Choosing Schools to Apply To!

The fun part of applying to graduate schools is shopping for the best fit for you!

Here are some tips on choosing what schools to consider:

  • Research or variety of research.
    • AIP Grad School Shopper
    • Physics School Statistics
    • Get your professor to get you connected to other professors at the schools you’re interested
    • Are you passionate about the area of research at that university?
    • Ask “What will I be doing on a day-to-day basis in your research group?”
  • Teaching assistantship or research assistantship?
    •  Possible Fellowships? You can achieve a lot of autonomy and a CV booster if you have a prestigious fellowship.  Consider applying to a few different fellowships even when you’re in graduate school.
      • NSF Fellowship
      • DOE Fellowship
      • Ford Fellowship
      • Hertz Fellowship
      • American Association of University Women Fellowship
  • Historically, how many people pass the qualifying exams?
    • For a lot of people this is a huge barrier, every school does it differently and every school has their own procedure for students who don’t do well.
  • Location/Weather
  • Any hobbies you might enjoy in the area.
  • Visit the websites!
  • Make an excel sheet with schools and their various details and requirements 
    • How many credits are required? For both Masters and Doctorate degrees.
    • How quickly do most students graduate?
  • Most importantly, think about it which schools fit you now (or as soon as possible), and contact any professors!

Not ready for grad school just yet? Most schools offer a one-year deferral that you could use to re-energize yourself. Graduate school is a very big commitment and you want to be 100% when going into it.