Summer Placements for a 2nd year Physics student

In summary, the second year physics student worries about how competitive the placement programmes are and how many recs are needed. He also wonders if he should apply this year or wait until next year. He recommends applying as many places as possible. Finally, he says that if you are interested in going to the US, you might be able to get something through a British university.
  • #1
Muon Cat
7
0
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!
 
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  • #2
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!
 
  • #3
blechman said:
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!

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...
 
  • #4
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...
 
  • #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.
 
  • #6
right, that's the visa issue. pain in the neck!
Good luck!
 
  • #7
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...
 
  • #8
I wouldn't say I'm really, really interested, but it's definitely something I'd consider. Thanks for the tip
 
  • #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.
 
  • #10
I got in with my academic adviser the first week of my freshman year!
 
  • #11
seriously, you can get recs from profs that gave you good grades.
 
  • #12
I guess that explains it. Thats not a real rec in my opinion.
 

Related to Summer Placements for a 2nd year Physics student

1. What is a summer placement for a 2nd year Physics student?

A summer placement is an opportunity for a 2nd year Physics student to gain practical experience and apply their knowledge in a real-world setting. It typically involves working on a project or research related to their field of study, either at a company or research institution.

2. When should I start looking for summer placements?

It is recommended to start looking for summer placements at least 6 months in advance. Many companies and research institutions have early application deadlines, so starting your search early will give you more options and increase your chances of securing a placement.

3. What are the benefits of doing a summer placement?

There are many benefits to doing a summer placement, including gaining practical experience and skills, networking with professionals in your field, and enhancing your resume for future job opportunities. It also gives you the opportunity to explore different career paths and determine if they are a good fit for you.

4. How can I find summer placements for a 2nd year Physics student?

There are several ways to find summer placements, such as searching online job portals and company websites, networking with professionals and professors, and attending job fairs and career events. Your university's career center may also have resources and opportunities specifically for 2nd year Physics students.

5. Is it necessary to have previous experience for a summer placement?

No, it is not necessary to have previous experience for a summer placement. Many companies and research institutions are looking for students who are eager to learn and have a strong academic background. However, having relevant skills and experience in your field of study can make you a more competitive candidate.

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