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Subpar GPA; Aspirations for Grad School and cross discipline research

  1. Nov 18, 2013 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am currently in my third semester at Rutgers University with a declared major in Physics. I aspire to do post-baccalaureate studies. However, my GPA is just "average." I have read through threads where the OP is in a similar situation to mine, and I have found a lot of encouraging things; do research, get good recommendations, get strong grades in your upper level courses.

    I wonder, though, is doing research outside of physics (material, environmental, psychology, etc.) a bad idea? Of course, my ideal situation would be to work directly with physics, but what if I was able to secure a position in another field? Will it be just as impressive as if I did research in physics?

    Also, I'm sure this has been asked before, but how many recommendation letters should one get?Should they be from people I've had as professors? I work on campus in the Physics Lecture Hall and my boss seems to be a pretty reputable figure. Would it be a bad idea to get a recommendation from him?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2013 #2
    How "average" is your GPA? An average GPA is usually fairly competitive when one also has research, good rec letters etc, but a bad GPA will make things much more difficult.

    Doing research outside of physics is generally not a good plan. Exceptions to this are things like applied math, or certain areas of engineering. Grad schools want to see experience in research relating to your field. After all, they will be paying you to do physics research for several years, they want to make sure you have at least some experience.

    Generally 3-4 rec letters are the norm. Any more and you risk looking desperate/them not getting read and less it looks like no one wants to write you a letter.
  4. Nov 18, 2013 #3
    I plan to pull together for the rest of my time in college. I apologize for ambiguity, when I said average GPA I meant anywhere above a 3.0. I can peak at around 3.4-3.5 if I get strong grades from now on (which I plan on doing.)

    I see, that makes sense. I can understand the appeal that those areas can bring and the lack of it in other non-physics subjects.

    Thank you so much for the reply! If anyone else agrees or disagrees with what he posted, please let me know!
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