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Panic attack- acceptance to grad school and other Q's related to that

  1. Jun 12, 2009 #1

    ~christina~

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    Gold Member

    Background
    1. want to go to grad school and focus on chemistry. (studying for forensic science now)
    2. Working towards my degree involved taking almost all the chemistry courses that are done for a bachelor degree in chemistry. (already took: gen. chem 1 & 2, organic 1 & 2, instrumental 1 & 2, biochemistry, Physical chemistry w/o a lab, and quantitative analysis)
    3. I have just started undergrad research in chemistry and this should go on for another year (2 semesters left)
    4. I am in a city college in the U.S. and I am planning to apply to the graduate program in the same city college system. (not sure which of the schools in the system is best, at this moment)
    Questions/Concerns/Problems

    Problem
    1. Did not do well in the two of the chemistry courses I took. (biochem and inst. 2)
      a) I have what I thinik are valid reasons for not doing well in the two courses.
      b) during biochem - concentration issues were caused by thyroid (found out later)
      c) inst. 2 - many issues caused me to have 3 labs due all at the same time during last
      week of lab, including: getting a new general unknown the week before it was due,
      an instrument not working until the last week (unknown for that lab dissapearing at
      the same time) This is in addition to another lab that was due.
    Question(s)
    1. Can I still get into grad school and in a Ph.d program or is my only option, masters?
      a) I am not too confident in my chemistry knowledge if you compare me with
      someone who is in an undergrad chemistry program, so I was initially planning on
      applying for the masters program.
      b) I am not planning on focusing on biochemistry, and I have done okay in the first
      inst. class. (not the second due to the aforementioned challenging circumstances)
      c) Does it help at all that I'm doing chemistry research right now?
    2. What is the process involved in applying for graduate school?
      a) What is generally needed when applying?

    3. How early should I apply for grad school?
      a) What does applying generally entail?

    4. If I wanted to visit the prospective grad schools, how would I go about doing this?
      i.e. Do I ask the head of the department there?
    5. I'm going to start studying for the GRE now. What type of advice do you give for
      studying for the exam?
    6. I was thinking of taking a inorganic chem course somewhere else, where I would try my best to do well in. Would it be a good thing if I did good in that class, to sort of offset the other classes that were not so good?
    I would highly appreciate advice for my questions above. (especially since it took a long time to type and set up :biggrin:)

    Thanks,
    ~christina~
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2009 #2
    I don't know anything about chemistry grad school, so I don't want to make too many comments here. But regarding question 1, I know many physics grad students who didn't do so well in undergrad, but were able to get into our department's MS program (they'll accept students with poorer grades/GRE into the MS program). These students can then do well in their first year graduate classes, and then transfer into the PhD program. Maybe this is an option in chemistry as well?
     
  4. Jun 12, 2009 #3

    Choppy

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    Well I don't think there's any reason to panic.

    Graduate school admissions committees tend to look at a candidate as an overall package and thus they take into account overall GPA, subject specific GPA, relevant work and/or research experience, letters of recommendation, GRE scores and sometimes even student interview performance all with weighting systems unique to individual schools.

    Also, along these lines, your tone comes across as if admission to a master's program is a bad thing. M.Sc. programs have the advantage of allowing you to do some graduate study without making a 4+ year committment.

    As for applying, you need to contact the individual school you are intertested in. Sometimes you apply directly through the department, sometimes you have to apply through a faculty of graduate studies. Usually the graduate admissions process is outlined on the department website, including specific dates and contact information. Usually the first person to talk to is the graduate advisor.

    Finally, as far as taking additional courses to boost your average, I would say go for it. The more background you have in your field, the better. Make sure you have the necessary prerequisits to get into any programs you're interested in.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2009 #4

    ~christina~

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    Gold Member

    Okay. So I still have a chance to get into the masters program, and then transfer to the Ph.D program. This is good to know. I think it is an option. It's just that I've heard of the opposite occuring, such as starting out in Ph.D program and then if it doesn't work out, just opting out for a masters degree.
    I like the idea of starting out in a masters and then transfering to a Ph.D program though.

    What would be a, "good" interview consist of when applying for grad school?
    Well the reason it sounds like that is that I've heard that you take the masters classes when completing a Ph.D anyway. So, in effect, it would be a waste of time if one completed a masters then working their way towards a Ph.D., correct? I have no problem of making a 4+ year commitment.
    I will check for the specifics.
    The problem with this is that it's considered an elective since they don't have it at my school and thus it wouldn't really, "boost" my average the same way a science class with lab would do, but it would be interesting and of course, good for me as well.
    I will check the prerequisites.

    Thanks Choppy and arunma, your information helped alot.
     
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