GRE and general application advice


<p>I'm sure these types of questions are fairly common but I haven't had much luck after trawling through some searches to find an indicative answer, so I figured I'd post. I also wasn't sure if the "What Are My Chances" board was exclusively for undergraduate admission. Anyway, apologies in advance.</p>

<p>I'm looking to apply for a Ph.D in Astrophysics later this year for commencement next Fall (2015) and as I'm an international student, I'm not completely sure how my academic background stacks up. To quickly summarise:</p>

<p>Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) with Honors (6.095/7.0 GPA ~3.5 on a 4.0 system)
Bachelor of Science, Applied Mathematics Major
Masters of Astrophysics (Currently completing)</p>

<p>Of which my research experience is:</p>

<p>Bachelors Thesis (12 month) - Mechanical Engineering Project
Masters Thesis (18 month) - Astrophysics Project
Summer Research Project (3 months) - Astrophysics Project</p>

<p>And my work experience:</p>

<p>~ 3 years as a Mechanical Engineer in the Oil & Gas industry, both in the office and in the field.</p>

<p>And finally, my GRE scores:</p>

<p>Q: 800 (~166)
V: 440 (~149)
A: 5.0 </p>

<p>And I haven't done the Physics GRE.</p>

<p>The schools I was considering are:</p>

U Chicago
UT Austin
U Maryland
U Washington
Ohio State</p>

<p>Basically, my two questions are: </p>

<p>1) As an international candidate (Australian), do these credentials put in me in a reasonably good position to apply for PhDs at some of the top schools I've listed, or am I not competitive enough and should reconsider which schools I intend to apply for?
2) Is my Verbal GRE score going to hold me back substantially? Obviously I have time so I can re-sit it should it be necessary, but I'm not sure if I could pull in as good a analytical score a second time round.</p>

<p>Any advice/feedback is very appreciated as I'm honestly not sure which are the important parts to the application, and obviously wish to maximise my chances of admission.</p>

<p>Cheers for your time!</p>

<p>The verbal score is an issue for the most selective programs. The first 5 on your list are highly selective and you will have a difficult time being admitted because of the high competition for a limited number of seats. basically everyone puts those schools on their list. The other 4 are big state universities and probably will afford a better chance of getting in although I would not classify any of them as safeties. A lot will depend on your Physics GRE. They are all quite good programs in any case. My suggestion is that you apply to at least one other program which you are pretty sure you will get into and where you would be happy to attend. Since you are already getting a Masters in the field, ask your faculty advisors about what less selective programs might be a good fit for you.</p>