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Posts Tagged ‘admission’

Mmmm blue.

Mmmm blue.

One topic of conversation that came up at my last graduate school open house thing was graduate admissions. We talked about what we thought got us into the University of Madison and what we expected them to look at in our application.

I had little research experience, low GRE scores but I think good letters of recommendation and a high GPA and I got it.

Another person had low GPA, low GRE scores and tons of research experience and they got in.

Another had mediocre stuff across the board and got in.

We decided that for physics graduate school there is no consistent guarantee for acceptance and that strengths can make up for weaknesses.

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Informative graffiti.

Informative graffiti.

Well I did not expect this to happen, I have been accepted to every graduate program I applied too (I was accepted to Wisconsin’s Engineering Physics program this morning). On one hand it makes we wish I had applied to harder programs or some of the more prestigious ones, on the other hand I didn’t apply to those because I did not want to go to them (say Berkeley or Stanford).

I guess I will use my long plane flight home from Wisconsin to decide which University to go to for graduate school.

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Another sunset photo.

Another sunset photo.

I received an acceptance from the Montana State University physics department in the mail today.

It is odd, when I first started the application process I did not put too much consideration to location if the program worked for me; likewise if I liked the location I did not look as hard at the program. For Montana State I ignore the location and found the program to be really good. For the University of British Columbia I figured that I could find something in the department.

Now after going to the University of Washington that has a good department and location I am quite quickly dropping schools from consideration. Wisconsin is the big competition and that all depends on the visit. The University of New Hampshire looks really good but recently I have been trying to organize a day trip across New Hampshire and I find the lack of travel options to be discouraging and in a way negatively effecting my outlook for the University. Even though this is in no way related to the University.

When I lived in Scotland the physical distance was not much of a problem since I only went home once, now I realize that distance is a prime factor. A shorter distance or the presence of easy flights to California has now become a big part of my decision. I want to be able to return to California for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas without all day flights or horrendous layovers. And I can’t judge this aspect of a school until I actually fly in and travel to it on public transportation.

I still have not heard the full on official responses from British Columbia or Montana State (I have acceptances from the department only) nor have I heard anything from the Engineering Physics department of Wisconsin. Fortunately this won’t effect me too much.

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The temperature dropped to the year low of 32 F during the night, I am glad winter is over.

The temperature dropped to the year low of 32 F during the night, I am glad winter is over.

I received an e-mail from the University of New Hampshire physics department this morning: I have been accepted to the PhD program.

That puts me at two for two, or a one hundred percent acceptance rate so far. With more then one acceptance I really need to start figuring out a good way to evenly compare the programs and locales to help decide on the graduate school that fits me best. While I think that there are some basics that can be compared like pay, location, health benefits and all of that, what will probably decide it for me will be the trip out to the schools.

The science and the pay are important things to consider, however I will be living at this location for at least five years so the location will become a heavy consideration. Same with experiencing the airports, the local public transit and photographic potential within walking distance. Weather too might factor into it.

Luckily both schools so far are willing to fly me out for either open days or visiting. Unlike studying abroad it is not so easy to decide on a location without ever being there. Visiting in February/March will also give me a taste of Winter, something that I have only partially experienced once.

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