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Topic: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School  (Read 15521 times)

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Offline dtulmann

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Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« on: February 03, 2007, 04:04:26 PM »
Hi guys,
I am a Chemical Engineering undergrad, passed out in 2006. I have taken a break for a year and have applied for Fall, 2007 (PHD Chemical Engineering). In the interim 12 months, I pilfered away the first 6 (hush) and the other 6 I'd be working on research projects.
Now I'm a little confused and perturbed. Would the universities frown upon the hiatus or will they consider me just as good?
Help me out people!

Offline hmx9123

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2007, 03:25:29 PM »
I don't think any universities are going to care if you took a year off.  If it were 10 years, they might begin to question it, but I think it's common to take a year or so off between undergrad and grad.  I would actually recommend it.  I wish I had.

Offline dtulmann

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2007, 05:14:28 AM »
Hi hmx,
Thanks dude, one more thing: I was wondering - Why would you recommend it?

Offline s

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2007, 08:54:56 PM »
Why do you think that 10 years is too long?

Offline xiankai

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 09:14:26 AM »
Why do you think that 10 years is too long?

your education could have been pretty much obsolete by then, i guess
one learns best by teaching

Offline lemonoman

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 11:09:28 PM »
I was wondering - Why would you recommend it? [taking a year off]

Sometimes people let life pass them by.  If you're the kind of person to immerse yourself in work, and shut off the other parts of your life...then going from undergrad to grad directly would have you devoting some of the best years of your life - when you're young - solely to chemistry.

If you know how to live a balanced lifestyle and can enjoy life in all respects while still researching, I say, "Do whatever you want!"

Offline dfx-

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2007, 02:11:47 PM »
As I would presume that the OP might have made his decision by now, if I could take the thread a bit off topic relating to the title...

What sometimes confuses me on understanding what standard is which..particularly on US-dominated sites are the differences associated with the different schools i.e. the differences between high school/undergrad school/grad school/university/college etc. Is grad school the highest? University? College? Are they all different terms for the same thing/level of knowledge?
BSc(Hons) in Forensic and Environmental Analysis

Offline hmx9123

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2007, 09:09:46 PM »
Hmm.  Since I apparently missed the original poster's reply, I shall answer this belatedly.

If you are very energetic and excited about going to grad school, then perhaps it is right for you to go straight on.  Many people I know, though, including myself, are a little wiped out after undergrad.  I wish that I had taken time off after undergrad because I started grad school exhausted from the push at the end of undergrad.  Even with the summer off, it wasn't enough time for me to relax.  That made the first year of grad school all the harder.  Had I taken enough time off for me to recharge my batteries, then I would have had a better time with everything.  That being said, you need to be careful that you don't get sucked into the void of never returning to finish a degree.

As for the question of why after 10 years you couldn't return, it's true, you could, but the university may look a little harder at the application since there are usually great advances in your field in the meantime.

And, dfx-, here's the breakdown of how things go here in the US:

High School (4 years)
Undergrad (College/University, 4 years, leave with a BA/BS, bachelor's degree)
Grad school (University, MA/MS/Masters, also DA/PhD/Doctorate; years vary by degree type, but typically 2 years for masters, 3 for PhD in chemistry, though they are typically combined now)

A university offers graduate studies; a college by definition does not.  However, you can also get a bachelor's from a university.

Offline english

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2007, 10:20:19 AM »
I just recently pondered the same thing, as I am now on the eve of my 4th undergraduate year.

I think it would be good to take the next year "off" and TA for pay and mainly because I want to do some research with some of my organic professors (currently I am employed as a RA for my physical chemistry professor, though I am wanting to get into organic chemistry).


Of course, it wouldn't leave much room for me to go on "vacation" because most of my childhood friends are off in the military.  Plus I would be kept up in the work. 


But I thoroughly enjoy it.  :)

Offline shifthappens

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2007, 10:19:54 PM »
One of my prof's worked for several years in industry before going back for his PhD. I talked to him about it and he said that past the "shock" of taking exams again and such that he went through the first semester - he felt more comfortable than most of the recent grads he was in school with because of his additional experience. I can't see how taking one year off would hurt, especially if you are doing a bit of research during the break.

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re: Taking a break after Undergraduate before Grad School
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2007, 03:56:17 PM »
I think taking a year off to do research is a great idea, especially if you are switching fields.  It gives you a chance to learn about the field you are switching into, to see if you really like it, to find out where the top professors and programs are, and to find out what areas of the field are most interesting to you.  Also, it is a lot easier to go through the whole grad school application process while not taking classes.   

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