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What looks better for grad school admissions?
Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:39 am
An independent research paper or an REU? I plan on doing independent research in astrophysics and the research published. I didn't apply to an REU since I believed that I had no chance of getting accepted to one as a freshman.
I'm looking to go to Caltech, Princeton, or MIT for grad school in astrophysics.
Re: What looks better for grad school admissions?
Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:27 am
They're both great, but getting a paper published should definitely be your priority (published work is especially important at the top-tier schools you mentioned - I speak from experience!). That being said, you're only a freshman, so you certainly have time to do both (the ideal scenario) if you push yourself.
(For what it's worth, I got into Caltech this cycle with one REU but no papers (yet) - so the other way around can still get it done. You have plenty of time, so don't stress too much about it right now.)