Do schools matter in industry?

Karyn Lynn klynn at STUDENTS.WISC.EDU
Wed Jan 10 12:03:11 EST 1996


Dear Ditas,

Everyone who you will ask for a job will care about WHO you studied under,
what you published, and next where you went.  But you shouldn't worry so
much about it because as long you have decent grades and test scores, the
main thing grad schools are looking for is experience.  A person who has
worked in a lab has shown she can hack it and that she likes it. She is a
safe bet for a grad program with limited spaces that can't afford to waste
resources on someone who will drop out because they end up not liking lab
work.

If you get a research job and work one or two years, this will only
strengthen your application.  Just make sure your job enhances your science
skills (ie don't just wait tables or something), and if at all possible,
get a publication out of it.

I can say all of this because I am a 1st year student who had 5 years
between me and my bachelor's degree when I applied to 10 schools and got
into 9 (Harvard is one program that likes 'em young, fresh and malleable).
I was shocked I got in, and when I told that to the admissions committees
that they said the main thing they liked about me was my lab experience and
the fact that I had "lived a little" and was more mature.

I think a certain number of kids go to grad school because they don't know
what else to do.  A person who has left a paying job to go to grad school
has demonstrated that she actively wants to do it and, so these schools
say, is willing to work a lot harder in her graduate career.

Another plus is that you will have a chance to more specifically determine
what you want to study in grad school, read the appropriate papers, and
write to or meet the professors you'd like to study under.  Having an
"ally" in the department who wants you to come to their lab is a good way
to ensure admission into a grad program.

Well, I hope I've been helpful if not verbose.  Feel free to contact me if
you have any questions.

-Karyn

By the way, depending on which science you study, most schools pay your
tuition and a stipend for living expenses.





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