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About Dedi

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  • Birthday 11/12/1992

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  • Interests
    Behavioral Epigenetics, Animal Welfare Science, Neuroscience, Caged Stereotypies
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Cell and Systems Biology/Neuroscience

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  1. Whoops, I got confused. I thought you were asking a potential PI. I didn't think that this was the "officially grads" forum and you were already accepted! Congrats! I also did do a summer position (and got paid for an RAship) before grad school but we already decided this ( I asked) before I actually got accepted. Again, I apologize if I confused any of you.
  2. I did a similar thing actually (but my discipline is biology). However, what I did is a little more subtle. I introduced myself and asked if he was taking in graduate students. When I found out that he did, we did a phone interview. We found that we had similar research interests and he wanted to stay in touch. I was planning to do research at my undergrad, but it didn't work out, so I asked him if it was possible to do research at the University he worked in. It ended up working out (and now he's my PI), but I will say that your potential supervisor cannot guarantee a spot for you in the program. However, he was a large influence on whether I was accepted (a PI has to be willing to take you in their lab for my program). I applied to two programs in the same University that he was cross-appointed--got into one of them.
  3. So, I'm starting my first TA position this term, and I'm really enjoying it. It's gotten to the point that I would like to teach as part of my career. However, I don't like the idea of being in an R1 university (despite doing my PhD in one) because of limited involvement in teaching and actual research (someone mentioned being the middle management, and that is how I view it as well). I don't mind the long hours and shift in work/life balance, but I really enjoy being hands on with my research and getting to know the students that I'm teaching. So, my question is: is this a common sentiment? Will applying for TT at a small research university be a good route, based on what I've mentioned above? I'm only in my first year of my PhD, so things can and will change, but it's worth considering at this point.
  4. Your interests may be broad, but they centralize (mostly) on one topic: music/sound and its interpretation. I had really niche interests, then got really broad as I learned more about a topic, and then parsed down to a manageable research topic that encompasses what I want to do most. You may have to do that, should you want to continue in research. Also, it is not unheard of doing an AuD and becoming a professor with research on the side (more or less clinical). My friend is considering that. That being said, I agree that maybe you can take a year to explore if research is something that you are comfortable doing for most of your life. Grad schools are not going to disappear anytime soon.
  5. I also have to ask this: Why do schools care so much about Quantitative and Verbal reasoning? In research programs, especially, shouldn't Analytical Writing be more heavily emphasized given what it purports to measure? Related to this, some professors I've talked to who outright stated that the Verbal/Quant GRE's don't factor into their decision making process have actually stated that they look at Analytical Writing. Yet references to GRE's in graduate programs that advertise what they look for almost exclusively talk about Verbal and Quant. It seems counter-intuitive that the one score that could actually be predictive is largely being ignored in favor of the other two....unless they are being used as cut-offs. I've heard the opposite: the analytical writing score is largely ignored because, despite what it purports to measure, it only shows you how much word vomit you can make up in 30 minutes. Seriously, they don't fact check this stuff. You don't have to cite anything--and the longer you write (even if it is rambling, like many people do, and not concise scientific writing) you're bound to get a better score. I've been told I'm a very good writer because I'm straight to the point. I got a 3.0 on the writing portion, most likely because I didn't "write enough." Also, in real life you have time to check your work and revise it (and some people, such as myself, have bad first drafts). My guess is that there is no correlation between analytical writing scores and graduate school success, much like Q and V. Supposedly I have large deficits in my writing, according to the GRE, but I seem to make it around just fine.
  6. Your interests are likely to change with time and with experiments, so even if you were to choose a specific research interest you aren't legally bound to follow through with those particular interests. I think the reason why adcomms are keen on seeing such specific interests is not to determine if you're scatterbrained or not. Rather, can you come up with an argument, list some evidence for that argument, and does that argument have implications? They want you to talk about a topic in a way that makes sense and is concise. Also, while research "fit" is important, it shouldn't be a key-and-lock fit. Many labs are interdisciplinary, so different skill sets and research backgrounds are important. As long as you have a general area you want to get into, it should be fine. I had extremely specific research interests, to the point where I was limited to who I could choose as my PI. Funnily enough, when I read more, my interests expanded and is in a different, but similar area. This is not uncommon in graduate school, and the adcomms realize this. I hope this helps you a little further!
  7. You're going to have to cut somewhere. SOPs tend to be 1-2 pages (my top choice program required 1 page max) and beyond that gets too tedious, especially when you have other applications to go through. Your sentences tend to be long so cutting out words from those sentences would be a good start. I'm not sure what the purpose of the first paragraph is--when writing such essays, every paragraph and sentence needs to have a purpose (a lot like scientific writing). The first paragraph in particular is long-winded. Be concise and to the point. What have you done, what do you want to do now, and what do you want to do for the future? While I see essences of all three questions, they are muddled by unnecessary words. Hope this helps!
  8. I've worked primarily with three professors over the course of 2-2 1/2 years, not because I was switching labs but because I didn't need to commit to a lab (i.e., we don't have many at my undergrad institution and the two profs I worked with at the institution didn't have a lab). I did independent projects almost exclusively--there are no graduate students to shadow at my undergrad. However, my independent projects were small because I was the one running the data collection and analysis. The summer of third year I did a research internship at my top choice school, so that was when I got involved in a certain lab and helped out a grad student. I did have a chance to lead a very small independent project at that lab. Nothing really came out it--but I appreciated that the supervisor trusted me enough to run it. Skills: PCR, DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, immunohistofluorescence, microtome, brain dissections of zebrafish, breeding/timed pregnancies of rats, chronic variable stress paradigm, elevated plus maze, open field test, light-dark box, maternal care coding, coding lemur behaviour, making networks, operant chamber work (shaping, probability learning, omission contingencies)... Mostly behavioural, but that was the nature of my work
  9. I was almost exactly in your shoes last year (GPA of 3.6, though). I find that top schools tend to inflate student's GPAs. For example, an A at my undergrad institution is 93+/100, while at my grad institution (top school in Canada), an A/A+ is 85+/100. It seems that the work is comparable, though (though I'm only comparing a basic stats class at my grad institution to hand-writing 2-way ANOVAs at my undergrad institution) so it does not seem like it's any harder to get these grades. All in all, I wouldn't worry too much about the GPA comparison. Research experience/fit with the program and lab are going to be more important. GPA is just a number that adcomms can use as cut off points (for the most part).
  10. Hey, Was in a similar situation. Grades and GRE were mediocre for someone applying to graduate school. I think what won out is the research experience (did several independent projects, did a research internship at my top choice lab the summer before applications) and also the connection I made with the POIs. You definitely need to "sell yourself" as someone who is committed to research and don't even bother pointing out how average your GPA/GRE scores are. I'm currently at a school which is ranked #1 in Canada (and not too bad in world rankings) in several ranking systems. I think the Bio program is #18 in the world? Anyways, I wouldn't foresee you having trouble getting in anywhere. I went straight from my undergrad so I only had a couple years of research experience. But, with that experience, I've been to 2-4 conferences a year, mix of oral and poster presentations, and 2 manuscripts in submission. I've actually slowed down significantly in terms of research progress (I can only see myself presenting at 1-2 conferences this year) because I am part of very large projects that take a long time to finish. But, at the end, I will hopefully reap the benefits with a few publications (maybe some first-author).
  11. Sorry, I misunderstood the situation (I edited the post). But if you're going to be notified soon, maybe it's best to hold off. Some programs take 4-5 months to notify everyone, in which a follow-up email would make more sense.
  12. I think after two weeks, you should follow up. Just don't bombard the prof with emails!
  13. I had a subpar first year and did not mention this at all in my SOP. This is something that you should get a letter writer to mention (saying to look at the progression, not the cGPA) if you're worried about it. My POI (now my PI) wasn't worried about it, therefore I wasn't either (though I explained to him what happened that year eventually. I would not recommend that if you're not comfortable). From what I've gathered, many people have trouble their first year or two of university. It's not uncommon.
  14. It depends on the department. Some departments can accept more international applicants than others. As an example, Biology at U of T only accepted 3 international students out of ~40 applications this year. The grad coordinator says that next year there will only be two spots.. Psychology can accept more international students, but competition is even tighter. I got into Biology, but not Psychology at U of T as an international student. It really helps if you have a supervisor willing to take you in (my chances of being accepted went from <10% to >60% for Biology), but it does not guarantee a spot. I'm not sure about your field because the sciences might have a different system. If you want to know for sure, I would ask their graduate coordinator. The worst they can say is that they cannot reveal that information.
  15. I don't think we have chatted before. I also applied to UBC Animal Welfare and uWaterloo Health Studies and Gerontology (my research interests are extremely interdisciplinary). The impression that I've gotten is that external funding as an American applying to Canadian schools can be tricky. My #1 suggestion is to network with POIs, whether by email or if you happen to catch them at a conference (even better!). If your interests catch their eye, they can be on your side not only for admissions but for funding as well. From what I've gathered, the two main external scholarships in Ontario are OGS and the OTS (there's also Vanier but very difficult to get). Both are pretty competitive, and both have different processes. OGS requires you to submit a form online with your research plans, letters of rec, etc. while OTS requires a nomination from the grad department. This is where your supervisor networking can come in handy, because a supervisor can nominate you for the scholarship (I received the U of T internal Connaught award, which also has a similar nomination process). I'm not familiar with provincial scholarships outside of Ontario. Many programs are going to offer a reasonable amount of funding. uWaterloo had a catch, though--your first year is funded in the Master's program, while the second year is unfunded. I don't know if this is true for all programs in uWaterloo, but the program I applied to had that condition.
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