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About loginofpscl

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    Double Shot

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  • Application Season
    2014 Fall
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  1. Depends a lot on your PI and your motivation. I am in a catalysis/electrochemistry lab and people usually work 10-12 hours a day. Not all of it is spent doing busy work. You set up a reaction, you let it go, and much of the other time is spent analyzing data or reading up the literature or planning up the next experiment. Other activities involve building/diagnosing/repairing instrumentation, or preparing/doing group meeting. Other times people will be writing up a manuscript. This counts an hour each for lunch and dinner, usually.
  2. You could apply to more prestigious programs as well, if you're interested in PIs elsewhere. You have an impressive record!
  3. UCSF, UCLA, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Emory
  4. Do not address it, they will already consider it and you trying to justify it will more likely than not sound as if you're tooting your own horn. If you're really worried, ask your adviser (or ideally, that ochem professor if you're close with them) to write in their letter that your grades don't do you justice.
  5. Great advice. My PI is floating a few ideas I'm pretty excited about. I will ask him about such a parallel approach!
  6. My adviser has given me the freedom to pick my project starting out (first-year), and I applied to the school thinking I'd be working on a particularly difficult problem that no one has ever managed to solve before. This problem, if solved, would be an incredible discovery with high rates of reward. There is a current graduate student (~5th year) who is currently working on the same idea-- and has made some very interesting findings and developed incredibly impressive methods to validate the work-- but has yet to publish anything on her topic, and neither will she publishing anytime soon.
  7. I personally think it would be best to not address it in your SoP. Saying that you overcame something because you did x can sometimes come off as tooting your own horn, in a hard to substantiate way. Let your writers do that for you, if it makes you worry. Re: #2, it doesn't. NSF counts graduate-level study exclusively. The relevant part of section IV: All post-baccalaureate, graduate-level study is counted toward the allowed 12 months of completed graduate study. This includes all master's and doctoral programs.
  8. Be very specific. Choose to write about a program where you have the most concrete ideas for, in general it does not help for you to be vague because it doesn't say anything about your ability to generate ideas. Anyone can say 'I wanna do science' but it takes a bit of thinking to be able to say 'I wanna do x science using y methods to answer question z. Here are expectations a, b, and c and these methods d, e, and f are how I will quantify success." In brief, be very familiar with a specific professor's work at a certain target institution, and develop your ideas for that line of work.
  9. Many profs in top insitutions will hire postdocs who have skills that they need. For example, people in materials chemistry and etc. often take postdocs because they have specialized TEM, AFM, or XPS experience, i.e. if they can apply a skill that only a handful know. It would make some sense to try and e-mail the profs you are interested in working with, and figure out what problems they have on their plate currently, and see if your skillset can supplement them in answering those questions.
  10. I disagree with the idea that you should put down your top choice schools. I personally picked one of my mid-tier schools where I knew the professors' work and resources well, and mentioned continuing existing collaborations between professors across departments. I ended up accepting an offer from a higher-ranked school, but NSF reviewers are aware of this in judging senior applicants. I encountered neither difficulty nor a moral crisis requesting a tenure change to the school I will be attending. I would advise applicants to get to know a university other than your undergraduate school ve
  11. Just wondering, what benefit does one get from participating in NSF GROW? There are certainly opportunities for collaboration and learning new skills, but does anyone else see it as kind of a vacation masquerading as a sabbatical? I feel like a PhD candidate could make more progress working at their home institution. I ask because I'm thinking of applying sometime the next few years.
  12. It will never hurt you, all you have to do is write about your experiences to show how you learned/grew from each one and how that makes you an attractive candidate for grad school.
  13. If that's the case, just keep reviewing as you take your quantum courses and you'll be fine. Schools will pay closer attention to your c/GREs and GPA because you're international!
  14. This is incredible to me. I had no idea this happened. The employer is charging the employee for his space to work in?? Granted it's not a direct comparison but I've never heard of Microsoft or Google charging their project managers for their cubicle space and supplies and w/e. For universities to have to resort to shaving grants, the fundraising ops must really suck. I am really confused. Considering that it would be an achievement in itself to land a $350,000 3-year grant, and 50% of that goes to universities... that translates to, assuming all of it is spent on grad student funding, ~3
  15. Interesting, so it's pretty nominal. In this case, the bulk of the funds would probably go to graduate student pay, no? Which brings me to another question: do PIs typically get support from universities to fund RAships?
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