Chaitanya Joshi’s answers: 1. Europe or America?

Tell me about it ! I currently have just two offers to do PhDs ... One from Cornell and one from EPFL. Its tough to choose :D The thing with Europe is that the job market is a wee bit fragile right now. That being said there are some exceptional places to study at in Europe. Plus its Europe ! What I'll say is that the US gives you access to a wider range of jobs. There's always the option of selling out to a coding / finance / consulting job here in the US if you dont get a Technical job you like or dont get one at all. That isn't so easy in Europe because of the language thing.

2. How much is enough in GRE , TOEFL and Physics GRE? (A cliche but people want to ask this)

Its not so much about the GRE and TOEFL scores as it is about a strong application overall. Strong Recos Strong projects help more than a 1600 (340 to you :P) or a 120 will. But even then getting 1200 (don't know what the 340 equivalent is) is taking a slight risk ... consider the GRE and TOEFL as basic competency tests rather than the be all and end all of grad school admissions. Aim as high as you can go. And give the GRE well before you have to apply. Either April of the 6th sem or August of the 7th.

3. What are the chances of being offered TA/RA ships?

Slim at best. But there is a chance. It varies a lot from university to university. In some places two year MS students have a VERY good chance of getting an RA in their second year. Here at Cornell it's not so easy. But I got lucky and got a TA the first sem (that comes with a full tuition fee waiver and a HEFTY stipend believe me :D) and then got a grading job and a Lab TA job in two of the remaining three (which come at an hourly rate of pay that still covers day to day costs fairly well.)

4. Is it better to do a MS and then decide if its worth doing a PhD?

Places like Technion in Israel are excellent for science. at 7 if you get a 7. How much does CPI matter during admissions? (Another cliche') It matters.5 and your CPI will shoot up :P 7. I would suggest you build a profile right from scratch. If you're at 7 try to get it as close to 7. And in your interns push for a rounded experience.5.. This should help you do better at scoring a good internship after the 3rd year.5 when I applied. but on the other hand there is the cost involved in the short term. places in India that are known outside as good research institutes.. (One small bit of advise . For someone at 8.2) Its the law of diminishing returns. After the 4th sem try to work at places like BARC TIFR IISERs IITs IISc etc . If you're thinking about grad studies. Of course if you get a foreign internship in your second yea thats well and good too ! Places like NUS NTU KAUST etc in Asia are really good for engineering. Let me tell you Technion is way way bigger in the research world than Eastern Pennsylvania University of the Liberal Arts. Yale Physics is as big as it gets. (totally made up name) so apply to these places with equal enthu for internships :D 6. What would you do differently if you were in our position? Any particular set of skills that we should hone? I would probably have liked to be at 8 rather than at 7.. they built a Nitrogen Laser from scratch ! (built it . That being said it isn't curtains for the rest of us. I guess over the long term it evens out.8.5 does nothing. 5. I TAed a freshman lab course in Lasers .5 getting an 8.))? Well a good prior research sequence always helps.... What are the things that university professors look for in candidiates (insider info .9 in the 6th sem you shoot up to just short of 7. Even if you are working on simulations say. But you still have to pay up in the short term. push to get some experimental work even if its just for a little part of your intern. We tend to chase the Europe or US dream.It might be.. I more rounded research experience will help you when you finally get here to grad school.2 .. If you're at 8 right now try to push it to 8. At 7 get an 8. Look at Mundhada as an example. You may discover that you really arent enthusiastic about that much research :D .3 by the 7th sem.

.. The GRE word list was just that . KISS ( Keep it simple stupid !) Flowery language is good only when its used correctly. It is after all a statement of your purpose in studying for the said degree.... enjoy just as much on the weekends . Why you chose science..... 9. I would probably encourage you to use this statement "The experience that I gained while working on the spectroscopy setup encouraged me to look for additional experience in that field.to a specified design . the GRE word list ... if it leaks over into your SOP it probably isn't going to work that well.. about 60% go into industry. 8... You'll end up doing more assignments on your own for a single course than you did in .. NO just NO ! :D And follow a very chronological sequence of events while you write your SOP . so its best that you imbibe as much experience as you can during the internships. but even then built it by hand) we dont have so much of a hands on experience in labs. How is student life in America? (A general question) Oh its fun ! :D Work hard through the week . " rather than "The perspicacity that experimentation in the magnificent field of spectroscopy bestowed upon me exhorted me to commence on an exploration of the infinite avenues that it presents as a field" . Is there a recipie for the perfect SOP ? Yes there is . All this while it should read like a story of how you were slowly but surely deciding to do graduate studies. then something about your second year intern followed by your third year intern followed by your BTP. 10. What do most people do after completing an MS or a PhD? After PhDs in science and engineering I would put it at about 40% continue along the academic path.. then something about why you are at IIT.

and that includes assignments you copied at IITG :D Feel free to hit me up with questions on Facebook or through email on chaits89@gmail.your entire 4 years at IITG ..com ..

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