The Great Grad School Thread

Discussion in 'General Chatter' started by Saro, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. latitans

    latitans zounds, scoob

    Thanks all!

    I think I'll drop him a quick email to let him know that I'm working on this type of project, and ask if it would be okay if I could ask him for help with some stuff. The questions would probably be along the lines of "gephy keeps crashing when I try to do this thing, has that ever happened to you?", rather than questions about actual analysis.
  2. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    writing the very first draft of my prelim proposal, more like * constant brain teakettle anxiety noise *
    • Witnessed x 1
  3. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    God, I feel that. My advisor wants me to defend my proposal at the beginning of fall and I'm just screaming inside.
    • Witnessed x 1
  4. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    Okay, question: how does one, like, ask someone to be on your thesis committee?
  5. rats

    rats 21 Bright Forge Shatters The Void

    also, any physics-tangential USA grad school friemds: i'm looking into doing some sort of grad school, do i need to take both the general GRE and the physics GRE or just one or the other?
    bonus points if you have experience with the canadian system cuz i'm heavily considering applying to mcgill and i have no idea how GRE does outside of the US
  6. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    I just emailed with a brief description of a) my project, b) why I thought they would be beneficial to my committee (related work, a broader view, specialty knowledge, etc.), c) an offer to meet and discuss the prospect, and d) a clause about understanding if they were unable/unwilling to serve.
    • Informative x 1
  7. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    At least for biology, the answer was basically "You can, but you don't have to". It's possible that schools you're interested in may have information about that in their application procedures (like some schools have statements about GPAs and stuff, it might recommend taking the regular + subject GRE). Also, I applied to a school in Canada, and just the regular old US GRE scores were good enough for them (although that may vary from school to school).

    Eta because I realize I wasn't very clear: from what I understand, most places want/require you to take the regular GRE, and subject GREs are more optional.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
    • Informative x 1
  8. Lebesgue Integreat

    Lebesgue Integreat Lesbian Intrigue

    I don't know how I managed it but I got into an online masters program and?????????? Holy fuck. I start late this month. Does anyone know if it's possible to aid in research as an online student?
    • Like x 1
  9. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Hey guys, reviving this thread to say: I finally, finally started studying for the GREs. I'm pretty confident in the essay and verbal sections, those are my strengths and when I took the SATs I got nearly full scores so a bit more practice and vocabulary learning and I think I'll be fine there. However, boy, the math sure threw me for a loop right now. I'm basically going to dedicate myself to reviewing practice problems, then review math concepts I am weak in, then more practice problems. Feeling both intimidated, and determined, which isn't a state I usually get in lately, so there's that for a positive (the determined part).

    Still haven't really done much research on what programs to apply to, I kind of just want to do well in the GRE and then spend my time researching good places with a bit more chill because I still don't know what I want to research (beyond All the Tropical Ecology!). But like. I feel surprisingly good about this. Like exercising an old muscle.
    • Like x 4
  10. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    Nice! Good luck! I can say from experience that Lots Of Math Practice helped me a whole bunch, so I think that's a good plan.
    • Like x 1
  11. syntheme

    syntheme Active Member

    I wish I could help there but I was 1) a STEM major 2) one of the last cohorts to do the GRE before they renormed it because all the STEM majors were getting perfect scores on the math section
  12. Alexand

    Alexand Rhymes with &

    Hey uhhh just wondering, does anyone here have any experience getting into grad school with like.................................really bad grades in undergrad? Just like............................terrible grades?

    Like say...getting Cs in a handful of classes and outright failing two. You can retake the failed classes, so they don't factor into the final GPA, but the Cs stay, and obviously on your transcript it indicates that you failed the failed classes the first time you took them. Anyone know how to get into grad school with an academic record like that? Would it help to spend a few years in the workforce or something before applying for grad school? Asking for a friend. >>;
  13. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    I had a 0.0 semester and then flunked out my first go-round at undergrad! If you have a compelling narrative around why some particular thing was shit and why it wouldn't be a problem in your future program, that might do it. Otherwise spending time in the workforce is excellent: it gives you different skills and coping mechanisms going in to grad school.
    • Like x 1
  14. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    Have you looked to see if programs you're interested in have GPA requirements? Not all of mine did; I think maybe 2 had strict cutoffs for GPA, and the others were more like "show us your transcripts and we'll talk". A handful of C's and two failed classes doesn't sound terrible to me? I'm sorry if I'm making light of the situation, but just from what you've said, it doesn't seem as bad as you feel it is? And I think there are programs that wouldn't mind so much seeing that you failed if you tried again and succeeded the second time. That shows perseverance, determination, and hard work, all of which are desirable characteristics for a grad student. A lot of programs also have personal statements or related things that can provide you a place to talk about hardships or issues that you faced during undergrad. In a couple of mine, I talked about how mental health had shaped my undergraduate experience and lead me to dropping out of school for a year.

    Experience in industry or other related work can be beneficial to your application, I know a lot of people in my program who came from that side of things. Gives you all sorts of non-academic skills as well experience in the field, which are very valuable.
    • Like x 1
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  15. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Were those classes in topics directly related to the grad school topic? Like, going into history with bad grades in history classes might be tough, but if you fail an econ class, a history grad program might not care so much.
    • Like x 1
  16. latitans

    latitans zounds, scoob

    Yeah, I think it depends on what field. I’m in the humanities, so grad schools were most interested in my undergrad thesis, my writing sample, my letters of rec, and some other work I had done as an undergrad as a research assistant. They basically just wanted to see if I was well-prepared for work at a graduate level in our field. I think I had a couple of weird marks on my transcripts in science classes? There was at least one that I had to withdraw from late in the semester. And nobody asked me about it.
    • Like x 1
  17. Alexand

    Alexand Rhymes with &

    ...Yeah, I can see how it might depend on the field of graduate study in question. Okay, to be specific, I'll probably be applying to some psychology/cognitive science program, I've failed one class in circuits and electronics, and I...thought I was going to fail my integral calculus class, but it turns out that I got a D+, which is technically a passing grade. (I thought C- and below was failing...but apparently it's just Fs. Since I switched this class to pass/fail status mid-semester, it should just show up on my transcript as a "P" for "pass".)

    Technically, neither of those are psychology classes, but...the whole point of my major is that I'm not taking just psych classes. Like, I do take some psych classes, but I'm not a psych major. As someone who plans to apply to psych graduate programs anyway, I want to sell myself as Similar To A Psych Undergrad, Except That I've Taken Signal Processing Classes - that's what I needed the circuits and electronics for. And getting a D in a basic math class is kind of embarrassing either way...

    The thing is that, like...I don't have any good story for why I did so bad in that math class. It's not like I was struggling this semester with depression or a severe physical illness or a loss in the family or something. I just totally overestimated how prepared I was for the first exam, bombed it, and then didn't recover with the other two exams. I used to be good at math in high school...and this was a math class I'd taken in high school...but my grades still turned out this way. I've got no explanation for that besides just...I'm bad at school. My hope is that I'll become better with practice (growth mindset or whatever), but I have no idea at this point whether I actually will...

    ...One of my academic newsletters recently sent out an email about an open RA position in my field that only requires a bachelor's. I guess I can hope that there'll be a similar position available once I've got my bachelor's, too...or something.
  18. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Hello folks,
    I'm going to practice not panicking at small things, so here is my reasonably and not panic fueled question:

    How did you write your emails to the grad professors you wanted and introduced yourself and your interests? How did you sell yourself, essentially? What are some dos and do nots for this part of the process?
  19. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    I think I fucked that part up egregiously (maybe not, I have no idea), but here are some sites with what I think is pretty solid advice:

    Site 1

    Site 2
    • Informative x 1
  20. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    I got introductions whenever possible. I also tried to make sure to ask at least one concrete question so they'd have something to reply to.

    The head of my research center is offering a really cool class this fall, but it's an undergrad class. I'm a solid A- student, and had a nervous breakdown at the end of the semester last time I had a class with him, so given how profoundly embarrassing it would be to take the class as a grad student and not get an A, I'm considering just auditing it. It's also Disasters in Film, so showing up and never writing anything just sounds rad.

    . . . this was going to be a question about whether I should audit or take it, but I think I've convinced myself to audit.
    • Winner x 1
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