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Offline phillyj

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Grad school suggestions
« on: October 01, 2011, 01:22:54 PM »
Well, I got a sub-3.0 gpa (2.9 in Chem)and I want to get my Masters in Chem so I can get a PhD later. I found a couple that I will apply for. I'm looking for anything in the Spring now. If nothing works out, I'll try fall semester later.

I'm going to apply to

PA: Villanova, Lehigh U.
NJ: Seton Hall U, Fairleigh Dickinson U, Rutgers
TX: Baylor U, Sam Houston State U.

Any other suggestions?  Yeah, TX is far out but I thought I might try them. Which states that I should look into? There's so much data to look through.

Offline Doc Oc

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2011, 05:50:34 PM »
Some things you should consider:

1) A sub-3.0 GPA doesn't bar you from Ph.D programs, but it does bar you from the top tier ones.  That being said, some good research experience and a real good GRE score will compensate for some of your GPA.

2) I'm guessing your plan is to get a MS in chem to increase your GPA, then apply to a better school for your Ph.D.  If this is your sole reason for doing a Master's, I suppose I can understand.  Just be aware that the first 2 years of a Ph.D program are identical to a Master's program, and that once you have your MS you don't get to just bypass this requirement at your next school.  You start back at the bottom with everyone else.  If any of the schools you listed are ones that you'd be happy getting a Ph.D at, then just apply to the Ph.D program there.

3) Go to the best school you can.  It'll help when you're looking for jobs.  Ultimately though, if you get a Ph.D at a middle of the road school and then do a great postdoc at an awesome school, it won't matter as much.

4) I don't know of any schools that have rolling admission and allow students to start in the spring.  Just FYI, if those programs were available somewhere, I'd guess that you're running late or are already too late to apply.  The deadline for Fall 2012 programs are going to be due in Nov/Dec, so you're already approaching that deadline.

Good luck.

Offline phillyj

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2011, 07:50:05 PM »
hmm, I can't find a job in my area now and I don't want to waste the spring semester. Should I try to be a non-matriculated student and see if I can get into a fall PhD program?

Yeah, the ones I posted above have Spring Programs

Offline Doc Oc

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 01:34:39 PM »
So are you going to grad school just because you think you can't get a job with a BS?  I can tell you with certainty that isn't true, the market for all BS level candidates is very very bad so it's extremely difficult.  It's not better for Ph.Ds though, it's worse, so think about that before going to school assuming it'll make your job prospects better.

I checked some of the programs you mentioned and the deadline for Spring appears to be Nov 1.  Are you going to be ready?  Have you taken the GRE?  Are you preparing personal statements?  Do you have your 3 recommendations lined up?  These applications are expensive, are you able to pay for all of them?

Sounds like you have a busy month ahead.

Offline phillyj

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 07:30:04 PM »
Yeah, I wanted to work for 2 years and then go back to school but I can't find anything, not even entry level jobs. I got loans that need to be paid and going back to school will defer it.

I'm not sure. I'll keep applying to jobs and apply for a few schools. If I get in, I'll go. I'm in a nasty situation. I guess we all are.

Offline Doc Oc

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2011, 11:20:33 PM »
I know the job market sucks, I wish I didn't have so much personal experience with that.  I also understand the whole loans thing, but I don't know if hiding out in school is a good strategy to avoid them, eventually you'll need to get a job.  An MS will help make you a bit more marketable and maybe command a bit more cash, but if your only reason for going is to avoid paying your loans I'd really give that some good hard thought.  Grad school is VERY hard, and if you're just going as a last resort you're not only going to have a hard time, you're going to be unhappy.  Nothing worse than being unhappy and underachieving because you aren't motivated to do something.

Have you looked into lab tech/research associate positions at local universities?  Or maybe even a stockroom manager at a local community college?

Offline zs3889

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 10:26:16 PM »
So are you going to grad school just because you think you can't get a job with a BS?  I can tell you with certainty that isn't true, the market for all BS level candidates is very very bad so it's extremely difficult.  It's not better for Ph.Ds though, it's worse, so think about that before going to school assuming it'll make your job prospects better.


Would you mind clarifying the statement you just made here?

How can having a Ph.D worse than a BS in term of job searching? I am finishing my undergrad in chemistry next May and at the moment I am considering a job or a Ph.D after my graduation.

By the way, is there any guide/suggestion on looking/applying for a Ph.D program, that I can look it up online?


Thanks

Offline Doc Oc

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Re: Grad school suggestions
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2011, 07:19:03 PM »
You can Google "Ph.D chemist unemployment" to see the carnage.  If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense for BS jobs to be more plentiful.  In every setting, whether at a university or a pharmaceutical company, there's one Ph.D leader who guides/directs several others non-Ph.Ds.  The Ph.D gives you some flexibility to strike out into new areas or qualify you for the very highest tier positions, but your opportunities are not better.  Not by a long shot.

To get you started, take a look at this article.  Note that it was written 10 years ago, so the squeeze on chemist jobs isn't something that popped up when the economy bottomed out.  It's been this way for a long time, and the economy going sour has made things much worse.  Table 2 says it all, look at how many chemists take on postdocs because there just aren't jobs out there.

www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/winter/art03.pdf

That's not to say that getting a Ph.D in chemistry is a waste of time, but if you think it'll make it easy for you to get a job you're mistaken.

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