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blc073

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blc073 last won the day on December 17 2016

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About blc073

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    Cambridge, MA
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  • Program
    Biological and Biomedical Sciences

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  1. With your extensive research experience, I would say you have a great shot at most schools. Your four years of research experience after undergraduate should make up for low numbers (GPA and GRE). If you can write a stellar SOP and get three LORs to back it up, you should be set. Take plenty of time to write your essays and make sure your letters are on the same page. Regarding places to apply, I will say two things: First, I believe Harvard's BCSB track is within the larger MCO program. If you're applying to MCO, you might as well apply to BBS. As a BBS student, you can work in MCO labs and take MCO courses, but you are not restricted to MCO labs. A lot of people prefer the flexibility of BBS. And I believe if you apply to MCO, you can apply to BBS and one other Harvard program for free. Something to consider. Second, you only have really great schools on your list. I'm sure you will get interviews at a couple of those schools, but it is worth it to add a couple of less prestigious programs just in case. Good luck!
  2. I know this is not what you want to hear, but do not rotate in that lab. Your first two rotations should be in labs that could potentially be your thesis lab. If after your second rotation you know where you will join, then you can use your third rotation for a technique or a topic. Most people use all three to find the right lab or they join as soon as they find a good fit. This PI seems really nice. He is being nice by offering a rotation position, but it may not be the most professional move. You should respond by thanking him for the opportunity and the information, then tell him that you want to use your first rotations to find a thesis lab. If he's still there after your second rotation and you know which lab you are going to join, rotate in his lab then.
  3. My first exposure to research was through a summer internship at a local medical school when I was in 11th grade. It was a great experience, and it supported my decision to pursue a career in research. I'm happy to hear that more students are experiencing this kind of opportunity. Tell your daughter to listen and learn. Pay attention to everything. Watch the graduate students and post-docs. Observe the PI and the lab culture. Yes, try to do good research and follow directions, but focus more on absorbing everything in sight. This is a great opportunity for her to get a good recommendation letter for university, but most importantly this is a great opportunity for her to experience real research and decide if this is something she can see herself doing as a career. I did research in high school, then four years in college, and now I'm in a PhD program, so feel free to PM if you would like to know more about my experience or how I used that experience to get to where I am now.
  4. @Philsgross Your numbers and experience look great! I think you have a good shot at all the schools you listed. You could maybe even add more top tier programs. I know Harvard has a great neuroscience program. I've also heard great things about the UC schools (Berkeley and SF, in particular). Your admissions will come down to your SOP and your LORs. If you can really talk about your research in your essays and have LORs that support what you write, you should be set. I will say, I am concerned about having LORs from post-docs. Typically, you will receive a single LOR from a lab, with each post-doc with whom you worked giving input and the PI submitting the letter. Do you have another LOR you could submit in lieu of the two post-docs?
  5. The 2018 application cycle begins in a couple of months, so I thought it would be nice to start a new profiles and results thread. As is tradition, I am copying the 2017 thread for consistency. Use the following template to enter your information, before and after you obtain your results, and remember to submit your results at the end of the cycle for posterity and to help the next cohort of applicants HERE. Good luck with the application process, and remember to ask questions! Below are some useful links: Ask questions about the PhD application process! 2017 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results 2016 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results Undergrad Institution: (School or type of school, such as big state, lib arts, ivy, technical, foreign (what country?)... Overall Reputation in Biology?)Major(s):Minor(s):GPA in Major:Overall GPA:Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?)Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?)GRE Scores (revised/old version):Q:V:W:B:TOEFL Total: (if applicable, otherwise delete this)Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:Applying to Where:School - Department - Research InterestSchool - Department - Research InterestSchool - Department - Research Interest
  6. A lot of how competitive you are will come from how well you describe your research in your essays and whether or not your letters support what you say. Based on what you have posted, I am sure you will be in the running for top tier schools, but I am not convinced you will be a shoo-in. Definitely apply to top programs, but include middle tier and safety schools on your list. Also, what are you interested in studying? You are a biochemistry major with experience in pharmacognosy, cancer biology, and metabolism. How are you going to describe those (seemingly random) experiences in a way that is cohesive?
  7. Any publications will be incredibly helpful. A first author Nature publication is outstanding. Congrats! I will say, you better know every single aspect of that paper. You should know why every experiment was done and you should be able to defend every decision. I can see some top tier professors taking your publication as a challenge to stump you.
  8. It is okay to meet with a professor about a rotation without committing to doing a rotation in his or her lab. This process is all about you. Take some time to brainstorm about your interests. This can and probably will change from rotation to rotation. Once you have your general interests listed, look for a few PIs who fit your criteria. Look into a few of their papers, see how many graduate students they have, and find out how many students have graduated from their lab. Send brief emails. "Hello Dr. X, My name is Y, and I am an incoming student in Z Program. I am interested in your work. Do you have time in the next week or two to meet with me to discuss rotation projects." You will either get a response setting up a meeting, a response saying they are not taking students, or no response. Regardless of the response, or lack thereof, send more emails. Meet with the PIs and be prepared to discuss projects. Ask straight up, "if I join your lab, will you have funding to support me?" This might feel awkward, but it is incredibly important. When you meet with the PI, take the time to meet with current graduate students in the lab. Once you have met with a few PIs, pick a lab for your first rotation. Do not let them pressure you into rotating in their lab. For the PIs you do not go with, send them an email saying you are going to pursue a different interest and that you will contact them about a second or third rotation. After you complete your first rotation, rinse and repeat. Each time, reevaluate your interests. I just completed the rotation process and joined a lab in March, so I am happy to talk with you more about the process if you're interested.
  9. Your GRE scores are fine for Harvard BBS. I would not retake the test. Instead, focus your time on summer research, crafting exceptional essays, and solidifying letters of recommendation.
  10. This is an incredibly intense comment. I think I need a minute...
  11. I wasn't trying to call your question stupid, and I apologize if that's how it came across. You asked how confident you can be that flow cytometry will be hot in six years, and I was simply trying to say that there is no way to know. Science, academia and biotech, change as questions change. It's not common for a technique like CRISPR to come along and change the field. And to be honest if you ask a lot of top scientists today, many will say CRISPR might not be hot much longer. Microarray was hot five years ago, now it's becoming worthless. Unfortunately, there are many people who spend six years on a PhD, but that's no way to approach the process. You should plan to finish your PhD in four years. Do this by writing every day from the beginning, preparing early for grants, joining a lab as soon as you can, and making the most out of every rotation. What job sector? You are becoming a scientist. There's like a 50% chance or more that you will completely change your career plans. Go into your PhD with the goal of becoming a great scientist and an expert in your field. Then decide if a biotech post-doc is right for you. Techniques come from necessity. If your research involves hunting for genes that are being affected by a compound, learn NGS. But don't waste time learning something that will not help your lab. Of course, you can join a lab that employs the techniques you like, but don't join a lab solely for the techniques. You will be unhappy for the next six (!) years. You are on here demanding to know which of three top schools is the best. You then demand to know which techniques to learn. It's just a lot. This will be condescending, so prepare yourself: in a year from now you are going to look back on these posts and think, "wow, I was being a jerk." Take this time to appreciate how lucky you are to have the choices you have, and appreciate the fact that your life will largely consist of hanging out in a cool building in a fun city being paid to poke DNA. Relax and enjoy the process.
  12. It is impossible to predict what will be hot in six years (also, six years?). You should not learn a technique just because you think it will make you a more attractive candidate for jobs. Instead, study what interests you and learn the techniques that will help you examine your topic of interest with the highest resolution. I started grad school with no intention of doing NGS, big data manipulation, CRISPR, or iPSCs, but my sincere interests put me in a lab that does all four. Pick the field that interests you the most, then learn the techniques that will help you do the best science. Use your PhD to learn to be the best scientist you can be. Techniques are secondary to that.
  13. @biomednyc I'm really happy for you! I think you will have a great graduate school career, and I know a lot of fantastic scientists at Penn. As a Harvard student, I think it behooves me to make a few points: 1) We have over 800 faculty from which to choose, so you will find someone who fits your needs at Harvard, 2) I never feel isolated or like I'm just a number. The BBS office treats every student like it's a program with five students, 3) There is no evidence of high faculty turnover at Harvard. I asked about that when I was choosing a graduate program and I was given data that suggest nearly, if not every, junior faculty member at Harvard gets tenure. To corroborate, see this opinion piece. 4) You can, without doubt, get a place in many Boston cities/neighborhoods (e.g., Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Dorchester, Revere, Medford, Allston, Mission Hill) by yourself on the Harvard stipend. Again, this is not aimed toward you to make you feel like you made a bad decision. Simply liking one program over the other is sufficient to make a decision. However, it is important to keep the facts on record straight for future applicants and recruits. Harvard's reputation for being snobby or whatever comes from people perpetuating misinformation. When I told my undergraduate PI of four years that I got into Harvard, he spent thirty minutes trying to convince me to go elsewhere using misinformation like faculty are always leaving, the city is awful, they will look for any reason to kick out a student and save money. None of that is true. Anyway, good luck at Penn! For real, I see a lot of good research coming from faculty in CAMB.
  14. What was the deciding factor for you?