Please help :) ... should I add more research?

plinz05
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:55 pm

Please help :) ... should I add more research?

Postby plinz05 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:13 pm

Hey guys! First off, I've searched extensively through the student profiles on the threads and the threads in this forum and haven't found one quite like me, so I figured I would just ask you all your opinion on my situation. Please don't get mad! Not asking you to evaluate everything about me, just answer one question. :)

So I am at a female white senior physics and math major at one of the HYP trio, and although I have previously not been interested in grad school, I have done a total 180 this year and think I will apply. I have a GPA of 3.75, I think I can pull a pretty good GRE score (taking it in November) and I've been a TA for 3 years for a linear algebra class, BUT I don't have very good research experience. Because I didn't think I was going to go the grad school route, I did a lot of other random stuff during the summers, like waitressing and working on a farm (making $$$ in the summer = great!). This past summer I did research in climate dynamics on an REU at WHOI and I am writing up and submitting a paper with my results. Other than that, I was a lab tech in a biophysics lab for a year but didn't really do any independent work. I was thinking of joining a lab now but it is pretty late in the game because applications are due in December. Do you think it would be smart to take a year off before applying to work in a lab and strengthen my application? Or do you think that with the luck of my undergrad education location I could still get into some good programs? I am interested in condensed matter and soft matter and potentially biophysics, but am still unsure about my exact area of focus.

I would really appreciate any of your opinions! Once again, sorry for the personal post, I know it is obnoxious, but figured it was worth a try to get your take on the situation. Thanks so much!

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Please help :) ... should I add more research?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:00 am

You have a good application profile -- an REU, lab experience and a paper is great! It's definitely more than the average research experience than a grad school applicant has. So, I don't understand why you feel that your experience is lacking.

Even if it was, there is no reason to not try your best this application season and see what happens. If you don't get anything you like, you'll still have time to arrange for taking a year off to work and reapply in 2013.

plinz05
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:55 pm

Re: Please help :) ... should I add more research?

Postby plinz05 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:04 am

Thanks so much! Honestly, I was pretty intimidated by the profiles of a lot of the other applicants that I scrolled through on the resources page. It seems like almost everyone had authorships and multiple years of work in labs as well as good grades, and so many of them were getting rejected from top schools.

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quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: Please help :) ... should I add more research?

Postby quizivex » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:06 am

Your record looks very good. I wouldn't worry that the research wasn't "pure physics". If your major and your work experience were all in pure biology and you only had a minor in physics, then that's a different story. But you majored in both physics and math so you have plenty of background to do physics grad school. Also, any science research is a benefit to your credentials, and cloud dynamics and biophysics should have a lot of physics in it anyway. Your other work... TAing, even waitressing will look good in their own ways. Your GPA, the name of your school, and your gender give you points. You can mention in your statement of purpose that your decision to go to physics or biophysics grad school came late if you think it will help explain your background. But if I were you there's no freaking way I'd take a year off to try to get more physics research experience.




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