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About scytoo

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  • Location
    United Kingdom (current), Australia (previous)
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Astronomy and Astrophysics

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  1. I have TA'd for a class I was concurrently taking, although it wasn't for credit and I was a few years above the rest of the class so there wasn't any interaction between us outside of my TA work. It was really tough. As the TA you don't just have to understand the material as the term goes on, you need to understand it better than the best student in the class and about a week in advance of them because they'll be emailing you and asking for guidance on the assignments. Plus undergrads can make their classes their full-time job, while I had to juggle research and lesson planning alongsid
  2. I've TA'd quite a few undergraduate courses at different levels, and what I've learned so far is: 1. The students who show up to extra sessions or are otherwise really engaged will fall into two groups: those who are dedicated but just aren't prepared for the content, and those who are acing it. The apathetic middle is really hard to engage. 2. It's easier to teach students who are struggling. Maybe this is a personal preference thing, but I'll take a business student struggling in calc over someone precocious any day. And if your students are way above the level expected for an und
  3. It really depends... Remember that astronomy as a whole is the same as "astrophysics", which is just "the physics of things in space". You need a very strong physics background for an Astronomy PhD, and if you don't already have the equivalent of a physics major or close to it, you'll have to spend another couple of years catching up on that. I'm assuming you don't have extensive research experience in astronomy either, so you'd likely have to do a Masters first before applying to PhD programs. Astronomy is a hugely competitive field.
  4. I wrote up a blog post about my experiences a while back, hopefully the link is allowed here (I gain nothing from it, not even ad revenue): https://www.paytonelyce.com/blog/2019/4/17/a-guide-to-graduate-scholarships/#the-interview
  5. If you ticked yes for Gates then your department will consider putting you forwards for Gates, and if they do, then Gates will assess you. If you ticked no for the Trust, then you are effectively no longer in the running for most other scholarships though. Aside from Gates and a few scholarships within your first-choice college, nearly everything is administered by the Trust. The offer and the funding are separate. No one is going to have an unconditional offer before scholarships are awarded because one of your conditions is a financial one, which the scholarship can satisfy. If yo
  6. Decisions are rolling because the Cambridge Trust isn't one unified group - each scholarship decides in its own time, which means the timelines to hear back from other scholarships is meaningless, and it doesn't matter if awardees are being announced for a scholarship you didn't apply for. Most will be released before April is over, but depending on whether people turn them down, offers might reach through June-ish. Also don't really pay attention to the updated list of awarded scholarships on the Trust website. They update that in batches, so it can be lagging by weeks at a time.
  7. This is not normal for international students and you need to contact the Immigration team at your prospective university for their advice. It's recommended for UKVI that you submit your visa application as early as possible, which is 3 months before the start date. One month is not going to be long enough to get your CAS, get a confirmed offer, submit your visa application, attend a biometric appointment, and wait for the outcome of the visa assessment. There may be a week or more between each step. And even if you pay a lot of money for priority visa service, you should expect it to take 3 m
  8. I think it really depends on your grading scale - from what I remember Canada is pretty similar to Australia, in that 70% is not that bad of a grade, perhaps a solid B depending on where you are. Whether it'll hold you back depends on a lot of factors. Do you have to do classes during a PhD in Canada (or wherever you're applying to)? If so, having a poor theoretical background is a definite kiss of death because you won't be able to keep up. Are those poor grades in classes that are directly relevant to your area of research? If so, you might be good at the mechanical aspects of research
  9. Hey, I've done a few of these before and they really vary by PI! In some cases, the moment you connect the PI will start talking about their research projects, why they think it's interesting etc - basically trying to sell the PhD to you. For these ones, mine ended up going for over an hour even though we had agreed 15 minutes, so make sure you have a huge block of time around the interview. The main goal for you is to keep up with conversation, ask relevant questions about the research, and just build a good rapport. Other Skype talks can be more awkward, where the PI hasn't prepar
  10. No, you won't get anyone from the Trust. Your interviewers will be mostly previous scholars. I was interviewed by two engineers and a chemist, and Luisa sent their names shortly before the interview.
  11. Hey all, I was successful in applying for Gates last year - PhD Astronomy, interviewed by Skype with the Physical Sciences panel If anyone has been invited to interview and wants some tips, PM me! [although obviously I can't give much advice for fields very different to my own, different panels and all]
  12. I'm pretty sure they see both. When you apply to Cambridge, the Gates statement is one section of the whole application form, so the entire committee at Cambridge sees all of it as does the Gates committee. Don't reuse things!
  13. Your hard stats matter a lot, way more than they ever did for undergraduate applications. Having a publication, research experience, good LORs, and okayish GRE scores will mean that you get accepted into plenty of pretty good programs, but when it comes to the absolute best, your GPA is just very low. These programs would only rarely accept a candidate below ~3.8, and you're not even borderline for that. Even your 3.55 at Berkeley is low when you're applying to do physics. Given that you have experience and personal connections at Berkeley, that was going to be the good program you'd get
  14. Worries: My current list of programs is best described as "all reach", at least the ones I could see myself being happy at. There's a very real chance I won't get into any of them. I don't have the right kind of mathematical background, so I could tank in the interviews if they ask really technical questions. Excitement: I've been accepted to a couple of safeties, so I'm not totally dead in the water. And who knows, maybe I'll be accepted for my dream program! But I should keep that hope under wraps - I don't want to set myself up and then not be successful.
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