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Recommendation for backup grad schools

  1. Aug 28, 2006 #1
    Hi, I have my undergrad degree in Applied Physics and am beginning to apply for graduate studies(phd).
    I was wondering what your opinions were for some backup schools, because realistically I don't forsee myself being accepted to some of my greater aspirations (Berkeley, UoFM, Princeton)
    I would really like to move out to the west coast from here (SE Michigan). What are some good schools? I've probably not heard of many.

    Looking around I like UC:Santa Barbara, but it seems from some old coworkers at a national lab that its also a really tough school to get into.
    UC San Diego doesn't look all that bad either for their physics program and their current research.

    But what else is out there? Me and my girlfriend plan on moving out west (she's an electrical engineer, and plans on going to grad school as well).
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2006 #2
    Santa Barbara is one of the best physics grad programs in the country, I wouldn't exactly call it a backup school. I don't think I'd consider San Diego one either, depending on your specific field.

    This should depend entirely on what you're interested in, not the names of the schools. Look through the literature in the field you're interested in and see where the people publishing papers are at.
  4. Aug 28, 2006 #3
    I've started to do that, but there are many things i know i would be interested in, i just dont know about them. I'd like to have some of the mid to higher level schools listed so i could go through their current areas of faculty research to see if any of their topics are something id be interested in. I just don't know what else is there out west other than the UC's.
  5. Aug 28, 2006 #4
    In California...not a lot comes to mind, but thats probably just because the UCs are so dominant. I'm sure there are schools, I just can't think of them. Santa Cruz, Irvine, Riverside would be lower-tier UC schools (the latter two more than the first I imagine).

    Of course, all this depends on one's idea of a "backup school". If your GPA is 4.0 and your physics GRE 850-950, your idea of a backup school would probably be different from what I would consider a backup school.

    Still, i think that looking at the school first and the current are of research second is the wrong way to go about. But thats just my opinion.
  6. Aug 28, 2006 #5
    If you don't mind me asking, what is your GPA and GRE score? Also, any research experience?

    The reason I ask is because I want to know where I stack up. If your stats are better than mine and you're thinking you might not be able to get into UM (my top choice), then I know I might need to re-evaluate my situation. :p

    BTW, the fact that you're from Michigan greatly increases your odds at getting into UM- ann arbor....I am from Michigan, and I am hoping this helps me too.

    lol, one of my backup schools will be Wayne State. I tell myself, if I can't get into anywhere else, Wayne State is always there for me. :(

    However, Wayne generates a lot of good research and is not really too bad. Biggest problem with Wayne is it's right in the middle of Detroit. From what I have read, Wayne State has made major strides in nanotech
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  7. Aug 28, 2006 #6
    Well, my converted GPA is about 3.25 ( I had an 89.15% which is what we go by at my school (GMI)).
    Unfortunately I did rather poorly last year on the physics GRE due to getting pneumonia (lower lung) from my mother and brother who both had it at the time. I probably gave it to everyone that touched my test, but I made sure not to cough on it. Though I was feverish... I was also unable to reschedule (my applications needed to have it included.) I'm already scheduled to retake it this october.
    My regular GRE scores were something like 560/800 for the literary part, 770/800 for the mathematical(I would have had perfect but I missed the last 2 or 3 due to time constraint), and 5/6 on the essay.

    I have research experience for 2 years at Sandia National Labs (ABQ) and 2 published papers about recrystallization in microstructures published in international conference papers. I was president of the Society of Physics students at my school. I have a degree in Applied physics, optics concentration and a computational mathematics minor.

    I figure I didn't get in to UofM due to my low Physics GRE score. I admit it is embarrassing and not reflective of my capabilities and knowledge. I'm almost sure that once retaken, UofM should be within my grasp, but without a 4.0 I feel that berkeley, caltech and MIT may be out of the question.

    One of the reasons I ask for school examples is to check to see if I have contacts there, or know someone who does to get a foot in the door. Or at least a one on one conversation about their current research.

    For example, I have an in at UofM but I'm not sure that I want it. Its for computer modeling of world enviroment modeling. I've done computation physics before and though it comes easily, its not as interesting as I'd like (though maybe it was just modelling metals that was fairly boring).

    So thats me.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
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