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Too little too late? What are my chances with REUs and grad school in general?

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:06 pm
by brnkh
Come the nearest fall quarter I will be a senior. I have a bad GPA (3.1) from UC Davis and have very little research experience. I'm currently working with a professor on 2 small projects, I don't know if either will be published and have 0 published prior research. I missed the deadline for applying to REUs for summer 2019 and now I can't find any for a graduating senior for 2020. After having done some research into graduate schools it looks like research is the biggest influence on whether or not a school will like you. I was initially planning on going on a trip for my graduating summer, but after hearing all of this, I am looking for more research to beef up my flimsy CV. Where are some good places I can look for research as a graduating senior.

Being that I have done almost no research, is it still possible for me to get into any good or even pretty good schools? I got very good GRE and Physics GRE scores.

If not, it may be possible for me to add a few classes to 2021 so that I would not be a graduating senior in order to apply to those REUs. Would this be wise?

Re: Too little too late? What are my chances with REUs and grad school in general?

Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:11 am
by Nishikata
Not sure how it works in the US, but shouldn't a graduating senior be working on his/her undergraduate thesis project in the senior year?
That and the two small projects you have will count as research experience. Having publications give an edge, but those three are research experience nonetheless.

About the two small projects, my advice is to speak up with your professor, ask whether the small projects can be pushed to a publication to a small journal or to be presented in a conference (hence published as the conference proceedings). In a way, explore if those can be materialized to something that brings more value to your application. If your professor agrees, spending your time on improving these small projects towards publication might be a better use of your final year than starting a new project.

Adding an extra year costs money, and I don't recommend it if you aren't already in a solid route towards publication.