Help out a Undergrad

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Sherlock067
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:30 pm

Help out a Undergrad

Postby Sherlock067 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:52 pm

Hey guys.
First time posting but I've recently found myself needing the advice of this board.
Heres the story:
I graduated high school in 2014 and had taken a few AP's and a few community college classes to avoid taking high school classes I didn't want to take. Started college with more credit than I expected and got to waive into a higher math class. Eventually what my college advisor wants me to take for the next semester seems useless to me so I go talk to the Physics advisor who informs me I can take my first upper division the next semester and graduate in three years if I would like. I considered adding a double major in applied math at some point to get me to stay four years but I eventually decided against that and just focused on physics. The summer my freshman year I got to do some computational astrophysics research with my first physics professor there, and a semester after that i joined a experimental CDM research lab at my school and have been doing research with them for almost a year now, I have gotten a few scholarships and the LSAMP fellowship at my school, I am working with my research advisor on applying for the NSF grant right now, have done one talk and three poster presentations. I have never taken even taken the max amount of units and have never dormed, always commuting and working, and i still don't feel that i rushed and didn't learn the material, this is just the way it happened for me
Overall i feel pretty good with how i spent the last 2.5 years and am in the process of applying to graduate schools, and i am really motivated to start a phd program.
This is until all of a sudden no less than 4 physics professors I have talked to as part of a scholarship/mentorship program have decided to tell me that i would be better off delaying graduation for a year, doing a REU over the summer, and applying to graduate schools next year. I don't want to discredit their opinions and experience, but i feel genuinely disheartened. Graduate school would the more economically fruitful decision, but it seems that they feel i just won't get in anywhere? I have strong letters of rec and despite never having done a REU I have a letter from a professor at a very good institution.
Any opinions? personal stories? All insight is welcome.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Help out a Undergrad

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:22 am

You'll get in somewhere certainly. You might get in a better program if you wait, but you might not. I was in a similar situation and ended up waiting a year (got a degree in philosophy in the meanwhile), then another two while I taught high school, while doing research in the summers. I don't think it changed the school I got into much.

If you're paying for school (don't have a full or near-full ride), I'd apply to grad schools. If you're less than excited about the PhD programs you get into, you can always go to a master's program for the same price as another year of an undergraduate degree.

Sherlock067
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:30 pm

Re: Help out a Undergrad

Postby Sherlock067 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:16 pm

Thanks for the response. That was the direction I was leaning in anyways so I'm glad to hear your opinion is similar.

metapuff
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:28 am

Re: Help out a Undergrad

Postby metapuff » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:18 pm

I dunno, I was going to argue in the other direction. If you're really into physics and want to be doing it for the rest of your life, you should be trying to get into the best grad school possible. If you stick around and do research for another year (especially at a different school) and get a paper out, it will be much easier to do this. Maybe financially it'll be harder, but it's just a year. Plus, being an undergrad is fun! I would also say that professors have more experience and probably would know best, but they might have some weird ulterior motives or something. Anyway, just my two cents.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests