Graduate school is both a continuation of your education but more importantly, it’s the start of your career in physics and this decision should not be taken lightly. The level of research that will be required of you in these coming years are more akin to starting a job than it is academic, which means you will be providing results to a professional standard.
That being said, it is important to make sure that your application reflects your preparedness and maturity to be successful in the graduate setting. In essence, you begin applying to graduate school starting at the freshman or sophomore levels.
- Freshman to Junior Year
- Get awesome grades!
- Get to know your higher level professors (go to office hours!), these people will write your letters of recommendation so you cannot be shy!
- Do research, both with REUs and during the year. This will give you a chance to understand what areas of research inspire you
- Summer between Junior Year and Senior Year
- Look at schools you might want to apply to: visit their websites, see if any of your professors know people there.
- Do an REU
- Start reviewing for the Physics GREs
- Senior Year
- Register for the physics and general GREs.
- Study for the physics GRE (see how to study for it here)
- Take at least one general GRE practice test and see if you need to study more.
- Begin a google doc of schools you’re applying to and their requirements!
- Apply to fellowships! Having your own funding makes you more desirable by the top schools because you come with your own funding.