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whybanana

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Everything posted by whybanana

  1. Has anyone applied to the Francis Crick Institute and heard back from potential supervisors yet?
  2. Really sorry about your tough application experience - I'm glad you're finally in a great program you're happy with! I agree that it's pretty much a hit-or-miss with the low GPA/great experience combo. Even though I like to think I have great experience (plus a first author Nature pub, whoop), I held off applying because I know that my GPA (~3.4) is a huge turn off for competitive institutions. I settled for applying to a top 1 year MS program, but even then I expected rejection. Happy to report that I will be attending the program - I can only hope it'll boost my chances next cycle. I guess I've been lucky so far, but I still fully expect to receive a good number of rejections when I apply next cycle as well. However, from professors and students alike, I always hear that experience trumps GPA. I myself personally value things like previous (and relevant) research and graduate level experiences waaaay more than a mid to high GPA. GPAs are supposed to be indicators of graduate school success, after all. If you've effectively shown great potential in other ways, I can't imagine it would be an impossible obstacle with adcoms - maybe not easy to swallow, but still not impossible. But again, as you've said, it's a hit-or-miss. I still strongly believe that if you really want that PhD, and if you work hard enough, you'll land an acceptance.
  3. @BabyScientist While top schools like Harvard do tend to admit students with relatively high GPAs, there's never a GPA cutoff unless it is clearly stated on their website/application. Grades are almost always secondary to research experience and LORs. @ThinkA Your research experience, publication record, TAship and graduate course experience are attractive to many graduate programs and prove that you can thrive in a Ph.D. environment despite your undergraduate GPA. Study hard for that GRE so that the only blemish on your application is your transcript. That said, it would serve you well to look at some lower-tier schools. With just three schools on your list (all extremely competitive) you're at great risk for disappointment this cycle. Also, although it's not exactly a "lower tier" school, NYU Sackler has a great biophysics program. Good luck!
  4. Thanks for all the advice @Eigen and @TakeruK! I guess I'll just ask the PI about the feasibility/requirements of working in a chem lab as a biology PhD student. I was just worried that he made me the offer without really thinking the logistics through, which would screw me since working in that lab is a major reason for me considering that institution. Hope it works out.
  5. It's a US program. The supervisor already reached out to me and was hoping I'd join his lab as a PhD student. I've published with their lab before. The idea was for me to work on the molecular biology/biophysics side of things while the rest of the lab does the complimentary hardcore chem stuff. I thought that it was weird for him to make that offer knowing that I'm primarily a biology person, but he's a department head so I assumed he could make it work. Now I'm not too sure. Would it be possible for me to have him as a co-supervisor along with another biology PI? There's already an ongoing collaboration between their labs.
  6. Is it possible for a biology PhD student to have a supervisor from a chemistry department? My academic background is in biology/biochemistry, but most of my research has been in chemistry/biophysics. I don't plan on pursuing a PhD in chemistry, but the institution I'll likely do my PhD at doesn't have a formal biochemistry track (just biology or chem), and the PI I'd like to work with is a hardcore chem person. Does anyone have experience working with other departments during their PhD? I'm mostly worried about how funding would work or if it's even possible.
  7. Your situation is pretty similar to mine. I also have a relatively low GPA but great research experience. I run my own division in a lab independently and have published as first author. Also have the glowing LORs from famous PIs yadda yadda. I'm not applying this season, but honestly in my experience (and according to all the advice I've received thus far), what you offer in terms of research experience, publication record and dedication to research is way more valuable than someone with a high GPA and "decent" research experience (i.e. most applicants). I'm not in neuroscience so my perspective may not be the best suited here, but I think you have a decently balanced list of schools, maybe leaning towards the more competitive end. Knock that SOP out of the park and you stand a great chance.
  8. I mean, despite the prestige the GRFP comes with, that pay cut kinda sucks. I thought it would at least supplement my funding, either for research or stipend. I guess there's little to no financial benefit that comes with the grant. How are schools expected to come up with other funds? Why does the NSF require this? I thought NSF just pays the grant money to the university and then they decide how that's distributed over the student's tuition/stipend/research/department funding.
  9. Yeah, smaller pay cut than I expected but I'm assuming the prestige pays off in the long run, career-wise. Thanks for the advice! I've seen a good number of people on this forum receive these fellowships - how competitive are they exactly? Is it enough to have a well thought out and interesting proposal? I have a good pub track record and good connections - does that help at all?
  10. So I'm looking to apply for either the NSF or NIH grant for PhD studies (commencing in Fall 2019; yes I might be a little early in thinking about this). I was wondering how the grant works exactly. Do they fund the student directly (i.e. stipend) or the institution (to cover the cost of research/tuition)? Is this added to the original/base student stipend or is that decreased if the student receives the grant? What are the other benefits of receiving either grant (besides becoming a more attractive PhD candidate to grad schools)? Thanks!
  11. Congratulations! Hope I'm lucky enough to follow your footsteps. Like you, I feel like I have everything else going for me aside from my grades (3.37). But I'm lucky enough to have had amazing mentors and PIs who supported me throughout my years of research and continue to do so postgrad.
  12. thank you! I'm just psyched that my hard work finally paid off. my grades aren't spectacular, only because I dedicated so much time to research since it was way more interesting and intellectually stimulating to me than lecture-based classes. my LORs reflect this as well. i'm off to Imperial College to complete a masters by research in my field. i'm hoping that, along with my publications, will give me a good chance at some of my dream programs.
  13. I'm about to publish my undergraduate thesis in Nature as first author (so grateful and happy!). I'll likely get another first author publication out of my project by the end of the year, likely lower IF. I know it doesn't make me a shoo-in for PhD programs, but how far could this take me if I apply to competitive programs in my field (Rockefeller, GSK, UCLA, MIT)?
  14. Thanks so much! Do you happen to know this contributor's name on Quora?
  15. So I recently graduated with a BS in biology and minor in chemistry from a top US institution. I'm headed to Imperial College London for a Masters of Research in Chemical Biology with the intention of returning to the US for a PhD in a similar field. I'm worried that my ICL degree, however, won't hold up well in PhD applications, either because of lack of name recognition or the fact that it's from an overseas institution. I ultimately chose Imperial because they have one of the few labs working in the field I'm interested in, as well as to show that I can be successful in a graduate school environment (read: compensating for my 3.37 GPA). The UK MRes degree is well structured and suited to my interests in that it consists of 80% research (plus they're only a year long), but now I'm starting to think that I'm making a mistake. Does anyone have any insight on this type of situation? Not sure what to do.
  16. Okay, never thought I'd be lucky enough to be in a position to choose between these three universities (Masters of Research), but here I am. All these programs are extremely similar in structure and have faculty members I'd be interested in doing research with. I really can't seem to choose a program. Can anyone offer any insight? I'd really appreciate it!
  17. Thanks for the advice! I believe that all my letters are excellent, with this one in particular really standing out (literally cried when I read it; the professor is also an alumnus of my top choice university). I have a lot of research experience (w/ 1 pub and an honors thesis), a great PS and a strong upward trend. The only thing getting me down is my overall unimpressive/subpar GPA (I elaborated on some mitigating circumstances in my PS). Yeah, I'm currently looking into UK masters degrees. I only received one offer so far. Not sure how much emphasis there is on the "whole" application with those institutions, but I, at the very least, meet their academic requirements for entry. That's about all I can tell.
  18. Curious as to how much impact recommendation letters have at the graduate level. I know that one of my references (research mentor for the past 3 years) wrote me an absolutely amazing recommendation - but I'm not sure how much this will offset some of the "sub-par" aspects of my application (i.e. GPA). Anyone ever in a similar situation and can offer me some insight? Thanks!
  19. I'm stuck deciding between UCL, KCL and Imperial for a research program (Masters of Research) in Biology (specifically biochemistry/biophysics). I've looked at the current projects/faculty research at each university and find all of them interesting. I can't really decide which program I should go with. Can anyone with a biology background offer insight on any of these universities? I'd really appreciate it!
  20. How early should I begin the PhD application process (i.e. reaching out to professors/schools, preparing a research proposal)?
  21. Thank you! I like the idea of approaching it as a piece of academic writing and then adding embellishments as needed. Yeah, following a timeline is important. By creative, I meant using anecdotes/interesting language or playing with form altogether. But I feel like the work put into a creative personal statement doesn't match the payoff if a traditional one is generally good on its own.
  22. Will do! I don't think I could send it out to more than a couple professors and my research mentor (who is writing me an LOR), but I hope that'll be enough. I'm also hoping that my LOR will make me stand out if my personal statement doesn't, since I know that it should be amazing (he's also an alumnus of the university I'm applying to). I know this is off topic, but how much do LORs matter in the grand scheme of things? Can it make or break an applicant?
  23. Thank you so much! All of this is excellent advice. The program I'm applying to isn't a PhD, so they are only asking for a personal statement. I feel like I'm pushing myself to write something more creative just to stand out, but I'm way more comfortable using a traditional style, especially given my short time frame. Will potentially save myself a few drafts by adopting something more straightforward.
  24. Thank you! Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I initially thought, but I'm hoping my writing skills can help me overcome my lack of time. I know that there is no replacement for stepping back and revisiting a personal statement, but I feel like if I managed to write my college application essays in a day and most of my better essays/research proposals in an extremely short amount of time, I might be able to pull this off. I know that I'm naive/delusional for thinking this, but I don't have much of a choice at this point. Is it possible to write a good personal statement in less than a month?
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