WORTH CHANGING?

  • As many already know, studying for the physics GRE and getting accepted into a graduate program is not the final hurdle in your physics career.
  • There are many issues current physics graduate students face such as studying for their qualifier, deciding upon a field of research, choosing an advisor, being an effective teaching assistant, trying to have a social life, navigating department politics, dealing with stress, utilizing financial aid, etc.

vjacharya
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WORTH CHANGING?

Postby vjacharya » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:43 am

i'm an int'l student who just came to a not-that-good school (ranked 80) without even applying to better ones ('coz the deadlines were over). i'm now thinking about throwing out a few applications as a transfer student. i believe that i have a decent chance of being accepted at some of the top 50 schools (minus top 20). is it worth switching to a school just because it is slightly better than your current one? we do have one or two decent research groups here. but i'm worried that the quality of my phd program could hurt me because i aspire to make a career in academia..suggestions?
if i switch, would it be better to wait until i get my master's from here?

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grae313
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Re: WORTH CHANGING?

Postby grae313 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:09 am

vjacharya wrote:i'm an int'l student who just came to a not-that-good school (ranked 80) without even applying to better ones ('coz the deadlines were over). i'm now thinking about throwing out a few applications as a transfer student. i believe that i have a decent chance of being accepted at some of the top 50 schools (minus top 20). is it worth switching to a school just because it is slightly better than your current one? we do have one or two decent research groups here. but i'm worried that the quality of my phd program could hurt me because i aspire to make a career in academia..suggestions?
if i switch, would it be better to wait until i get my master's from here?


The value of name recognition has been debated a lot on this forum, but outside of the top 20 I think its influence begins to drop off sharply. At this point I think the caliber of your research group and the research that you do in your graduate career is more important. So by all means, if there are better research opportunities for you at a higher ranked school, give it a shot, but don't do it purely for rank.

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grae313
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Re: WORTH CHANGING?

Postby grae313 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:11 am

On further thought, 80 to top 30 might make a difference, but if the top 30 school doesn't have a good research match for you that could negate the benefits, so again, look for both!

vjacharya
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Re: WORTH CHANGING?

Postby vjacharya » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:13 pm

grae313 wrote:On further thought, 80 to top 30 might make a difference, but if the top 30 school doesn't have a good research match for you that could negate the benefits, so again, look for both!


thanx 4 ur response :) . i'd be obliged if you answer my 2nd question too. should i wait till i get my master's or start applying as early as possible? the importance of master's degree has been discussed elsewhere (in the context of strengthening the application). but my case is different. i'll have to spend at least a year here anyway. so it is a question of whether to invest one more doing a master's thesis.

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grae313
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Re: WORTH CHANGING?

Postby grae313 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:20 pm

It depends on what kind of work you could do between now and your master's. Enough to get you into a top 20 school? The masters is only a good plan if you use it to enhance your resume. If you can impress people with your grades and research then it might be worth it, if you're not going to get a lot of research done then don't bother. Just having a masters isn't going to help that much, they'll want to see good grades and something impressive done in the laboratory. Basically, you can use the masters to strengthen your application--to show them, "look, I'm a great grad student"--if it needs strengthening or go where you could get into now. It's your call.

aaron
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Re: WORTH CHANGING?

Postby aaron » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:00 am

i think, you should get your masters first. If you just started your study and wish to jump just after the beginning, you know, it looks a little bit strange to me. And the admission committees will also have the same feeling, I believe. As i know, they look for students who can complete their graduate program, and leaving your current university after the first semester will not convince them you can do well in graduate study, imho.

borelius
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Re: WORTH CHANGING?

Postby borelius » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:16 am

Wanna know my opinion? Just forget about academia and go back to undergrad school to get a degree in engineering or the like, unless you are a genius and are pretty sure you can land a job as a professor after you get your PhD. Don't be fooled by those who only want to explore your cheap work force, but never tell you about this reality: http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science (notice that the focus of the reading is NOT on the under-representativeness of women in science) and also http://www.its.caltech.edu/~dg/crunch_art.html

There is no job for everyone, its simple math. In fact, there are jobs only for an extremely small fraction of the outcoming PhDs (25% to get a tenure track position times 80% to get a permanent position = 20% IF you are lucky to get a PhD from a top 15 school) . Go get a degree in something else before it's too late, this is precisely what I'm gonna do.




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