1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is Spring admission for Graduate School common?

  1. Dec 9, 2015 #1
    Hi it's too late for me to apply for Fall admission since it's already December and I haven't started my applications. Can I apply for Spring admission since I don't want to wait a whole other year to apply for graduate schools and get in again.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2015 #2
    A lot of schools have deadlines that aren't until January, or even early February.

    For instance, the following schools have deadlines in January:
    Yale - Jan 2
    U Washington - Jan 5
    U of Illinois - Jan 15
    U of Rochester - Jan 15
    U of Massachusetts - Jan 15
    U of Nebraska - Jan 31

    And those are just the ones that I'm applying to (such that I can just check a spreadsheet). In another thread, you said you've been out of school for 18 months... if that's the case, why did you wait until 6 days before the December 15 deadline to consider applying?
  4. Dec 9, 2015 #3


    User Avatar

    I got spring admission to my PhD program as a transfer from another university, but only because they just had a drop-out and needed someone to cover spring labs so I got their teaching assistantship. I didn't see it happen before or since, so I'd imagine it's pretty rare. My programs usually only had about 10 people get in per year; doesn't leave you much space for spring admissions.
  5. Dec 12, 2015 #4
    I was discouraged because I applied to graduate school in 2014 and didn't get in. I thought that I should get more research experience before I apply again because I was afraid of getting rejected again. I've been applying to research jobs in the meantime but so far no luck. I wish this whole process was easier I don't know how it all works. I wish society worked where right after I got a degree I had opportunities knocking on my door but instead I have to look for them and twist arms to get letters of rec or admissions
  6. Dec 12, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    How many schools did you apply to? Did you research them beforehand? What did your package look like?
  7. Dec 12, 2015 #6

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Going back over your past messages, it sounds like you didn't apply in 2013, applied in 2014 (after procrastination) but didn't get in, and didn't apply in time for 2015. You also discussed playing online chess when you should be studying.

    This doesn't sound like someone who is chomping at the bit to get into graduate school. You wrote "Getting into grad school and pursuing life as a scientist has always been my dream", but when it comes time to study science or do something else, you choose to do something else. When it comes to working to get into grad school or doing something else, again, you choose to do something else. Your actions are not taking you towards your stated goals.

    You've spent three years not pursuing what you say is your dream. This is not a good sign. It sounds like your heart really isn't in this (and that's important - because if your heart isn't in graduate school, grad school will crush you like a bug.) You need to figure out why you aren't putting effort into your stated goals and figure out what you really want to do with your life.
  8. Dec 12, 2015 #7
    Well actually rethinking my past a bit I applied for admissions in December 2013 but I didn't get in. I wanted to apply again in December 2014 but I felt too discouraged from my previous failure.

    I guess in the mean-time I've been focusing on other life activities. I do really mean it when I say that becoming a scientist is my number one life goal but there are still other interests in life that I juggle with. It's kind of hard for a normal human being to have just one and only one interest in their life.

    Basically in the past year I've been taking up foreign languages and learning some French, Italian, German, Swedish, and Turkish. I also spent some time in China to improve my Mandarin. I've spent some time trying to improve my health and fitness and reading books from the library.

    Becoming a scientist is what I care about most of all but I've been spending time on some other interests I guess just to get them out of my system. Mostly having to do with languages and cultures.

    I mean deep down I know I want to focus on science because I just like science. Specifically I want to focus my career on the overlap of biological and physical sciences which is why I majored in biochemistry and a physics minor.

    It's mostly that the rejection from grad school last time has left me very discouraged and I don't know if I should apply again without getting more research experience. But getting more research experience has been a pain in the butt. I tried really hard to get this position with a professor at my university and at the last minute he told me he changed his mind and doesn't have room for me in his lab.

    So maybe instead of wasting time trying to get more experience I should just apply to graduate school again and cut out the interim. But I'm still just discouraged from my last rejection. maybe i can take more classes to improve my grades or something.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  9. Dec 13, 2015 #8

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    None of this changes my advice. If your goal is to be a scientist, you need to figure out why you aren't actually pursuing it. You've missed two years of application cycles.
  10. Dec 13, 2015 #9
    Nobody cares what you want deep down. What matters is how you'll accomplish your goal. If you're not taking the steps to become a scientist, then something is wrong. Admission to grad school will be more difficult with every year that passes. It will be more difficult to convince the admission committee that you've done worthwhile stuff the past few years (especially since you haven't), and it might also be more difficult to get letters of recommendation.

    But get admitted is the least of your problems. If you continue this kind of behavior in grad school, you will probably drop out after a few months.

    Seriously, I know deep down you want to be a scientist. But think about your life so far and what you've done the past few years. Is it still realistic to go to grad school? And why haven't you been able to put in the work? Maybe it's time to face that grad school isn't going to happen for whatever reason. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you keep stalling your life because of a dream you don't really chase, then there is something wrong with that.
  11. Dec 13, 2015 #10
    Alright look all this supposed "advice" is really starting to irk me and i dont see how prople are tryig to help me here. It sounds like this site is just a bunch of old people passing judgment on you ger people for not having everythong figured out.

    .It's not like i'm the only human being in human history who took some time off between college and graduate school. I talked with people who took three years in between college and grad school an i've seen grad students who were old enough to be my parents. If they can get into graduate school after being out of college for that amount of time than so can i.

    I'm not the type of person who likes to rush into everything. I saw a grad student in grad school who was a year younger than me. I tried to talk with her about a lot of very different topics but she was clueless on almost all of them.

    graduate students sometimes are too natrowly focused and they don't have a broad well rounded education i like learning about many different fields and seeing the connections between them.

    I mean really even some of my science professors were educated in only one natrow field and clueless about absolutely anythig else i wanted to talk wih them about. I almost felt like i was learning from another student who was just regurgitating what thy learned from their professors!

    I don't want to be someone who just blatantly dismisses everythig else academia has to offer other than my own narrow focus. I view academia as my whole world not just a part of it. I never really pursued any life outside pf academia. For example ive never dated or joined a sport or traveled all over the world or went to clubs. Mist of my free time is spent in the library reading about all my interests.

    Anyway what i mean is i like to take my time to really understand things instead of just rushing theough them.
  12. Dec 13, 2015 #11
    I'm not at all trying to pass judgement on you. If my advice irks you, then I have done a good job. It is my goal to get you to do something about your situation.

    Sure, a lot of people take time off between undergrad and grad school. No problem with that. But you already applied to grad schools ones and you didn't get in. This should have shown you that your application is too weak to get into grad school. No problem with that, you can actually fix it. But you don't seem to be taking any steps towards fixing it.

    I get it, you don't want to be a narrow person. But to be successful in grad school, you kind of have to be a bit of a narrow person. You will need to focus on a very narrow part of research for several years. It is not clear to me whether you are willing to go through that experience, as you are already not really keen of doing this in order to prepare for grad school. Sadly enough, people who focus a lot on narrow subjects tend to do much better in grad schools, than generalists. You can of course do general stuff. Nobody is saying you can't play chess or whatever. But you absolutely need to start working hard in order to even get into grad school.

    Does this advice irk you? I hope so, and I hope you'll use this feeling to actually help yourself.
  13. Dec 13, 2015 #12
    I have been trying to get more research experience. I live in Seattle, Washington and I regularly apply to research positions in the facilities here for example at Fred Hutchison, Seattle Genetics, University of Washington and a few other places. But so far I keep getting nothing the only kinds of jobs I get are menial labor like shipping and packaging which actually is what I'm working in right now. It has nothing to do with science it just happens to be at the Seattle Children's Research Institute.

    Trying to get an actual science job is irritatingly hard, I literally have to knock on a lot of doors to ask if there's an open position. Because i've been trying so hard to get a research job I haven't applied to graduate school itself yet because I figured I could do more to improve my application. Although at this point I'm just going to re-apply again but just to maybe a more accepting school in the middle of nowhere.
  14. Dec 13, 2015 #13
    I replied to seven schools and I researched them beforehand. My package looked like a standard grad school application package.

    I think my mistakes were that I chose schools that were pretty competitive and my letters of recommendation may not have been the strongest. Also I don't have a huge amount of research experience and maybe my GPA was too mediocre.
  15. Dec 13, 2015 #14
    So why not apply to less-competitive schools?
  16. Dec 13, 2015 #15
    That is definitely what I'm going to do this time around. Maybe I don't even need more experience. Just go ahead an apply to them...
  17. Dec 13, 2015 #16


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    How are you getting experience in physics? You aren't, that just seems like something you keep telling yourself to justify the procrastination.

    It's the average package, but then you go on to say you have a mediocre GPA, not a lot of research experience, and crappy LoR's.

    You may not ever get accepted, you need to start thinking of a plan B.
  18. Dec 13, 2015 #17
    I didn't say I have crappy LoR's. I can't read what my LoR's said I can only guess. There's always uncertainty to what they said about me exactly.
  19. Dec 13, 2015 #18
    I don't see what you have to lose. Apply to less competitive schools. If you get in, congratulations.
    If you don't, then you have two options:
    1) Get more research experience, and try again the next year.
    2) Find another option.
  20. Dec 13, 2015 #19
    Sigh yeah okay thinking about this most realistically I'm just going to have to reapply again for next year and get more research experience in the mean-time. Also take some more classes to show that I still care about school or something really stupid like that.

    Sigh this whole process is just a big ****ing pain in the butt.
  21. Dec 13, 2015 #20


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    How is it a big pain? You haven't done anything but submit some applications years ago.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook