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  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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Post by dizie » Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:58 pm

Hey people,

I'm a new face but I've been wandering the forums for several months now. I've got a particular question that'd I'd really appreciate your help on.

Basically, I've still got some time until graduation. Plenty of time to get things taken care of, get research experience, and do all the stuff that makes one a competitive graduate prospect. I'm looking to go into CME, so naturally, I've begun aligning my decisions and choices accordingly. My question, however, centers on a couple of options in research, and I'm wondering which would be the most beneficial or most appreciated in the graduate school realm. Assume that I wouldn't be taking any REUs or studying at another university and that my school is nothing-special-run-of-the-mill average in rankings of Physics, which of the following would be most suitable:

A) A couple of years in only CME research.
i. Those couple of years are with one particular faculty member.
ii. I spend time doing research with 2 or 3 different faculty members.
B) A couple of years including CME and other experimental research.
i. Same as above.
ii. Same as above.
C) A couple of years including CME and CMT research.
i. " " "
ii. " " "
D) A couple of years including CME and theory research in general.
i. " " "
ii. " " "

So, as you see, it's mainly a question of whether or not it would be better to research only experimental or both experimental AND theory and if it’s a good idea to work for different professors. Again, I appreciate any advice you can offer.

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Re: Research

Post by noojens » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:33 am

To maximize your grad school prospects:

Go with option A) i. Any research is good; research in your field is better; extended research with one mentor is better still, for two reasons. First, it'll provide you with an excellent recommender who knows you and your research abilities and can write intelligently about them. Second, if you work hard and play your cards right, it'll present you with the opportunity to coauthor a paper or two - and grad schools love to see publications.

Best of luck!

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Re: Research

Post by odin » Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:45 pm

I have an additional question on this topic. I will be working with a professors group starting this year. Should I spend the summer with another person in a slightly different type of research? While I may get a strong rec from that one professor, we need 3 for grad school and I can't imagine where to get the other 2.

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Re: Research

Post by dlenmn » Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:50 pm

I'm all for doing research in different areas so that you get a flavor for what's going on -- it makes it easier to find out what really interests you. That said, it's definitely good to stay in one place for a while so that you really know what's going on, and so that the prof gets to know you.

@ Odin

For that reason, if you're going to be spending a long time in that group anyway, I say go for the different research for the summer. Many people (myself included) get recs from profs worked for during a summer.

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