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Everything posted by Bioenchilada

  1. I think you have a very good profile, but I can’t really comment on how it’ll compare to other competitive international applicants because I’m a domestic student. Although I know it is more difficult to get into some programs if you are not domestic, if you are applying to schools like Penn, UChicago, Cornell, and Columbia, might as well apply to the schools you refer to as “top”. In reality, all of these schools are top schools and getting into Harvard, Stanford, and MIT might be just as difficult as getting into some of the programs you are applying to.
  2. I don't think anyone would be offered your interviews if you declined them at this point, especially since they already arranged for your travel and your hotel. If I were you, I would try to attend the interviews still. You never know if you'll like another school more than your dream school
  3. I don't think MIT's yield is insanely high (i.e 90s) given that people that are accepted in top programs get admitted to quite a few as well. Assuming that the yield is 70% and the incoming class is 50 students, that would still mean that ~70+% of students are admitted if ~100 are interviewed . Also, you have to keep in mind that the strength of the cohort also dictates how many people get in. At some schools that I interviewed at, including Penn, they mentioned that they have the ability to accept all the interviewees, but that it is unlikely that this would be the case.
  4. Having a medical a degree and having worked as a post-doc, do you really need a PhD? Not sure how it is for international applicants, but people that already have a medical degree have a harder time getting in because they cannot be placed on pre-doctoral grants, so funding is more complex.
  5. When I applied to UChicago’s Cancer Biology program, the invites were sent out around Dec. 20th, but these dates are typically not solid.
  6. As far as I know, CAMB typically sends their invites close together, if not on the same day. However, there seems to be evidence from previous years where people got invited later. This might vary per division though.
  7. The first weekend is from Jan18th-20th. We have three weekends. PS: Just clarifying that I’m not an applicant, I’m a grad student here.
  8. I just received an email about volunteering for the UPenn CAMB interview weekend, so that might mean that they’re going to be sending invites pretty soon. Good luck to those that applied!
  9. I don’t think that when you interview has a major impact on your chances, or at least it didn’t really matter at the schools I applied to, nor the one I currently go to lol
  10. For those applying to UPenn CAMB, the admission committee meets on Friday.
  11. Why are you only applying to top schools? Could you retake the GRE? Though schools don’t tend to use cutoffs, guidelines have been posted by some top schools that I consider useful. They state that a combined score below a 310 is generally a red flag, and that scores in each section should be above the 50th percentile. Also, having a medical degree might mean that you might have to pay for your PhD since you cant be funded by training grants.
  12. I was not in great terms with one of my PIs back in undergrad and didn't ask them for a letter. I still wrote about the research that I did in their lab in my SOP. It won't be a thing unless you make it a thing, or unless you worked with them for a very long time and didn't get a letter. Even so, as long as you have great LORs, I doubt the adcom will care.
  13. Your numbers are good and the amount of research experience is okay, though a bit on the lower side for the schools you’re applying to. I don’t think your chances of getting in are particularly low. However, you should be aware that getting in as an international student is more competitive, so domestic applicants are not best suited to gauge your chances. I feel like a strong SOP that is well tailored to the schools you are applying to and good rec letters will boost your chances Some questions: Why are you applying to those schools in particular? Do you have at least 5 people yo
  14. I can take a look at your SOP. Though I don’t go to Harvard, I did an internship there and have a few friends that are currently students in their BBS program.
  15. You don't really want to get into the nitty gritty of your project in your personal statement, especially if you have multiple experiences. What worked for me was just mentioning the techniques/assays that I did in passing rather than going through the specifics of each experiment. I also feel that saying things like "this experience helped me develop my ability to think critically about problems" will be fine if you add a bit more meat to it.
  16. What would you see yourself doing besides academia? Also, if you acknowledge that you have not experienced enough labs to make a conclusion, do you not wonder if your lack of motivation stems from another source? I did not found a true lab fit for me until I rotated in the lab that I ended up joining. Most of my research experiences in undergrad were not great, but I knew science is what I wanted to do. I can guarantee you that the work environment that you are looking for in science exists. Even if it didn’t, you could be and advocate for the change that you want to see.
  17. I would only ask for three letters total, no need to add a fourth one, it doesn't add anything. Your numbers are great, but your research experience might be lacking--- though getting a publication will definitely help you (not having it won't break your app, so don't worry about that). I understand the argument that you're bringing up about not going to a school worse than your undergrad, but be aware of the potential consequences. As a poster above said, if no single school accepts you, there's plenty of tech positions available at top schools and postbac programs you can apply to.
  18. Though your numbers are great, I think that applying to mostly top schools with roughly one year of research experience might be a risk. I would suggest balancing your list out with schools that are not Ivy Leagues— you are applying to all of them but two— or super top schools. Also, is there a specific reason why your list is so top heavy? Applying for the prestige might hurt your app if it’s obvious in your statement of purpose. Meaning, make sure you have a good reason to apply to the schools you are applying to besides name recognition.
  19. @GreenEyedTrombonist had the right idea. If there is nothing about the school that you care for except the fact that there is NMR research going on, that doesn't present a solid case for an admission offer.
  20. I didn't mean length of program or structure soecifically. I meant, what is it about the school that you like? For example, are there a lot of collaborative opportunities? Does the school have certificate programs that you enjoy? Does it seem like it would be an interdisciplinary environment? Are there outside opportunities at x school that you enjoy? Do you enjoy the coursework that you would be taking or the electives that you could take advantage of? Etc...
  21. From your posts, it seems that you are overlooking a lot of important factors when it comes to graduate school and individual programs. The structure of the program ACTUALLY matters, so i would look into those ASAP. Also, you can't actually be neutral when writing your SOPs. There must be something about the school that you care about that is not simply the fact that there's professors that do the work you want to do. If you say that during the interview, they'll know you don't actually care about the school and you'll likely be rejected. Across all my interviews, the most common question for
  22. They don't put people on the commitee for certain applicants, that is picked ahead of time. Also, schools will typically send you a form after you get selected for an interview, or you email them, about your picks. Some will tell you to send a list of like 10 people, literally. So, this goes back to not choosing a school where three people are doing the work you want. I made that mistake, and it was very difficult to pick interviewers.
  23. If a program is rotation-based, they are mandatory. My program has 3 12-week rotations. In terms of interviews, my program had 3 interviewers that you picked ahead of time, don't know if any of them had to be on the adcom. A lot of the time, you don't get who you pick. This is variable per school in terms of number and length.
  24. As people have stated before, a PI will RARELY commit to taking you to their lab via email as an applicant. She is simply encouraging you to apply, doesn't mean anything else. In fact, there are many examples on previous admission cycles here of people that were told to apply by a PI and ultimately get rejected.
  25. In programs where you have to rotate, only having three could be a problem. Rotations are not always very straightforward to set up and professors might have their reasons to not let anyone rotate in a given year. You have to consider that if you choose a high-profile professor, odds are there will be competition. Interviewing also gets more complicated with only a short list of people because the probability that you'll talk with people you have zero familiarity with their researcbh skyrockets. Having gone through the process myself, I don't think three is enough. At most, it is the BARE mini
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