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Will taking a gap year during my degree hurt much?

  1. Aug 13, 2012 #1
    Hi,

    I'm going into my junior year and I was thinking of taking a gap year to do something entirely different than Physics.

    Do grad schools look down on people who took a gap year during the progress of their degree? Will they require you to explain what happened during that year?

    Thanks! :smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2012 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Who knows? You are asking us to read the committee's mind. It's probably wise to explain it so they don't jump to conclusions like "prison".
     
  4. Aug 13, 2012 #3
    Or maybe put it this way, have you ever met someone that did so and was still able of going on to grad school?
     
  5. Aug 14, 2012 #4
    Some of the members of this board were or are committee members. It's a fair question to ask of them.
     
  6. Aug 14, 2012 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, but there's no way to get in the head of any particular committee member. Especially if the OP doesn't say what the gap year will be spent on.
     
  7. Aug 14, 2012 #6

    Choppy

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    In general I don't think taking a year off will affect your chances of admission (negative or positive) all that much. Even if you're travelling, or working to save some money, or volunteering, or doing a military tour, it's all fine. Most people are at a great, independent stage of their lives once they finish undergrad and it's a good idea to take advantage fo that. Sometimes they can also use that time to make sure that graduate school is really the right path for themselves.

    Taking more than about 2 years off though, particularly without doing anything relevant in the field, may bring up some concerns about "rust." Lots of people get into graduate school with large gaps, some even greater than 10 years. So even that isn't an insurmountable obstacle.

    People will likely be interested in what you've done with your "off" time though, so it's a good idea to explain it in your personal statement, for example.
     
  8. Aug 14, 2012 #7
    I was planning to go and try med school for a year to see whether it's my thing and also because of the insecurity of a career in Physics...
    But in case I decide that I really can't live without Physics, then I'll come back to it...just wanted to make sure this is still going to be an option..

    Is changing subjects back and forth a big no-no? (lack of dedication?)
    Thanks :smile:
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
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