I sent a reminder email one day before the due date for a couple of my applications to grad school. It said something along the lines of

This is just a reminder that first due dates are tomorrow: [list of a
couple of schools]. Hope you aren’t too busy to write still. If you
haven’t received an email from these schools on instructions let me
know.

I also sent “resends” to this professor’s email via the schools’ application portals. The professor responded with something like

You’ve already sent a list of deadlines [I did, but this was about a
month ago]. It is not helpful to send repeated reminders.

I thought it was standard to send reminders before deadlines, especially if due dates are tomorrow with no letter sent. I feel that I have said or done something wrong. How can I prevent this from happening in the future?

I am now not only reluctant to send reminders for January schools, but I am now worried about the strength of this professor’s letter. I have four letter writers, and I am tempted to drop his letter on some January schools. The reason for this is that this is not the only time he has been a bit snappy with me, although never like this. But I did tell him a while ago that I did not want his letter if it would not be strong, and yet he still agreed to write for me. So assuming he is honest about that, I feel I should maybe keep his letter.

This is all a little confusing and stressful. Thanks for your time to read.

I’m getting ready to apply for a graduate program in biophysics at a few different universities. I’d just like to ask a question regarding the quantity and quality of letters of recommendations.

I’ll first give some background about my current application. I have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (there is a valid reason for a few low grades early on in my career which I won’t get into here, but my GPA has increased dramatically since then), my physics GRE score is a little low and my general is above the 55th percentile in all three fields.

I have two strong letters of recommendation. One from the director of my lab, and one from the head of experimental physics at my university. My question is regarding a third letter. Most applications state that 3 letters are required. I have two options for the third letter at this point; the first being from my advisor, who I’ve never taken a class with but knows me well, and the other is from a professor who said he’d write me one but it wouldn’t be very strong as he can only discuss my character and, to quote him, “general interest in science”.

I’m afraid that a third letter would hurt my application, regardless if two of the letters are strong. How damaging would two letters be in applying to a physics graduate program?

Thank you.

About me:

  1. I’m in my last year of undergraduate studies majoring in cognitive science at a very prestigious university.
  2. I’m very interested in going to graduate school for neuroscience.

My concerns:

  1. I lack research experience. I recently just learned about how wonderful neuroscience is so I have a very late start compared to my already-competent peers. I did apply to RA positions but was rejected to all of them. I will be graduating in one semester so I do not have enough time to build up my research experience. After graduating, what can I do to be more competent – research experience wise?

  2. I have a mediocre GPA (3.077). I did not take any courses like chemistry, or physics. Many programs make these a requirement. I also did poorly in my math classes – as it is not my strength. But I did very well in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, biology psychology, philosophy, and sociology. Since I only have one semester left, I don’t have enough time to take classes that programs want. Will GRE subject tests be able to compensate?

  3. Is there any hope for someone in a situation like mine? I feel very lost and hopeful, to be honest. Any words of advice would be helpful.

My current plans:

  1. Self-learn R, Matlab, Python, HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  2. Take on the habit of reading papers related to the field, in order to build knowledge.
  3. Will apply to many RA positions.

I have a master’s degree in International Studies, and a double major with Computer Science from undergrad. My transcripts suck. There’s no other way to dress it up. I have pretty good teaching experience, and my GRE scores are awesome, and I suspect my recommendations are as bland as everyone else’s. Basically, to an admissions committee, I suspect I’m the model of a student who is probably smart enough but didn’t work hard enough.

I want to do a Ph.D. in Political Science, but the response from my applications is looking pretty grim. Am I permanently out of the running, or is there something I can do for the next few years which will help to counterbalance my unfavorable GPA?

I’m getting ready to apply for a graduate program in biophysics at a few different universities. I’d just like to ask a question regarding the quantity and quality of letters of recommendations.

I’ll first give some background about my current application. I have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (there is a valid reason for a few low grades early on in my career which I won’t get into here, but my GPA has increased dramatically since then), my physics GRE score is a little low and my general is above the 55th percentile in all three fields.

I have two strong letters of recommendation. One from the director of my lab, and one from the head of experimental physics at my university. My question is regarding a third letter. Most applications state that 3 letters are required. I have two options for the third letter at this point; the first being from my advisor, who I’ve never taken a class with but knows me well, and the other is from a professor who said he’d write me one but it wouldn’t be very strong as he can only discuss my character and, to quote him, “general interest in science”.

I’m afraid that a third letter would hurt my application, regardless if two of the letters are strong. How damaging would two letters be in applying to a physics graduate program?

Thank you.

What I mean is, are there cases in which a professor might decline writing are letter of recommendation for a PhD program, but would accept writing such a letter for a student applying to a MA or MPhil programme? Is the professor seen as vouching for the student more, when he writes a letter for a PhD program than when we’re talking about MA or MPhil programs? Or is there virtually no difference?

This question already has an answer here:

I am an international student at a US university with a major in Physics. I am applying for PhD in astrophysics/gravitational physics fields. Until my sophomore year I was a Computer Science major with a Physics minor, but starting my junior year, I changed my major to Physics. During my sophomore year, I was suffering through home-sickness/depression and failed two of my Computer Science classes. (Later I did a computational project and won a prize at a hackathon). But I have A’s in all my Physics classes (including the upper level courses), and did a summer internship at a reputed institute in Germany. I am a senior with a 3.8 GPA in Physics and 3.5 overall GPA. I am not aiming for any top universities, but mostly to lower ranked schools with good Physics programs (that are within my GPA and GRE scores). Should I still consider applying to grad schools or change my career plans? How does this affect my application?

I am in my first year of a finance PhD at a top 25 program. I could get through the program and get an okay job, but my goal isn’t just to be another professor, I want to be absolutely outstanding, which I think I am capable of, but I feel like right now I don’t have the math and stats background to be the best, and I can’t take enough electives during my coursework years to get that foundation I’m looking for.

Honestly I’d also like to get my PhD at a better school. Part of it is looking for better placement opportunities, part of it is looking for a better education/mentor, and part of it simply vanity I guess – if I’m going to get a PhD I want it to be the way is prefer, and I’d prefer a degree from a school I can really feel proud of.

So… what I’d LIKE to do is get an MS in statistics, an MS in math, then reapply to top 10 finance PhD programs (not only am I looking for more background, yes, I actually WANT to do this). And no, I’m not interested in just “learning after I’m an assistant professor”. I don’t see myself having time to get top publications while learning a bunch of background information, and I want to hit the ground running with my first job.

I’ve had some people tell me getting an MS in math before beginning my PhD was pointless and a waste of time, but I’ve discovered that a lot of the PhD advice I’ve been given was bad advice and I should have simply done what I thought was a good idea.

My question is whether this is a feasible plan or not.