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Graduating this May, need some guidance

  1. Dec 20, 2006 #1
    Hi, I graduate this coming May with a BS in Physics/Minor in Math. This semester I am pretty much taking my last Physics requirement course and a few that I chose myself:
    Mechanics II
    Computational Physics
    Physical Chemistry II
    Numerical Analysis
    Internship - Meteorology (and possibly some Electrical Engineering)
    (I got the internship because the Chief Meteorologist had a BS in Physics and had a talk session at the university; I just want to get as much experience as possible)

    Anyway, my issue is that although I would like to continue studies in grad school, I definitely don't want to go full time. I want to work and finally stop being a broke college student and gets some hands on experience. But I am kind of nervous and anxious about what's going to happen. Here are my options I guess:

    1. Go directly to grad school
    2. Get a job and don't continue my education
    3. Get a job and continue my education online
    4. Join the Airforce and maybe continue my education with them.

    I don't really want to do #1. I am leaning toward #3 for now but I don't know what kind of jobs to concentrate my efforts on.

    Also, I have been told that online schooling is no good. But it seems so great to me that I can work and go for a Masters in Engineering (or Physics or something else) straight from my BS in Physics online. Is this something I should not do? What kind of jobs should I concentrate my efforts on?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2006 #2
    If you go for option 3, and are lucky, some companies will pay your grad school tuition while you work for them. There are a few good online extension grad programs in engineering - you also want to look for one that gives you a "real" diploma (the same one on-campus master's students get) like this one
  4. Dec 20, 2006 #3
    Regarding #2 and #3 -- most jobs will likely pay for continued education of some sort (conferences/workshops/classes)... and some jobs may also encourage you to get a masters degree from a local educational institution (possibly not even online if you are discouraged by that -- and I'd say jbusc offers good advice regarding looking for an "extension" program)...

    Regarding #4 -- I worked at the Air Force Research Labs (Wright Patternson -- Dayton OH) as a civilian scientist, and they paid for me to get an MS (in electro-optics) from a local university while I was working for them... I didn't have to "join" the armed services. Regarding that, however, there are often still requirements that you "serve" (in that case as a civilian) for certain required time periods... this was a version of the "Palace Knight" or "Palace Acquire" program. Just in case you don't like the idea of "joining."
  5. Dec 20, 2006 #4
    I personally loved the idea of doing it online but unsure because of what my Professor told me (and I was unsure of him because he just wants me to go straight to grad school and academia).

    I like the idea of joining because I like to travel alot but that is definitely another option I didn't know about. Do you know of any other research labs?

    I also noticed on the online degree programs I was looking at that there was a Master of Science and Master of Engineering (I'm a little far from California :smile: ). Master of Engineering is for more professional purposes right? If I joined the AF as a Physicist I would probably get a Masters in Physics, otherwise it's Engineering for me.

    Do you all think that I would have a good resume with what I have mentioned?
  6. Dec 20, 2006 #5
    If you're doing it online, does it matter how far away you are? :)
  7. Dec 20, 2006 #6
    Well, I thought you had to visit the campus every once in a while at least. That is the way it is for Univ of South Carolina. Is it that way for Univ of California?
  8. Dec 20, 2006 #7
    if you are in the southern california area you are required to come for exams (2-3 times per semester) but outside southern california, you can arrange for exams to be proctored some place more local. Technically, though, you never need to appear on campus unless you want to do the graduation ceremony :)
  9. Dec 20, 2006 #8
    Oh ok. Then that means I can get a degree from a more creditable school. :)

    Thanks for the help btw, both of you.
  10. Dec 21, 2006 #9
    Currently in the AF after graduating college. Went through officer training school (not ROTC or Academy). Had a math degree, then spent my first year in studying meteorology. That was pretty sweet. Working now, and it's OK, but we are way overmanned with officers. Officer training school has drawn way back, and they're currently not offering the same weather program I went through for math and physics majors.

    Can't say I'd recommend that path in your situation. If you're not 100% committed to the idea of the military, don't join. I didn't know much about the way the AF runs and it wasn't at all what I expected. Search 'force shaping' to get a feel for the changes going on with the officer side of the AF right now. Let's just say there are plent of opportunities to switch to the Army! I personally would've been happier going that route initially, but now instead I'm opting out earlier and working my ass off towards getting back into school!

    I'd be happy to answer any specific questions.
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