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The Sciences

Things the Grad Admissions Committee Does Not Wish to See

Cosmic VarianceBy Julianne DalcantonJanuary 16, 2009 10:36 PM

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Here are some of the things from various admissions files that have made me sad (details changed to preserve anonymity) • "I'm sure Stu Dent could do well in graduate school, provided you can get him to talk to you more than I ever could." • Transcripts with three times the number of courses (and substantially better grades) in music than in physics. • Deep, Meaningful quotes from rock bands and dead hip-hop artists in the footer of the applicant's cover letter. "No other institution would benefit more from my presence than yours.""I only want to work on Topic X! Nothing is cooler than Topic X! My intellectual life is a shrine to Topic X." Except, our department has no relevant work on Topic X. "Stu Dent has excellent physical intuition and will undoubtedly succeed in graduate school". Except, Stu has mostly B's and C's in their physics courses and a 15th percentile on the physics GRE. • Students who have taken no math beyond calculus.

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