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Am I competitive


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Hi everyone!

Really sorry about this post.

I am new here on Grad Cafe and working on my applications to graduate school (21 Fall) right now, and I am really nervous. It would be really helpful if you guys could take a look and provide me some feedback on my profile. (This is similar to What are my chances post....I found some links in the pinned post not validated anymore...Again I apologize for this....)

I am currently a senior in UIUC with a crappy GPA of 3.4/4.0 (many Bs, some As, one C) majoring in Astronomy + Physics minoring Math. Here are some details about my profile:

  • Have taken a handful of graduate-level courses. (I have better grades in 4&5 level courses actually.) 
  •  3 Years of research experience. (2 projects)
  • 2 publication. One on PNAS (editor's choice), one ApJ. (not first-author)
  • 1 first-author publication in progress. (may not be done by the application deadline.) will submit to MNRAS
  • 3 recommendations from research-related faculty
  • Nuclear particle physics summer school (FRIB). (can't apply to REU due to citizenship.)
  • No GRE Physics test score due to COVID

I found a faculty in the Harvard Astronomy Department who is taking students, and I am super-interested in his work. I have contacted him and had zoom conversations with him already. (I did not mention my GPA.) I really want to join his group after graduation, but I am deeply worried that my low GPA will deny me from entering a prestigious school like Harvard (Although the professor I am interested in strongly encouraged me to apply). I am wondering that if it is possible for me to be admitted? Also, are there any suggestions that I can look into while still preparing for the application? 

 

Again, I deeply apologize for this potentially annoying post.  

 

PS: the professor I am interested in want me to mention our contact in my PS, how will that impact my application?

Other programs considering (All have faculties in contact):  Princeton/Columbia/Duke/MSU/PeenState/UMich/North Carolina State/Notre Dame/UCSB/UCSC/LMU(Germany,Masters)/University of Tokyo (Masters) 

It will also be great if anyone could provide some suggestions on these programs!

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