1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Dilemma between Grades and Research

  1. Jan 31, 2012 #1

    I'm in a dilemma between my grades and research and I would greatly appreciate any advice.
    I'm currently 2nd year and taking a full year Cal 3 course (on Manifolds) and I have been doing quite poorly so far. I expect that I might get a B if not a C for the course, which will bring down my GPA substantially. One solution is to drop the course and then take it in the summer.

    However, I got an offer from another university for a summer research position with a project that I am very interested in and the supervisor seems to be decent.
    But this means I won't be able to drop the course and retake it in summer.
    (Maybe I can take it at that university but I'm not sure if it's allowed)

    The best case of course is I do well in the course, or if I get another project from my own university and I can do both, but at this point I'm not sure if I'll get anything.

    My real concern is : Will having a low GPA (and bad grades in core math courses) or the lack of research experience hurt me more?

    Any comments appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2012 #2
    Both good grades and research experience is very important to have for grad school and/or industry. If it were me, I would work my butt off to get that B in your math class, and then take the research opportunity. Good grades are important, but a lot of people will want to see what you can actually DO in terms of real world applications. Getting a B is not the worst thing in the world, especially if you are also taking other demanding classes and doing research as well.
  4. Feb 1, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Hey remil and welcome to the forums.

    If you happen to get the opportunity to do research I recommend it.

    Whether you decide to pursue that kind of thing after your undergraduate training or not, it is a good experience both to put on a resume if appropriate as well as to get an idea of what its really like.
  5. Feb 1, 2012 #4
    But surely he was planning to "work his butt off"? Maybe a different approach is needed - I'd recommend finding mentors. Is the lecturer the kind to make time for students? If so spend some time with him - ask him questions after the lecture, make appointment to see him to discuss difficult points. Do you have approachable personal/academic tutor? Chat with him about how you might raise your grades in the course. Hire a postgrad, or UG who has been through the course and got an A. Form a study group with the A students? Discuss matters, in detail, in the appropriate group here?

    Your tennis isn't going to improve without a good tennis coach.
  6. Feb 1, 2012 #5
    Thanks for the feedback and I decided to take the position.

    I would appreciate if anybody could give me more advice on finding a mentor/help as I indeed feel quite helpless.

    The instructor is a very nice and approachable person but he never posts any solutions to any of his practice questions or homework questions.
    Also the course uses Munkres and Spivak as text and they don't have solutions to any questions either.
    Basically when I don't understand the material or questions I have nothing to refer to or find help from.
    Sure I can ask him or the TA during the tutorials or office hours but the solution/proof for the questions are so lengthy that I don't think I would be able to understand them in that 1 hour. There's also less than 5 people in the course that are actually getting an A and they've already formed a group themselves to solve upper year Maths problem and I'm not sure they would want to babysit someone.
    Thanks again.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook