Should I stay in my current research group or move to a new one?

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gradnoob24
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:08 am

Should I stay in my current research group or move to a new one?

Post by gradnoob24 » Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:56 am

So I'm taking a gap year before applying for a physics PhD in the next admissions cycle, and I'm currently doing full-time research at my the lab I worked in as an undergrad (~1.5 years). A grad student from a lab in a different subfield asked me to send him my resume, which led to that lab offering to hire me to do full-time research. I'm having trouble deciding whether staying in my current lab, switching labs, or trying to do part-time at both labs would be best for improving my chances of admission.

The prof from my current lab said he would write me an extremely strong LoR (I did a 1st auth publication in his lab), and I'll be getting a good LoR from one of my physics profs I've had classes with, but I'm struggling to find a relevant third LoR - there aren't really any other profs I've interacted with meaningfully. I would immediately have taken up the new opportunity, but I really enjoy the work I do in my current lab, and would like to stay in the field in grad school. I'd also be leaving the lab short-staffed, which I'd feel bad about.

So would switching labs be worthwhile or would it not affect my chances of admission (also considering I'd have only worked in the new lab for 3 months before applications are due)?

blackhole343
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2022 10:23 pm

Re: Should I stay in my current research group or move to a new one?

Post by blackhole343 » Wed Aug 31, 2022 12:26 pm

gradnoob24 wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 11:56 am
So I'm taking a gap year before applying for a physics PhD in the next admissions cycle, and I'm currently doing full-time research at my the lab I worked in as an undergrad (~1.5 years). A grad student from a lab in a different subfield asked me to send him my resume, which led to that lab offering to hire me to do full-time research. I'm having trouble deciding whether staying in my current lab, switching labs, or trying to do part-time at both labs would be best for improving my chances of admission.

The prof from my current lab said he would write me an extremely strong LoR (I did a 1st auth publication in his lab), and I'll be getting a good LoR from one of my physics profs I've had classes with, but I'm struggling to find a relevant third LoR - there aren't really any other profs I've interacted with meaningfully. I would immediately have taken up the new opportunity, but I really enjoy the work I do in my current lab, and would like to stay in the field in grad school. I'd also be leaving the lab short-staffed, which I'd feel bad about.

So would switching labs be worthwhile or would it not affect my chances of admission (also considering I'd have only worked in the new lab for 3 months before applications are due)?
Did your boss establish any connections/collaborations with other research teams? If yes, try to volunteer to work with those collaborators and try to ask them to write you letters, seem to be a good choice

myfate
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2022 3:21 pm

Re: Should I stay in my current research group or move to a new one?

Post by myfate » Mon Nov 14, 2022 3:49 pm

blackhole343 wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 12:26 pm
Did your boss establish any connections/collaborations with other research teams? If yes, try to volunteer to work with those collaborators and try to ask them to write you letters, seem to be a good choice
Really good advice, I should say the same in other words but just quoted blackhole343's post



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