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SNPCracklePop

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  1. If your CV is an academic CV, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this link. Lots of great tips for building and formatting an academic CV: http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/01/12/dr-karens-rules-of-the-academic-cv/
  2. Great question. I would aim for opportunities that could easily translate to leadership roles for your resume during your program. Your dissertation will be an example of you being a project manager. If your lab hosts undergraduates/high school students for rotations, your experiences as them can serve as examples, especially if you publish a paper with them. I would also jump at any internship opportunities that come up as well.
  3. I went from a full-time gig while getting my M.S. part-time to the Ph.D. program. The transition was pretty smooth.
  4. Not at all, I'm in the biomedical sciences. AuldReekie's right; programs and fields definitely differ in terms of advisor selection. In mine, we had to have an advisor locked up by the end of the first year and complete three lab rotations to make connections with faculty. Definitely do your research and look into your potential advisor's funding and publication record (in particular, look at how much their students publish). If you have rotations, take advantage of them and learn how your advisor acts as a manager and leader to his/her students, their personality (e.g. micro-manager, laid back) and presence in the lab (e.g. always in the lab/office, very involved in administrative duties, frequent traveler). The rotations serve a great opportunity to test drive your boss. You know yourself best, so select the best fit for you.
  5. I find that Philosophy majors are fantastic writers. If you have interest in a particular area and enjoy writing, you can certainly have a fulfiling career using your writing, reasoning and abstract thinking skills. My friend from high school was a Philosophy major and writes for various sports websites. Good luck!
  6. After admission, I contacted a professor whose work I was very interested in after inquiring about him through past students of his. I think he was impressed with the initiative, because he offered me a summer position in his lab as a research assistant (even gave me the same pay rate I had at my previous job, which was generous compared to stipends). My program requires three lab rotations, and this counted as one of them. Didn't get a publication from that rotation, but I enhanced my technical skills that would lead to a publication in my following rotation in the Fall. My advice is to go for it. Especially if it's with someone that you are considering as a potential advisor; it will give you a head start to make a connection. Good luck!
  7. Advisor selection would be a great example, if not the most important. That early decision sets in line your advocate, your "boss," your choice of projects or research subfield, your opportunities (publications, funded conference trips, etc.), the professional network you can eventually tap into for your job search, and so much more. I've personally seen great students leave programs because of poor advisors. Choose wisely.
  8. Depends on what you want to do the degree, I suppose. If you're in it for an academic career, institution prestige will play a role in your eventual job search (yay bias). If not, I'd sign up for VCU for the discount.
  9. The overall lack of structure and uncertainty that lies beyond the second year. Experimental setbacks, publication rejections, harsh (at times) criticisms, no clear benchmarks for success, and increasingly looser guidance as you progress. Kind of like walking through fog that thickens before it clears. That said, it certainly toughens you up.
  10. 1) Publish your arse off. Use the protective "bubble" of grad school to your advantage. Yes, you're broke, but you don't have the administrative/funding/service responsibilities that a PI does. Publicize these publications through presentations, a lab website, blog, and social media. Your lab doesn't have a website? Create one. Bonus: publishing more makes writing and defending your dissertation easier. 2) Network to enhance your scientific reputation and gain contacts for your job search, which comes sooner than you think (should begin around 12-18 months before you defend). 3) Program prestige matters. Basically, you'll be marketable to universities/colleges at tiers lower than your Ph.D. university. Your saving grace is your Post-Doc university, so aim high when applying to those. 4) Read "Getting what you came for" by Robert L. Peters before your start. It's a wonderful roadmap for grad students. 5) Apply for and win grants. Winning small grants will help in the pursuit of large grants, as does publishing your arse off. 6) Gain mentoring/teaching experience. Assisting and publishing with undergraduates will provide solid evidence to search committees that you can effectively mentor students. Every job posting for an assistant professor job will ask for a Teaching Philosophy. You should have some actual teaching experience to support this. 7) Grad school is isolating: it's your project, your successes, your failures/setbacks. Be social. Your colleagues and friends will serve as a great support group, as they will struggle too. Don't think you're alone just because everyone's wearing a happy face. 8) Publish your arse off, this bears repeating. It will be much easier to compete for a coveted award/grant/post-doc with a well-padded CV. Good luck and all the best!
  11. This should serve as a great resource as your CV evolves: http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/01/12/dr-karens-rules-of-the-academic-cv/
  12. I would lean towards those with past research/technician experience, the more the better. In your case, from what I understand, I would not too concerned with the SOP. Scientific writing is a skill that can rapidly be improved, especially if the applicant has a firm grasp of the language. If the applicant is being hired to assist you with data collection, it sounds like writing will be in the minority of their duties. If that's the case, a little proofreading and editing by you or your advisor shouldn't be too taxing. The LORs will be useful here, and you should certainly contact references if you need more information. They can give you insight on their personality, work ethic, etc. I would be tempted to do a quick Google search if you are still undecided after narrowing down the candidates. Good luck!
  13. Thank you for the advice. I have recently been attending some professional seminars, including those focused on alternative careers. It has certainly helped! Thanks again!
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