Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Graduate school admissions 101


Replies to: Graduate school admissions 101

  • MillancadMillancad Registered User Posts: 5,941 Senior Member
    Sorry to double post, but I have a question!

    I just graduated with a degree in linguistics from a top school that has a STEM focus. For at least the next year I'll be working in finance. I intend to apply this year for PhD programs in linguistics and am wondering if my job could make me look unfocused, given that it's in an unrelated field. Is this sort of 'time off' damaging to applications?
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    I just graduated with a degree in linguistics from a top school that has a STEM focus. For at least the next year I'll be working in finance. I intend to apply this year for PhD programs in linguistics and am wondering if my job could make me look unfocused, given that it's in an unrelated field. Is this sort of 'time off' damaging to applications?

    It could be, potentially, but it probably won't/ It really depends on the department and the field (linguistics isn't my area). In my field, working in finance for 1-2 years wouldn't really damage a potential PhD applicant that much as long as they had some research experience from undergrad and maybe kept up some volunteer research work on the weekends or evenings. I also don't think it would damage you for 1-2 years - if you applied for next fall you won't even have been in the job for a few months when you apply. You don't have to mention it at all, if you don't want to. If you applied in Fall 2015 for Fall 2016 they might be curious about what you were doing in the meantime, but it could easily be explained as taking a job to pay the bills - and you could articulate (if asked in an interview) that the past 2 years has made you even more sure that you really want a career in linguistics research.
    Is it hard to get a career(job,phd) back in the states if I get a master degrees overseas?

    Depends on a lot of factors. Primarily depends on the quality of the master's program abroad, and whether it comes from a well-known school. A master's from Oxford, Cambridge, or LSE won't hinder you; a master's from a virtually unheard of school could potentially. The impact on job-hunting will probably be greater than the impact on PhD admissions.
  • thinktrythinktry Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    Hi, I'm about to become a undergraduate freshman at a UK university.
    I'm doing English Language and Linguistics for my bachelor degree on a full scholarship at a not very well-known university.

    I want to enter a Master program in Linguistics or Music at either the University of Southern California or UCLA. However, I have done some research and could not find much about funding for a Master program. Most of the funding that I found is for a PhD program.

    As an international student, I need a lot of funding for my Master program. Can you guys tell me some common sources of Master's programs' funding (contact professor, scholarship from department...) ?

    Thank you in advance !
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 1,020 Senior Member
    Very few masters courses offer funding.
  • wwsjl23wwsjl23 Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    I'll be a freshman in engineering next year. My school offers a co-op program and I would graduate in 5 years. I want to do research too. Will the co-op help me in grad admissions for a top BioE school?
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,550 Super Moderator
    @wwsjl23 Maybe...depends on the grad program. Grad programs that value professional experience will probably like it. I think that if you want to do the co-op, you should do it. If you don't want to do the co-op, then don't. (In other words, choose based on your own interest, not on whether grad schools will like it.)

    @thinktry First of all, if you are just beginning your freshman year (by now in the middle of first semester) it's way too early to be fixated on a specific degree. You might change your mind. Second of all, if you are an English major, unless you take significant coursework in one of those fields you won't be competitive for an MA in them - certainly not in music. Linguistics...I don't know, but probably not. Graduate school builds upon knowledge acquired in undergrad. If you want an MA in music, you should at least get a minor (but more preferably a major) in music in undergrad and make sure that you get plenty of playing experience (or theory if you want to do theory).

    But with that said, you are very very unlikely to get funding for an MA in music. Same for linguistics, although I think it might be marginally easier than music.
  • nanotechnologynanotechnology Registered User Posts: 2,526 Senior Member
    @wwsjl23‌ - Northeastern, by any chance? I'm a neuroscience major applying for BioE PhD programs and I have done 3 co-ops. 2.5 of these (long story) have been in well-respected academic research labs, so I have had a chance to get a lot of great full-time research experience. If you're planning on a PhD, research co-ops could be a benefit to your application.
  • wwsjl23wwsjl23 Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    University of Pittsburgh, actually. I didn't know that co-ops could be in research labs; I thought they were pretty much just industrial.
  • nanotechnologynanotechnology Registered User Posts: 2,526 Senior Member
    Nope, not at all. In fact, most of my friends (as science majors) have done research co-ops. A lot have worked in academic labs at universities, hospitals, or research institutes, or worked in research divisions in industry.
  • sundae123sundae123 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hey so i completed my Undergraduate from one the most selective universities in pakistan, however my gpa isn't exactly stellar(2.72), I am looking forward to doing my masters in EE or energy systems. I graduated in 2013 and have been working in an ISP ever since, I am planning on giving my GRE's in November, This is a tentative list of the colleges I am planning on applying to:
    1. University of Texas A&M
    2. UCLA
    3. Berkley
    4. Pittsburg State University
    5. Michigan State
    6. University of illinois
    What are my chances of admission in these colleges and should i target some other schools aswell. The cost of attending the institute will effect my decision. Will appreciate any and all help provided.
    Also: will working in an O&G company like schlumberger improve my chances of admission
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    @sundae123 I can't really comment on your chances for admission because -- well, I just don't believe people here can knowledgeably comment on anybody's chances to anywhere! But, I did want to clarify that there are two big, well-known universities in Texas with good engineering programs. One is the University of Texas in Austin and the other is Texas A&M. Number 1 on your list, "University of Texas A&M" looks to be a combination of both schools' names. Just to be clear, those are two different schools. Texas A&M is not part of the University of Texas system.

    Best of luck to you! I have a son that is applying for his MS in engineering as well. :)
  • bennyspacebennyspace Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    edited November 2014
    Hello~ from the west coast here. I need some advice.

    It's been a few years since I graduated and now I would like to get a second master degree. My previous MA was in Edu Psych and had a 3.4 mgpa. Now I want to change careers to School Psych. I contacted my graduate professors, but they turned me down saying it's been a while since I last contacted them they felt they can't speak of anything more than what's on my transcript or I have only taken one class with them they do not know what to say. On the side, I have been doing research for 3 years with some conference presentations and one publication (but I'm last author).

    I was wondering if I can use an undergraduate LOR (from Interfolio) if I can't get any from my graduate professors?

    I also have another dilemma, before the Ed Psych MA, I spent a year at another school's MA program and had a 2.6gpa (took 3 classes and had a C+, B and B- ). Should I explain that in the SOP?

    Thanks in advance.
  • UWChemEUWChemE Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    So I just graduated with a Chemical Engineering / Chemistry double major from UW - Madison.

    My overall GPA was a 3.045 (or so). My Chemistry GPA was a ~3.6.

    During my undergrad, starting Freshman year, I worked in an organic chemistry lab for ~1.5 years, then a chemical engineering lab for a summer (REU program) 3 months. During my junior year I studied abroad and after my junior year I had a summer internship working for a pharmaceutical company.

    I'm applying for an organic chemistry PhD program, but I'm a little bit nervous about my GPA.

    I got the two PIs that I worked under to write me letters of recommendation, as well as my intermediate organic chemistry professor. I think the letters will give a strong impression that I'm ready and willing for graduate level research. Ever since I began undergradute I wanted to conduct research.

    I feel that I have a strong background as far as experience goes, but my grades are really beginning to worry me. (Some other students have already been offered admissions). And I don't know when I will be hearing back.

    I applied to top tier: MIT, Berkeley; mid: UCLA, Columbia; 'lower': Colorado State, UNC Chapel Hill, and UCSD.

    I guess I'm asking for "chancing" as well as some insight into when I will be hearing back. In hindsight I feel that a fall graduation was a bad idea. Now all I can do is apply for jobs and hope to hear back from these schools. (And constantly refresh my email)

    Thanks for any help.
  • bobbydd21bobbydd21 Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    Hey guys, so I have a question for anyone with experience/knowledge with grad school funding, specifically with Stony Brook University. I got accepted into their Applied Math PhD program and am very excited. I also got offered full tuition and about a $22k TA stipend, but ONLY for the first year. The acceptance letter said that, "Future years funding is contingent upon your academic progress and the availability of departmental funding."

    I emailed the graduate director to find out what exactly this means and if "successful" students usually continue to get funding. I was directed to the "Joining a Research Group" section of their website here: http://www.ams.sunys...e/phdrequ.shtml. From what I understand, as long as you are academically succeeding and join a research group (get an advisor) within the first year, most students get funding through an RAship. However, the wording of the section seems confusing and not very straight to the point. Does anyone have any knowledge of a similar situation such as this and if I am understanding this right as far as future funding goes?

    Thank you very much!
  • henryroberthenryrobert Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    what are chances for PhD at ivy level iinstitute in environmental / agriculture engg.
    1. 7.8 /10 cga M Tech . Class topper.
    2. 6 year relevant work experience as Associate Prof in a national university
    3. Few publications, no books , no patents.
    4. Age 41
    5. Ethnicity Asian.
    If I have a couple of years , what can I do to improve my chances.
This discussion has been closed.