Quick background: I’ll be applying for PhD programs and most likely want to study theoretical condensed matter (though I’m open to other theoretical and mathematical fields). I find experimental physics alright, but it really doesn’t excite me.

I’ve heard that I should apply as if I’m pursuing an experimental physics track, though, because it’s less competitive, and then transition towards a theory group once admitted. Is this sound advice? It came from a rather respected source. Still, I am wary about misrepresenting myself and also concerned about getting stuck in a path that I don’t intend to be in.

Any insight into how admission committees handle the experimental/theory dichotomy would also be appreciated. Thanks.

Additional Info: I’m applying within the US as a citizen. I’m finishing a MS in physics at the moment.

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