I'm new to posting to these forums, but have enjoyed the content for a while. Figured it was time to ask questions I've had for some time, as I'll be applying to grad schools next year.
A bit of background: I graduated from undergrad in 2009 from a small school with a 3.9+ GPA, BS Physics, Minor Math...but little research experience. Since undergrad, I've had a wealth of life experience - military leadership positions, deployment, Seminary certificate, and a few years at a big science company. Looking over other profiles of students who have been accepted in years past, it seems like they have significant research and publications. I suppose I would list my research experience out on an application as follows (most recent at top):
- Volunteer research assistant at a local big name University in Computer Science for about 6 months (kinematic modeling/visualization - mostly work in Python and a bit C++, in Virtual Reality!)
- 2 years with a big science company as a Lab Tech, then Lab Research Physicist (first author of one invention submission, co-author 3 other IS, not sure if they are going to patent - maybe not at this point)
- Undergrad research related to the kinematic modeling
My big concerns are:
- little research experience academically, but some in corporate
- recent research only lightly related to physics
- no publications (but invention submissions, probably won't go to patent)
Questions (for top programs):
1) Does corporate research look equivalent/as good/nearly as good as academic research?
1a) If not, I'm fresh out of ideas to get academic research now...any thoughts?
2) How are Invention Submissions viewed compared with publications?
3) Does my recent Computer Science research need to concern me? Will it be looked upon favorably/semi-favorably? Or will it be seen as unrelated?
4) Any thoughts on my military experience (not research related)? I know it won't hurt me, but do you think it will help much?
Any thoughts you are willing to offer are appreciated in advance.