Lab Experience or Courses??

Tina Wambach twambach at
Fri Aug 29 09:02:34 EST 1997

I am an upper year undergraduate student in Plant Genetics. With graduate 
students I have been discussing the question how beneficial (lab) work is
in regard to acceptance to a graduate school (assuming the person's
average and the finances are not the limiting factors). 

Usually their advice is to 'use' at LEAST one semester to obtain such
experience. However, because I know the area of research I would like to
pursue (plant genetic resources or more specific the use of germplasm) and
I do extracurricular readings in the area the courses offered at my
university seem too valuable to me at this point in time as to not focus
on them. I am also someone who performs best when taking a full-time
courseload which does not allow me to work in a lab simultaneously,
therefore a compromise of lab work and courses is not an alternative
(e.g. full-time means for me to have two four-hour and three three-hour
labs per week this semester).  

I have a feeling that many of my 'collegues' at this stage are wondering
about the same question. Maybe you can give us some advice on what exactly
the reasons are for profs to require lab experience (e.g. if I can prove
through in-class activities that I can function in a lab would it still
be a factor?). Or is it simply a means of creating one additional aspect
that helps to decide between students who might otherwise seem to be
equally qualified?                   ...I would appreciate your time!...

Tina Wambach

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