Grad Applications: Need to select faculty who will be able to write substantive letters that will highlight your ability to (1) Plan and conduct research (2) Work as a member of a team as well as independently; and (3) Gain knowledge in your chosen field GRE scores: Plan on working and preparing yourself to take the GRE. Talk to recent (1 st / 2 nd year) grad students to get good strategies. Most schools look at the general very carefully, a bad quant score is hard to overlook. Grades: Explain any egregiously bad grades. A positive gradient is better than a negative gradient. Letters of Rec: are the most important factor in your admission. Choose your recommender carefully. Confer with him/her about your statement of purpose.
Statement of purpose: Respect any specific requirements of the school Opportunity to communicate relevant details not covered elsewhere. Not a "writing contest." Neither flowery prose, nor poetry will help you get your point across. Brevity is essential. Scrutinize and pare down your statement. A 500 word (1 page 12 pt) statement typically suffices. It is generally not useful to include: early childhood experiences, your motivation for studying physics, your career goals Your goal in the SOP is to communicate that you have the experience, talent, and knowledge necessary to succeed in a Ph.D. program. Include: all research experience; awards or honors; ref to published papers; advanced/graduate courses you would like to highlight; special projects you would like to highlight.
Statement of purpose - 2: Faculty who read your essay will not be experts in your research area. If you are a co-author on a publication, discuss it, and highlight what you did to earn that authorship. You may wish to consider including any of the following as well, but only if you have something relevant to say: What area of research are your interested in (and why)? Be as general or specific as your interest is. For example, "theoretical condensed matter physics" is as good as "scanning tunneling microscopy of transition metal oxides." You can also state that you are undecided about fields -- its important to select programs that have breadth if you are undecided.. Why are you applying to XXX? Saying nothing is preferable to generic statements such as "I want to study at XXX because of the great faculty." Who (at XXX) do you want to work with? Have you talked to any professor about graduate study at XXX?
For Fellowships: Merit Criteria - 1 Intellectual Merit: Need to highlight the ability to: (1) Plan and conduct research; (2) Work as a member of a team as well as independently; and (3) Interpret and communicate research findings. Panelists are instructed to consider: the strength of the academic record, the proposed plan of research, the description of previous research experience, the choice of references, the Graduate Record Examinations & appropriateness of the choice of institution relative to the proposed plan of research.
Broader Impacts: In broader impacts one should include statements that speak to your attempts or plans to (1)effectively integrate research and education, (2)infuse learning with the excitement of discovery, (3)To communicate methods and findings of research in a broad context and to a large audience; (4)encourage diversity, broaden opportunities, and enable the participation of all (5)enhance scientific and technical understanding (6)benefit society. Applicants may provide characteristics of their background, including personal, professional, and educational experiences, to indicate their potential to fulfill the broader impacts criterion. NSF Review Criteria Merit Criteria - 2
http://www.nsfgrfp.org/http://www.nsfgrfp.org/ application available “August 2011” deadline November 2011 http://ndseg.asee.org/apply_onlinehttp://ndseg.asee.org/apply_online Jan 2011 (old deadline http://scgf.orau.gov/ http://scgf.orau.gov/ Nov, 2011 (old deadline) http://pages.physics.cornell.edu/pgs//fellowships.php#fellowships-grad Know that Government Fellowships are not essential to support your graduate career. They are welcome, and also recognize/enhance your standing. Most students are supported on a combination of TA and GRA funds. Generally other than “professional schools” ie MBA/Law or Masters (eg Meng programs) all admitted students into STEM Ph.D. programs receive 9 month support. Some schools offer incoming students internal Fellowships. Resources
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