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Archive for November 19th, 2008

 

Fireworks are needed for every holiday.

Fireworks are needed for every holiday.

Today I met with a Teach for America recruiter to talk about the program. After half an hour he convinced me to apply to the program. He argued that if it turns out that it will not work out for me then I will find out in the interview parts of the application so I should then fill out the initial application.

This worked for me but he sealed the deal when he said that there are no letters of recommendation required.

I know that at least one of the Universities I am applying to allow deferment of acceptance for Teach for America, it also happens to be the university I want to get into the most. So my ideal situation now is to get into both this university and Teach for America. 

I loved participating in the Chemistry Outreach program at UCSB as it had a direct effect in inspiring fifth graders to pursue science. I can imagine doing the same thing on a more in depth level, I personally never had an inspirational physics teacher prior to college. I mean I had a good teacher who taught us and made it fun, but if that was my only exposure to physics I would never have thought of majoring in physics.

Now I get another application to fill out between now and the end of the year, but no letters of recommendations for this one.

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A majestic creature standing tall on his perch.

A majestic creature standing tall on his perch.

I feel that my life right now could be summarized through this comic.

Contacting professors has always seemed like a hard thing to do for me. It is not so much what to ask but rather how to approach the e-mail. My first consideration is to the fact that I am someone they have never met e-mailing them out of nowhere. I should mention I am referring to e-mailing professors are other universities to ask about their research. 

Sometimes the e-mails are to get your foot in the door so to speak, to be able to have your name recognized when they are sifting through mounds of graduate applications (I do hope they organize them by mounding). But I have found that asking about research really helps learn more about what is offered at the school and what is available for me as a new graduate student.

An example: I was really interested in the University of Washington’s Space Propulsion Research so I e-mailed the lead investigator about it. Turns out that they currently do not have funding for the project so the current graduate students are getting by on TA’ships more then research. This let me know that I should look at other opportunities at the school to see if I still want to go there (incidentally I still do).

Nevertheless it is awkward. Coming up soon I need to ask for letters of recommendation, always awkward if they are coming from a professor who you are not in at least weekly contact with (like a class).

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