Balancing Work, Education, and PGRE Applications: My Story

In summary: I think it's definitely worth doing, as it can really boost your resume and help you stand out from other applicants.It sounds like you've planned out your undergraduate education well.
  • #1
innu
2
0
I worked full-time (upto 47hrs/week) while completing my undergraduate degree in Physics (basically to support myself).

On the negative side, I've had to forgo any research experience while focusing all my effort to keep up with my full course load.

On the positive side, I have no student loans (tuition assistance from my company) and a strong work experience in the field of electrical engineering.

I was curious as to how many students are/were in the same boat. What are your experiences in the PGRE/Admission application process? Are situations such as this considered in terms of 'not-so-stellar' grades?
 
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  • #2
I operate a wastewater treatment plant 11PM - 7AM Monday to Friday (40 hours), and attend school full-time as well (EE, with lots of extra courses in the Civil and Chemical Engineering programs related to water/wastewater). I have about 70 credits and a 3.9 GPA.

I've found that I can handle four courses maximum per semester while maintaining grades in the 90-100 range. Most nights I can get an hour or two of homework done at work provided nothing breaks or there are no major projects being completed - this has been key in my ability to complete everything and understand it. I still have to dedicate all day Saturday to homework though, and I usually average 4-6 hours of sleep a day during the week. I plan to start dedicating Sundays as needed when I hit my 400-500 level courses as well.

I'm planning to get my masters in Environmental Engineering with a focus in advanced water/ww treatment at the school I'm getting my BS at, so being in contact with the professors that teach in the masters program along with my excellent grades and hands-on operations experience (work) are my cards to play when seeking acceptance to get my MS.

Working nights may also allow me to do a summer of research with one of these professors in the environmental engineering department as an undergrad as well, which would certainly help in entering the MS program there.
 
  • #3
I feel experience can be better than grades sometimes if your experience is related to your career path.

lets see what other say
 
  • #4
Nick M: It's impressive that you have a 3.9. I've been able to keep mine at 3.5. My shift was 6:00AM - 6:00PM (Wed - Sat) until last Summer when I was able to get a promotion (and therefore better work hours - 3:30PM - 12:00AM - Tues-Sat.)

I was never able to do summer research as I had to take courses during summer in order to graduate on time.
 

Related to Balancing Work, Education, and PGRE Applications: My Story

1. How did you manage to balance work, education, and PGRE applications?

I made a strict schedule and prioritized my tasks. I also communicated with my employer and professors to ensure that my workload was manageable. I also used my free time efficiently and reduced distractions.

2. What challenges did you face while trying to balance these three areas?

One of the biggest challenges was time management. I had to juggle multiple responsibilities and make sure I met all deadlines. I also faced some stress and burnout, but I learned to take breaks and ask for help when needed.

3. Did you have to make any sacrifices in order to balance everything?

Yes, I had to give up some social activities and leisure time in order to focus on my work, education, and PGRE applications. It was a temporary sacrifice, but it was necessary for me to achieve my goals.

4. How did you stay motivated and focused during this busy time?

I reminded myself of my goals and the importance of each task. I also sought support from my family and friends. Additionally, I practiced self-care and made sure to take breaks and do activities that helped me relax and recharge.

5. What advice do you have for others trying to balance work, education, and PGRE applications?

My advice would be to create a schedule and stick to it, communicate with your employer and professors, and prioritize your tasks. Don't be afraid to ask for help or take breaks when needed. Most importantly, remember to take care of yourself and stay focused on your goals.

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