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About BeakerBreaker

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    Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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  1. There's nothing wrong with getting academic professors as some of your LORs, and it is true that schools in general do not accept recommendations from grad students/technicians/postdocs. It sounds like you still have time (~6 months before applications are due?) to familiarize your PI with who you are and what you have been doing in their lab, and you may choose to ask them to write a LOR early which may lead them to rely on the advice of your actual day-to-day mentors (the grad students). It is often the case that PIs have someone else write the recommendation letter for better or worse...
  2. I suspect that's your issue right there. The chance that you get an offer after they spend $$$ to fly you out for an interview is generally fairly high. Your stats are otherwise decent to good and it kind of precludes a letter of recommendation tanking you.
  3. Every relationship is different. Without knowing why you feel your relationship needs to be saved, my general advice is: if this relationship was "the one," it wouldn't need you to transfer to save it. I've skipped job offers and delayed my career for a year to try and maintain a relationship. It fell through. It wasn't the end of the world, but I believe these kinds of sacrifices are generally a bad idea, regardless of the outcome.
  4. The only thing that stands out is your quantitative GRE is probably what would get your application screened out at most schools. Focus on improving that score when you retake it. There really is no such thing as a "safety school" when it comes to grad school so don't pick places that you think are mediocre simply because you think it will be easier to get in. Research experience (which you've been working on) is probably the biggest thing that will contribute to helping you get in aside from the GRE.
  5. You might want to look at some of the individual schools. WUSTL recently dropped the GRE requirement for about half of their biomed programs but I don't know if that's the case anywhere you are applying (will save on the GRE transfer fee at least)
  6. I'm not sure what you would get out of staying an additional year in your postbac, and I have no idea why they are advising you to stay. You have enough of everything on your CV from the looks of it to have a shot at those schools. I say just go for it this year. Umbrella vs. neuroscience doesn't matter unless you have zero experience in neuroscience. You should definitely apply to a decent selection of best/good schools and see how it goes if it wouldn't be a financial burden to do so.
  7. The challenge for your application is that the schools will want to know what the chance is that you can handle the quantitative courses and that you will be able to successfully do graduate level work in biostats/informatics/comp bio. On paper it is basically impossible to tell if you are capable of doing that sort of work, whereas you have better demonstrated you can handle molecular bio. Knowing a bit of programming languages and self-taught math is a start but won't measure up against people who spent their undergrad focusing on it, and those people will generally be your competition as an
  8. You were working ~40 hours/week as a technician while finishing undergrad? That would be a good bit of experience. I think you should shoot for the top. Your GPA isn't stellar but won't prevent you from getting into good schools. Having good LORs will certainly help, but otherwise you look good to go. For your personal statement, you want to be able to express clearly why you want to do research full time at the doctoral level (so, independent thinking), what kind of projects you are interested in working on, and why the school you are applying to is the right fit. Grad schools want
  9. Just go for it and don't sell yourself short. Emphasize your research experience and other academic accomplishments (such as the conferences/publications). The 3.0 GPA requirement is mostly to make sure you don't bomb out of the Master's phase of PhD programs. Whether or not they value the GPA is very school- and program-specific and many will overlook it entirely. I'm not sure how much I'd focus on it during the application, but definitely be prepared to discuss the upward trend and your passion for research in interviews... if they bring it up. Good experience, LORs, and GRE scores will be l
  10. I did my first rotation during that summer.
  11. Here are a couple of anecdotes that have shaped my view on this: My mom has an MBA from Stanford, and even 40+ years after she graduated, she is still talking about how "it was okay that she went to the #2 school because she got into Harvard and turned them down." A close friend of mine was accepted into a Tier 1 law school, but also was accepted into a Tier 2 law school with full tuition paid, and this made her decision very difficult. The MBA/J.D./etc. worlds are just fundamentally different than what goes on in science. The prestige of the program has a huge impact on your ability
  12. This is a near pointless exercise to involve multiple people on this site. There will be no consensus on what the 20 "best" graduate programs are in a field. If you want the metrics, they are freely available online; otherwise, sites like US News use their own. You will be the best judge when it comes to appraising each program's value based on what you feel is important. WUSTL, UWM, and Emory are all good schools for MCB. You will probably find that there are other factors much more important to your decision among these high caliber schools than their absolute ranking in some subjective
  13. To be honest, I don't think the GRE is good for much of anything >< But this is what we have to work with
  14. I just wanted to say I think it's interesting that people think quantitative matters more for biology - mostly because I've never heard that before, and didn't have that impression originally. Also, most of the biologists I know are not particularly good at quant, nor do they ever seem to need it (making a vast generalization here). It's been my impression that verbal reasoning, whatever that is, is at least as important for the vast majority of biologists. It's actually quite embarrassing when you run into professors who suffer in that category - even more so when they have some god awf
  15. Ivy schools aren't all in the same tier in terms of difficulty. Brown and Dartmouth are not nearly as hard for admission as Harvard and Princeton. Your stats are fine for Brown, so far as having a chance at it. Can't comment on UPenn as I don't know. As Bioenchilada said, your other stats will matter. Aim higher and not lower if you have the time and financial means to do so.
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