research credit every semester

Tosh
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:49 am

research credit every semester

Postby Tosh » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:58 am

Hi,

Is it normal to do research credit every semester since spring sophomore? If I get A in all of them, would it look bad instead as it would seem that I use it to boost my overall and major GPA?

Would it be weird since I have the same class on my transcript for 3-4 times?

It is definitely not wrong to include research credit in my major and overall GPA right?

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twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: research credit every semester

Postby twistor » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:10 pm

The earlier you start research the better it will look for you. The key here is finding someone that you can work with who is encouraging and interested in mentoring. There are plenty of professors out there who will gladly give you some menial task in their lab that will make you hate research. Start looking now and try to find someone who will work with you to develop your skills in a specific field. It helps if you are already interested in a particular field.

You need to have that class show up throughout your undergraduate term. It will not hurt you. A's in research can only help you. (and, speaking as a graduate student, not all professors will give you A's. I had to do lab rotations my first year and received several research B's not because my work was inferior but because the professors I worked with didn't like my "motivation." Needless to say, avoid anyone who you think will grade you on anything other than the quality of work you do.) It will be especially beneficial for you to pick one professor and work on a project with that person long term, over the course of several years/semesters. This could lead to publications which will basically, if everything else on your application is decent, guarantee you admission to at least one graduate school. On top of that, you will develop a close working relationship with a professor that you can't otherwise get as a student -- this type of relationship will often lead to shining letters of recommendation. And, if you get the right lab with the right funding, you may have opportunities to travel to various talks and conferences and possibly even present your own work.

The other advantage of doing undergraduate research is that it will put you in a peer relationship with graduate students. This puts you in a situation to reap the knowledge of not only the professor you work for but also his/her graduate students, who often have a fresh and interesting perspective on academia and can give you the kinds of personalized advice you won't get anywhere else.

As for including them in your GPA, don't worry about it. Your cumulative GPA is totaled by your institution, not by you. You may decide to do a separate "major GPA" calculation if your school doesn't provide this, but either way those courses will be included.

The only way it will look bad is if you get a 'C' and then you stop doing research. That can be avoided by judicious choice of professor. Perhaps you could ask senior students who the good professors are to work with.

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HappyQuark
Posts: 762
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:08 am

Re: research credit every semester

Postby HappyQuark » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:16 pm

Tosh wrote:Hi,

Is it normal to do research credit every semester since spring sophomore? If I get A in all of them, would it look bad instead as it would seem that I use it to boost my overall and major GPA?

Would it be weird since I have the same class on my transcript for 3-4 times?

It is definitely not wrong to include research credit in my major and overall GPA right?


If your university gives you a research credit and grade to go along with it, then it should show up in your GPA. The worst thing you could possibly due is start reporting a GPA that is different than what your transcripts say even if you are, for some strange reason, reporting a lower GPA than your transcript. Every university is different and admissions committees know this and know how to deal with this. There is really no way it could possibly look bad that you got an A for a bunch of research credits. At worst, it just wouldn't help you. If you are really concerned with it, mention in your SOP that your university gave you research credit each semester to reflect the strong research skills you were learning and then explain how earning those credits will help you become a brilliant scientist that all the women want and all the men want to be (feel free to flip this phrase in any way to appropriately fit your gender/sexual orientation).

Tosh
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:49 am

Re: research credit every semester

Postby Tosh » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:32 pm

My college does not calculate gpa in our transcript.. they said I should calculate my own GPA when I apply for grad schools.. if I take say 2-3 research credits, they should count as 2-3 separate classes right?

normal course load is 4 classes..say in my junior spring I could choose to take 3 tough physics classes PLUS my third physics research credit of my undergrad career or a tough math class as my 4th class.. Would a 3rd research credit before applying to grad schools be an overkill.. would another math class look better on my transcript compared to another research credit (I just feel weird having THREE same classes on my transcript)..

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twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: research credit every semester

Postby twistor » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:58 pm

How could your college not calculate GPA? I don't see how or why they would do that as it would be a simple 1 line addition to whatever spreadsheet/database they use to track student grades. So unless your transcripts are written out line by line by scribes there's no reason for them not to include it. Are you sure your school is accredited?

Another math class wouldn't necessarily look better. That's because you are not applying to graduate school to take more classes, you are applying to do research. Therefore they can more about your interest in and ability to do research than one class which may be irrelevant anyway.

Tosh
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:49 am

Re: research credit every semester

Postby Tosh » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:31 am

they don want to compute GPA to discourage competition.




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