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Everything posted by NsciApp

  1. Of you've never done molecular or behavioral neuro don't go into a neuro program where you would be stuck doing that. That just sounds too risky (in terms of dropping out or worse...) IF However there is a strong human/clinical research component (have you looked into that at all), I would go for the better reputation PhD over the less paid, less renowned clinical PhD. Then again, I'm not squeamish of animal work, I think research is THE SHIT, and I'm getting a PhD, not an MD or clinical degree, because I don't want to work with people all day. Also, what is this notion about individual
  2. I often feel the same way, but then I remind myself to trust the wise and all-knowing admissions committees. After all, they've looked through hundreds of apps and picked YOU. Chances are they even met you and liked you. Considering the fairly low attrition rates of top 10 schools (at least in my field) there is a high probability that they know you will succeed. It's going to be hard, it's going to suck, but you can do it! ...and then I eat some Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia to drown the fear
  3. I'm going for neuroscience. Housing apps open April 14 through mid-May. Anyone thinking off-campus? I've turned-down my other schools. It feels good to be settled in my choice!
  4. @Immajean: I mostly agree w/ColorlessGreen. Avoid Lucas, Dodge, Governer, College, Market, Gilbert (basically everything a few streets north and south of burlington from the river to the edge of town). A little North of town on the East side tends to be more residential house-like (Brown St. historic district). West of the river is the medical/dental campus...it is quieter but you'll tend to find more massive apartment complexes than affordable houses. If you REALLY want an affordable house, or 2 bedroom apartment try Coralville (CHEAP! BIG!). There's a decent Coralville bus system that
  5. I loved my visit to Yale...didn't apply to the other two. I think living in East Rock could be decent. The apartment tour was shitty, but I've since met people who live in New Haven and say you can find sweet deals. Plus, if you want a cheaper cost-of-living but access to the city it's only a 2hr train ride to NYC. I've frankly heard not great things about Columbia, and I'm unsure about Rockefeller.
  6. I think it depends on which subfield of cell/molec neuro you're most interested in. That, and preference for Boston vs. San Francisco (culture, weather, landscape)...another easy way is to think about which student body you felt more "at home" with.
  7. happily married--er--decided!

  8. You already did your part. It sounds like it's your school's fault for falling through. It doesn't seem like you should be penalized for this, and I doubt if your offer would be rescinded. I would just leave it for now, and plan to attend! Then again, I have no experience with this and could be completely wrong.
  9. you already know my opinion on the matter! (school B, obviously) I'm sure you'll be happier either place, but come on, who wants to slosh through a foot of snow/ice/rain when they can ride their bikes to/from class and hang out with a bunch of really awesome people?
  10. starting the 2010 Stanford thread!
  11. I think you've already made the decision... #2!
  12. Which department is offering that? I interviewed with neuroscience and word on the street was $29,500. Students said this was manageable, some even citing saving money. One thing I was looking in to was the "cheap" shared on-campus housing. The other great thing is that there's no transportation costs if you live on campus, and the gym is free (as well as lots of outdoor activities). Not having a car would help (I think there's a parking fee for on-campus, and gas/insurance are more expensive than other parts of the country). You should also find out if your stipend covers health insuran
  13. to clarify, this fellowship does NOT increase stipend at this fully-funded PhD program, because it only covers 2/3 of the program costs for 3 years. It does cover 2/3 of 2 years when your PI would be paying for you. Which FYI for people considering this or similar fellowships, is a benefit if you want to work in a smaller/less-funded lab (you cost less than someone without external funding) I agree that it's not such a big benefit that one should take this offer over a school that is a better match.
  14. Thanks everyone, for the advice! My intuition was also to disregard the money, but I felt foolish doing that and wanted to hear what others thought.
  15. I just got a fellowship at one of the schools that wasn't at the top of my current-4-acceptances-2-pending-interviews list. All of these programs are fully funded by the department for the first couple years and then by the PI for the remaining time of the dissertation. This fellowship would cover me almost completely for 3 years, and offers a decent summer stipend. So, it would give me considerable leeway in who I work for, because the PI would be off the hook for funding me for ~2/3 years I would be in his/her lab. Question: How much do you think this extra money/prestige (I guess it's
  16. @cogneuroforfun & aceflyer for your replies! They're especially valuable to me as I'll be interviewing for Yale Neuroscience (I was intrigued by INP) next week. Oh, and working weekends isn't a big deal if your experiment demands your attention, I just wasn't sure how many hours were expected as a routine or "face time" thing. As far as fit (suggested by acefyler) I'm having a hard time--I've enjoyed all my interviews so far! @LadyL: thank you for your insights. To clarify, no, I am truly not a paranoid person. What I am is an outsider (I live in the midwest, I went to a small lib
  17. Everyone seems to have a story about "X grad student" who had her "data destroyed" at [Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc]... I want to know REAL INSIDER info about what it's like to be a grad student at a top 10 science program. I'm particularly curious about the ivies, where competition may be more fierce if only for the name-seeking people they tend to attract (yes, yes, I know there are good reasons why the top schools are top and it's not just a name thing). Ultimately, I want to know if I have the option between an ivy and non-ivy top 10'er, which way should I go? Specific info on the
  18. Ok, this might be weird, but I think Suze Orman has good advice: if your loan will be subsidized (not accumulating interest) while deferred, WHY WOULD YOU THROW YOUR MONEY AT IT??????? Just keep it in a high interest checking (locally I found 3.9%, no joke) or do some low risk short term bonds. You'll make money on your money and will be less tempted to spend it. If they aren't subsidized, pay the minimum every month, and do an extra payment that will go primarily towards principle. I could be wrong about this, but keeping the loan around longer and doing payments really boosts your cred
  19. I have been collecting info about each school in a spreadsheet, too. Here are my categories: Stipend Bonuses (e.g., for external funding) Bio/Neuro Rank World U Ranking #students/incoming class #faculty avg time to degree placement of grads rotations teaching requirements # classes required classes location/to do/community student attitude/ happiness weather Travel-ability to home academic community cost of living Bootcamp/retreat # ideal faculty age of faculty faciliies/funding training emphasis support staff (e.g. administrative, directors) qualifying exams my
  20. I would pick school B, because I've seen what happens when a student put all his proverbial eggs into my boss's basket...
  21. Yes, I think you are really onto something here. I feel shallow talking about cost-of-living, but I know from first hand experience the difference in my quality of life when I'm scraping by vs. feeling abundant. St. Louis (especially the area around WashU) feels abundant, relaxed, dare I say...happy? And the cold wind of Chicago is unlikely to make anyone happy. I very much expect my interests to change in graduate school! I am thinking more and more that I'll be better off in a "nicer" environment--and there are already exciting faculty I'd like to rotate with, regardless of the "imper
  22. Thanks guys for the feedback. I did it! I canceled! It was difficult, and my bf was encouraging me to keep the interviews, but I think it was the right decision.
  23. Thanks, everyone, for your advice and opinions jacib, thanks for the great article. All the advice out there is so vauge--this is a nice, refreshing chunk of data! haha, I didn't say there was a long commute in Evanston--just LONGER than St.Louis. Plus, for the first 2 years of the prog your classes and rotations could be at either campus...which does mean at least 20 min rides if you're in between the 2 campuses, or 40 min if you live at either end. Also, I'm waiting until I've actually gone on the visit to weed out the schools. So far I'm accepted to the first 2 schools I visi
  24. I got interviews at 7 programs, have been to 3, and frankly it's exhausting. I'm considering canceling 2 of the "lesser" programs on my list since I've already been to 2 I LOVED and have 2 others that are really top schools. Is it ethical to cancel? One interview is in 1.5 wks, the other in 2.5 wks. Also, I work, so having the extra time in lab would also be a perk of canceling.
  25. I am trying to weed schools out as I go. I've been to 3 interviews for neuroscience PhD programs, and am trying to decide between two schools before going to my last 4 interviews. Northwestern: has 2 awesome faculty who are more in my exact research area of interest, is in a bigger/fun city (Chicago), but is colder, more expensive, longer commute, and not on the "top 10" ranking for neuroscience. WashU: has awesome faculty who aren't in my exact area of interest, is in a smaller city (St. Louis) with great cost of living, is warmer, less expensive/people-save-money-and-get-awesome-apar
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