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blc073

Ask questions about the PhD application process!

216 posts in this topic

4 hours ago, cuteDr22 said:

I have started classes and realized that i am overextended - interview and class schedule. There is one school that I have scheduled an interview with but i know i will probably not attend. Canceling the interview would ease my schedule and also open the door for someone else. What is the best way to contact the school and politely cancel?  I feel absolutely horrible about this. Please advise. Thank you, all!

If they haven't booked the flights for you, it is pretty easy to tell them you have changed your mind. Otherwise, some schools will ask you to pay for the tickets since they are not re-fundable...

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1 hour ago, SysEvo said:

If they haven't booked the flights for you, it is pretty easy to tell them you have changed your mind. Otherwise, some schools will ask you to pay for the tickets since they are not re-fundable...

Thank you for the info!  i am not sure if flight arrangements have been made, but i will follow-up.

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Does anyone know approximately how long you are given to respond when an acceptance is offered?  A few weeks? This is probably different for each school but is there an average?

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3 minutes ago, cuteDr22 said:

Does anyone know approximately how long you are given to respond when an acceptance is offered?  A few weeks? This is probably different for each school but is there an average?

My understanding from the last recruitment I was it is that all acceptances have to be made by April 15th. However, some programs hold waitlist/do rolling admissions, so sometimes these programs ask those with offers to try and make their decision by an earlier date. As far as I understand, they aren't allowed to rescind an offer just because you're being slow to respond to their offer, but they can encourage you to decide early so they can offer unwanted spots to waiting applicants.

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is there any point in reaching out to ad-com for schools that you have not yet heard from (meaning likely rejected)? If you're not going to make it anyway, there is likely no harm, correct?

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1 hour ago, Pepperoni said:

is there any point in reaching out to ad-com for schools that you have not yet heard from (meaning likely rejected)? If you're not going to make it anyway, there is likely no harm, correct?

I mean, looking at it from the angle you pose, sure, there is no harm from emailing a school you likely got rejected from. However, is asking really going to make you feel better? You're either going to get your hopes up by being told that "apps are still being reviewed", or they'll say "all invites have been sent". If you were rejected, you'll get your formal rejection after that school's interview weekend, so why ask? 

Also, a lot of times schools will avoid using absolute statements (ie You were rejected) and you wont get the peace of mind that you look for.

Edited by Bioenchilada

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It's not to feel better - it's to keep pressing them. I guess I don't understand this whole, coward's approach to inviting and not inviting students for interviews, and being coy about rejections until after interviews are over anyway?

I (the one writing) am not even the one who is actually applying - this is a joint account for a friend. Obviously PhD is a different degree, but this process isn't how my master of science in finance, or my MBA worked regarding applications & interviews. Why the secrecy? We had the same no interview, no acceptance policy. But they (WashU & UChicago) didn't beat around the bush about getting an interview or not.

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2 hours ago, Pepperoni said:

It's not to feel better - it's to keep pressing them. I guess I don't understand this whole, coward's approach to inviting and not inviting students for interviews, and being coy about rejections until after interviews are over anyway?

I (the one writing) am not even the one who is actually applying - this is a joint account for a friend. Obviously PhD is a different degree, but this process isn't how my master of science in finance, or my MBA worked regarding applications & interviews. Why the secrecy? We had the same no interview, no acceptance policy. But they (WashU & UChicago) didn't beat around the bush about getting an interview or not.

You won't get anything out of pressing them. From a logistical sense, it makes sense that you send all rejections together after the interview to just send one massive batch instead of "personalized" rejections after you're out of the running. I don't really see it as a coward's approach at all, but I can see how it's annoying to not know. However, a school can never make assumptions about the yield they'll have in a given cycle, so it makes sense to keep people in standby rather than revoking premature rejections. It's unlikely, if not unprecedented, that they recur to this, which is why not getting an interview is equivalent to a rejection, but I'm just saying it's understandable. 

Also, UChicago's interview last year was in early Feb and interviews came out in December, so I would say it's more than likely your friend got rejected. I don't know how they conduct Skype interviews though. 

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How do I mention during interview that I will definitely attend if admitted? Does saying that even help? The reason I asked is that I only have one interview and am actually interested to go there. However, base on their application data only 15-17 out of 50 interviewees gets admitted, so I want to maximize my chance as much as possible.

Edited by cmykrgb

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1 hour ago, cmykrgb said:

How do I mention during interview that I will definitely attend if admitted? Does saying that even help? The reason I asked is that I only have one interview and am actually interested to go there. However, base on their application data only 15-17 out of 50 interviewees gets admitted, so I want to maximize my chance as much as possible.

I am actually in a very similar situation, so I would love to hear some advice about it as well!

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On 1/24/2017 at 8:13 PM, dresdencodak said:

I am actually in a very similar situation, so I would love to hear some advice about it as well!

During the interview, when the professors asked why I chose the program, I told them "so and so is my first choice because x and y reasons." I don't think it would hurt to say "I really like so and so school for x and y reasons. I would definitely attend if I was accepted."

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For programs with rotations how exactly does the admission process work? I have seen people posting that they got informal acceptance email from a PI. Does this mean that you are committing yourself to joining his lab after rotations? What if you dont want to commit to any one PI at this stage? Or in the opposite case are only interested in one PI who you want to join after rotations. Can you finalize these things before accepting an offer?

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12 hours ago, abcd1 said:

For programs with rotations how exactly does the admission process work? I have seen people posting that they got informal acceptance email from a PI. Does this mean that you are committing yourself to joining his lab after rotations? What if you dont want to commit to any one PI at this stage? Or in the opposite case are only interested in one PI who you want to join after rotations. Can you finalize these things before accepting an offer?

Getting an email from a PI has nothing to do with where you have to rotate or decide to do your thesis work. Also, you cannot commit to a PI before doing rotations, at least not formally. 

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how should i respond to an informal acceptance from the head of a program? I feel like I need to respond and convey my enthusiasm/ interest, but I still have five more interviews, and even though I loved the school I'm not ready to commit just yet

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19 hours ago, seventwo said:

how should i respond to an informal acceptance from the head of a program? I feel like I need to respond and convey my enthusiasm/ interest, but I still have five more interviews, and even though I loved the school I'm not ready to commit just yet

Just thank them and say you are excited. No need to make any commitment yet

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On 1/30/2017 at 0:16 PM, Bioenchilada said:

Getting an email from a PI has nothing to do with where you have to rotate or decide to do your thesis work. Also, you cannot commit to a PI before doing rotations, at least not formally. 

And should never commit until you've done a rotation.  It's a big decision that you really don't have the information to make at interviews.

On 1/31/2017 at 3:14 PM, seventwo said:

how should i respond to an informal acceptance from the head of a program? I feel like I need to respond and convey my enthusiasm/ interest, but I still have five more interviews, and even though I loved the school I'm not ready to commit just yet

"Thank you so much for reaching out to me!  I am delighted to hear of my acceptance and really enjoyed learning about your program and community over interview weekend.  I look forward to letting you know my decision after I have completed all my interviews.". I don't really think you need more than that.  They know you have other interviews and that it's not fair to expect a decision made before those are completed.

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How strict do you think the recommended classes are for applicants? My major is in an area of biology and I'm looking into applying to more general PhD programs but I'm lacking the coursework a lot of program websites recommend (1-2 years of math, chemistry, physics). The sites usually say I can make up for it by taking classes but I'm worried because I'm missing so much.

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5 hours ago, mejkor said:

How strict do you think the recommended classes are for applicants? My major is in an area of biology and I'm looking into applying to more general PhD programs but I'm lacking the coursework a lot of program websites recommend (1-2 years of math, chemistry, physics). The sites usually say I can make up for it by taking classes but I'm worried because I'm missing so much.

Emailing the program is probably the best option. In general though, I don't think they're too strict, as long as it won't delay your research by too much.

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I'm waitlisted for my top school at the moment. I've heard from a couple sources that you can e-mail the program to keep in contact and re-state your interest as well as what you've been doing to enhance your success as a student enrolled in the program. I've also read that you can keep contact brief, but polite. Recently, I talked to another professor from the school I'm waitlisted at about his research and the program. I'm wondering if writing a letter to the program division coordinator about the work I've been doing since I submitted application will benefit my chances of being noticed in anyway (which I know won't matter if all seats fill up anyway). Not sure if this does anything but just want to hear if this is a good idea or not.

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I emailed the graduate office contact we had when I was waitlisted to say thank you and let them know that if accepted I would definitely yes. I was pulled off not that much later. I'm not sure if it helped, but it definitely couldn't hurt to let them know that you are still interested.

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22 hours ago, EatBread said:

I'm waitlisted for my top school at the moment. I've heard from a couple sources that you can e-mail the program to keep in contact and re-state your interest as well as what you've been doing to enhance your success as a student enrolled in the program. I've also read that you can keep contact brief, but polite. Recently, I talked to another professor from the school I'm waitlisted at about his research and the program. I'm wondering if writing a letter to the program division coordinator about the work I've been doing since I submitted application will benefit my chances of being noticed in anyway (which I know won't matter if all seats fill up anyway). Not sure if this does anything but just want to hear if this is a good idea or not.

One of the programs I interviewed at (Columbia) said they absolutely wanted people to contact them if they were on a waitlist and would for sure accept if they were pulled off of it. Whether or not the program you're talking about feels the same, it certainly can't hurt if you're polite and enthusiastic :)

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, kimmibeans said:

I emailed the graduate office contact we had when I was waitlisted to say thank you and let them know that if accepted I would definitely yes. I was pulled off not that much later. I'm not sure if it helped, but it definitely couldn't hurt to let them know that you are still interested.

Hey that's awesome! Glad to hear you tried and succeeded! Gives me some hope as well. I e-mailed them just now to restate my interest as well as update them on what I've been up to since I've applied. Just hoping admissions actually will see/read it.

Edited by EatBread

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I have worked for ~3 years as an undergrad in my lab. I applied to (and was accepted) into the program that my PI is in and is on the adcom for. I know I am most likely not going to stay at my undergrad institution for my PhD, but I'm unsure of the best way to address it with my PI in a way that doesn't torch our working relationship (I'm finishing my senior thesis, but the due date is after April 15th, so I'll still be in lab). Has anyone had a similar situation?

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47 minutes ago, aquamarine said:

I have worked for ~3 years as an undergrad in my lab. I applied to (and was accepted) into the program that my PI is in and is on the adcom for. I know I am most likely not going to stay at my undergrad institution for my PhD, but I'm unsure of the best way to address it with my PI in a way that doesn't torch our working relationship (I'm finishing my senior thesis, but the due date is after April 15th, so I'll still be in lab). Has anyone had a similar situation?

I haven't been in the same situation, but I'm sure your PI would understand. Tell them that other institions offer new networking opportunities and possibly professional development in areas not offered at your school. Most people change institutions from undergrad to grad so it's not unusual.

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How much does a low GPA hurts my chances, im looking at around 3.0-3.2ish?

What is a desirable Verbal Score? around 150 or 160?

What is the average admission rate(not enrollment rate) for a high ranking school? mid one? I know it differ school to school so a range is appreciated.

Does a good Biology Subj score help allieviate the GPA situation? By how much?

Who reads the applications? Admission Officer or profs in the school of life sciences?

How helpful is contacting profs in advance?

I know this is a ton of questions but I've been asking around a long time and nobody knows the answers.

So I really really would like to have them.

本当にありがとうございます

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