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Society of Physics Students or other physics society worth it?

  1. Aug 17, 2013 #1
    "Society of Physics Students" or other physics society worth it?

    I have seen the Society of Physics Students mentioned more than the other societies, but I am wondering if you really get anything out of joining them or if it's just something to fluff your resume with for grad schools? Also, is the SPS the best bet, or are there others that are comparable/superior to it?
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  3. Aug 17, 2013 #2


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    Like joining just about any other organization, you get from joining a physics society (whether it be a national organisation or just a local club), about what you put into it.

    No one is going to elevate your graduate application over someone else's because yours has a bullet with "physics society" (or equivalent) under the heading "memberships."

    Usually what such groups do provide are things like:
    - opportunities for meeting like-minded students, both for academic and social pursuits
    - networking opportunities for research positions and jobs
    - organization of colloquia (talks), sometimes aimed specifically at undergraduates
    - involvement in special projects such as high-school outreach programs
    - tutoring assistance (either for you or as a means to earn extra cash)
    - opportunities to hold executive positions (not really significant for graduate school applications, but highly significant out in the real world)

    This is all, of course, just a general comment based on my own experience with several local undergraduate physics groups, none of where were the Sigma Pi Sigma group.
  4. Aug 18, 2013 #3
    For SPS, it depends on how active your local chapter is. And you don't actually have to pay to be member, just show up at the meetings (you can pay if you want to be part of the national organization, which is a good deal because of the amenities). So there is really nothing to lose. Choppy lists lots of examples a good SPS chapter will have. In addition, the chapter at my school tries to go on field trips when possible. We also get a special private meeting with any colloquium speakers to ask them whatever questions we want. We also do fun things together whether they are related to physics or not. There are also SPS conferences where you can present research and do lots of networking. There is no other organization like SPS that I am aware of. So yes, to answer your question, it is completely worth it if you have a decent chapter.

    Also, the Society of Physics Students has an affiliated honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma. Joining that would elevate your graduate application a little bit, because you have to be elected by the faculty at your school to join. So usually that means you've had some good achievements in your department (could be grades, outreach, etc). But I don't think you have to be active in the Society of Physics Students to be eligible, at least that is the way it is at my school.
  5. Aug 18, 2013 #4
    Thanks for the information choppy and stengah.

    My current college doesn't have SPS here. Actually, they don't have hardly anything for physics majors, other than the prerequisite courses we need for our AA. That is why I'm trying to look into these things on my own at this point. I don't want to get overwhelmed with a million things next year when I finish my AA and transfer to a university.

    Anyway, from what you explained about SPS, it is right up my alley. Thanks again for the info.
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