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About stygldbby

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    2015 Fall

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  1. Ugh, HM (E/VG, E/E. E/E) and on my last year eligible All three of my reviewers seemed to love my app though, which is even more frustrating.
  2. My experience at Yale so far hasn't been anything like that! I really think it comes down to the individual lab you end up joining (and this is probably at least somewhat true wherever you end up going), but in terms of overall inter- and intra-departmental things, I've found the environment here to be very collaborative and supportive! Most everyone has been really easy-going and friendly, and I'd say students are largely happy to be here. I (obviously, haha) didn't end up going to Penn, but I remember getting a similar vibe there too and definitely thought it was also one of their strong points. If your research interests match-up to programs with "bad" reputations, I would encourage applying anyways! Or at least digging deeper. You'll be able to feel out whether or not the fit is there during interviews. Or alternatively, you could reach out to people in those programs before applying.
  3. Another thing to consider is that public schools often have less spots/funding for international students (If OP is one??) than private universities. Weill Cornell was one school that was pretty explicit in stating that nationality plays a very small role in admission decisions due to having a large amount of non-federal funding for graduate students. This probably varies from school to school, but it does appear to be a general trend I've noticed. You can always look to see if a program you're interested in publishes its percentage of incoming international students. You'll notice those numbers tend to be larger at private schools (for the most part) than public ones, but overall still pretty small percentages. That said, these top 10-20 schools are highly competitive for all applicants and even more so for internationals, private or not, so diversifying your target programs would most likely be a smart move regardless. With your research experience/publication track, I wouldn't completely rule out top programs, if you can find a few with good research fits, but I wouldn't put all my grad school dreams on them.
  4. I think that your stats are "good enough" to at least try for top programs (especially if your GREs pan out as your predicted scores indicate). I use quotes because, to be honest, only adcoms really know what this means; all we have to work with is anecdotal evidence, and in my experience, the whole graduate admissions process is A LOT more opaque compared to undergrad admissions to these "top" schools. Stats are def important for both, but grad school adcoms are WAY more interested in you as an individual. That means less easily quantified things like your letters of rec, personal statement, how you present your research experience and goals, etc. really matter. If taking time off before applying will improve these things (i.e. strengthen your case as being someone with a ton of potential to do great research) and make you more confident about your application, then I would consider it. It's def not uncommon to take time off. However, imo, your profile looks competitive the way it is now too. If you're sure grad school is the end goal, I would go for it. Work on a killer personal statement!! That said, these quantitative measures DO matter to an extent, and there are def programs reputed to use stricter cut-offs (Rockefeller comes to mind), so I'd for sure be pragmatic when putting together my list of programs to apply to. But if you find yourself really excited by research at a top program, don't let rank scare you away. Like Immonolog said above, fit is the absolute most important thing. If you're convinced it could be there for you at a specific program, go for it!
  5. Johns Hopkins is a fantastic school with fantastic research and has the reputation as such in many fields, including biomedical research. Baltimore, on the other hand, might not be for everyone... At your stage, I would recommend following the research and applying if it leads you in that direction. I would also recommend visiting before applying, if at all possible, because like @adiJ above, I personally would not want to live in that area and did not apply mostly for said reason. BUT on the other hand, I knew several people that loved their undergrad experiences at JHU and a good friend that started his PhD there last year and is similarly happy so. Plus, you'll ultimately get to see for yourself if you end up interviewing anyways:)
  6. I didn't set up my first rotation until about 2 weeks after arriving (and about 2 weeks before the rotation itself started) and definitely didn't set up all of my rotations at once. I really think it's program-specific though. One reason I'm really glad I waited was that my program (which is relatively large) also did a series of "mini-talks" where faculty present their current research and mingle with the incoming first years which was super helpful. Granted, there are A LOT of faculty in the program so it was a little overwhelming (though certainly not all of them gave talks) and did drag on after the first few rounds, but it was also very informative. On the other hand, it can't hurt to reach out earlier than I did, like say the summer before. But I definitely wouldn't do it too early because you'll be wanting to set up meetings with faculty and that will be much easier when you're physically there/know your own schedule a little more, in my opinon. I guess the one caveat to this might be whether or not it's common for students to have to "compete" with each other for rotations and, if so, getting a foot in earlier than others is necessary? This was never the case for even the most popular labs in my program, but it might be a concern I suppose. As for later rotations (however many that is for your program), my top choices definitely changed throughout the first semester from getting more familiar with the program and faculty and talking with current students and post-docs in the labs I was interested in (which I highly recommend doing before choosing a rotation!!). Both my second and third rotations were overall much better informed decisions than my first, but also went in much more surprising directions research-wise after unexpectedly hitting it off with both PIs at random department events.
  7. I agree with @biochemgirl67's advice that seminar based bio classes are probably going to be more helpful for a molec/cell bio graduate program than p-chem. I mean, for what anecdotal evidence is worth, I know several people in my cohort that haven't even taken orgo or biochem and are doing just fine, not to mention obviously got into the program despite those classes being highly recommended undergrad courses. I wouldn't dwell on p-chem unless you truly feel that learning it will be useful for your intended field of research (say, if you were interested in biophysics). I would focus more on strengthening my application in other ways, like, for example, taking bio classes you'd be more likely to enjoy and do well in!
  8. For what it's worth, all the programs I applied to last year had Dec 1st/2nd deadlines, and the last place I heard back from about interviewing got back to me by Dec 22nd-ish. I was also surprised by how short the overall turn-around time was, but I think schools really want to solidify interviews ASAP to avoid the unavoidable conflicts that will inevitably happen. There are only so many weekends Jan-March! However, that's not to say people didn't get interview invites in Jan (or even Feb or later) either, so I think it's also somewhat program specific. Also, huge congrats to those getting invites already and good luck to everyone! If anyone has any questions about interviewing at the programs I applied to last year (in my sig) or anything, feel free me to message me!
  9. i don't think any school will expect applicants to have 5 publications, especially if you're applying right out of undergrad. i had really similar stats to yours and got interviews/acceptances to several top tier places, and i think that my experience was pretty standard compared to other applicants i met interviewing. honestly, one thing i learned from the whole process is that your SoP/ability to talk about your research experience and interests really goes a long way. as for rockefeller, i can't speak much on their graduate program specifically, but the school definitely has a reputation for really great research. also location-wise, it's fantastic! the campus itself is really nice and though the upper east side is kinda quiet, that can be nice in a city as hectic as nyc. plus, you're right next to weill cornell and sloan-kettering, so the whole area just has a really cool intellectual/research-oriented vibe imo haha. sorry i can't give a more concrete picture of the program itself! i'd say def go for it, if you think your research interests align well with the program and wouldn't mind living in a big city!
  10. stygldbby

    NYU Sackler

    I agree. I definitely think stats-wise, you're in a good range, so I'd focus on keeping up your grades and polishing up the rest of your application!
  11. Hi! Very few people coming straight out of undergrad have publications when applying. A publication certainly can only help, but I definitely don't think it's required and/or even expected, especially since the rest of your profile looks good! In terms of choosing schools to apply to, I think whether or not your research interests align well with the school (i.e. can you find at least 3-5 faculty you'd be interested in working with?) should probably be your foremost consideration, but I've heard that applying to public schools in general is often more competitive for international students, just for funding reasons. I don't think this is true for ALL public schools, but I've heard, for example, most schools in the UC system admit only a couple international students a year. Private schools generally have a larger international percentage per class.Thus, my advice would be to look into more private schools! I know Weill Cornell is one that takes a large number of international students.
  12. You've just inspired me to start that unpleasant process haha. I'm 99% sure my decision will be between two schools so might as well start, right?
  13. stygldbby

    NYU Sackler

    I don't remember if you get extra compensation for doing so, but Sackler students do have the opportunity to TA if they're interested. That was one of my concerns interviewing as well:)
  14. For people who have already pretty much decided (congratulations!!!) or are already attending, did you revisit the schools you were deciding between? I'm currently torn between two amazing programs that I really felt clicked with me, and though making another trip would be a hassle, it would technically be possible. Do you recommend doing so? Or I guess any advice on how to decide when your "gut feeling" is pointing you in two different directions!
  15. For what another anecdotal contribution is worth, I was also pretty nervous about not having enough relavent research experience (2 summer REUs and a semester on campus by application submission) to apply straight out of undergrad but decided to just go for it anyways. Even though my experiences were short and my future research goals are pretty different from anything I've previously done, things seem to be working out so far! I've learned from the interview process that (most) grad schools are really looking more for potential than anything else at this point (I say most because there are def some schools that strongly prefer more established researchers). I agree with Velli. If you have the other, more easily quantifiable stats (a 3.85 is def very impressive by the way!) you're already in a pretty good place to further convince adcoms that you're worth investing in through your personal/ research statement. I was actually surprised how important your SOP can be in the whole process since I was always told numbers, lors, and experience basically make everything else "fluff". But I've always been a pretty decent writer and have had multiple adcom members tell me they were impressed by my SOP so selling yourself well can go a long way too!
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