1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Physics Summer Placements for a 2nd year Physics student

  1. Dec 5, 2009 #1
    Hi, I'm a second year physics student (doing a 4-year course) at Durham university and I really want to get some relevant work experience this summer. I've looked into a fair number of placement programmes (like IAESTE UK, the Nuffield Foundation, RISE etc.) both abroad and in the UK, but there's a few things that are bugging me.

    Firstly, by far my biggest worry is that all of these things seem REALLY competitive. I got very good A-level results, but my first year result (although it doesn't count towards my degree thank god) was a 2:2. Now I KNOW that I could definitely have done better than that, because not only was it my first year but I spent a large part of that year miserable and demotivated as a result. Is there any point in me even bothering to apply this year, or should I just wait until next year when I (hopefully) have some much better results to show off?

    Also, how many of these things should I apply for? If I apply to just one then I guess the chances of me being accepted would probably be slim to none even if I got a 1st last year, but if I apply to tons then that'd just be...ridiculous surely because I'd need to get a senior academic reference for each one. And how can I get a reference if I hardly even know any senior academics?

    Any helpful replies at all will be much, MUCH appreciated. :D I'm interested in research by the way; I don't want to become an investment banker. Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2009 #2

    blechman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I'm not familiar with the British system, so I cannot give you much direct advise, but for what it's worth: you should DEFINITELY apply for as many of these things as you can! It doesn't hurt to apply, after all! And at least in the programs that I am familiar with in the US (REU, for example) they understand that students are students. You can make up mediocre grades with good recommendations and a good statement of purpose, so I say, Go for it!

    I did an REU my second year out of university, and it was the best experience of my life!
     
  4. Dec 5, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the quick reply. :)

    Do you know of any programmes in the US which accept international students? I've looked at some and they all seem to be catered towards US citizens only, but if I had the chance to spend my summer in the US I certainly wouldn't say no...
     
  5. Dec 5, 2009 #4

    blechman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I'm afraid I don't. REU is an NSF program, and I think they do prefer US students, you're right. Although, not necessarily citizens... But my comments apply to the programs you mentioned in your original post (at least, I think they do!). I should defer to people who might have more knowledge of these things....
     
  6. Dec 5, 2009 #5
    Alright, well thanks anyway, you've still been helpful. I looked at NSF, it seems you don't have to be a US citizen but you still have to be enrolled at a US university...damn.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2009 #6

    blechman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    right, that's the visa issue. pain in the neck!
    Good luck!
     
  8. Dec 5, 2009 #7

    blechman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    BTW - if you are really interested in going to the US, you might be able to get something through a british university. For example, Durham has a large group at FermiLab. You can look into something like that...
     
  9. Dec 5, 2009 #8
    I wouldn't say I'm really, really interested, but it's definitely something I'd consider. Thanks for the tip
     
  10. Dec 5, 2009 #9
    How do you get the necessary rec's when you are 2nd year? Usually you need 3 for an REU. This is a serious question, I am a super senior but I don't have any contact with faculty, I am a worm to them.
     
  11. Dec 5, 2009 #10

    blechman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I got in with my academic adviser the first week of my freshman year!
     
  12. Dec 5, 2009 #11

    blechman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    seriously, you can get recs from profs that gave you good grades.
     
  13. Dec 5, 2009 #12
    I guess that explains it. Thats not a real rec in my opinion.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook