magmacore

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About magmacore

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  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    Not what my username would suggest.

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  1. I have another question about letters of recommendation - not directly related but didn't want to start a new thread. As mentioned, I've seen both of these letters of recommendation, as I have to submit them to the program directly. Both are strong. One, however (the weaker one) has a few typos. Would it be worth contacting her to see if these can be amended?
  2. She never said it would hurt but just didn't show much interest in it and turned the conversation towards the undergrad professors. I know this guy writes successful letters of reference for this program (and others) each year. I actually thought he would be the most relevant reference, so it was surprising to me that she wasn't as interested in it. To me, it seems like the only strike against him is university brand name, but it's the same department that I'm trying to get into. My experience with him and his colleagues is a reason why this program is my top preference. I know she will not be the only person evaluating my application, so that's what's making me think twice. I need funding to attend, and references from this guy earn people funding most years. I think part of it is that this is not an American program, so I don't think they've had anyone from my university or its peers apply. Brand name may play a bigger role than I was expecting. I still think I'll cap it two references from my undergrad, as I'm happy with what I have from them.
  3. I'm in a quantitative field. I've seen the other reference letters, and they explicitly say that my research and analytical skills are on par with students accepted into top five programs and that I have been performing graduate level research. They are unreserved in their support and speak highly of me in comparison to peers. I was happy and touched by what was said, and I think that an additional reference could confirm I was in the top x% of my cohort but not much l beyond that. From what you've said, I think including that additional reference would water down the praise from the others. One option to me would be to reconsider adding the additional research reference, despite the commentary from the project director. I don't think it would make a dent in the prestigious scholarship, but I think it would help to cement me getting funding full stop. He would add a lot, as we worked closely together recently.
  4. Head of the PhD program gave that advice. She said that if I didn't provide it, it was no big deal, but that the more references from my undergrad the better given its reputation, as they will be nominating me for a major scholarship. I am also confused (hence the post!). My confusion arises from what you were getting at - whether the fourth reference would add anything new. My gut says no - all it would do would confirm that I work hard and that I'm intelligent enough to tackle difficult problems. It would be definitely less personal and less enthusiastic than the other references I've received. It would be another voice saying that I compete among those who get admitted to top programs. My key question is whether this extra voice is worth providing given it will be worse than the other references. The other research reference I offered would have been outstanding and was actually from a professor in the target department. They didn't think it was worthwhile. I'm trying to weigh up all of these comments to see what is worth providing...
  5. I need two letters officially. I have three, with two from my undergrad. I was advised that an additional reference from my undergrad would be helpful for scholarships because of the competitiveness of the program I undertook, but the only outstanding options for referees are those listed. I already have three strong letters (I have been shown them), but given the advice I received, I still have questions whether it would be worthwhile solicting an additional letter just to demonstrate my ability to achieve results in a tough program. But I don't want to waste their time and damage my application with a weaker reference. My target program is at a university significantly less prestigious than my undergrad. That may play into their desire for as many references as possible from my undergrad. For anyone who has gone through the application process, is there ever any benefit submitting referees from classroom subjects? For what it's worth, I offered to provide a research reference from a supervisor at a less prestigious institution than my undergrad, and they had no interest. The awesome professor I mentioned has very weak written English, so I am hesitant. I have letters from other people who were educated in other languages and their English is spot on.
  6. Funding in Australia

    Has anyone here ever applied to Australian programs? If so, how difficult did you find it to obtain funding?
  7. I am currently preparing an application and am required to produce X letters of recommendation. I have so far secured X letters from my undergraduate program and also another from a supervisor at a different university. Though I have more than enough references, I got some advice that providing another reference from my undergraduate may help me with some ultra competitive scholarships. I proposed submitting a reference from a supervisor at a good school, but was told it wouldn't have as much weight as someone from my undergrad. I'm not sure that any other professors will be able to provide detailed letters of recommendation. The one additional professor who I thought would do so has not been replying to my emails. In essence, is it harmful to submit a less strong reference? I'm worried about watering down my application but am not sure at what point I recommendations start to hurt. I've also included some potential professors below - if anyone would see them as appropriate let me know. -Professor of highly quantitative class where I got an A (max possible). Knew me well at the time as I went to all of his office hours. Issues are that I took his class five years ago and English isn't his first language. Full professor at an elite University. -Professor of most advanced lab class offered, where I got an A and had best ever results on one of the projects in a small class. Not sure he will remember me well as he was very shy. Full professor at an elite university. -Lecturer of an intro, unrelated class, where I did very well (A) and we are still in contact. He would write a great reference, but I'm worried it would be brushed aside as he is now an academic administrator and taught me as he was finishing his PhD (at elite university). -Professor of a highly quantitative class who is known for being happy to write recommendations for most of his students. Did well (A-) but wasn't the standout student here. Given this, and the fact it's been a few years, I'm not sure he'd remember me all that well.
  8. Been out of college for a few years

    Thanks, that is helpful! Do you have any recommendations on how to phrase emails to these professors? In some cases it's been four years
  9. I've been out of college for a few years, and have decided to pursue a PhD in the field which I'm now working in. I didn't major in this, but I did the equivalent of a minor, and a lot of people with my undergraduate background pursue graduate studies in this field. A major concern I have though is getting letters of recommendation. I've done a lot of research projects (including one supervised by two senior academics in this field), however, I'm applying to non-US programs that require coursework professors to provide recommendations in a set template (including checking boxes). There's not even the option of professional or research referees. The classes in my current field were huge lectures and many academics have since left the university, so I would need to take professors from my major. However, I finished my coursework for my major four years ago, and even if professors remember me, I'm not sure they'll remember the nuances of my performance in their class. Has anyone requested references long after graduating? How did you go about this? Also, though most of my upper-division classes were As, how would it look to take a reference from a professor who gave me an A-? I had a stronger relationship with her than most others. I was a sophomore taking a class geared for PhD students, not sure if that would make a difference.
  10. I did a small amount of vocab prep, because as a STEM major, you don't really use that many words. I didn't really prepare for the math section or the essay. I ended up getting 170/170/5.5 - from my experience, math preparation doesn't help much if you're already in a quantitative major, but without doing some light vocab prep, I definitely wouldn't have gotten the verbal score that I did.
  11. Practice GRE scores vs. real GRE scores

    Pending writing scores: Kaplan free test: 170Q/166V Two tests in ETS book: 169Q/168V, 169Q/169V Powerprep software timed test: 169Q/163V Actual: 170Q/170V (unless the unofficial scores differ from the official ones. Does that happen nowadays?)
  12. Fluctuation in GRE scores?

    I'm taking the GRE soon and I've only taken three practice tests (most of my studying was vocab or questions which weren't in the test format). Before I did practice tests under test conditions, I thought I'd score < 165 on the verbal because of pretests, but that wasn't always the case on the practice tests. My scores were 170Q/166V, 169Q/169V and 169Q/163V in that order. I'm a little worried that my verbal dropped in the third case - are such drops unusual?
  13. How much study to increase verbal GRE?

    Magoosh cards look great! Does anyone have any suggestions about how to improve on the reading comprehension questions? I haven't done a huge amount of reading in college so I'm very out of practice (I did very well on the verbal part of the SAT though, so part of it must be lost in the back of my mind...).
  14. For someone who's scoring about 160 on the verbal GRE pretests and who would like to score ~165, what sort of resources are most useful?
  15. Hi everyone, I'm a current junior who's hoping to apply for PhD programs next year. Some aspect of my application are fine: I have strong grades in a very difficult and well regarded undergraduate program, I'll graduate with six semesters and two summers of research, I've been president of relevant undergraduate organizations (not that it matters that much), I've gotten a range of fellowships and I've attended summer schools relevant to my field. I should also graduate with at least one (first or second author) publication in my intended graduate field (if it gets accepted somewhere). However, I'm going to struggle to get three relevant and strong letters of recommendation. My current research supervisor will give one, as will a professor I had for a difficult course. But I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to get the third. I really don't know if any of my former research professors will write a strong letter. I did good work the summer after my freshman year, but I've heard that the professor I worked with doesn't write great letters of recommendation, to the point where people get letters from other professors affiliated with the group. The summer after my sophomore year, the professor in the lab was overseas the whole time and barely ever spoke to me, so I worked mostly with PhD students (can't really get a letter of recommendation from them). I also did research last year, but I was working with a very demanding professor doing work that wasn't suited to my skills. I wasn't great at it to say the least, and I'm not sure if he'd be willing to write a strong letter of recommendation. I'm not sure what to do at this stage. I know I have time before I need to finalize this but I'm starting to get quite worried. I could easily ask non-research professors to write me letters, but after four research experiences I think that would look really bad. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would it be advisable to pick up an additional research project so I can work with another professor? I'd rather concentrate on my current research but I'd hate to throw away so much because I just can't get relevant letters of recommendation.