A way to improve grad applications?

In summary: While doing graduate level classes at an undergraduate institution might help your application, it is not a guarantee. Granted, if you have excellent grades, great research, and strong letters of recommendation, you will have a better shot, but it is not a given.
  • #1
µ³
68
0
I'm currently an undergrad at Georgia Tech and I would really really like to go to MIT or another top school. The way it currently it is I have to take 12 hours next semester and 13 hours the semester after that to graduate. Someone suggested taking graduate level classes. My courseload is really easy so would graduate level classes taken at undergrad level help my grad school applications if I do well in them? Also, might as well throw this in: does the fact that I did my undergraduate degree in 2.5 years (came in fall '05 graduating fall'07) help at all? Or would it actually make it worse (they might think I rushed through degree so I didn't learn physics as well). Oh and lastly, how bad does a D in english, and a subsequent W when I tried to retake it, hurt my application...given that all my other grades are A's and 2 B's.
 
Last edited:
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Honestly, you might be better off just going the full three years. From what I understand, your chances of getting into the school of your choice are significantly limited if you're graduating in the winter, since most schools accept far fewer applicants for the spring semester. Plus, you might be able to take graduate classes that will count towards your graduate degree (obviously, that depends on the institution's transfer policy).
 
  • #3
Manchot said:
Honestly, you might be better off just going the full three years. From what I understand, your chances of getting into the school of your choice are significantly limited if you're graduating in the winter, since most schools accept far fewer applicants for the spring semester. Plus, you might be able to take graduate classes that will count towards your graduate degree (obviously, that depends on the institution's transfer policy).
Well would applying for spring semester and (if rejected) re-applying for the next fall be a bad idea? I was thinking to applying to MIT in spring, since I really want to do nuclear and if rejected, apply to 5-6 different grad schools (including MIT again) once I have more research under my belt and a better GRE score/GPA or whatever.

Oh also forgot to mention that most top-level grad physics schools don't take graduate transfer credit.
 
  • #4
what school are you goin to that allows you to finish in 2.5 years?
 
  • #5
Do you have any pressing reason not to take the extra term?
 
  • #6
balletomane said:
Do you have any pressing reason not to take the extra term?
I have nothing else to take? ... Besides grad-level classes which will likely not directly count towards grad school.
CPL.Luke said:
what school are you goin to that allows you to finish in 2.5 years?
me said:
I'm currently an Undergrad at Georgia Tech...
 
  • #7
Firstly -- Does MIT even review applications for a spring term? Most schools I know do not...

Then: What is your RESEARCH experience? You mention you have SOME, but how much? Any publications? Extensive research experience is critical to getting into a grad school like MIT. Have you talked to your research advisor at GT about this? I suggest you do so. A strong application to a school like MIT will likely need ALL your letters of recommendation to be concerning RESEARCH.

In the grad application process, the committee will be comparing your degree to others who have a 4 year degree (and a few who have additional Master's degrees). No offense, but I'd suspect that at this point (and with the info you've given, they wouldn't think much... wouldn't it be better to get more research experience -- perhaps even do an REU somewhere else (like a school that you'd like to get into for grad school), take courses outside your major (possibly adding a double major in a complementary field)... or MORE courses in your major?

Then -- have you taken the GRE's? Are your scores OUTSTANDING?
 
  • #8
Just to sort of echo what others are saying... by finishing so quickly you don't really give the admissions committee much to look at. While it is sort of impressive, you haven't really gone through the same things many of the applicants have. I'm guessing you were able to finish quickly because of AP credits?

I know that GT offers a masters degree. If wherever you wish to apply doesn't accept spring applicants, you can always apply to GT for a masters. The advantages would be that you would get more time in, get to take advanced courses (and count the ones you may take as undergrad), and you'll get more involved with research.

Good luck!
 
  • #9
As far as graduate schools are concerned, classes represent a necessary hurdle you have to jump before you do something useful. By excelling in your undergrad classes you demonstrate you can jump that hurdle. There are many, many millions of people on this Earth who are also exceedingly good students in the classroom.

By demonstrating you have real research skills you prove you will be of long term usefulness to a research program. Surprisingly few people around the world get an undergraduate degree in physics and are already reasonably well trained experimentalists.

You can do well either way, or (even better) both. However, if you think you are really going to stand out by passing undergrad classes and getting good grades in a short period of time, you are incorrect.
 

1. How can I make my grad school application stand out?

The best way to make your grad school application stand out is by highlighting your unique experiences and accomplishments. This can include research projects, internships, volunteer work, and leadership roles. Make sure to also tailor your application to each specific program and showcase your passion for the field.

2. Is it important to have strong letters of recommendation?

Yes, letters of recommendation are a crucial component of grad school applications. They provide insight into your academic and personal strengths from the perspective of someone who knows you well. Make sure to choose recommenders who can speak to your abilities and accomplishments.

3. How can I improve my personal statement?

To improve your personal statement, make sure to clearly articulate your academic and career goals, and how the program you are applying to aligns with these goals. Also, use specific examples and anecdotes to demonstrate your skills and experiences. Lastly, have someone else review and provide feedback on your statement.

4. How important are standardized test scores in the grad school application process?

The importance of standardized test scores varies depending on the program and university. Some programs may place a heavy emphasis on test scores, while others may consider them as just one aspect of the application. It is important to research the specific requirements of the programs you are applying to and prepare accordingly.

5. Can I apply to multiple grad programs at once?

Yes, you can apply to multiple grad programs at once. However, make sure to carefully consider your options and only apply to programs that align with your academic and career goals. It is also important to keep track of application deadlines and requirements for each program.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
15
Views
880
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
7
Views
963
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
3
Views
926
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
5
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
18
Views
2K
Replies
7
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
17
Views
3K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
11
Views
394
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
7
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
12
Views
1K
Back
Top