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Study + Work

  1. Jan 24, 2009 #1
    I worked full-time (upto 47hrs/week) while completing my undergraduate degree in Physics (basically to support myself).

    On the negative side, I've had to forgo any research experience while focusing all my effort to keep up with my full course load.

    On the positive side, I have no student loans (tuition assistance from my company) and a strong work experience in the field of electrical engineering.

    I was curious as to how many students are/were in the same boat. What are your experiences in the PGRE/Admission application process? Are situations such as this considered in terms of 'not-so-stellar' grades?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2009 #2
    I operate a wastewater treatment plant 11PM - 7AM Monday to Friday (40 hours), and attend school full-time as well (EE, with lots of extra courses in the Civil and Chemical Engineering programs related to water/wastewater). I have about 70 credits and a 3.9 GPA.

    I've found that I can handle four courses maximum per semester while maintaining grades in the 90-100 range. Most nights I can get an hour or two of homework done at work provided nothing breaks or there are no major projects being completed - this has been key in my ability to complete everything and understand it. I still have to dedicate all day Saturday to homework though, and I usually average 4-6 hours of sleep a day during the week. I plan to start dedicating Sundays as needed when I hit my 400-500 level courses as well.

    I'm planning to get my masters in Environmental Engineering with a focus in advanced water/ww treatment at the school I'm getting my BS at, so being in contact with the professors that teach in the masters program along with my excellent grades and hands-on operations experience (work) are my cards to play when seeking acceptance to get my MS.

    Working nights may also allow me to do a summer of research with one of these professors in the environmental engineering department as an undergrad as well, which would certainly help in entering the MS program there.
  4. Jan 24, 2009 #3
    I feel experience can be better than grades sometimes if your experience is related to your career path.

    lets see what other say
  5. Jan 24, 2009 #4
    Nick M: It's impressive that you have a 3.9. I've been able to keep mine at 3.5. My shift was 6:00AM - 6:00PM (Wed - Sat) until last Summer when I was able to get a promotion (and therefore better work hours - 3:30PM - 12:00AM - Tues-Sat.)

    I was never able to do summer research as I had to take courses during summer in order to graduate on time.
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