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I think I'm wasting my time and money applying to grad school. What else is out there

  1. Oct 19, 2012 #1
    I'm currently studying for the PGRE.

    I'm doing miserable. After 3 years of physics courses, this is completely discouraging. Just completely. I don't know half this material, and I've done very well in almost all of my physics courses (except EM...).

    I'm starting to panic. I don't think I'm going to score very high on the PGRE, not even sure if I'm going to get into the test because I made a mistake with the date, and I'm starting to think I need to figure out a different option.

    Needless to say, with graduation being in the spring, I'm utterly panicking. I have no idea what to do. I love science, I loved doing research during my REU, but I don't think I'm cut out for grad school.

    My advisor is useless. I've tried talking to him about this, and he just assures me I'll get into grad school. Even if I do, I don't think I can handle the work.

    Has anyone else been in this situation? What did you do.

    I really need some advice. Please?

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2012 #2

    Nabeshin

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    Re: I think I'm wasting my time and money applying to grad school. What else is out t

    Any specifics would be helpful in figuring out your realistic chance of being admitted to graduate school.
     
  4. Oct 20, 2012 #3
    Re: I think I'm wasting my time and money applying to grad school. What else is out t

    I am in the same situation. Been thinking seriously about grad school for the better part of a year, but when it came down to studying for the pgre it just became extremely discouraging.

    I am scoring around 500 on the practice exams and am just not improving week after week, and it's only 2 weeks until the November date. I don't have a comparatively stellar gpa (3.2 from a EU university) and absolutely no research experience except for the project I am currently doing in theory/computation in astrophysics.

    Today I am seriously thinking of throwing in the towel and cutting my losses (about 1500€ in exam, application, etc. fees) and just looking for a job. I am thinking I should only consider grad school a year down the road until I can get my pgre up to something half decent.
     
  5. Oct 20, 2012 #4

    Choppy

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    Re: I think I'm wasting my time and money applying to grad school. What else is out t

    Because physics is such an academic discipline, graduate school does tend to be the default option for students once they finish undergrad, but it's not the only option out there and you can cause yourself a lot of misery if you don't really want to be there.

    I don't know that there's a perfect test to let you know if you're ready for graduate school, but one thing to consider is your purpose in applying. Is this something you really want to do? Are you attending departmental colloquia on a regular basis? Do you have a specific field you're interested in? A specific project you'd like to work on? What are you reading about in your spare time? If you're in a spot where finishing your degree is a daunting task and you're not spending any time on stuff outside of "required" work, then maybe graduate school isn't your best option - at least right now. If you're really stiving to learn more, do more, have specific academic goals, etc. then graduate school is good option for you.
     
  6. Oct 20, 2012 #5

    eri

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    Re: I think I'm wasting my time and money applying to grad school. What else is out t

    Not all graduate schools require the PGRE to apply. Graduates from liberal arts colleges typically score poorly on the PGRE and still get into good graduate schools. High grades, good research experience, and good letters of recommendation can help you. Just don't aim for the top schools.
     
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