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What are my chances?

  1. Oct 16, 2007 #1
    Hi All,

    I know this gets posted allot, I just feel I need some external feedback on my chances.

    I'm primarily considering programs in Elementary Particles and Mathematical Physics, and am particularly interested in the mathematic underlying physics.

    I am a mathematics and physics double major at a small (<700 student, second tier) private Boston-area university.

    My cumulative GPA overall: 3.77
    My physics GPA: 3.65
    My math GPA: 3.9

    My school requires allot of extraneous courses that I did fairly well in, but not great. Does this hurt or help?

    Research experience:
    I've done two REU's.
    One, was at Harvard University studying some effects that occur in nanoscale superconductors (Macroscopic Quantum Tunnelling). And did allot of work on high vacuum systems, e-beam lithography, and SEM. (Also, this is where I decided experimental work wasn't for me, wasn't too bad, just enjoyed the math more)
    The second, was at Indian University's Cyclotron Facility, I did some nuclear theory work in computing bound states and resonances in 2-d systems.

    I don't have any publications, but may be able to publish soon in one of the undergrad math journals. Do these kinds of journals help at all?

    I've also TA'd for several classes, and graded homeworks. Including General Physics, Mechanics, and Discrete Math.

    I also was awarded a freshman achievement award in physics.

    GRE scores:
    Verbal: 550
    Quantitative: 790
    Writing: 4.0
    Subject: don't know yet, expecting 700-750.

    Which schools do you think are accessible to me?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2007 #2


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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Being an undergrad myself, I'm just going off of what I've heard, but I'll try to help.

    You have a good GPA and research and TA experience, which will be incredibly useful when applying for teaching and research assistantships. While you may not be published, publishing in an undergrad journal definitely doesn't hurt and two REU's, one of them being at Harvard, will look good on their own. I'd say your resume is pretty good.
  4. Oct 17, 2007 #3


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I think you should make a list of universities that you are thinking about studying at, and then ask people to comment on your list. You need to do some research into which departments are actually working on the specific field that you are interested in first.
  5. Oct 17, 2007 #4
    Here's the list of schools I'm thinking about. If you could, let me know what you think, that would be appreciated.

    UC-Santa Barbra

    U Texas

    Case Western
    UC Davis
    William and Mary
  6. Oct 20, 2007 #5
    i think you are underestimating the university of washington!
  7. Oct 23, 2007 #6
    And Umass. A lot of harvard and mit students go there when they can't get into harvard or what not because they don't want to leave boston. I wouldn't consider Umass a give-me because of that.

    You probably have a much better chance at berkeley than yale and brown because of the size of the department. Brown will let in like 6-9 people. Another example is Dartmouth, they let in like 6 people, are not near the ranking of Berkeley (although they have a very good program of course), yet I would bet that getting into Berkeley is much easier (or at least more probable).
  8. Oct 23, 2007 #7
    You're in good shape. I'd say you had a good shot at some of your reach schools.
  9. Oct 24, 2007 #8
    berkeley's average gre physics score is 910.
  10. Oct 26, 2007 #9
    I think you have a chance at some of the top 10 schools, given your REU at Harvard. It would help if you get one of your letters of recommendation from a well-known researcher.
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