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Physics Stuck with a B.S Physics and no job

  1. Jul 13, 2009 #1
    I graduated with a B.S in Physics this passing May. I applied to many graduate schools for nanoscience, however only one accepted me "provisionally". My GPA was lower than a 3.0 (2.8). So, now I'm stuck with a B.S in Physics and I'm not going to graduate school (I can't afford it). I really have a passion for Physics, and I want to have a scientific career in this field of science. Any advice?

    I'm studying for the Physics GRE, hoping that if I get over 50%; this will offset the low GPA.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2009 #2
    lol shouldn't you be shooting for much much higher than 50%
     
  4. Jul 13, 2009 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Get a job then reapply. Or go to the school that accepted you and work while you're in school.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2009 #4
    I talked to the admissions officer at one school near my home, and he said that if i do 50% of higher it will offset my GPA.
     
  6. Jul 13, 2009 #5
    i don't think you get it. right now you're an average candidate because of your average gpa. getting an average gre score does not average in with your average gpa well.
     
  7. Jul 13, 2009 #6

    Pengwuino

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    unless he's trying to get into an average university! :)
     
  8. Jul 13, 2009 #7
    meh even average universities think highly of themselves. at the least they're trying to improve their ranking because no one wants to remain average forever except this guy i guess.
     
  9. Jul 13, 2009 #8

    Pengwuino

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    Yes but average universities can't get the students they think they're "worthy" of.
     
  10. Jul 13, 2009 #9
    yea so they resort to the best foreign students. even if they can't get those the average eastern european or asian student is worth 2 americans.
     
  11. Jul 13, 2009 #10
    The GRE is a scaled test. A raw score of 50% would put you in around the top 33% (depending on the test). For the GRE a "pass" (i.e. the score that half the takers got higher than) is around 39%. Only 2% of takers get higher than 85%
     
  12. Jul 14, 2009 #11
    There are a few businesses that would accept someone with a BS in physics. When I was in undergrad I applied to the Technology Leadership Program at Target (i.e. corporate Target, not the cashier kind of job). I actually made it to the final round of interviews. Maybe you'd consider something like this. I vaguely remember something about a 3.0 minimum GPA, but I'm not sure, and it's still worth applying anyway.
     
  13. Jul 14, 2009 #12

    Pengwuino

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    Most college admission discussions assume you're talking about the percentile and not the raw score.
     
  14. Jul 14, 2009 #13
    High school physics teaching?
     
  15. Jul 14, 2009 #14

    Vanadium 50

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    The title here seems a bit misleading. The complaint seems not to be that one can't get a job with a BS in physics. It's that with low grades, low test scores and a very narrow focus of what one wants to do in grad school, the OP is having a hard time getting in.
     
  16. Jul 14, 2009 #15

    cristo

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    Isn't there a more fundamental issue here: is someone with a 2.8 GPA really best suited to graduate school? Unless there is a pretty good reason for getting a low grade, surely it would be in the best interests of the OP to be more realistic, and look beyond grad school.
     
  17. Jul 14, 2009 #16
    Thanks all for the thoughtful replies!

    My lower GPA was due to slacking off in my first two years in college, resulting in becoming behind in a lot of the mathematics. My GPA was an average of 2.0 these two years :( I'm one of those guys that has no problem with the physical concepts, but due to my laziness in my first two years, i have many "gaps" in my maths skills, such as fourier analysis (I'm still struggling with this concept). But when I NEED to use it, I learn it...I mean, I know how to USE fourier series, however I don't REALLY understand them. Many of these 'gaps' were filled in my senior year, with my advanced Quantum Mechanics course.

    I am extremely passionate about physics, I read my subscription to "Physics Today" every Sunday, and keep up to date with what's going on in the world of science. I love what my studies in Physics have taught me about our Universe, and now I am ready and anxious to narrow my studies and apply that knowledge. The heart of my curiosity owes itself to science, not some field that has nothing to do with it.

    I've been studying practice exams for the GRE for the past month now. I focus on a problem, and make sure I understand the correct answer as well as the incorrect ones. I have not yet taken a full practice exam. It seems to me that most of the GRE problems test 'physical' concepts rather than the mathematics. It seems that if I know the important concepts for the topics, I have a good chance of "guessing" the answers or definitely eliminating a few.

    Although some "gaps" in my mathematical knowledge exist, I believe that I can do well in graduate school, because of my ability to look at the "bigger picture" in physics. I have good discipline and I always finish what I start. I also have no problem learning the maths as it comes up in context.

    So, I guess I should re-word my question:

    With a B.S Degree in Physics and an average GPA, no graduate school, what could I be doing to get on the right path for a career using my scientific background?

    Thanks!
     
  18. Jul 14, 2009 #17
    If you are looking for a career to use your scientific background, there are definitely options out there. Have you considered science writing (especially if you enjoy reading Physics Today)? There are quite a few industry sectors that hire people with a background in physics too: the defense contractors, engineering, etc. Though sadly the current economy has done a number on those job markets.

    Though if you really want that graduate degree, then it seems like you are on the right track. There's nothing you can do about that low GPA at this point, you if you can show admission's committees that you definitely know your physics by getting a decent Physics GRE score, then you definitely have a shot. It seems like most schools mid-range schools will over-look one area of your application if the rest of them are strong (letters, personal statement, GRE, etc). Make some money doing whatever you can and keep on studying.

    And to the nay-sayers, I think a 50% might just be good enough (though obviously the higher the better). This isn't like getting into undergrad where everyone and they're dog took whatever standardized test your looking at. If you show a run-of-the-mill university that you are better at physics than 50% of the other physics majors taking the test (not to mention that many of them aren't even from America...so a 50-percentile definitely equates to beating considerably more than 50% of American students) I think you'll at least have a chance.

    Best of luck!
     
  19. Jul 14, 2009 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    There's the other side of the calculation.

    There are of order 7000 physics grads a year. About half take the GRE and somewhere between 1000 and 1500 students enter graduate school. Someone somewhere in grad school has to be the worst student at the worst university, and that student, whoever he is, is somewhere in the top quarter of physics BS grads.
     
  20. Jul 14, 2009 #19
    If those number are right, then my intuition stands corrected. Thanks for the numbers, V.
     
  21. Jul 14, 2009 #20

    j93

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    I dont understand 2.8 is slightly below average. If youre willing to nonchalantly discourage for a 2.8 then one must do the same for the PGRE and those that score below average on that exam. I would understand if you used the argument that graduate school admissions are competitive I would agree but to say that fundamentally he is bound for failure is different. I dont see if one is going to follow that logic why one cant say that if one cant score at least average on a standardized exam on mostly first year physics curriculum then why should one consider grad school.

    IMHO the only reason to seriously consider a fundamental problem are for those more than two deviations from average for GPA or those that dont like conducting research or those scoring in the very very low percentiles in the PGRE.
    However the amount of competition is a also source of concern.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
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