ScienceCareers, in Science, gave me useful quick guidance about graduate schools and postdocs. Their information shed light on various aspects of the issue. Here are some highlights and links from the magazine so please read the original articles since they are open articles.
Science Careers (keys “Graduate school”) Here you see the entries about graduate schools.
“even at its best, graduate school can be a supremely unnerving experience. And at its worst, the pressure can kill you.”
“By the time you finish a Ph.D., you will be several years older and drenched in blood, sweat, and tears. Will it have been worth it?”
The Right Match
An Interest in Interests
Financially and Geographically Speaking
Strategies for Sleuthing a School
…a current student
- What do you see as the strengths of the program?
- What do you see as the weaknesses of the program?
- How accessible are the program faculty?
- What are the research facilities like—does there seem to be adequate funding, supplies, and equipment?
- If you had it to do over, would you select this graduate school again? Why? Why not?
- What are the surroundings of the school campus like? Are there leisure activities, good housing, and other amenities?
- What is campus life like—do you have an opportunity to become involved and/or take on leadership roles?
- Do you feel that there is an adequate level of financial and academic support to complete your studies?
- How competitive and difficult are the academic standards here?
- Is there anyone else I might talk to who could help provide an accurate picture of the program?
… the faculty
- What are the major strengths of this program?
- What are potential weaknesses of the program?
- How would you describe the faculty?
- Are the classes team-taught or taught by one individual?
- How would you describe the academic environment here compared with other schools?
- What attributes does a graduate student need to be successful at this school/in this program?
- Do you see any common characteristics in students who have quit their doctoral degree programs here—if so, what were they?
- What research facilities are available and how adequate is intramural and extramural funding for the labs?
- What have recent graduates of the same program done with their degrees?
- What unique features are offered by this school compared to other similar schools?
Other useful info in Japanese
My one line advice on graduate school in science:
Don’t do it if you are not dead serious: you will get burned alive. If you are serious and know about yourself, then you can make it through even when you need to get through many stupid problems.
Do not trust advice
Do not trust advice, especially cheap advice. Do not trust advice given by people who did not even finished their degree. People often start writing very detail advice as soon as they are accepted to their program. But there are more essential tasks to do for them, like passing classes and exams etc. It is perplexing to see people keep writing advice even after they are kicked out from school; they may just want to prove themselves as a good counter example.