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What should I do?

  1. Nov 21, 2015 #1
    I am a physics major in his senior year but with a 2.8 cum gpa that came from hopping around majors and not knowing exactly what to do with myself. It looks extra bad that I did not pass physics II/calculus II the first time around but i did manage to get an A-/B- afterwards. My GPA is more like a 3.2 for my upper division physics courses but we'll see how that holds after these two semesters of quantum. I have not managed to take the GRE (I keep postponing it) and I am not close to any of the faculty at my school. They just seem to be uninspired by physics and are not the greatest motivation so I don't really spend any extra time with them. What i got going for me (i guess) is that I did do some research with laser locking at Imperial College in london (which strangely no one there has replied to my emails about getting a LOR) and during my spare time I designed an entire program for the family company that designs lenses (which is a surprisingly rich field that had some mildly intense math which was fun!).

    In short:
    -2.8 GPA
    -Poor LOR
    -Some experience
    -Hopefully a kickass personal statement

    So what i really want to ask is do i have a chance at getting my PhD in an AMO program? I'm not aiming for a top program put a part of me would die if i got accepted into a theory group. I know that the answer is that there is always hope and i should try anyways but I am looking for a constructive answer/help in terms of a game plan. Should i focus on my last round of courses even though they wont get me over a 3.0 and there's almost no chance of me getting straight A's or consider another field? (Mind you, I want a PhD cause I am passionate about doing research and becoming a scientist)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2015 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    There seems to be this idea that all you have to do is say "I'm passionate!" and all the doors open for you. That's not true.

    Roughly twice as many people take the GRE as get accepted into graduate school. It's competitive. A 2.8 GPA is not competitive - usually below a 3.0 in grad school is failing. And the courses are more difficult. If nobody is replying to your requests for a Letter, hat means that they don't want to write one for you. And this is bad. very, very bad. In this environment, a "kickass personal statement" will probably be interpreted as "can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk".

    Obviously, you need to do the best you can in the time you have left. But I think you need to consider the possibility that you will need to find some alternative to graduate school.
  4. Nov 21, 2015 #3
    Thank you for your honesty. Ill go back to reflecting what I should do. There are some programs that'll accept you provisionally and maybe I'll look into those.

    Hopefully whatever I decide to do is not too far outside this beautiful field.
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