APS Bridge Program

Recruitment Practices

Geraldine Cochran
Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Rutgers University (Co-PI)


Project Activities

The APS Bridge Program has found that some Underrepresented Ethnic/Racial Minorities (UERM) applicants are unaware of the expectations that underlie the application review process for graduate school, many face a number of barriers to applying that they do not know how to overcome, and still others need guidance on choosing appropriate schools, especially when limited funding reduces the number of schools to which they can apply. Lack of such "insider knowledge" can lead to any number of missteps and missed opportunities that diminish a student's chances of getting into graduate school.

We attempt to address these issues in the INCLUDES pilot through initiatives that widely disseminate information about graduate school applications. These initiatives include:


Physics Graduate School: Tips for Applying


The first webinar occured in the Fall of 2016. This interactive webinar explained the application review process, provided strategies for submitting successful applications, helped students identify programs that match their needs, and clarified the financial aspects of applying for and enrolling in graduate school. Substantial time was allotted for a question and answer period, and the types of questions students asked were collected to help inform future webinars.

A second webinar is planned for the Fall of 2017. Per requests from student participants in the previous webinar, this webinar will allow more time for question and answer with the webinar hosts. Information collected during the first webinar will be available in written form and students are encouraged to view this material prior to the webinar; so, that they can come prepared with questions. The webinars have the potential to reach many students since they will be online and recorded for students to view them at a later time.

A Frequently Asked Question document regarding graduate admissions is also being prepared and will be available on the APS website. This document includes multiple responses and perspectives from physics faculty, graduate admissions committee members, and researchers and experts in graduate admissions.

Grad School Shopper (GSS)

Nearly all physics graduate programs have profiles on the GSS website, a service provided by project partner American Institute of Physics (AIP). The six partner graduate programs, AIP, APS, NSHP, NSBP, and other leaders in UERM physicist communities will generate recommendations for redesigning GSS. Specifically, project partners can inform the ways in which GSS profiles can become more informative and inviting to students from diverse backgrounds.