sierra918

NSF GRFP 2016

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9 minutes ago, paleoatmo said:

Last year when I applied, a reviewer wrote that my undergraduate GPA was not competitive enough (I had a 3.3) among the other applicants. I felt really bummed out because there is nothing I can change about my undergrad GPA. I did have REU experience + undergrad experience with a publication too, but I guess my C's in physics were noticeable. 

That sucks a lot, I'm sorry. Here's some advice that you won't need because you're going to get it this year and won't be re-applying: address your GPA directly and spin it into a positive. NSF loves a "triumphed over adversity." Talk about why that C happened and how you came back from it. Most people take physics early on, so chances are your academics improved to wind up with a 3.3. If you can wrap it into a compelling narrative of how you succeeded because of your drive to go to grad school and do research, it'll not only not hurt you, but it will help you stand out. Of course you might've already done this and plus you don't need my advice cuz you've totally got this, but just a good general thing for anyone in our situation to keep in mind. You don't necessarily need to run from a GPA that was a bit bumpy at first. 

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25 minutes ago, shim12 said:

What reasons, if you don't mind me asking?

(I'm assuming you meant the reasons not to use the GRFP to "reverse" your admissions decision.)

Essentially, I would summarize it like this. The professor I was talking with was talking about how important fit and match are in a graduate program. To that end, she was basically asking "would you really want to go to a program that didn't think you fit/matched well enough to offer you a spot in the first place?" and her contention was the answer ought to be "no". 

Unless the problem was simply the advisor not having funding, despite wanting to take you, I've heard people argue that you should take the university saying "no" as a reason to seriously consider other places. It's not that they wouldn't accept you (i.e. reverse your decision) once you inform them of the GRFP but that you ought to more seriously consider places that wanted you to begin with. Obviously people will have differing views on this, but I think that it makes sense to me: go somewhere that wants you. 

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1 minute ago, commodork said:

That sucks a lot, I'm sorry. Here's some advice that you won't need because you're going to get it this year and won't be re-applying: address your GPA directly and spin it into a positive. NSF loves a "triumphed over adversity." Talk about why that C happened and how you came back from it. Most people take physics early on, so chances are your academics improved to wind up with a 3.3. If you can wrap it into a compelling narrative of how you succeeded because of your drive to go to grad school and do research, it'll not only not hurt you, but it will help you stand out. Of course you might've already done this and plus you don't need my advice cuz you've totally got this, but just a good general thing for anyone in our situation to keep in mind. You don't necessarily need to run from a GPA that was a bit bumpy at first. 

Yes, this is exactly the advice I received in my GRFP class. Grad school is a challenge where you will face failure now and then. If you can show you've done this and overcame your hurdles, you are demonstrating your ability to be successful later as well.

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5 minutes ago, commodork said:

That sucks a lot, I'm sorry. Here's some advice that you won't need because you're going to get it this year and won't be re-applying: address your GPA directly and spin it into a positive. NSF loves a "triumphed over adversity." Talk about why that C happened and how you came back from it. Most people take physics early on, so chances are your academics improved to wind up with a 3.3. If you can wrap it into a compelling narrative of how you succeeded because of your drive to go to grad school and do research, it'll not only not hurt you, but it will help you stand out. Of course you might've already done this and plus you don't need my advice cuz you've totally got this, but just a good general thing for anyone in our situation to keep in mind. You don't necessarily need to run from a GPA that was a bit bumpy at first. 

Thank you so much! This was very encouraging and positive! I'm a second year, so I won't be able to re-apply even if I wanted to, but hopefully I get it this year ;) 

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1 minute ago, mobilehobo said:

Yes, this is exactly the advice I received in my GRFP class. Grad school is a challenge where you will face failure now and then. If you can show you've done this and overcame your hurdles, you are demonstrating your ability to be successful later as well.

Fantastic. You're probably in a much better position this year since you took that angle and addressed it head on. 

Lord knows there are no shortage of hurdles. 

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3 minutes ago, mobilehobo said:

Yes, this is exactly the advice I received in my GRFP class. Grad school is a challenge where you will face failure now and then. If you can show you've done this and overcame your hurdles, you are demonstrating your ability to be successful later as well.

Good luck! Rooting for you!

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9 minutes ago, Humulus_lupulus said:

Last time I looked at the clock, there were still ~12 more hours. Now there are only ~11 hours!

Haha! You read my mind!!! We might have issues 😜

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14 minutes ago, chaparral said:

See I have a 4.0 undergrad GPA but no publications, and I think that may keep me from getting it. I would much rather be in your position! I think you are much more competitive this year than I am.

I wouldn't worry about a lack of publications, honestly. I have none, but I've had pretty great success with fellowships and admissions. I talked to a lot of top notch professors about this when I was preparing to apply, and they said they put very little stock in publications for phd admissions (and I'm assuming it's similar here.) Their reasoning is that it's impossible to tell, from an author credit on a paper, what the student actually did. Some professors are more willing to give students authorship, and some research takes a long time to publish (or advisors are slow to publish, for whatever reason). So they all put way more stock in lettersf recommendation to judge an undergraduate's research ability then any publications they may or may not have. So don't  sell yourself too short!

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Quick question for anyone who needs a minor diversion and wouldn't mind helping out- is there any way to get the GRFP funds to work with a Canadian institution? I've been through the FAQ repeatedly and it looks like a no-go, but I'd appreciate hearing it from someone else to confirm my thinking.

I ask because my first choice school is Canadian, and my second and third choices are in the US. The Canadian school is offering all the funding it can scrape together and right now it's got the best financing package of the three, but that could change if by some stroke of serendipity I get the GRFP award. 

Good luck all! 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ignis said:

Application season is over and GRFP results will be posted soon! What am I supposed to worry about now??? Grades? What do I do?

SO much this. This time tomorrow, what will I have to look forward to???

 

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1 minute ago, pterosaur said:

I wouldn't worry about a lack of publications, honestly. I have none, but I've had pretty great success with fellowships and admissions. I talked to a lot of top notch professors about this when I was preparing to apply, and they said they put very little stock in publications for phd admissions (and I'm assuming it's similar here.) Their reasoning is that it's impossible to tell, from an author credit on a paper, what the student actually did. Some professors are more willing to give students authorship, and some research takes a long time to publish (or advisors are slow to publish, for whatever reason). So they all put way more stock in lettersf recommendation to judge an undergraduate's research ability then any publications they may or may not have. So don't  sell yourself too short!

Thanks, that is encouraging! It's been frustrating since I've been so close to submitting a manuscript for about 6 months, but it's on seasonal data so my advisor keeps wanting to get "just one more data point." :) I know he's absolutely right but I've felt like it's a big hole in my applications. I'm glad that you've been successful anyway!

And you're right, I have friends with publications, but they only contributed part of one figure... when I finally submit this I will be responsible for almost every figure, and most of the text.

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Just now, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

So here's a question to you all: do you prefer waiting for admissions when you don't know when results are coming out, or for the GRFP (for at least the past 24 hours), when you do know when it's coming out?

That is a great question. I think I prefer knowing when I will know. Last year I was a Fulbright Finalist, and they told me I would find out in March. It wasn't until mid-April that I found out I didn't get it... that was after a lonnnnggg month of fearly/constantly checking my email. I think that was much worse than this.

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1 minute ago, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

Also, today I bought a giant Easter bunny on clearance at the store for me to hug when I don't get the GRFP...

12920292_10209533187992030_3447610986603

feel like you should have gotten a pink one :P 

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7 minutes ago, chaparral said:

Thanks, that is encouraging! It's been frustrating since I've been so close to submitting a manuscript for about 6 months, but it's on seasonal data so my advisor keeps wanting to get "just one more data point." :) I know he's absolutely right but I've felt like it's a big hole in my applications. I'm glad that you've been successful anyway!

And you're right, I have friends with publications, but they only contributed part of one figure... when I finally submit this I will be responsible for almost every figure, and most of the text.

Part of a figure and they get authorship?? That's crazy to me! Also sounds like advisors trying to make sure their undergrads have publications in matter what. 

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14 minutes ago, pterosaur said:

I wouldn't worry about a lack of publications, honestly. I have none, but I've had pretty great success with fellowships and admissions. I talked to a lot of top notch professors about this when I was preparing to apply, and they said they put very little stock in publications for phd admissions (and I'm assuming it's similar here.) Their reasoning is that it's impossible to tell, from an author credit on a paper, what the student actually did. Some professors are more willing to give students authorship, and some research takes a long time to publish (or advisors are slow to publish, for whatever reason). So they all put way more stock in lettersf recommendation to judge an undergraduate's research ability then any publications they may or may not have. So don't  sell yourself too short!

It does matter to some reviewers, unfortunately. When I applied last year as an undergrad all 3 of my reviewers mentioned lack of publications being a negative for my application. And that was as an undergrad!! So it probably depends on who you get as a reviewer.

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5 minutes ago, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

So here's a question to you all: do you prefer waiting for admissions when you don't know when results are coming out, or for the GRFP (for at least the past 24 hours), when you do know when it's coming out?

I prefer thinking it will come out later and being surprised when news arrives early. Way less stress that way! For my undergrad school, I thought decisions would come out April 1, but I found out mid-March. And this time for the CSGF, I didn't expect to hear for a couple more weeks. That said, I'd  prefer knowing a date so being completely in the dark.

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6 minutes ago, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

So here's a question to you all: do you prefer waiting for admissions when you don't know when results are coming out, or for the GRFP (for at least the past 24 hours), when you do know when it's coming out?

Waiting when you know! I was overseas during admissions, so I was waking up every hour through the night in a panic to refresh my emails for a month. Narrowing it down is still not much fun, but at least it cuts out some of the horrifying suspense!

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1 minute ago, pterosaur said:

Part of a figure and they get authorship?? That's crazy to me! Also sounds like advisors trying to make sure their undergrads have publications in matter what. 

Yeah, well my friend is a great worker and a quality student, and he came into the lab at a good time. Don't get me wrong, he totally deserved to be author! But his contribution happened over only about 8 weeks. I've got almost 3 years and no publications to show yet! haha but I got one heck of a data set :) 

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30 minutes ago, gansito said:

Quick question for anyone who needs a minor diversion and wouldn't mind helping out- is there any way to get the GRFP funds to work with a Canadian institution? I've been through the FAQ repeatedly and it looks like a no-go, but I'd appreciate hearing it from someone else to confirm my thinking.

I ask because my first choice school is Canadian, and my second and third choices are in the US. The Canadian school is offering all the funding it can scrape together and right now it's got the best financing package of the three, but that could change if by some stroke of serendipity I get the GRFP award. 

Good luck all! 

 

 

I'm fairly certain that only US institutions can accept the GRFP. I would consult with the NSF to be certain.

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I agree - number of publications is mostly about luck, and corresponds very little to the potential of a student. I have more publications than most because my university doesn't have graduate students, so the undergrads hitch rides on the research projects performed by the professors themselves - I was mostly a code monkey who produced figures until I learned enough to be able to help with theoretical calculations, so the brainpower behind all publications on my resume is about 1% me, and 99% my professors. It simply isn't fair that this carries as much weight on my resume as a publication that was spearheaded by a student.

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24 minutes ago, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

Also, today I bought a giant Easter bunny on clearance at the store for me to hug when I don't get the GRFP...

12920292_10209533187992030_3447610986603

Cute!  I wish I had one - it looks so soft.  (Also, good luck!  Maybe you'll be offered the NSF fellowship and get to hug the bunny in excitement.)

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