I am not sure if this is the right forum topic for this question, but here goes...
I am wondering if anyone here has good ideas for a gap year between my bachelors and PhD application? Some info about me:
I am graduating this year (4 year degree) with a Physics major and Math minor from a large state research university.
I have a 3.7 overall and 3.9 physics GPA.
Work experience as mathematics tutor for the university tutoring center for 2 years. Physics TA for one year.
I have taken several graduate courses with A+ results.
I have worked in a condensed matter research lab for the past 1 1/2 years, and have presented research at an APS conference.
My dream would be to study relativity/gravity, but I also really like quantum theory and my condensed matter research is becoming more and more interesting.
I am 21.
I am tri-lingual (if that matters).
I love physics. It is my ONLY career objective.
So... I have applied to 13 PhD programs but am starting to really fret (read: paranoid) that I will not be accepted anywhere (heard from one with a rejection, which I expected and don't really care about, and no word yet on others). If that happens (I need a plan B), I want to plan a year to polish my application and improve my PGRE (750 for now - only took it once). Anyone have suggestions? It seems that most large national labs either have internships for an undergrad or graduate positions. I seem to be in the middle.
Any ideas/experience greatly appreciated. Thanks.