Jump to content

What do you wish you'd known?


Recommended Posts

I've been asked to give a talk (tomorrow! short notice!) to the junior chemistry majors about applying to graduate school.

I thought I'd ask you all: what do you wish you'd known going into the process?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

the size of a department/program that one is interested in; statistics from schools will be very helpful (at least for me) to determine if a school is worth a shot or not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i consulted a lot of people about this process, so i can't think of anything i'd do differently in general. i regret doing research in chemical engineering, i wish i had started in the chem dept from the start, but that's specific to my situation.

two pieces of info that i think everyone should look into are:

1) retention - do most students finish? i will put plenty of pressure on myself in grad school but don't want any chopping blocks in the first year.

2) research interests - don't apply to top schools for the namesake, this isn't undergrad. granted, many top programs will likely have research you find interesting, but be very thorough and honest in finding departments that have multiple research groups whose work matches the interests of the applicant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't apply anywhere you don't see yourself attending. Sure, it's important to be realistic about where you can get in and have some "safety schools", but a PhD is longer and more intense than undergrad. You don't want to be stuck somewhere you'll hate. It's better to take a year off to do some research to strengthen your application and reapply to the top schools you really want to attend than to commit to 5+ years somewhere you don't want to be.

I wasted a lot of time and money applying to schools in smaller towns because they fit my research well and I felt picky only applying to schools in big cities. But if I'd actually attended any of those schools I would have been miserable, even if the programs were a good fit. Smaller details like location may not be a big factor for some people, but if they are a factor for you, don't discount them,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

1. Choose your advisor wisely. This I think becomes the most important in the end.

2. Undergrad research and graduate research are two completely different things.

3. Don't jump into it unless you have a clear idea of why you're going and what it's going to be like. Too many grad students become really jaded really fast because it wasn't what they were expecting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.