# Colleges, Graduate Schools, Post Doc studies

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Does it really matter if you go to the greatest University or not. Not like I don't want to go to a good U but the prices seem a bit outrageos.

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Betweens grants, loans, and scholarships... private schools aren't that expensive.

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Originally posted by fafalone

Betweens grants, loans, and scholarships... private schools aren't that expensive.

I would very much like to stay out of debt as much as I can and avoid any kind of loans.

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well that's kinda hard to do. a friend of mine at grad school at Berkeley says that pretty much everyone there in his dept has loans. and Med school, forget about it.

but especially for undergrad there are plenty of scholarships out there. you just have to look for them, be resourceful and whatnot.

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Originally posted by spacemanspiff

well that's kinda hard to do. a friend of mine at grad school at Berkeley says that pretty much everyone there in his dept has loans. and Med school, forget about it.

but especially for undergrad there are plenty of scholarships out there. you just have to look for them, be resourceful and whatnot.

I really want to get scholarships. But it seems impossible to get. You need like 98% in all subjects.

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Academics have little to do with most scholarships. In recent times, financial need supercedes academics for a great many scholarships.

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I recently graduated with a BS in Marine Science from a very "hands-on", small school and am planning on spending a few years in the workforce as a scientist operating hydrographic equipment. After these few years, I am planning on going to grad school for either a masters or a phd or both. One problem I have found is that there is a grand total of 3 Universities in the US & Canada that have hydrographic MSs and PhDs (Univ.New Hampshire, Univ. New Brunswick, Univ. Southern Mississippi). Should I pursue this focused a plan for a grad school? Would it be smarter to go directly for a PhD when I do return (or at least attempt to return) to academia? Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks,

Jeremy

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Would it be smarter to go directly for a PhD when I do return (or at least attempt to return) to academia?

I took a break between undergrad and grad school. At first I was just going to get my MS, but my two best friends (both were in grad school) convinced me that I was not likely to go back to school yet again, so if I was going to go for a PhD I should do it all in one shot, which is what I ended up doing.

In retrospect, they were right, and I'm glad I took their advice. It's hard enough being an impoverished and overworked grad student once; it would be really hard to readjust one's life to do it twice.

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Thanks Swansont, another question I have is that I have heard it is much tougher to get into the PhD programs directly then through Ms first then PhD. Would a sub 3.0 gpa make this unattainable without shelling out big bucks in loans? (I have heard that with a sub 3 you are denied first dibs at teacher and research assistantships even if your major advisor at the grad school really wants you to attend.

Thanks,

Jeremy

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Thanks Swansont, another question I have is that I have heard it is much tougher to get into the PhD programs directly then through Ms first then PhD.
I'm not Swansont, but I hope you don't mind my input. Also, all of my suggestions are based on my experience from universities in the US.

From my consultations with professors before entering graduate school, I found out that Masters programs generally have much looser entry requirements than Ph.D. programs (In the sciences, at least. I've not researched graduate programs in the Arts). For the most part, you can enter a Master's program, and go to a Ph.D. after you finish, but it's not advisable to do so unless you are not able to be admitted to the Ph.D. program. The primary reason for this is because the classroom portion of the Ph.D. (as opposed to the thesis portion) usually satisfies almost all of the coursework one would have completed for a Master's degree. However, the same stringent admission requirements for a Ph.D. will be applied to your Master's coursework, so if you need to pick up your grades, doing a Master's first will give you an opportunity to shine, so long as you can get admitted to the program.

Would a sub 3.0 gpa make this unattainable without shelling out big bucks in loans?
It depends. If your GPA for classes in your major is above 3.0, but your overall (i.e. including liberal education electives) GPA is lower, then you don't have much to worry about. Otherwise, you're going to have a hard time getting admitted unless your recommendations are very good. Remember, the best recommendations you can get are from professors in the department you wish to study, e.g., if you're going for Math, only get recommendations from Math professors.

Also, an important note on recommendations. I suggest you waive your right to see them, since the reviewers of your application tend to lend more credence to these recommendations. Why? If you can see them, the professors 'have to write something nice'.

(I have heard that with a sub 3 you are denied first dibs at teacher and research assistantships even if your major advisor at the grad school really wants you to attend.)

Professors tend to take on multiple students' date=' so there really isn't a 'first dibs' process as it were. You tend to talk to your intended advisor directly and make your case, as opposed to having it dictated via some committee. Also, the advisor really doesn't do much until you've finished the classsroom portion of a Ph.D., aside from possibly advising you on what classes to take. Thus, if you [i']really[/i] need to, you can delay choosing an advisor until you've nearly finished your coursework, but I don't suggest that you follow such a course of action.

If the professor you wish to study under wants you to attend, and you have a decent application, (i.e. you show some promise, perhaps your freshman and sophomore grades were poor, but your subsequent grades were stellar) then you won't have much trouble getting in, unless the professor doesn't have tenure, or something in that vein.

Regarding funding, I'm sorry to say this, but if you don't have at least a 3.0 GPA in the classes in your major, your chances of being funded via a fellowship, Teaching Assistantship, or Research Assistantship, are slim to none.

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Thanks, any input is wanted of course, my intent was not to only ask one person. OK, well a lot of that is more confirmation of what I had thought, which is fine. My gpa was irrecoverably hurt by freshman and sophmore years (science classes) and then I returned from a semester working aboard a research vessel and had near 3.0 semesters ever since. At one of the universities I am planning on applying to the professor who I would be working/studying under has known me for a couple of years now, initially I was an REU intern and then I worked for him last summer, so I think he would like me to study under him which can't hurt. The benefits of going ot the school I went to is that most or all of the marine science faculty would be willing (I am almost positive) to give me a recommendation (and I would want it to be sealed even without the input just given). Funding is not an immediate problem as I really want to go to work initially and then school after a few years, so I am not going to stress out about that at this point.

Thanks all,

Jeremy

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Thanks Swansont' date=' another question I have is that I have heard it is much tougher to get into the PhD programs directly then through Ms first then PhD. Would a sub 3.0 gpa make this unattainable without shelling out big bucks in loans? (I have heard that with a sub 3 you are denied first dibs at teacher and research assistantships even if your major advisor at the grad school really wants you to attend.

Thanks,

Jeremy[/quote']

I can't really say for sure, since I've never been on the faculty side of things for such decisions. I originally only applied for and was accepted for the MS program; getting into the the PhD program only took a signature or two on a form. But that's in part a reflection of the attitude of the department head (he didn't see a need for there to be a separation of the programs) and partly because I was doing well in my classes.

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One piece of advice that I can give for students in high school looking into colleges is that the first and most important thing to look at is price. It doesn't matter if some super elite hard to get into school accepts you if you can't afford the tuition. Just because you go to an expensive school does NOT mean that you will get a high paying job. If you risk your financial freedom for four years at a VERY expensive school only to get out into the job market and not find the high paying job you're looking for, you'll put a lot of extra stress and financial burden on yourself. Take me as an example. Going through high school I really wanted to attend Connecticut College which is a very small, VERY difficult to get into private school. They have a great chemistry program there and I just loved everything about it. My 'backup' was the University of Connecticut. Everybody I went to high school with was going there, and frankly I didn't want to go someplace that everyone can get into. Even though Conn College was outrageously expensive, I thought that I could handle the price with some help from my parents.

Well, my parents didn't help me out one iota and when Conn College accepted me, I immediately said 'Yes' without thinking of the financial aspects. After one year and about $30,000 worth of loans I had to transfer as I could not afford any more years. Meanwhile, had I swallowed my pride and gone to UCONN it would have cost me a total of about$2,500 per year thanks to the bevy of scholarships they were offering. Chances are, I would have wound up with a much better job than I have now and would not have a massive amount of debt which I am STILL paying off.

So when deciding on a school, make sure you can afford all 4 years of the school. There's nothing worse than having a high profile degree and no place to display it since you're too poor too afford a place to live.

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My 2c: don't do a PhD unless you are genuinely interested in the subject and will have fun while doing the PhD. Don't do it solely to get a research job in the area or if you want to make money. I think the money seems to tail off at a masters, so if you want to make money, do an MBA.

Imagine this situation. You do a PhD for say 5 years, complete it, write up and have a successfull PhD exam, only to be told that through a technicality (you hadn't signed some form at matriculation or something) that you won't get the PhD. Would the 5 years have been a waste or was it still worth it. Only do the PhD if it would have been still worth it for you.

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My 2c: don't do a PhD unless you are genuinely interested in the subject and will have fun while doing the PhD. Don't do it solely to get a research job in the area or if you want to make money. I think the money seems to tail off at a masters, so if you want to make money, do an MBA.

I have been under the (assumedly correct) notion for most of the 5 years it took to finish my BS in Marine Science that in order to get the research type positions or anything more then a technicians job (either in a windowless lab or at sea) you need a MS or PhD, but that many universities do not promote the MS program inlieu of PhDs now because in order to get a professorship or equivalent you need the doctorate. My interest is in hydrography, a relativeley small niche inide oceanography, though I am not sre yet if I am ready to take the plunge annd go to grad school for specifically hydrography or marine geology/oceanography instead.

Currenty I am working as an abovementioned technician aboard a vessel offshore surveying the expansive New Jersey sandy (and thereby boring) seabed, and am going back to sea on Sunday.

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to get the research type positions or anything more then a technicians job (either in a windowless lab or at sea) you need a MS or PhD, but that many universities do not promote the MS program inlieu of PhDs now because in order to get a professorship or equivalent you need the doctorate.
That's my experience as well. At my university (USF) I don't think I had any science professors that weren't PhDs. I had a couple of T.A.s who were finishing up their PhD. They pushed their PhD progrma hard. I don't think I ever met any M.S. students in my time there.

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Well, yes, in my line of work you need a PhD and 10 years of postdocs to get a professorship. So that is 10 years with temp jobs (after your PhD!) on crap pay, only to get a permanent job with crap pay. So if you are not doing it for fun, you need your head examined.

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Well, yes, in my line of work you need a PhD and 10 years of postdocs to get a professorship. So that is 10 years with temp jobs (after your PhD!) on crap pay, only to get a permanent job with crap pay. So if you are not doing it for fun, you need your head examined.

Right. You don't get a PhD in physics and work in academia or for the government for the money. You do it because the work is interesting.

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Mmmmmmmm............. Yummy Theoretical Physics. MMMMMMMMM Good.....

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