Thinking of taking a W - How Will It Affect Apps?

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gn0m0n
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Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:43 pm

Thinking of taking a W - How Will It Affect Apps?

Postby gn0m0n » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:27 pm

Hi, all,

I love this site and appreciate the feedback I've gotten before. I am going to graduate this spring with a BS in physics. This fall I am currently taking Classical Mech, Stat Mech / Thermo, and a Math Methods For Scientists (or some such thing), part of a 2 semester series. I also enrolled in a graduate level Classical mech class. That may sound silly now, but my classes so far had been so easy as to be almost boring at my current school, so I thought I'd go ahead with this one, especially after talking to the professor who believed I could do it. Now I am also studying for the physics GRE. Basically I am swamped. The classical mech and stat mech class have turned out to be way more challenging and way more work than I expected and I'm having trouble finding time to study for the physics GREs.

Basically, if my other grades are very good (4.0 since I came back to school as a physics major, somewhere around 3.5 or a little higher overall), will grad schools look down on taking a W and withdrawing from my grad mechanics class? I'd probably have to retake it wherever I went anyway, there's really no reason I need it, I just wanted to challenge myself. I also have two summer REU's, the last one in theoretical particle stuff, and strong recommendations from people at William and Mary and Stanford (I currently am at Virginia Commonwealth University in my hometown, which is obviously not a top-flight physics department). My general GRE's were 800 Quant, 730 verbal.

So, can I withdraw??? I think my time will be better spent on PGRE study and I'm strained to the breaking point as it is. I think programs will understand my heavy schedule.

Thanks.

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zxcv
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Re: Thinking of taking a W - How Will It Affect Apps?

Postby zxcv » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:34 am

Grad schools won't even see your fall grades unless you send them in after you apply. Depending on your school's policies, the W may not even be on your transcripts when you send them in.

Even if it will be noticeable, I would doubt admissions committees would be seriously bothered (disclaimer: I have no direct or indirect experience with such things). Of course it's better to be taking that grad class and excelling in it, but if you're already well qualified I don't see why they would punish you for accidentally taking on too much of a load (3 upper-division physics classes is already pretty serious).

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Helio
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Thinking of taking a W - How Will It Affect Apps?

Postby Helio » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:35 am

zxcv wrote:Grad schools won't even see your fall grades unless you send them in after you apply. Depending on your school's policies, the W may not even be on your transcripts when you send them in.

Even if it will be noticeable, I would doubt admissions committees would be seriously bothered (disclaimer: I have no direct or indirect experience with such things). Of course it's better to be taking that grad class and excelling in it, but if you're already well qualified I don't see why they would punish you for accidentally taking on too much of a load (3 upper-division physics classes is already pretty serious).


Yeah schools won't see your fall or spring grades, unless you don't get in this year. The W in a grad class should not be too serious since you haven't taken the undergrad version of it, so you are unfamiliar with things like langranian and hamiltonian.

I had a similar situation in a lab class last semester, i pulled out a B+. Grad classes are grade inflated like no other, since you need a B to pass. i doubt your professor will let you get away with anything, but a B.

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grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Thinking of taking a W - How Will It Affect Apps?

Postby grae313 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:32 am

gn0m0n wrote:Hi, all,

I love this site and appreciate the feedback I've gotten before. I am going to graduate this spring with a BS in physics. This fall I am currently taking Classical Mech, Stat Mech / Thermo, and a Math Methods For Scientists (or some such thing), part of a 2 semester series. I also enrolled in a graduate level Classical mech class. That may sound silly now, but my classes so far had been so easy as to be almost boring at my current school, so I thought I'd go ahead with this one, especially after talking to the professor who believed I could do it. Now I am also studying for the physics GRE. Basically I am swamped. The classical mech and stat mech class have turned out to be way more challenging and way more work than I expected and I'm having trouble finding time to study for the physics GREs.

Basically, if my other grades are very good (4.0 since I came back to school as a physics major, somewhere around 3.5 or a little higher overall), will grad schools look down on taking a W and withdrawing from my grad mechanics class? I'd probably have to retake it wherever I went anyway, there's really no reason I need it, I just wanted to challenge myself. I also have two summer REU's, the last one in theoretical particle stuff, and strong recommendations from people at William and Mary and Stanford (I currently am at Virginia Commonwealth University in my hometown, which is obviously not a top-flight physics department). My general GRE's were 800 Quant, 730 verbal.

So, can I withdraw??? I think my time will be better spent on PGRE study and I'm strained to the breaking point as it is. I think programs will understand my heavy schedule.

Thanks.


My opinion: definitely withdraw and focus on your PGRE.




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