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Offline 408

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2012, 05:01:25 AM »
Most important: research topic and professor.

Offline Jorriss

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2012, 06:30:30 PM »
From what I learn, I believe in general international students face a more competitive situation, due to funding issues. But the good thing is that my undergraduate degree was obtained in the us.

I see that you are going to University of Chicago and actually it is one of the schools that is under my consideration. Somehow I feel that choosing school is not as complex as choosing/evaluating faculties. Ranking of schools shows that where a particular school stands in that field, and I know the ranking is not always and exactly accurate but I would able to have an idea of how good that school is, and from that I would be able to come out with a list of schools that fit me.

However, I am having difficulties on evaluating/judging a particular faculty. People often say that it is important to choose a good professor to work with since you are going to be working with this individual for the next 5-6 years, and I believe choosing the right faculty is more important than choosing the right school. So I was wondering can anyone here give me an insight based on their experience on choosing faculty, or even school.

First thing I would do is look at the research interest and include whoever that their research interest me, then start reading/digesting their recent publications.
For me, I basically just threw a dart at a board choosing Chicago. All the schools I was seriously considering had great faculty - and really, just about anything is interesting if you start working on it.

I certainly do not know who I will be working for yet. I have a few people in mind but I'm going to do a couple quarters of course work before I decide with certainty... I go through moods very quickly, my research advisor will probably just be based on if I want to do stat mech or quantum the month I decide.

Offline zs3889

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 07:35:14 PM »
Most important: research topic and professor.

I certainly do not know who I will be working for yet. I have a few people in mind but I'm going to do a couple quarters of course work before I decide with certainty... I go through moods very quickly, my research advisor will probably just be based on if I want to do stat mech or quantum the month I decide.

Thanks, and how did you figure all the schools you applied to had great faculty? By judging the schools ranking in chemistry program?

I know that in the first 3/4 quarters, a phd student will be doing course work and such, are you going to have to ta undergraduate classes/labs? My guess is no? then will you be receiving stipend/allowance if you were not assigned to ta-ship in the first 3/4 quarters?

Offline Jorriss

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2012, 10:05:01 PM »
Thanks, and how did you figure all the schools you applied to had great faculty? By judging the schools ranking in chemistry program?

I know that in the first 3/4 quarters, a phd student will be doing course work and such, are you going to have to ta undergraduate classes/labs? My guess is no? then will you be receiving stipend/allowance if you were not assigned to ta-ship in the first 3/4 quarters?
I looked at their websites  and read profiles, I met some of them, in some cases professors at my current university told me about people. Different ways.

I have to TA during the first year only (assuming my advisor can give me full funding later).

Offline 408

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2012, 03:19:55 AM »

Thanks, and how did you figure all the schools you applied to had great faculty? By judging the schools ranking in chemistry program?


I worked for free for him for two months as an undergrad, and traveled across an ocean to do it..  Getting no credit for the work, nor financial compensation, then said "I wanna do my PhD with you"  I then never even dealt with admissions directly, I gave paperwork to him and he took care of the rest.

Offline Jorriss

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2012, 05:59:06 PM »

Thanks, and how did you figure all the schools you applied to had great faculty? By judging the schools ranking in chemistry program?


I worked for free for him for two months as an undergrad, and traveled across an ocean to do it..  Getting no credit for the work, nor financial compensation, then said "I wanna do my PhD with you"  I then never even dealt with admissions directly, I gave paperwork to him and he took care of the rest.
That's pretty interesting. What area of chemistry did you go into?

Offline TheUnfocusedOne

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2012, 10:46:05 AM »
Sorry I haven't gotten back to you, I've been backpacking in Yosemite for the past week and a half (gotta live it up!).

I've been working for two years now; 6 months at PerkinElmer where I previously did an internship and 1.5 years at a plastic film manufactoring plant. I always planned on going to grad school, but I had a rough senior year and I let applications get away from me. I was planning on going back right after the PE job, which was more or less an extension on my internship, but when the plastics job came around I decided to work there for a bit and get some new skills.

I'm going back because I really miss fundemental research. I always like the idea of researching to gain a better understanding of a phenomenon rather than for profit as well. This worked out really well for me, since I'm at a school I've always wanted to go to and probably working for a professor I've had a strong interested in for years. I can't be sure I would of been accepted straight from undergrad. Plus they gave me a fellowship! 

One word of advice is to stay on top of GREs and doing your apps. Doing that on top of a full time job can be draining. Get employed as quickly as you can too, you want to show that you've been using your chemistry skills and not letting them get rusty.


Quick $0.02 on some other stuff - There are a few programs that accept students in the winter (MSU has constant rolling admissions I think), but you'll have a better chance at getting in come fall. Rankings are helpful, but in the end of the day you'll want to go to a school that had 2-3 solid faculty members with good funding that are doing research you think you can spend 4-7 years doing.
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Offline zs3889

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2012, 12:08:12 AM »

I worked for free for him for two months as an undergrad, and traveled across an ocean to do it..  Getting no credit for the work, nor financial compensation, then said "I wanna do my PhD with you"  I then never even dealt with admissions directly, I gave paperwork to him and he took care of the rest.

That is sweet! I liked the professor I worked for during my senior year and it would nice to do my PhD with him but I don't see myself staying in this place and this university for the next 5 years.




Sorry I haven't gotten back to you, I've been backpacking in Yosemite for the past week and a half (gotta live it up!).

One word of advice is to stay on top of GREs and doing your apps. Doing that on top of a full time job can be draining. Get employed as quickly as you can too, you want to show that you've been using your chemistry skills and not letting them get rusty.

Quick $0.02 on some other stuff - There are a few programs that accept students in the winter (MSU has constant rolling admissions I think), but you'll have a better chance at getting in come fall. Rankings are helpful, but in the end of the day you'll want to go to a school that had 2-3 solid faculty members with good funding that are doing research you think you can spend 4-7 years doing.

Wow backpacking in yosemite, must have been a pretty awesome trip!

Things that I am worried the most right now are GRE, statement of purpose and writing sample, which are basically the remaining of the application packet that I have to prepare. I just started revising quantitative section last week and it is going fine at the moment but the part I am afraid of the verbal section and I think I am gonna be having some tough time preparing myself for the verbal section. As for statement of purpose and writing sample, did you guys have any guide/template/sample that you used or referred to while you were writing them? I have completely no idea to even start making a draft for each of them.

I don't think I am gonna go for winter/spring admission anymore, better stick with fall admission and now is about time to start my application process. You mentioned that faculty members with good funding, how do you figure? Would this information be in their lab websites?

Offline Jorriss

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2012, 11:18:10 AM »


Things that I am worried the most right now are GRE, statement of purpose and writing sample, which are basically the remaining of the application packet that I have to prepare. I just started revising quantitative section last week and it is going fine at the moment but the part I am afraid of the verbal section and I think I am gonna be having some tough time preparing myself for the verbal section. As for statement of purpose and writing sample, did you guys have any guide/template/sample that you used or referred to while you were writing them? I have completely no idea to even start making a draft for each of them.

I don't think I am gonna go for winter/spring admission anymore, better stick with fall admission and now is about time to start my application process. You mentioned that faculty members with good funding, how do you figure? Would this information be in their lab websites?
Don't stress about the GRE too much, the regular GRE especially, is not that important.

And I did not use a template or anything for my personal statement. The personal statement is a chance to tell the admission committee anything you want, so I did just that. I just wrote what I wanted them to know about me and why I wanted to go to graduate school.

I would probably recommend doing that first. Ignore the quality of the writing, sentence structure and any nerves you have and just write a couple pages about what you want a committee to know about you.

Offline Vivielle

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2012, 03:22:55 PM »
Long time lurker, first time poster here.

So, any advice for the Chem GRE? I will be taking it this fall, and applying to grad schools for Fall 2013. Are there any decent prep books out there?


Thanks!

-Vivielle

(Sorry if prep for the Chem GRE has been discussed to death already.)

Offline TheUnfocusedOne

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2012, 06:24:55 PM »
Don't stress about the GRE too much, the regular GRE especially, is not that important.

And I did not use a template or anything for my personal statement. The personal statement is a chance to tell the admission committee anything you want, so I did just that. I just wrote what I wanted them to know about me and why I wanted to go to graduate school.

I would probably recommend doing that first. Ignore the quality of the writing, sentence structure and any nerves you have and just write a couple pages about what you want a committee to know about you.

Thats not a bad idea. I think my statment was the strongest part of my application, but I worked on it for months before hand. It's really meant to give them a good view of what you have to offer.

So, any advice for the Chem GRE? I will be taking it this fall, and applying to grad schools for Fall 2013. Are there any decent prep books out there?

There really are no good Chem GRE prep books tbh. I just took it last fall, unless something good came out since then. Really the test book they send you is the only thing you get, but go light studying it. The types of questions will be close, but the subjects covered will be much different I'd say just review pretty much everything from your undergraduate, but that only worked sorta well for me.
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Offline Jorriss

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2012, 06:30:24 PM »
Are there any decent prep books out there?
From what I have seen, nope. They all suck.

Study your general chemistry and organic chemistry books really well. Know your lab techniques. Know the basic p chem formulas and the know point groups.

Offline Vivielle

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2012, 05:27:43 PM »
Thanks for replying about the chem GRE.


Study your general chemistry and organic chemistry books really well. Know your lab techniques. Know the basic p chem formulas and the know point groups.

Jorriss- what are "the know point groups"? I've never heard of those before, although if that's a topic from advanced inorganic I've yet to take that class.


Offline Jorriss

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2012, 09:09:13 PM »
Thanks for replying about the chem GRE.


Study your general chemistry and organic chemistry books really well. Know your lab techniques. Know the basic p chem formulas and the know point groups.

Jorriss- what are "the know point groups"? I've never heard of those before, although if that's a topic from advanced inorganic I've yet to take that class.


Point groups are a way of classifying the symmetry of molecules. Generally, in inorganic chemistry you learn group theory applied to chemical problems and part of that is learning point groups.

Group Theory is a lot to learn but point groups dont take that long.

Offline fledarmus

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Re: New Grad Students
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2012, 08:48:45 AM »
Thanks for replying about the chem GRE.


Study your general chemistry and organic chemistry books really well. Know your lab techniques. Know the basic p chem formulas and the know point groups.

Jorriss- what are "the know point groups"? I've never heard of those before, although if that's a topic from advanced inorganic I've yet to take that class.


My guess is that "Know the basic p chem formulas and the know point groups" was intended to read either "Know the basic p chem formulas and know the point groups" or "Know the basic p chem formulas and the known point groups". I've never heard of "the know point groups" either.
 


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