in life.
  6. Jan 14, 2007 #5
    Heh heh, I'm actually looking to get out of UIUC for graduate school.
  7. Jan 15, 2007 #6
    Okay, thanks guys. I'll cross my fingers, but I think I'll just start focusing for applying to the following school year. Personally, starting a year later doesn't bother me as long as I can do something fruitful in the meantime. Does anyone have any ideas?
  8. Jan 15, 2007 #7
    With your stats (aside from the verbal GRE) I doubt you'll have any trouble, as long as your recs and statement are at least decent. Of the "top 10" physics programs, UIUC is probably the easiest to get into.

    Like many programs in the AIP listings, the department seems to give their number enrolled rather than the number admitted. The entering class each year numbers roughly 50, so the admitted number is much higher than that.
  9. Jan 15, 2007 #8


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    Hmmm...UIUC - CM.

    1. It's a damn good program.
    2. Be prepared to slog your butt out (if you get in), be watchful for RA openings and never fall asleep. Their retention rate in recent years has been well...on the low side.
  10. Jan 25, 2007 #9
    hey, i'm from UF, too! :cool:
  11. Feb 19, 2007 #10
    Update: Phew! Got accepted. Everythings OK.
  12. Feb 19, 2007 #11


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    Sounds like you work really hard, Genxhis. I don't mean this in a sarcastic way, it seems that you work hard and therefore expect things to happen. You did what you should do, the rest is up to them who should accept you. Is this a fair assessment?
  13. Feb 19, 2007 #12
    congrats. :cool:

    (btw, we were in phy2060 together, way back when.)
  14. Feb 19, 2007 #13

    really? with dr. yelton? i think i only attended one day of that outside the exams. anyway, say hi if you see me at the physics building. i'm usually just doing nothing in the computer lab around 11:45-12:50, before optics.
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