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blinchik

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Everything posted by blinchik

  1. Can confirm, like Bioenchilada, that regional bias is definitely NOT a thing. We have a very diverse cohort in my year and others - students are from Brazil, China, India, and all over the place domestically (many are from Puerto Rico, California, etc. and many are from the Midwest area). We have a few from Pennsylvania, but many went to college elsewhere. In fact, I have a friend in Cancer Bio from the Chicago area! Also, the fact that Penn accepts a ton of people across the CAMB program doesn't really mean anything for your individual chances. Within CAMB, Cancer Biology and MVP are the most competitive programs with the most people vying for the fewest slots, so all bets are off, especially if you are international and therefore are not able to be funded via many federal grants. I understand you really wanted to come here, but I just wanted to clarify those points for you as well as others who are applying or thinking of applying.
  2. For those who are concerned about interview attire, business casual, which was the dress code for all the ones that I attended, isn't really that ambiguous of a term: if you wear mostly/all neutral colors (grey/black/navy/etc.) and nicer clothes, you'll be fine. I recommend nicer pants for men with a sweater or a collared shirt. We had our first round of interviews yesterday, and I saw guys wearing the above or wearing suits - either way, they looked nice and professional. If you are a girl, slacks and a sweater/blouse with/without a blazer is good. Also, don't be afraid of wearing skirts/dresses! I interviewed in cold climates, and my interview outfit was a grey closed-neck knee-length stretchy dress from Banana Republic with black leggings, suede boots, and a black blazer - I definitely did not look more casual than the cohort I was interviewing with, and I was warm and comfortable even in the snow. As many in the forum have said before, if you look like you have made an effort and don't look as if you just rolled out of bed, it will be well-received. Obviously, if you're interviewing in a colder climate, a parka and mittens will not make you seem unprofessional or anything. I'm sure people can still get in wearing jeans/T-shirts, but ultimately you only have one chance to make the best possible impression, so why let your sartorial choices hold you back? Edit: good-condition, nice booties/boots are fine, as is a whatever-colored tote/bag. I used a dark purple/black Longchamp or a black tote, depending on the interview. If you are on the fence, just ask yourself if you would wear this item if you were trying to impress someone/make a good impression. Some of you are definitely overthinking things - this is academia, not business. If you don't show up in heels, a suit, and a fancy-looking bag, it will not count against you at all.
  3. Hi - sorry to have not responded earlier, but unfortunately I do not know if more invites are forthcoming. Penn usually tries to snap people up for interviews fairly quickly, so if you haven't been invited yet for CAMB and other people have, my suspicion is that most likely, you were not in the mass-majority first round wave of invites. They are usually sent in the same few days, if not day. That being said, I would recommend emailing one of our admissions coordinators (they are usually great at replying quickly!), and letting her know that you wanted to inquire if more interview invites will be forthcoming.
  4. I got like almost all of my 6 interview invites the week of December 15-21 (?) last year, and some even on the same day. UAB was about a week later I think, but still definitely before the end of December. Great username, by the way Edit because I forgot part of your question: Absolutely, email and ask - it shows interest in the program and that you're taking initiative to be able to go to interview weekends. I absolutely did.
  5. It's really rare to have a program of that caliber (especially for infectious diseases, which is what I'm interested in) with such all-around nice and honest people. I definitely do not have buyer's remorse. Given your profile, I'm positive you'll be getting an interview invite - don't worry
  6. Hi guys, Penn CAMB will most likely be sending out most interview invites in the next two weeks (I got mine on December 15 last year) - hopefully that takes some pressure off. I'm not sure who is on the adcom this year, so I can't give the exact date. I'm planning to be involved in recruitment, so I hope to see some of you here!
  7. Also, one final tidbit of advice, which is probably obvious to most, if not all of you: do consider cost-of-living and stipend amounts/other benefits (e.g. subsidized housing) when considering where to apply - 25k+ will get you a lot farther in some cities than in others (I'm looking at you, NYC + San Francisco), and this is especially important to consider if you have dependents (family/pets) or even if you just want to save and enjoy a slightly higher quality of life for the 4-5+ years you are in grad school.
  8. Hi all! I'm a first-year student at Penn CAMB, and loving it so far. If my signature is still in tact (which it should be), you can see that I interviewed/was invited to interview at some of the places that you all are interested in applying to. A note regarding GPA/GREs: they are not the be-all end-all, and often times, strict cut-offs are lower than you think. That being said, they are important, especially if you're coming straight out of undergrad and do not have as extensive of a research background as some other prospective applicants. I was told quite frankly by faculty who were interviewing me at multiple institutions that they were impressed by my ability to manage my increased course load (I graduated in 3 years with a 3.8+), and that it reflected well upon me. Another note, although it is premature at this point as most apps aren't even due yet: if you have an interview conflict, manage it very, very carefully. I had multiple conflicts last year, and for one of them. making the two programs aware of the conflict (in a polite, carefully phrased manner after consulting my letter of recommendation writers/undergrad mentors) did not turn out very well for me. If you really want to go to a certain program (or think you do, as interviewing may very well change your opinion of the program!), make sure to reach out to them after enough time has passed and see when you can expect to be notified re: interview invitations. I was lucky in that the program that I loved the best and was the best fit for my research interests had no conflicts associated with it, but some programs are far more amenable to conflicts than others. With that, I'm off to prepare for an exam, but please feel free to PM me with any questions and I will do my best to get back to you within the week. Good luck!
  9. That's what I was going to say. Obviously, there are occasionally some studies that somehow get conducted without IRB approval and are unethical, but they are few and far in between.
  10. As an international student, I hope that you knew going in that getting into a good program and getting funded is rough, especially given that NIH funding has contracted even more recently. That being said, it seems that the top international candidates are still getting into good programs. I understand the frustration with the process, but I think that it is in your best interest to get constructive feedback from all the programs that denied you and reapply if you really can't see yourself being happy at this "lower-ranked" program.
  11. Also muggings/thefts during daylight in downtown DC (NW) aren't all that regular.... Keep an eye on your stuff, as in any urban environment, and you will be fine.
  12. Plenty of young professionals in downtown DC use backpacks and even wear sneakers on the Metro, for instance, and keep a change of shoes in the office, so while a messenger does look more professional, you certainly won't look out of place with a backpack so long as you look otherwise professional.
  13. I think you need to keep asking for specific feedback from programs and contact people to know why you weren't accepted. I don't know if you did this last year, but as others have said, if you didn't get accepted anywhere after 6 interviews, then there must be some sort of red flag, either in your general application or in the manner you came across to interviewers/others.
  14. I have one interview left - I had to reschedule it due to weather issues, but I have to say that after 4 interview weekends and an accepted students weekend, I'm honestly exhausted. I'm excited to see another city/program and meet awesome faculty, though!
  15. I think that I definitely tried to mitigate any weaknesses in my application and made sure I understood (more or less) what adcoms look for, which I believe helped my chances in this process. In my case, I am very young, so I asked my LOR writers if they felt it would be prudent to comment on my maturity/independence/self-motivation in their letters/assessments. Also, it is important to have very strong LORs - I was told by multiple interviewers at multiple programs that they really made all the difference in my application, so if you're reading this as an applicant, make sure to foster great relationships with potential letter writers and look actively for great mentors at your current institution!
  16. Oh I'm not referring to gvn't recruiters, though I have heard that certain universities have closer relationships with governmental organizations than others (e.g. the relationship between Emory University and the CDC). I was referring to what I know about recruiters for the UN, World Bank, etc., and non-profits/think tanks - basically everything excluding the federal government. Just off the top of my head, I've seen several DC-based think tanks that have employees/interns exclusively from Georgetown, Columbia, and the like. That doesn't mean that you can't get hired if you go to American - on the contrary, plenty of American graduates seem to be very successful. I was just pointing out that while American is a good school and has a good reputation/alumni network in DC, there is some tough competition in DC when it comes to looking for good jobs post-graduation.
  17. Being a native Washingtonian, I can assure you that American is well known for their foreign policy/IR, and many people who get hired shortly after graduation either went to local schools like American/GW or went to Tufts/Columbia/other top-tier programs. However, there are a few things to keep in mind: make sure that you do as well as you can in the program and network while you're there - after graduation, you're going to be competing with lots of Georgetown folks, among others, and I hate to say it, but for many recruiters, prestige seems to matter a lot. Another thing to prepare yourself for is the high COL - the neighborhood by American (Tenleytown) and the surrounding area is pretty pricy. It's not as bad as San Franciso/New York City/Boston, but it's bad. That being said, out of Syracuse and American, American is clearly your better option. I hope you enjoy DC
  18. I'm actually having a really difficult time deciding between Emory, UNC, and Penn - UNC sounds like a great place, and Chapel Hill is a wonderful college town, but I think I'm leaning towards a bigger city. It's nice to have options, though!
  19. I just got an offer today, so looks like they are still sending them out.
  20. Drexel certainly has a good reputation in the biomedical sciences. I don't know anything about the graduate program training reputation itself, but I've spoken with professors who have worked there and they seemed to love Philadelphia and like the school. I don't think you could say that it is regarded as one of the most prestigious/reputable programs in the biomedical field, but the reputation is definitely solid. I would try to research and look at where recent graduates have ended up immediately after receiving their PhD and 10+ years down the line if that is a place that you are considering for study.
  21. I agree with kjc - I would email and find out. I did this for Chapel Hill, but unfortunately they won't let us know until mid-March or later.
  22. I thanked everyone I interviewed with, regardless of whether the program was what I thought to be my number 1 at the time, as I think that it's polite and it reiterates your interest in the program. As long as you don't sound like you're fishing for an acceptance, I don't see how it can hurt. In fact, I received pretty detailed/long responses from ~50% of the faculty I emailed. I would do it sooner rather than later, though.
  23. @acetylcholine, there is still plenty of time before April 15 - some of us need to go back and visit before we can make a more informed decision.
  24. I would go with your "gut," if you can quantify that gut feeling to some extent - I think if you really review the weekends carefully, you'll find that one fit better for you than the others. I think that going back and visiting your top school choices without the interview weekend set-up could also help significantly with the decision-making process.
  25. I actually am visiting next weekend - I am kind of an odd case where I said that I couldn't visit due to my inability to take more time off of classes (I missed 50% of my physics classes prior to an exam…), and I did a Skype interview and was accepted shortly after. Now that I've survived the first period of exams, I have enough flexibility to go down there. I'd love to PM you after I visit, if you're cool with that!
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