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Transferring schools a lot

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  • Thread starter seaofghosts
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  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi everyone!

I have a question: Is it bad to jump around in college a lot? Even if your records are good?

My background: I originally wanted to go into science. I was about to declare an engineering major at my community college (because it was the closest to physics as I could get), but my job gave me an ultimatum -- "quit your classes or lose your job". This was in 2009, so I wasn't about to give away a good job. (This proved to be a really good decision, because about two years later I was promoted to IT and got some HPUX admin and Unix scripting experience). During this time, I finished an AA in History (with honors) because it was the only thing I was remotely interested in that would allow me to do most of my classes at night and online. I graduated May 2012 with my AA.

But this semester, I was able to quit my job (which I didn't like anyway) and go back to school full time, so I chose physics here at UNLV. Next year, I'm faced with a dilemma. I can either move to Washington over the summer with my (extended) family and transfer to another university (which, ultimately, I'd rather do because I would miss them), or stay here and finish out my last two years at UNLV, where I know I like the program and faculty.

So, a detailed version of the question is: I spent a ridiculously long amount of time at the community college getting a history degree (something like... 8 years with extra classes). Transferred to UNLV specifically for physics, and may transfer AGAIN to Portland State. Will that look bad to grad schools? Like I can't make up my mind or that I'm flaky? My grades are good, honor society, IT experience, plan on REUs, etc. Would it be simple enough to just explain my situation once it comes time to apply for grad schools? What about employment? Would they care that I transferred twice, or do they just want to see that I have the degree(s) and experience?

Thanks in advance! :biggrin:
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I have been interviewing programmers for ~12 years and have never seen anyone list all the schools and majors in between on a resume. Granted, almost all are from foreign schools that I wouldn't know from a hole in my head, but I have never, ever, seen anyone list all of their transfers between schools on a resume, nor have I been concerned enough to ask.
 
  • #3
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Personally, I would stay where you are because you're doing well. It also reduces the number transcripts you have to request when applying to grad school. Skipping around makes it tough to determine how good you are and will make it tough to get good recommendation letters from profs if they don't know you well enough.

As you said you made good grades but it took eight years so now you must show them you can accomplish the same feat in two years and get a degree. Another thing to plan on is the GRE for grad school because that gives the profs a means of comparing students from different schools.

Lastly, if you make the final cut in grad school then be aware that profs select students based on how well they can aid the prof in his research. That's why its important to show consistency in your studies as each prof will make a judgement call on it. Its like you're applying for a technical job, the best candidate fits the job the best.
 
  • #4
bcrowell
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You haven't said anything about what school you're planning to go to in Washington. You also haven't said anything about what you want from life after grad school, or whether you intend to get a master's degree or a PhD. These are all crucial issues.
 
  • #5
I mentioned I'd be going to Portland State (it would be a bit of a drive). To be honest, I'm not sure what I intend to do after grad school, but I expect I'll at least go for a master's, and best case scenario a PhD.
 
  • #6
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better to decide now and go for a PhD if thats what you want. Grad schools are much more interested in PhD candidates.
 
  • #7
bcrowell
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I mentioned I'd be going to Portland State (it would be a bit of a drive). To be honest, I'm not sure what I intend to do after grad school, but I expect I'll at least go for a master's, and best case scenario a PhD.
Have you asked yourself why you want to do any of this?
 
  • #8
Yes I have. I'm asking for advice on whether I should transfer schools, not whether I should be in school at all.
 

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