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laocoön

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About laocoön

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    Application Stats:

    Undergrad Institution: Small state engineering institution
    Major(s): Geophysics
    Minor(s): Mathematics, Geology
    GPA in Major: 3.69
    Overall GPA: 3.73
    Position in Class: upper quartile
    Type of Student: domestic male

    GRE Scores (revised/old version):
    Q: 166
    V: 167
    W: 4.0

    Research Experience: 2 summers + 1 continuing year of post-bachelors research at national laboratory in related field, 1 conference poster, manuscript in prep., 4 week school field session.

    Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Awarded DOE research grant for 2 summers, awarded school scholarship and a departmental award, received school's only liberal arts award (worth a few Brownie Points, right?)

    Pertinent Activities or Jobs: not really

    Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Held a couple Editor in Chief positions for school publications, was a V.P. and peer-counselor in a minority engineering society (again, Brownie Points?)

    Special Bonus Points: At least one recommender has a connection at each school to which I applied, conducted field work with one POI (Austin), took a grad class in area of research interest

    Applied:
    Scripps Institute of Oceanography (UCSD) - EQ Seismology PhD (Accepted 1/8/15)
    UT Austin - Civil Engineering (Geotechnical) - Seismic Site Characterization & PSHA MSc (Accepted 1/23/15)
    UC Santa Cruz - EQ Seismology PhD (Accepted 2/1/15)
    University of Washington (Seattle) - EQ Seismology PhD (Accepted 2/10/15)
    USC - EQ Seismology PhD (Interview Invite 1/23/15; Interviewed/Accepted 2/25/15)
    Scripps/SDSU Joint Geophysics Program - Earthquake Science PhD (Accepted 2/3/15)
  • Application Season
    2015 Fall
  • Program
    Geophysics (EQ seismology)

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  1. Thanks for your replies, everyone! I am definitely going to ask now. It sounds like the possible positives outweigh the negatives, and since I'm coming from a relatively low-stress research setting, I don't think there's much of a possibility that I would get burnt out from starting a few months early. Good luck to everyone just starting out!
  2. So, I just accepted an admission and am looking forward to starting grad in the fall! Currently, I am in a flexible research position at a laboratory and can leave any time after June. I was wondering if anyone had experience with starting their grad research in the summer before officially starting grad. I've heard mixed things about it (some people I know were able to get a paper out of their early research, while others went through huge tuition debacles and ended up getting little accomplished), and I know summer research is tied up in your adviser's funding, department politics, etc.; ultimately, though, even if I didn't get a lot done, I still think it would be valuable to move in to my new apartment early, to explore the new city, and to judge how things work in my new program before getting caught up in classwork. Also, how does one initiate the conversation about doing summer research with your new adviser? Somehow I managed to choose to attend the one program where I forgot to ask during my visit if summer research was a possibility Thank you.
  3. Just got an acceptance from UW! Well, this has certainly been the opposite of last application season for me... For anyone reading this several months down the road who may have not been accepted anywhere this application cycle: let my experience stand as proof that getting shut out one season does not mean that you will necessarily experience the same thing next season. As long as you spend your in-between time productively, strengthening your application material and developing relationships with POIs, there will be hope for your grad school career. Don't give up!
  4. After getting shut out last application cycle, I only followed up with one program, and they stated it was against department policy to divulge the exact reason for rejection. Instead, they sent me a general list of why people get rejected, which wasn't really much help. Soooo...I guess the amount of info you can get out of the department is dependent on the specific program.
  5. Thanks for the response! After reading over the email a few more times, I figure it's probably a chance to make sure I'm articulate, likable, and actually enthusiastic about the program, because if they were really on the fence, they could have just given me a phone interview, which is much cheaper than flying me out!
  6. Received an email invite from USC to come discuss possible research projects! This makes me kind of nervous, because I'm not sure if this is an interview or just an open house sort of deal...the email was from the POI with whom I communicated in the fall and didn't say anything like "you have been recommended for admission by the department", but they're offering to pay for the visit, which makes it feel less like an interview. Further, I was under the impression that USC Earth Science didn't really *do* interviews... Can anyone with experience with this department help me read the tea leaves? I'll probably prepare for it like it's a formal interview regardless, but I'd still like to know what the invite "means".
  7. Sorry for coming in late, but I wanted to get an acceptance before posting. Undergrad Institution: Small state engineering institution Major(s): Geophysics Minor(s): Mathematics, Geology GPA in Major: 3.69 Overall GPA: 3.73 Position in Class: upper quartile Type of Student: domestic male GRE Scores (revised/old version): Q: 166 V: 167 W: 4.0 Research Experience: 2 summers + 1 continuing year of post-bachelors research at national laboratory in related field, 1 conference poster, manuscript in prep., 4 week school field session. Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Awarded DOE research grant for 2 summers, awarded school scholarship and a departmental award, received school's only liberal arts award (worth a few Brownie Points, right?) Pertinent Activities or Jobs: not really Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Held a couple Editor in Chief positions for school publications, was a V.P. and peer-counselor in a minority engineering society (again, Brownie Points?) Special Bonus Points: At least one recommender has a connection at each school to which I applied, conducted field work with one POI (Austin), took a grad class in area of research interest Applying to Where: Scripps Institute of Oceanography (UCSD) - Geophysics - EQ Seismology (Accepted! 1/8) UT Austin - Civil Engineering (Geotechnical) - Seismic Site Characterization & PSHA UC Santa Cruz - Earth & Planetary Sciences - EQ Seismology University of Washington (Seattle) - ESS - EQ Seismology USC - Earth Sciences - EQ Seismology Scripps/SDSU Joint Geophysics Program - Earthquake Science Very excited to hear back from Scripps. I was completely shut out last application cycle, so I was worried about that this year too. Took the year after undergrad to research more appropriate schools, boost my research ability, and work on a manuscript (I think my application was also improved by not having 17+ credit hours of school work and extracurriculars breathing down my neck). As others have stated, start preparing your applications early and contact your POIs when they aren't drowning in papers that need to be graded. And if you don't get in the first time around, don't give up!
  8. @GeoDUDE! Thanks for your response! It's actually not the MIT/WHOI joint program, but I see your point. That said, because I would be applying to work in the same area of research in both programs (as both programs have specialties in my area of interest), what qualifies and motivates me for each position is pretty much the same. Of course, I modified my SOP to reflect what advisers I would prefer and resources I would have at each program, and how each program would independently prepare me for my career goals. I'm just not certain if having the same intro would throw my chances for both programs.
  9. Perhaps this is a question better posed in the SOP forum, but I'm applying to earth science stuff, so I guess I'll post here. I'm applying to a geophysics program that is run jointly by two schools; however, I am also submitting an application individually to one of those schools, because I would still like to be considered for admission there if I don't get in to the joint program. Now, the last 1/3 of each SOP is tailored to each program, demonstrating fit, my familiarity with the school(s) and faculty, and how I could contribute. That said, the first 2/3 of each SOP goes over my background and motivations and is the same for both programs. Given that I am applying to each of the programs to research basically the same thing, would it be damaging if I did not rewrite the first portion of my SOP? The committee at the school to which I am applying individually will probably also read the SOP for the joint program, and I am not sure if it would rub them the wrong way if the first part of each SOP was the same (or different, for that matter...). Would it come across as laziness and unoriginality? I don't feel like it's necessary to reinvent the wheel when my research interests are similar for both programs, but I also don't want to look like one of those people who mass produced a generic SOP and slapped on a fit paragraph for a touch of originality. Perhaps it would help if I mentioned in each SOP that I am applying to both programs? Thanks!
  10. Ah, ok. So, when I do end up asking, who should I ask? POIs or Grad coordinators?
  11. Sorry, perhaps I should have been clearer. I have been rejected from all of my choices besides one, which I will probably decline should I get in. It's not that I'm being a pessimist and haven't heard back from anyone; it's that I'm out for the season.
  12. It's coming to the end of this application cycle, and it looks like I will not be getting into any of the 4 grad schools I applied to this time around. I would like to send an email to my top choice school to ask how I might make my application more competitive for the next application cycle, but I'm trying to decide if I should send it to the graduate coordinator for the department or to my POIs within the department. I figure that the POIs would have relevant things to say regarding what they're looking for in a student that I am currently lacking (and I've met them personally/had a conversation with them), though the graduate coordinators are probably the people with the greatest familiarity with my application. What would be proper etiquette in this situation?
  13. Hello All, It's coming to the end of this application cycle, and it looks like I will not be getting into grad school this time around. I would like to send an email to my top choice school to ask how I might make my application more competitive for the next application cycle, but I'm trying to decide if I should send it to the graduate coordinator for the department or to my POIs within the department. I figure that the POIs would have relevant things to say regarding what they're looking for in a student that I am currently lacking, though the graduate coordinators are probably the people with the greatest familiarity with my application. What would be proper etiquette in this situation?
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