Retrospective Chances for Admission

<p>DISCLAIMER: These statistics were current as of Dec. 2003. I'm already enrolled (for the <code>04-</code>05 AY) in one of the schools listed below. Dilemma: the program is <i>good</i> here, but I don't think my credentials were up to snuff. Was there a leak in the admissions system? Should access have been denied? Help me find out by
predicting my chances (I want the parent's perspective). Follow-up forthcoming.</p>

<p>Degree Sought: Ph. D.
Discipline: Physics</p>

<p>Prospects (in no particular order):</p>

<p>(1) Duke U
(2) Cornell U
(3) Caltech
(4) Yale U
(5) UC Berkeley
(6) Johns Hopkins U
(7) Harvard U
(8) Stanford U
(9) MIT</p>


<p>GRE (The SAT I, but "better"): 440V, 800M, 460W(riting) -- 800 max.
(Statistics for GRE scores map onto the candidate profile in the same way that SAT scores do at the undergraduate level)</p>

<p>GRE Subject/Physics : 760 (71st percentile) </p>

<p>Undergraduate GPA: 3.6
Four years of research experience. </p>


<p>Three of the above schools extended an offer of admission. I'd like to see if your predictions overlap with the adcom's decisions.</p>

<p>Undergrads are always complaining that their grad student instructors don't speak English, so your chances are good at Caltech, Berkeley and MIT where you will communicate with symbols. Was I close?</p>

<p>English is my first language.</p>

<p>sorry - your post confused me because it was so well written. How did you get a 440 ? Did you take it more than once? Did you take SATs 4 yrs prior?</p>

<p>I took the GRE General test twice, and scored below the national average both times in the "Verbal" (440V, 460V).</p>

<p>No SAT scores.</p>

<p>I've never seen someone give Grad School chances on this board. I wouldn't even know what the normal range is. How about if we play this game with your undergrad stats?</p>

<p>What Univ did you attend as an undergraduate? I want a hint how hard that 3.6 was to get.... </p>

<p>Also, what were the credientials of the prof who supervised your research, and what was the research about?</p>

<p>Are you related to someone hideously wealthy?</p>

<p>These facts may help us.</p>

<p>I enjoy solving a puzzle, even if I know little about graduate admissions. The fact that you were admitted to three top programs tells me that your overall application was acceptable, ie your credentials were "up to snuff." The only possible "leak" would be if your GRE scores were somehow reported incorrectly (too high? someone else's scores with the same name?) to all three schools. Seems unlikely to me.</p>

<p>Hi SBMom,</p>

<p>I. Undergraduate Institution: UCLA
II. I did research with five different professors as an undergraduate:</p>

<p>Exp. 1: High-energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy/UCLA
Exp. 2: High-energy Physics/UC-Berkeley; LBNL
Exp. 3: Nuclear Physics/Uppsala, Sweden
Exp. 4: Magnetic reconnection/Planetary Physics, UCLA</p>

<h2>Exp. 5: Space Weather Forecasting/Planetary Physics, UCLA</h2>

<p>III. Not a gazillionaire, nor the son of a former president
IV. Hope this helps.</p>


<pre><code> ALL of these schools have applicant averages in the top five percent. I don't understand why three of these schools offered me admission in light of my poor metrics. Maybe these places don't make hard cuts on standardized test scores--who knows? There is a whole business devoted to peering inside the black box of the admissions process--I'd like to see how the parents judge my statistics.

<p>I'll post the "solution" to the puzzle (i.e. reveal which schools anomalously approved my application) in a few days; please keep posting your predictions.</p>

<p>There clearly is something you aren't telling the board - learning disability or some other disability of some sort perhaps? An interviewer would clearly zero in on the V score, so if you had a reasonable explanation for it I could see it being overlooked. Also, a recommendation from one of your research professors to a professor or school he or she has a relationship with could mean a lot.</p>

<p>Purely guesses, I'd go for Berkeley, Caltech and Cornell.</p>

<p>Okay, I'll go with Duke, Hopkins & Cornell.</p>

<p>Do we win something?</p>

<p>I don't think there has been any leak in the system. You got in because of your credentials. You have a 3.6 from a top public research university. You have an 800M score and are studying physics, a math-heavy and verbal-light subject. And your most important qualifications are:</p>

<p>"II. I did research with five different professors as an undergraduate:
Exp. 1: High-energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy/UCLA
Exp. 2: High-energy Physics/UC-Berkeley; LBNL
Exp. 3: Nuclear Physics/Uppsala, Sweden
Exp. 4: Magnetic reconnection/Planetary Physics, UCLA
Exp. 5: Space Weather Forecasting/Planetary Physics, UCLA" </p>

<p>Remember Ph.D. programs are all about RESEARCH. You did way more than most undergrads, and that stands out. </p>

<p>Another thing to remember is that grad school admissions decisions are made primarily by the academic departments and not the admissions office. The main graduate admissions office just shuffles the paperwork. If someone in the department was impressed with your research experience, they can easily choose to overlook a weak verbal GRE.</p>

<p>And I don't think you actually considered yourself to be all that much of a longshot either, otherwise you wouldn't have applied to nothing but reaches.</p>

<p>My guess is you got into: Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, and MIT.</p>

<p>A lot of the graduate students in the physical science area are from foreign countries. Graduate programs are probably used to dealing with students who have issues with the English language. </p>

<p>I'm going with Berkeley.</p>

<p>Why didn't you apply to UCLA?
Did you actually study in Sweden?
Strong recommendations from your research sponsors could easily make up for weakness in standardized tests, especially if any were Nobel prize winners! UCLA faculty are from all over but as a group have strongest ties to CA.
And again, if you got into ONE program you could say it was a fluke, but since you got accepted to THREE grad schools, your initial premise is flawed!</p>


<pre><code> It's really an optimization problem. There were many (good) reasons to continue at UCLA--a 10-minute conversation with the chair of the Department, along with a few petitions and pleas, would have been enough to clinch a spot in the graduate programme there. BUT (being fully cognizant of potential peppered comments from recent alums) UCLA is a tier-two

<p>school for graduate physics; this is partly due to their shift in focus to undergraduate education (cf. Yale's Dean's Letter to Prospective Freshman). And yes I spent three months in Sweden.</p>

<p>Second, no--I don't think my premise is flawed. On Friday, you'll know which schools could (should?) be "calling themselves crazy" (ode to Ben Stein) for admitting a student with a GRE Writing Assessment score in the bottom seventeen percent. The fact that ANY top school would open their gates is strange--let alone three--you're right! Are the admissions officers selecting students based on tarot card readings and mystical energies? Daily crystal ball consultations? Sounds plausible to me.</p>

<p>coureur: Thanks for the thoughtful advice; I didn't know the graduate adcoms had a comparatively negligible effect compared to the departmental admissions chairpeople. </p>

<p>Re. Rationale for choosing schools: Longshot, no. Shoo-in, absolutely naught (pun intended). See last sentences in second paragraph.</p>

<p>I can't resist. I'm with Coureur about how graduate admissions work, but I vote Berkeley, Caltech, and Harvard. There's a method in my madness.</p>

<p>Hear, hear to Sandiegomom1 and post #1!!!! Keep em coming...</p>

<p>Cornell, Stanford & Berkeley</p>

<p>. . .to make sure I get at least one right, I am amending my guesses to Berkeley, Caltech and Stanford.</p>