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Graduate school dilemma

  1. Jan 17, 2016 #1
    Hello,

    I'm a senior undergrad at a liberal arts institution. I'm pursuing two majors one in studio art and the other in physics (BA). I just finished my [revolutionary] research project in cosmology and my grades are all over (everywhere from A to C+ in math+science, no comp sci classes). I am planning on taking a gap year before applying to grad schools. Is that worth the risk? I am I at a disadvantage coming from a small liberal arts institution with a BA and an art degree? Do grad schools care if I get an internship? I'm just a nerdy impractical theorist who missed the deadlines. I'm screwed, right?
     
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  3. Jan 17, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    If you missed the deadlines, aren't you taking a gap year no matter what?
     
  4. Jan 17, 2016 #3
    ...right. But do they negatively affect admissions?
     
  5. Jan 17, 2016 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Suppose I said "yes"? How would that change anything? What would you do differently?
     
  6. Jan 17, 2016 #5

    Choppy

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    Generally speaking graduate admissions committees don't worry too much about a single gap year. Once you've been out of school for three or more years though, there might be questions as to how much you'll have to review. And as Vanadium has implied there really isn't much point in worrying about it, either way.

    You won't be at any disadvantage for having done a double major. You're either qualified for graduate school, or you're not. If one of your majors was physics, you should be qualified for it. That said, sometimes the specifics of the program will come under scrutiny. Some schools will have a watered down version of the degree that qualifies you for graduate school - for students just interested in the subject or students that want to go on into other areas (teaching, medicine, etc.). The best way to figure this out is to check out what's happened to the alumni of your program. If most of the physics grads have gone on to graduate school, you should be just fine.
     
  7. Jan 17, 2016 #6

    jtbell

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    Having some kind of research experience is very helpful. One way to get it is via an internship with some company that's involved in research. Other ways are by working with a professor at your undergraduate school, and via summer programs ("REUs" = Research Experience for Undergraduates) at other schools.

    Such experiences allow your supervisor(s) to assess your suitability for a research career, and write letters of recommendation accordingly. They also help you evaluate whether you might actually enjoy a research career.

    Since you're presumably graduating at the end of this semester, REUs are probably out of the question, because they generally require that you be a continuing student in the fall. But you might still be able to set something up with a professor this semester or maybe even during the summer, or some kind of industrial internship this summer or next year.
     
  8. Jan 17, 2016 #7
    Also, there are plenty of graduate schools whose deadlines have not yet passed!
     
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