What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

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uhurulol
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:38 am

What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby uhurulol » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:07 pm

Hey everyone,

So here's the deal---it looks like I might receive a round of rejections this year. I think the only acceptances I'll have will be my home institution and another MS program, both of which will not have full funding. For my home institution, I would still have the option of working with my current research advisors, one of which would be paid research, and potentially have TA funding as well. This would PROBABLY cover the tuition entirely, but not leave me with much money left over, meaning I'd have to get a part-time job or take out more loans. The other MS program would probably be a similar situation, though I'm just not sure yet on that one.

I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on what to do in the next academic year. I know that at a few schools I did come close to receiving an offer, so with a good PGRE score I should do well in my application cycle next year. My primary concern is strengthening my application and getting more astro experience. Financially I have almost nothing left in savings, so it seems my options are limited. Is it worthwhile to enter a MS program that I'd have to "pay" for? Or should I just seek outside employment and work on my scores? Any advice is really appreciated. Thanks, everyone.

irezumidragon
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:24 pm

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby irezumidragon » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:27 pm

I got rejected everywhere last cycle (after an agonizingly long waitlisting at Hopkins). Let me first extend my sympathy, because it's a really crappy experience. However, after talking to many people over the past year, I've found it's not uncommon. Just don't give up! Pick yourself up and throw yourself right back into the game.

I don't know how helpful this will be, but I'll tell you what I was able to do. Note that I was fortunate enough to have financial means for housing, so the crunch was not so dire as yours. After significant negotiating with my research advisor and the department, I was able to get a temporary classified work position such that I could continue my research work post graduation, for up to 9 months. I also talked to faculty teaching astro grad classes I was interested in, and asked if I could audit the classes off the books. They were all very receptive to this and let me sit in on their classes despite not paying tuition. I essentially became a ninja grad student, doing paid research and taking grad classes (though not for credit). I supplemented my income by taking on tutoring and other odd jobs through the year. All this allowed me to stay in relevant research work, got me a first author paper, and kept me stimulated with graduate level coursework so I wouldn't atrophy. I don't know if you can swing this kind of temp employment at your university, but it might be worth asking.

I had a few friends who also got rejected across the board who were not so fortunate as I financially, and thus unable to stay at our home institution. Two of them got related jobs, one at STScI in Baltimore, and one in Lawrence Berkeley Labs. Many universities do post-bacc positions that are full salary too. I applied to one at Caltech. The listing was for a year-long position specifically for a recent grad with a bachelors. If you could land something like that, I personally would do so instead of enrolling in a masters and potentially sinking yourself in debt.

Best of luck though.

uhurulol
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:38 am

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby uhurulol » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:44 pm

Thanks for this post! I actually did a bit of Google-mining last night and found a few other people like yourself whose research advisors were able to take them on as assistants for one year. I know that my primary advisor does have a decently sized grant he's working with, and he's expressed interest in me staying here, so I'm going to speak with him about it this week. I hope something good can come of it.

It does make me feel better to know that I'm not the only person who has worked hard only to receive a round of rejections. Time to shake off the glum and figure this all out, but if there's one thing I know it's that I'm not giving up on this.

Cheers.

flobadobadie
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:20 am

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby flobadobadie » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:10 pm

Hi Uhurulol. Had a similar situation to you last year. Rejected everywhere. Emailed about thirty faculty at Universities within commuting distance of my family home asking whether they'd let me do unpaid research with them. Got 29 no's, one meeting. Told at meeting don't know enough to start, should have done a Maths degree. Begged to do it anyway. Six months of understanding nothing but got a paper published somehow.

Moral of the story is that if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to do it, even if you have to crawl through *** to get there. Determination is worth more than anything in this silly game. In your situation I'd try to balance a part time job and research, but you know your situation best, depends how crap your scores are.

ashleygreene
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:50 pm

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby ashleygreene » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:05 pm

[Deleted]
Last edited by ashleygreene on Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:15 pm

ashleygreene wrote:
flobadobadie wrote:Hi Uhurulol. Had a similar situation to you last year. Rejected everywhere. Emailed about thirty faculty at Universities within commuting distance of my family home asking whether they'd let me do unpaid research with them. Got 29 no's, one meeting. Told at meeting don't know enough to start, should have done a Maths degree. Begged to do it anyway. Six months of understanding nothing but got a paper published somehow.

Moral of the story is that if you want something bad enough, you'll find a way to do it, even if you have to crawl through *** to get there. Determination is worth more than anything in this silly game. In your situation I'd try to balance a part time job and research, but you know your situation best, depends how crap your scores are.


You got into Duke, that's a really good school, so I don't understand why you're complaining.


You should re-read the second sentence...

@Uhurulol: I was rejected from all my schools last year too and I wasn't very successful on obtaining a part time research position or a full time. I would suggest you look for that as well as a part time job ( unless if you have a lot of money). In the end, I was okay with not getting another research thing because it allowed me to explore all my options. I was pretty close to not reapplying for physics and pretty close to rejecting all offers from physics grad schools. In the end, physics is very my heart is at. However, at least now I have a stronger feeling about that when I was close to leaving it all behind.

Good luck to you! I am sure you are not alone and as you have seen, there are many people who have had similar experiences. You can do it!

wompwomp
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:00 pm

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby wompwomp » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:37 pm

Been working a full-time research job for the past 2.5 years. Sent in some last minute apps last year - rejected everywhere. Applied again this year - no acceptances yet. It happens.

lbug7575
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:26 am

Re: What are some options after all rejections? (Astronomy)

Postby lbug7575 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:31 am

I was able to get a temporary classified work position such that I could continue my research work post graduation, for up to 9 months. I also talked to faculty teaching astro grad classes I was interested in, and asked if I could audit the classes off the books. They were all very receptive to this and let me sit in on their classes despite not paying tuition. I essentially became a ninja grad student, doing paid research and taking grad classes (though not for credit). I supplemented my income by taking on tutoring and other odd jobs through the year.





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