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Good place to volunteer/extracurriculars for physics or enginnering students?

  1. May 6, 2009 #1

    I am currently attending a community college and plan to transfer to a UC (I live in California) in either physics or engineering (not quite sure yet). I still have a long way to go because I work full time and go to class in the evenings. I want to be as competitive as possible when I apply and it seems many universities want transfer students to demonstrate an interest in their chosen field. I am trying to find a place to volunteer or program to participate in but I haven't come up with much. I am having a really tough time finding something extracurricular to do that would look good on my applications. I don't know if volunteering at a soup kitchen would qualify as "demonstrating interest". Or maybe, as a transfer applicant, it is valuable nonetheless? I checked out the Griffith Observatory but they don't take volunteers, and certainly not someone who doesn't even have an AA yet. I am near Caltech and JPL/NASA, but again, I browsed the websites and they didn't seem to have anything relevant for a community college student with no AA. Also, I am bound by the fact that I work full time so I can't do many of the internships out there. Am I being too narrow? Or am I doomed unless I stop working and go to school full time?

    To sum it up, my question is what are some things I can do to improve my chances of getting into a engineering or physics program? Any input on this would be extremely helpful. I don't know if doing just about anything would make me more competitive. Should I just do whatever I can and hope for the best?

    Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thank you,
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2009 #2


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    Research experience would look better than anything else. You would have been eligible to apply to most REU (research experience for undergraduates) programs, but the deadlines were in Feb. Talk to a professor at your college and see if they have any connections - they might be able to find someone at a local university or lab willing to take you on for the summer as an assistant. But it's really late to start looking for these positions now.
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