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About kronotsky

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    2019 Fall

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  1. If you did this in certain departments (for example, earth sciences or physics - the ones I know about!), both the professors and the graduate students would think you were very odd, and you would likely distance yourself from the faculty in a way which would be bad for your career. Yes, I'm completely serious. This is entirely department and/or program-dependent. In e-mails, it's best to just use "Professor X" until and unless they send you an e-mail signed "Kathy" or "Brett" or "L" or something like that. If they do sign with their first name, I would strongly recommend just using the same address they gave you with their first name in place of yours. If they list both names, it's a judgment call - if you know that first names are common in the department, might as well use that, and otherwise err on the side of formality. In person, you will figure out very clearly what is and is not acceptable by observing how grad students talk about and to the faculty, both the ones who are advising them and others.
  2. Ended up getting an offer from MIT. The way my department contact put it (and the timing) makes me think it was likely that some funding came through rather than that another student declined, but not sure either way.
  3. Well, to some extent planetary science, (geophysical) fluid dynamics, etc. are conducted as fields of applied physics/math (in fact, research on them is frequently found in those departments). Speaking specifically about earth, I also really love the environment, from a conservationist perspective and a knowledge perspective, so it's really a natural point of confluence for my interests. Which of Thorne's books? I'm reading through his recent collab with Blandford now; it's quite an achievement in pedagogy!
  4. I am leaning toward one of MIT physics, Berkeley physics, UCSB physics, and Harvard applied physics.
  5. Finally heard back from MIT EAPS (in the atmos/oceans/climate program) - I was waitlisted. The e-mail mentioned that they accepted fewer people than usual from their top tier of applicants due to reduced federal funding for climate research. I got into the physics department there, however, so hopefully this is not necessarily the end of the road for me and EAPS...
  6. Here are my final results, for posterity's sake: MIT EAPS - PAOS - Mar. 21 WAITLISTED (apparently this is the Trump administration's fault - the department's climate funding went down)Caltech - Planetary Scence - Feb. 22 REJECTED (my LoR writer said something like "we were doing you a favor" lol)Columbia EESC - Mar. 19 WITHDREW UWash - Atmos Sci - Jan. 28 ACCEPTED Didn't end up applying to UWash ESS. I think it's hard for future applicants to take much away from this, given that I received one of each possible type of result, and got rejected from Caltech in large part because I went there for UG (not that I would have necessarily gotten in otherwise, but it's not generalizable information). However, in retrospect I think it was certainly possible to get accepted to any or all of these schools. A similar applicant with a quality research experience in the earth sciences would probably have their pick. I also applied to a bunch of physics programs, and fared better there, so I'm not too bummed about this outcome.
  7. Soooooooo it's March 16th and I still haven't heard anything from MIT. Which is odd, because (1) they said that they would get back by March 15th and (2) lots of people got rejected on the 14th. I almost certainly wouldn't enter their program if I got accepted, but I'd still like to know what's up... I'm applying for AOC and I think they specifically might have missed their deadlines by a ways.
  8. Caltech finally rejected me! It's okay; if had the results I have now a month ago I would probably have withdrawn by now. Unfortunately I think this means that outstanding results are likely to be rejections
  9. I also haven't heard from Caltech at all, nor have I heard of anyone who has. Same with Columbia EESC. I just spoke with a professor from MIT EAPS who says that the department is pretty far behind its typical admissions schedule. He sounded positive about my application status (I couldn't quite make out what he said when he talked about that part lol), and said that he/the department would likely get back to me next week. This was an Atmos/Oceans/Climate person; not sure if he was referring to that or all of EAPS.
  10. I just heard back from the first person I listed on my MIT EAPS SoP, asking to chat - I had not made prior contact. So the process is still ongoing!
  11. I can't figure out how to edit this; if it's possible someone please tell me how and I'll delete this post. I got ACCEPTED (woo) to work with a computational mat sci professor. I didn't list him on my SoP, but we did have a skype conversation a few weeks ago that went quite well.
  12. I have only been accepted to one physics school so far (a top 15/20, yet to hear back from another 7 or 8 more highly ranked), but I have spent a lot of time thinking/reading about this, and I think I have a handle on the principles of writing an SOP for a physics school. 1. Don't write about a personal story unless it answers a potential question about your academic history (why did you take this year off? why are you switching subfields?), and if you do, make sure you write the minimum amount necessary to answer the question. Generally the chronology of your SOP should never begin before your first serious exposure to physics, which for virtually all applicants (>99%, I would guess) occurs after their freshman year. The crucial reason why you should not write about earlier experiences that sparked your interest in physics is that the only relevant information they convey is that you are passionate about physics research. But the committee will already assume this if you did research as a UG and are applying to grad school, so you are wasting space on the page telling them about something they have already assumed to be true. The exception, then, is if there is something in your UG career that might give them pause about your commitment. For example, I did not do research until after my undergrad, so I briefly discussed some reasons why not. But you should keep this short, and it possible, focus on why it might make you a better or more unique candidate. If you were originally a math major, for example, spend a sentence on how that helped you later in your advanced physics coursework. 2. The SOP is the only place where you get to talk about your research in your own words. What specific contributions did you make? Instead of "our lab discovered X abour Y" - something that can be gathered from an abstract - write "I built Z for W purpose, which was vital to A observation or B insight." Also talk about what you learned and, if possible, how it led you to your particular interests in your chosen subfield. 3. I think "what" is better than "why." What does the school offer? Its research labs! Find the ones you want to work in, and explain why. If you have the chance to make contact with PIs ahead of time and discuss some concrete future directions, definitely do that and feel free to write a few sentences per possible direction. Otherwise, it's probably best to briefly describe the topics that they are working on that are most interesting to you. If you have written a cohesive narrative about how your undergrad experiences shaped your interests, it ought to be clear why you want to work on these topics, but if it isn't, that's all right. Try to explain the source of your interests as best you can, but don't spend a lot of time on it. Sometimes things are interesting to you for reasons that are inscrutable, and it is very common to learn that you are interested in something else in grad school anyway. The point of this part is to signal your particular interests and show you understand what the department is working on. I also think it's good to write an intro that answers the SOP question very specifically - as in, what kind of research do you want to do here (CMT, biophysics, etc.) and what is it about this place in particular (interdisciplinary faculty, large theory department, good observing facilities, etc.). Anyway, bottom line, there's no need to swing for the fences. Write clearly and correctly, address your past and future research directions, and provide information that the admissions committee will find useful. Also, don't sweat it too much - it's hard to do something meaningful in this 2 page format, so focus instead on conveying information and writing well.
  13. Hi @rocksandstuff ! Unfortunately I'm totally out of the loop, so I really don't know anything more than what I've learned by scouring the internet. It seems that some people have heard back this cycle, though I've only verified that one of these people is real (a geophysics admit last Tuesday). You're not the first to ask me about the PS option, and it seems as though there are people waiting to hear back everywhere I look, so I hope that means they're not done yet haha. One of my recommenders is from the department, but I'm a little scared to ask him what's going on... Anyway, best of luck! Hopefully the few of us waiting on them will get good news this week.
  14. Thanks! I'm feeling pretty positive; I also get to do the majority of my UW interviews after this, which is a huge relief! Have you heard back from Michigan/elsewhere yet?
  15. Undergrad Institution: CaltechMajor(s): PhysicsMinor(s): (we didn't have minors, but I almost finished the math major)GPA in Major: 3.88Overall GPA: 3.86Position in Class: top-ishType of Student: dwmGRE Scores (revised):Q: 170V: 170W: 6 Physics: 990 (it was free to report it alongside the general GRE so I did) Research Experience: One year of research at a national lab after graduation, in computational soft matter physics. Paper under review, not close to first author. Special Bonus Points: I took a bunch of graduate classes in physics and grad/UG cross-listed classes in physics and math. One of my recommendations comes from a very famous planetary scientist, and I think it will be very strong. Applying to where: MIT EAPS - PAOS Caltech Planetary Scence Columbia EESC UWash - Atmos Sci - ACCEPTED Jan. 28
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