Reapplying to graduate programs

Well, as the rejection letters start coming in, I cant help but wonder what it takes to reapply to graduate programs. I believe my application this time around was strong in all aspects except GRE scores (which were quite miserable).

So my question is, if I improve my GRE scores significantly before dec 09, and decide to apply to the same programs I applied to in dec 08, do I have to go through the entire process again? The main problem with this is recommendation letters, since rec letters cannot be as strong a year after having no contact with a professor, as they were during/right after research or classes.

So this is the question, if I choose to reapply for next year, can I use aspects of this year's application, or will I be starting fresh from a clean slate?
 

j93

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some schools will let you use the recommendation from your previous app.
 

Vanadium 50

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The main problem with this is recommendation letters, since rec letters cannot be as strong a year after having no contact with a professor, as they were during/right after research or classes.
I doubt very much that the professor would write a brand new letter from scratch.
 
Thanks for the responses.

Does anyone have personal experience with this? I have a feeling that I will have to choose between going to a school with mediocre/poor physics department (where I already got in with funding), or waiting it out and improving my GRE scores to take another stab at it next year. Any suggestions of what you would do in my shoes?
 

Choppy

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I think it depends on what you mean by "mediocre/poor." If it means that you've visited the school and were not impressed with the professors, don't believe you would enjoy doing any of the research that is available, don't like the courses they offer, feel like you would be used as a lab technician, or watched the other grad students that you spoke with twitch nervously as they told you come and join the collective - then I would say wait.

However, if the assessment is based largely on external information - such as you initially wanted a 'top 20' school and this one is ranked at 82nd - I would suggest giving it a shot, or at least visiting and/or speaking with the professors over email to see if anyone has a project you would be interested in. After all, when you applied in the first place, something must have caught your attention about the school.

In general, you don't want to turn down an opportunity just because it doesn't have a flashy sign.
 

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