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About ChemiKyle

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Chemistry: Physical Organic/Energy

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  1. You're welcome everyone! Hopefully it stems the stress rather than adds to it. Like @therisingpage mentioned, I wrote this for Python 3, so running it in 2.7 requires a little modification. I updated the readme just to be safe.
  2. It's around the time when my field sees a large number of results so I wrote a python program to automatically check for updates on this page: http://thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?q=Chemistry and notify me if schools I applied to have shown up since I last checked. The code is hosted on GitHub: https://github.com/ChemiKyle/Automated-Academic-Angst I figured I'd share it here, though it's probably not as pretty as would be made by someone whose undergrad actually involved programming courses (it's MIT licensed though, so people with actual talent can do whatever they want). Happy waiting!
  3. It's about the time I remember seeing the most posts about results so I wrote a python program that checks this page http://thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?q=Chemistry for any updates on schools you're waiting to hear from. I have it up on my GitHub for anyone to use: https://github.com/ChemiKyle/Automated-Academic-Angst Happy waiting!
  4. Had a false start in 2015 so I'm playing this game again. Once more unto the breach. If everyone could put their stats in their profile it'd be helpful for referencing for us and those who come after.
  5. Not true. Most programs don't care too much about GRE, it's usually only scrutinized to make up for GPA but yours is good. You have 2 papers, one of which is first author, which is far more important than your GPA or a standardized test which uses very few skills relevant to chemistry. As an international applicant, however, your cGRE will likely be important so I hope you did well.
  6. When I went to a recruitment weekend at Northwestern they said that those were their most important deciding factors.
  7. I PM'd you regarding it, it's also on the nubakery site; it didn't exclusively mention NICS but it had to do with simulating electronic structures of big molecules with some heavy atoms under a magnetic field, so I figured it might have some applications. My minimal experience with NICS was using it in Gaussian to guess at the stability of some excited state aromatic molecules and I was going off that.
  8. Thanks, I'm so excited! I applied extremely early, like mid-September. You seem like you really know what you wanna do (I wish I understood how theory couples with the experimental portion as well as you, but that's what the summer's for!) so if you put that in your SoP I think you'd stand a good shot! I didn't know it was open-source, that's great! I assume I'll be doing some time-dependent DFT and NICS calculations so the material he based his recent PCCP paper on will probably play a role with regard to the latter. Do you know how having two advisors is generally handled? I'm pretty convinced of who my primary would be, but I think I'd want time to build up my knowledge before taking up arms for a theorist.
  9. Just like Hijojo said, I'm more of an experimentalist looking to understand the nuts and bolts of all the computational work; so the theory person would be secondary to my experimental advisor. It's good to hear I wouldn't be the only one with barely any background. The only theorist in my SoP was Ratner; I was only vaguely aware of theorists when I was applying and didn't want to put down someone I didn't know enough about. I almost put down Shiozaki, but since he doesn't have tenure I was hesitant - I think having a newbie in your group while trying to get tenure would be very stressful. Since applying I've been looking more into Schatz and Seideman, they're both very nice which is the main selling point for a theory advisor since I figure I'll be messing up a lot and asking questions quite often. I also just got accepted to Northwestern via phone call! Best day ever, especially since I'd been bummed that I couldn't afford to send scores to a few other schools on my list. Huge mood booster!
  10. I have to get a job over the summer for when financial aid stops covering my rent, so I was planning on trying to find a tutoring job; if the world ended (i.e. I don't get into grad school) I'd probably stick with that. Nice! I was looking at a joint-appointment with an experimental PChem group and a theory-based one. I have a math and physics background but no formal work in theory unless you consider black-box Gaussian calculations valid (which wouldn't be done at Northwestern anyway); do you know if people from outside of theory often jump into it for their Ph.D. studies?
  11. While I'm extremely far from being an authority, I've heard that people maybe look for 90%+ at the top 10s. I know nothing of a minimum, but 80% is extremely high anyway. If your school is well recognized it probably won't matter; at some point I heard that the reason international students' cGRE scores are given weight is that there's often no way to know if their undergrad curriculum was robust enough. Also, a lot of them will take 1-2 years off and/or do a Master's degree while they study for the subject tests, which is another reason the results are so skewed. Apply anyway, don't let ETS keep you from giving it a shot.
  12. If you're not international then 50% or better is considered good, so it would probably be a good idea! However, it's not going to make you stand out and is probably only used as a criteria for fellowships, so if the cost would mean not applying to some other school then just don't send it.
  13. Well, I had my visit weekend; I think it went pretty well. Pertinent to you all, part of it included a visit with the director of admissions (keep in mind the attitude varies by institution). It's fairly old news for most of us, but it's somewhat official now. I'll cover some of the biggest messages that I took from it. Letters of rec and SoP are the most important things that we still have in our control; the only important thing out of our control is our research experience. GRE and cGRE are pretty much unimportant, they think they're a worse indicator than GPA and you're probably only in trouble if your GREs and GPA are both low. Multiple grad students shared the careless attitude toward the GRE; one senior grad student told me the smartest person he knew got ~30% on the physics GRE, and he'd scored higher himself. With respect to letters of rec: they've received generic, 1 paragraph letters before saying "so-and-so got an A in my class, he'll probably do great in grad school," and even ones where the professor said the student wasn't cut out for it. Know your letter writers and make sure they know you. Regarding GPA: as they've had 3.0's be wildly successful and 3.9+'s fail out, GPA doesn't mean much either. You'll need to look better in every other area the lower it is, but if you're an oddball with multiple first author publications and a 3.2 you can probably relax. More than anything, it's important that you show that you can be a competent researcher and your letter writers back you up on that. They don't expect you to know exactly what you want to do, but you need a rough idea and the professors that you mention need to have a clear indicator as to why you put them down (e.g. if you're talking about nothing but inorganic chemistry and say you wanna work for E.J. Corey they're going to notice that and it's going to look bad - on that note, double-check before you submit, don't send UChicago an essay that says how much you're interested in PChem at Berkeley). They take note of who you mention, and the adcoms have an idea of who is going to be accepting students, so if you're applying to Caltech and refuse to work for anyone but James Heath, you might want to send him an email. At the school I visited, professors get to see (and have a part in the decision on) your app if you list them. I also heard a story of someone who had been accepted to a school and insulted some professors during the visit weekend; not only did that school rescind his application, but the people he insulted called their friends and he got quite a few other acceptances pulled. While it's best to treat everyone with some common human decency no matter who they are, don't go putting down any Ph.D.'s who are in the room with you!
  14. Haha thanks, I try. Try applying anyway, you can send them an email asking if it's absolutely necessary, and if so tell them you'd be willing to take it in April. We have roughly the same profile; your GPA and GRE scores far outshine mine, for whatever those are worth. I also bake fish way better than eggs but I'm not sure how adcoms evaluate cooking skills, though a girl I knew who made quality stew is now at Caltech.
  15. Did anyone else get the ~400 emails from Rutgers? This is one of the extremely few times that I'm glad to be low-income since almost every school has a somewhat painless fee-waiver process (aside from MIT, who for some reason consider their fee all-important). Perhaps look into Stanford and Caltech, they have a ton of bio-related chemistry. Harvard was spoken of as a mecca by a chemical biologist who graduated from my lab last year, but I've heard terrible things about the culture of Harvard - premed level competitiveness - YMMV. Your app profile is far more impressive than mine, quit worrying about rank! As long as you meet whatever cutoff they may have for your GPA and arbitrary tests (which you definitely will) your app should be looked at and from there it's based on your letters and research more than the rest.
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