Advice/Opinion: Four years vs. Five years

  • Thread starter poobar
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  • #1
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I am currently a physics undergrad at a state school with a decent physics program (as far as I know). This is my third year as a college student, but I am only in the second year of the physics undergraduate curriculum here. If I continue at the current pace, I will graduate a year late, with the current sophomores. My advisor thinks that I should double up on my courses so that I can graduate with the current juniors or take one extra semester. This would essentially put me through the junior and senior years of the physics curriculum at the same time. For instance, next semester I will be taking quantum physics and a senior level E+M course, along with other physics courses. I fear that this workload will be far too much to handle. Since none of you personally know me, I am not asking whether or not this is too much work.

My question is: Should I try to blast through the junior and senior curriculum, which carries a very real risk of not achieving the highest grades possible, or should I instead attend college for an extra year? For those of you on admission panels, or in graduate school, will the extra year be something working against me, and to what degree?

All feedback is appreciated, thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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Why are you even in this position? Why did you start your major so late that you are a year behind?
 
  • #3
lisab
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If you can afford it, do the extra year.

Taking longer than 4 years to finish is so common, I can't imagine an extra year would bother grad school admission panels too much (just my guess, though). A good GPA in 5 years would look better than a mediocre GPA in 4 years, IMO.
 
  • #4
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Why are you even in this position? Why did you start your major so late that you are a year behind?

I transferred to my current school midway through my sophomore year and not all of my credits transferred over. I also got last pick for courses since I was a transfer student.


If you can afford it, do the extra year.

Taking longer than 4 years to finish is so common, I can't imagine an extra year would bother grad school admission panels too much (just my guess, though). A good GPA in 5 years would look better than a mediocre GPA in 4 years, IMO.

I agree with this. It does make more sense to go at the standard pace instead of killing myself to graduate "on time".
 
  • #5
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I don't think it will hurt to do 5 years. I was in a very similar position as you, did the 5 years and got into grad school just fine. But that is just one simple example.

The the best thing to do as an undergrad to try to insure you survive grad school is to be as prepared for it as you can be. That means getting as much out of undergrad classes as you can in my opinion.
 

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