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Biostat_student_22

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About Biostat_student_22

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    PhD, Biostatistics

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  1. I'll pretty much second this, and also toss in VCU to be worth considering. UF has a solid stat department, but the biostats section (department?) is fairly new and I'm not entirely sure how it is structured. VCU and UIC have established programs that I know have graduated students - not the highest in rank, but they are good enough to make the rankings, so probably decent programs.
  2. I want to second this - think of lifestyle. If you hate snow, definitely UNC. If you want a big football team, definitely Michigan. If you're outdoorsy, UNC would be a bit better. Cost of living I suspect is pretty similar. Ill point out that with UNC being in the research triangle, you have exposure/connections to more pharma than you would probably get at UMich. I think there is more clinical trials and environmental work being done at UNC than Michigan as well, although I can't cite any sources on that, just a feeling I have. UNC/Michigan are a small step below UW/JHU/Harvard. Student placement probably only differs in academia; industry is pretty much equal across the board. The way I think of it, average to good students from UW/JHU/Harvard will have a decent shot at getting faculty positions in top ranked departments, while students from UMich and UNC would have to be good to great students. As you go down the rankings, only exceptional/outstanding students will realistically get faculty poisitions in higher ranked departments. I personally know someone who graduated from an average department that got a faculty position in the top 10... it's possible, but the ride there is easier coming from top places
  3. You seem to already know the big comparisons between them. I don't think you'll get an unbiased opinion/comparison of them anymore than what you already know. With that said, here are my thoughts: UMich and UNC are very similar in 'prestige'... I wouldn't place one above the other in general. You already know stat genetics will be bigger at UMich. As for other specific areas of research, I'm not really sure on how they compare. I know for the area of my dissertation research (which I won't share for anonymity), there are faculty at both places that work in the area (2 at UNC and 3 at UMich)... but you admit yourself you're a blank slate going in. With that attitude, either will be great option for you and there really isn't a bad choice. In terms of job placement, I'd guess they're about the same in terms of the 'prestige' of jobs graduating students get. I think UMich has bigger cohorts though, so student placement will appear skewed towards UMich if you don't factor that in. Honestly, I think you are way overthinking this. They are both great programs and will produce similarly successful students.
  4. Yes, this is generally correct. On the Eastern half of the US, there are generally more academic institutions, pharma companies, research hospitals/centers (e.g. Mayo or MSK), government positions, etc. than on the west coast, but that isn't to say you don't have similar opportunities in the west. If you want to have a 'greater pick' of jobs when you graduate, I'd guess Harvard would suit you better, but you'll certainly wont have a problem finding a job coming from UW. The biggest thing is who you're able to network with while in graduate school. At Harvard you'll have ENAR to attend, which is generally comprised of institutions from the east. There is WNAR out west, but it doesn't seem to have the same prominence as ENAR. You could certainly find a job in Boston if you graduated from UW, but making the connections to those jobs would be harder than if you attended Harvard. Well it seems here like you've done your research. I don't have much to add, but I'll re-emphasize that you really can't make a wrong choice. Either way you're likely to get a high quality mentor and a good research project. Getting your PhD is really about learning how to do research... While many people continue in the same area of their dissertation, your research interests can adapt and change throughout your career. Sure, UW doesn't have that 'Ivy league' name or the world renowned 'stature' that Harvard does. I understand the desire for that elite and exclusive feel of saying, "I go to Harvard". But, in most 'global/world university rankings' UW is in the top 20, yeah it doesn't reach Harvard, but who cares. These rankings are largely based on subjective criteria and name brand that comes with the history that you can't replace. Your average high school graduate may hold Harvard with some great prestige over UW, but any employer you will ever work for will know UW is a world-class institution, and their biostats is arguably the best... And there won't be any discrimination based on it's name relative to Harvard Either school will provide you with a more than sufficient foundation. That's not an issue at all.
  5. For car fans this is like Lamborghini or Ferrari. For guitar players this is like Taylor or Martin... If you're not getting the metaphor, they are both fantastic schools, arguably the two best programs you could have to choose from. With that said, in my opinion, your choice should come down to 3 big things: 1) Where do you want to live and work when you finish (east or west coast)? Neither will preclude you from the other, but going to Harvard will better set you up with opportunities on the east coast, whereas UW will on the west coast. 2) Are there specific research areas/faculty you're more interested in at one or the other? For instance, they both have fantastic cancer centers (Fred Hutchinson vs. Dana Farber), so either would be good for cancer research, but if you wanted to Bayesian oriented research, Harvard I think has more faculty in the area... Just something to think about. 3) Which city would you be happier living in? Boston vs. Seattle is a tough question. Both are awesome, fun cities to live in. Would you rather deal with snowy/harsher winters in Boston or the misty/rainy atmosphere of Seattle? Other things... Lay prestige doesn't mean much unless you plan on pursuing a career outside of the field when you finish. Everyone within biostats knows how good each of these departments are. Another thing to consider in terms of your own interests, if you happen to be a less theoretical oriented person yourself, UWs qualifying exams are known to be quite rigorous. I'm sure Harvard's are no walk in the park, but I think UWs are `tougher' - just something to think about.
  6. I'd argue cohort size is far from a trivial factor - the more students in the program, the more that can (and assumingly do) submit papers for the award. You only reference two programs here though; while Harvard and UNC (and Michigan while we're at it) boast large cohorts, places like Brown, Yale, and Vanderbilt, all have relatively small cohorts, and I think Columbia and Emory are also a bit smaller than UNC. Overall though, this metric is misleading in my opinion in terms of judging the "quality of a graduate program." I don't believe the cohort of UNC graduate students is a higher tier than those at Harvard, Michigan, Hopkins, or Minnesota. The only thing this really tells me is that the school has a culture of encouraging and pushing students to submit for these awards. Other institutions likely just have a more "hands off" philosophy, giving their graduate students more independence with regards to choosing to submit a paper or not.
  7. I don't think this is a pointless metric, but as Cyberwulf said, it is closely related to the number of submissions from a given institution and the relative size of the cohort. Also, if you're considering ENAR, you should also consider JSM's student paper competition, as certain institutions may have a preference towards one or the other. JSM's paper competition is done by section, including 'Biometrics' and 'Biopharmaceutical' sections which would be similar to ENAR paper topics, as well as other sections like 'Bayesian Statistics' or 'Epidemiology Statistics'.
  8. Wow, I still pop in here from time to time to help out with advice. I saw this referencing an old post of mine and can't believe it's been over 4 years since I made this post. I've been on this forum long enough to go from researching prospective schools and asking questions, to going through graduate school, and now nearing graduation. Time sure does fly! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
  9. From my perspective, UNC has a better program and the cost of living in NC is way more affordable than NYC. I wouldn't worry about living in "the south" as far as Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas are concerned, that's not an issue. I grew up in the south US... the larger cities are generally not very "southern"
  10. You'll be fine. Big name institutions are cool and all, but with a 3.9 and your background, unless its a for profit institution, I wouldn't worry. As long as you have decent to strong letters, I think you can send applications to 7-10 schools along the spectrum of the top 20 in the rankings and you'll get your pick of a few (or several) offers. send me a pm for more personal advice
  11. I think this could be hit or miss depending on your university's perception. If I were you, I would apply to places across the spectrum. You don't have any 'top' places in there. I wouldn't waste applications at Harvard or Washington (your GPA is probably a bit low as an international student for them). I'd suggest UNC and Emory as the "top" end of your list. Brown, Wisconsin, UCLA, and Vanderbilt would probably be good options for you too. A few places to round it out that would be decent could be Florida, Medical University of South Carolina, Virginia Commonwealth, and a few more from your list.
  12. Not a "top" undergrad school (although still good and this is not a deal breaker) and no proof based classes are really it. Also, he doesn't list calc 1 or 2 grades. Multivariable is easy at most places compared to calc II. If he made A's in those classes it'd look good. Id bet he'll get in to at least one of his choices, but biostats is getting more competitive every year. No one knows what the cohort he's going up against will look like. The list of schools is top heavy and "safety's" are never a bad idea
  13. You'll probably get an MS (fast-track PhD) offer from Michigan, potentially with funding. As for the other for, I'd venture to guess they are each toss-ups... I doubt you'll be an automatic reject from any of them, but I also wouldn't guess you to be a shoo-in. The most likely would probably be Emory or Penn, and if I had to venture to guess, you'll get admitted to at least one... but I'd also definitely recommend a few safety's you'd consider attending just in case.
  14. Well, you certainly are a strong applicant and I think your sights are right where they should be, but if you're going to postpone a year if you don't get in the top 3... I personally would not do it. The longer I've been in grad school, more and more have I become convinced rankings matter less and less. Your mentor/advisor will matter far more than where your school falls on the list. A strong student can find success almost anywhere they go, because ultimately it's your own drive and work that gives you success, but a great mentor is the biggest key to facilitating that. Most PhD programs will teach you about the same things in classes; the reason the top ranked schools are just that are because they have the highest number of "high quality" faculty that can serve as mentors... but you can probably find at least a couple of great mentors that will set you up for success almost everywhere. Back to the point of the question, you will still surely get into a very, very good program. If not UW, Harvard, Hopkins, you'll get an offer from Michigan, Berkeley, or UNC if you choose to apply... and in my opinion it would not be worth it to postpone a year to possibly get into UW next year when you have an offer to Michigan now.
  15. GRE Quant is important to the extent that it does provide a threshold to screen applicants. At the very least, it provides insight into the applicants ability in basic math, logic, and reasoning - the type of intelligence needed for an advanced quantitative degree. Anything less than 155 just doesn't make the cut in the pool of applicants. 155-160 wouldn't be an immoderately disqualification at all places, !but definitely the top ones. After about 160 it really doesn't matter too much, that's about 80th percentile and if you fall in the top 20% your pretty much on a level playing field with everyone else and other things become distinguishing factors. Biostats is an applied and collaborative field, and GRE Verbal is telling about your ability to communicate... I wouldn't look for 160+, but I'd like to see at least mid 150s, and at the very least, 150. If let's say, you do get a 160+, other factors become the key players. Id look for at least an adequate GRE verbal, and if you had two strong letters, I could imagine you would get at least an interview and/or waitliated at a couple of schools if you applied to all those under the top 15, and possibly accepted at those under 20