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Admissions Grad school skills

  1. Jun 29, 2017 #1
    I'm looking to compile a list of skills that people have used on their grad school applications that looked good, such as programming and research experience
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2017 #2


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    I don't want to get all preachy, especially now that you seem all fired up, but your applications have to be organic, reflecting your own personal experience. There is no place in the application paperwork where a list would be suitable, not even on the resume. The committees don't care whether you have deep experience in JAVA, Excel, python, running a 4H club, or even president of your physics society. The only thing that looks good is a compelling story backed by a competent performance. Focus on your grades and research and the story tells itself.
  4. Jun 30, 2017 #3
    I'm gonna respectfully disagree here. A lot of experimentalists are looking for very specific skills, especially if they've had a run of new grad students without them: programming, electronics, high vacuum, etc. Of course, these skills are best framed in the context of prior research experience, and kind words from undergrad research mentors and co-authoring papers is even better. Often, a specific offer of a research assistantship from an experimentalist with some clout will get you admission to the program, and some experimentalists NEED grad students in their groups who can be productive quickly.
  5. Jun 30, 2017 #4


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    I'm gonna respectfully disagree with myself or, at least, clarify. Professors are indeed looking for special skill sets, which, if possessed, will help the applicant distinguish him/herself from the crowd. What you want to avoid is the laundry list approach, where the skill is not integrated with a meaningful activity. So, instead of a resume that looks like this...

    "Expertise includes
    • C++
    • ROOT
    • GEANT
    • RF techniques"
    ....I would strongly suggest that a sentence or so be devoted to particular instances where each expertise was demonstrated. For example, I developed a GEANT model that recorded coincident gamma, beta emissions from 136Xe in dodecahedron PMT array for radioxenon monitoring purposes.
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