Field of Science

Some students learn too late

A recent BS graduate wants the Phactor to write a letter of recommendation supporting their application to graduate school. Now this is a good student, a nice person, but our only interaction was in a seminar, so it is only within that limited context, a mere 12 hours of interaction, that my recommendation can be based, and this is not a context that will impress admissions committees. You see boys and girls, graduate school is not just about more classes and grades, and while you may have good enough grades for admission to graduate school from the university's perspective, my colleagues will be sorting through 100 or so applicants looking for 10 or 15 who have evidence of an ability to think and perform academically on a higher level, evidence of an aptitude for independent work and for conducting research. One of the biggest and most frequent undergraduate mistakes is not taking advantage of the opportunities available. One of the real benefits of our university is that you can work with faculty doing real research, and all of you who have any academic aspirations should have taken this opportunity. Our best students have been to scientific meetings, presented their research, and some even get authorship on publications, but now you have graduated, and only now do you choose to speak to me of this aspiration, so my advice comes too late. All is not lost, but now you may have to invest more time in finding an internship situation that will give you an opportunity to show your scholarly stuff. Sorry. You just found out how part of the world works too late.

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