UCSD hosted the 2016 SoCal Physics Graduate Admissions Bootcamp this year at on August 13-14, 2016. The two-day intensive workshop, developed by members of the California Professoriate for Access to Physics Careers (CPAPC) and organized this year by Adam Burgasser and members of the Cool Star Lab, is designed to help students, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups, plan for application to Physics graduate programs. This includes strategies for choosing programs, how to produce the best application, and how to succeed in the Physics GRE Subject Exam. Bootcamps are held in Southern and Northern California each year.
Over 50 students, most from regional CSUs and community colleges, attended the bootcamp this year. The camp started right off with a practice Physics GRE exam so that students could get a baseline on their preparation for the test (this is a focus of the bootcamp because the Physics GRE is required for most - but not all - Physics and Astronomy graduate programs). Following lunch, students were presented with GRE test-taking strategies by Cool Star Lab graduate student Caleb Choban, who discussed how to eliminate choices through various methods (order of magnitude, dimensional analysis, symmetry, etc.) to the point where a guess was worth making. Students then worked together in teams on various problems, facilitated by UCSD Physics graduate students. At the conclusion of the first day, students heard from UCSD Dean of Graduate Division Kim Barrett on the graduate application process, and from representatives from UCSD, UCSB and Caltech (Cool Star Lab alumna Ivanna Escala!) about their graduate programs.
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