Warning: The following are stupid questions. (Read in Kiefer Sutherland's voice)
Question 1 Is it weird or stupid to apply for a research assistant post at some university or research institute, and not a company in industry, with the purpose to gain research experience to boost profile for graduate studies, and why/why not?
I think it could be weird or stupid for the same reason why you shouldn't mention potential graduate study plans during job interviews.
Then again, my understanding of research assistant posts is that they wouldn't be for long term employment as is the case in industry, say, "research" analyst jobs in industry. Rather research assistant posts are usually on temporary contract. So, yeah, I am just doing this with the intention to apply for a PhD because I'm apparently not yet good enough to get into a PhD program.
Based on what I've read online, this is the baby version of a postdoc, so postdoc is to faculty applications as research assistant is to PhD applications.
Question 2 Who are the usual applicants of research assistant posts?
- I can't think of any applicants for research assistant posts besides people exactly in my situation: wants to go to grad school, is waiting in some process of grad school applications (for the application period to start, for the results of application to come out or, for those already accepted, for the semester to start) or wants to boost profile for grad school. Please enlighten for other cases.
Question 3 What's the difference between a research assistant post and an internship in industry?
- I think I recall seeing some research assistant posts that pay as much as a full time job in industry, so I'm guessing research assistant posts are not necessarily simply academic versions of internships in industry. I think things like this are academic versions of internships in industry. But my understanding is that they are both short-term. I guess a research assistant post would be analogous to a temporary contract job in industry.
Question 4 To confirm, if research assistant posts are indeed on temporary contract or short-term, is there indeed a risk for someone to quit their regular full time industry job hoping that a research assistant post will boost their grad school application profile?
Since I graduated master's in 2015-6, I started work as a maths teacher at a branch of a company that is something like Kumon. I guess I haven't done research there.
I'm waiting for results for PhD/MPhil applications for 2018-9. I already got rejected for one (well technically I'm not on the list of applicants who got initially offered admission, so I guess I could still be accepted if others on the list back out), and I think I'll be rejected for others.
ETA: Not sure if this counts but I actually got accepted for an interview a few days after the deadline (early December 2017) for one university but the PhD position given to me by the professor said something like "experienced in XX" which I don't have. I'm still waiting to hear back from the university.
For 2019-20 applications, I am thinking to boost my profile by, among others, working as a research assistant, either full time or part time. In the former case, I'll have to quit my job. In the latter case, I think I can downgrade to part time.
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