Decent "Slingshot" Graduate Schools?

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Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:26 pm

Decent "Slingshot" Graduate Schools?

Post by Commodore » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:08 pm

Hey everyone,

This seems to be the common topic of this forum, but I'll try to be more specific in my questioning. I am going to graduate from Vanderbilt this next spring with a major in Physics and a minor in Astronomy. My GPA will be average - about a 3.0 - and my major GPA is a couple of decimal points lower, around 2.7 or 2.8 (although my minor GPA is around 3.4 or 3.5).

I'm looking to go to graduate school, with the eventual goal of getting a Ph.D. I've talked to a professor of mine who works with a lot of graduate students, and he's said that my best bet of going to a good school (top 10ish) for a doctorate degree is to apply to a lower school for a Master's Program, do some good work, and then "slingshot" (to use his highly technical terminology) into a higher-ranked institution.

From what I've read, this seems to be the advice of most everyone here. However, I'm having trouble determining exactly which "slingshot" schools to apply to. Part of this is because I don't yet know where I want to end up, but hopefully that will materialize as I narrow my possibilities.

I've done some research, mostly around electrolysis using diamond cathodes. I plan to work with a new professor about the uses of graphene next semester, as well as with an astronomy teacher whose focus is on black holes and large-scale galactic formation. I think my eventual focus would be theoretical, or perhaps on renewable energy sources if I must pick something practical. ;) I also think I would enjoy astronomy, though, so I'd like to keep that option as well.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

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Re: Decent "Slingshot" Graduate Schools?

Post by pqortic » Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:32 pm

OK, whats your question?

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Re: Decent "Slingshot" Graduate Schools?

Post by InquilineKea » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:21 am

Hm, considering slingshot schools, what are your chances of getting funding in master's programs? Master's programs have the notorious reputation of being "cash cows" for universities. Or are you willing to go into debt for them?

I'm thinking of an alternative choice, since my parents refuse to pay for a master's degree. I'll try to take a gap year or two to do research, and then possibly try to become a staff member at my university (this is much harder and requires funding, however, and I'm quite willing to work on minimum wage but no one even offers anything academic at the minimum wage). If I become staff, I could take 1-2 postbac courses per quarter.

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