Should I say I'm a full-time data scientist and physics student in my SOP?

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ricky33
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Is it a good or bad idea to mention that I am a full-time physics student while simultaneously a full-time data scientist employee while doing physics research too in my SOP for grad school?

Is it seen as too confident or bragging? Or it helps me to say this?
Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures? Only by reading on my own and doing the exams.

I mean some of the most important skills for a PhD are time management and being able to work independently along with handling a lot of work. Which could be proven by my previous experience stated in the title.
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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This sounds really, really unrealistic. You spend 8 hours a day on physics and another 8 hours a day on data science? Really?
 
  • #3
ricky33
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This sounds really, really unrealistic. You spend 8 hours a day on physics and another 8 hours a day on data science? Really?
That's 16 hours and I still have 8 hours to sleep, basic math. You haven't seen someone work the whole day and sleep for less than 8 hours? Besides, there are weekends and some holidays and a whole 3 months of summer period. You'd be surprised how much you can do if you know how to fully take advantage of your time.

I didn't ask if what I am ALREADY doing sounds realistic or not. I was asking if it is good to mention it in my application. But I guess I got my answer based on your surprised response.
 
  • #4
Choppy
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V50 beat me to it.

In your graduate application, you want to present an accurate picture of yourself and your circumstances. It might come across better if you state these things in more concrete terms though. The term "full time" can mean different things to different people.

For example if someone tells me they are a "full time" physics student, in the absence of any other information I tend to assume they are taking about 15 - 18 credit-hours worth of courses each semester. As a rule of thumb, successful students will spend at least two hours outside of their classes for every hour within, so you're looking at about 45 - 54 dedicated study hours. If someone tells me they are working "full time" in the absence of any other information I tend to assume they are working about 40 hours per week at that job (and not studying while doing it). If on top of that you claim you are making a significant contribution to a research project as an undergraduate, in the absence of other information I would assume you're contributing about 9-12 hours per week to it.

This sets my BS meter off.

While physically possible, and I have known people who have done this, I also start to wonder about things like how well this person takes care of themselves. What do they do for exercise, recreation, or down time? Do they get enough sleep? Do they have healthy relationships with other people? Or, are they a burnout (or worse) waiting to happen? In my experience when I've seen people working and studying full time like this, it doesn't last long and it can come with some very negative consequences. So if I were reading something like this on an application, indeed, it will raise some flags.


Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures? Only by reading on my own and doing the exams.
Yes.

While everyone has their own methods for studying, and independence can be a good thing, do you really want your application to come across like, "If I get into your program, I'm not going to bother coming to lectures. I don't actually need you to teach me anything?"


I mean some of the most important skills for a PhD are time management and being able to work independently along with handling a lot of work.

Sure. But those aren't the only skills you'll need. You'll also have to work collaboratively as a member of a team, be able to manage a project, and quite likely you'll face situations where the project doesn't go as planned and you'll have to adapt on the fly.
 
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  • #5
Vanadium 50
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That's 16 hours and I still have 8 hours to sleep, basic math.
24 hours - (8 hours physics + 8 hours data science + 8 hours sleeping) = 0 hours washing

Must get pretty stinky.

Basic math.
 
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  • #6
gmax137
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Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures? Only by reading on my own and doing the exams.


Yes.

While everyone has their own methods for studying, and independence can be a good thing, do you really want your application to come across like, "If I get into your program, I'm not going to bother coming to lectures. I don't actually need you to teach me anything?"

This.

Possibly unfair, but my reaction included, "And I won't be around to help anyone else. I will be in my room, alone..."
 
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  • #7
berkeman
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Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures?
How did you do in the labs? You should describe how you collaborated with your lab partners and how that collaboration resulted in excellent lab analyses and reports.

Besides, there are weekends and some holidays and a whole 3 months of summer period.
FYI, there are no weekends or holidays or summer breaks in real life. If you are working that hard right now to do well in school, you will not be taking any breaks in your work at startups or wherever you are headed. Been there.
 
  • #8
hutchphd
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I didn't ask if what I am ALREADY doing sounds realistic or not. I was asking if it is good to mention it in my application. But I guess I got my answer based on your surprised response.
Here's the deal.
The idea is to provide them your purpose for applying: what can they do for you and what you can provide them in return. Do that energetically and vividly and specifically.
But how many jobs you work is not directly relevant, and nobody wants to hire someone who always thinks he is the smartest guy in the room. It might be true but almost always it is an indicator of poor assessment skill on the part of the applicant
 
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  • #9
CrysPhys
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Is it seen as too confident or bragging? Or it helps me to say this?
Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures? Only by reading on my own and doing the exams.
There's an old cliché : "Actions speak louder than words." To rephrase what others have been telling you, you don't want to explicitly tell the admissions committee, "I am the greatest, and you should admit me because I'll be a fantastic asset to your program."; you should detail your skills and accomplishments in such a manner that they will draw that conclusion.
 
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  • #10
mpresic3
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Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures? Only by reading on my own and doing the exams.

Let me ask you this. Suppose you are a faculty member who is consciencious in your teaching, and prepares lectures to be as engaging as possible, and has an idea that he/she is good at their job. (Most physics professors like to think so.) Then a student comes along who cuts all the classes and admits all (the professor's) effort is unnecessary.
Suppose another student comes along and has a 8 hour a day job AND still attends his classes and asks intelligent questions from time to time. I did this and received a good letter of recommendation when it came to graduate school. I doubt that cutting classes in favor of work demonstrates a committment to physics research.

I would be careful what you write in your statement of purpose. Your worry about "bragging" is misguided, in that a physics professor might interpret what you believe to be a strong positive as a red flag.
 
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  • #11
gwnorth
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Does it make it sound bad if I mention that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings without attending any class nor watching lectures? Only by reading on my own and doing the exams.
I'm not sure how that would be relevant to your statement of purpose. Seems like if you were going to highlight your ability to learn independently that would be better suited to your personal statement.
 
  • #12
Vanadium 50
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letter of recommendation
That's also key. "He got an A in my class, but I can't comment in any more detail because he never came to class. Or seminars. Or colloquia. Or office hours." is not what I would call a strong letter.

Also, since the OP was asking about a data science job in late June, he can't have been doing it very long. He wouldn't want to imply in his statement that he's been doing it for the duration of the degree if that's not so.

Also a year ago he was looking to start a physics degree program. I don't see how he finished it in less than a year, which is what "that I passed all my physics classes with high rankings" in the past tense suggests.
 

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