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vnatch

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About vnatch

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    Caffeinated

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  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    Biology

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  1. Any info on the post interview acceptance chances for Stanford Biosciences (Biology)?
  2. On a related note... I had my first interview last week, and I found that I had a hard time balancing giving firm and definitive answers while also being honest. I'm in a pretty non-mainstream field, so the truth is that a lot of questions professors asked me simply haven't been studied or aren't known for sure yet. So at first I sort of explained it that way, but midway through I would usually get worried about sounding uninformed so I would then give my own hypothesis or idea of what is happening. Has anyone else run into this problem?
  3. Since hearing back about interviews, I've started researching the practical and financial reasons why I should choose one school over another, and I came across a really basic question. Is the stipend awarded by my program meant to be enough to completely live off of? I have been under the assumption that it is, and I've been avoiding worrying about living costs by reminding myself that the amount of money I'm granted is supposed to be enough to live independently. However, is this true? I know I won't have anything close to a lavish lifestyle as a grad student, but is it possible that I'll need to take on even more debt to make it? I'm especially worried about living in San Fransisco, since a friend of mine told me it's so expensive that the UCSF or Stanford stipend would not be enough. Similarly, do many grad students also hold part time jobs? The grad students in my undergraduate lab all seem way too busy to work outside of their research, so I'm not sure if this is common or not.
  4. So I've been mentally practicing describing my research the way I would in the interview, and (to my surprise) I'm actually getting worried now that 30 minutes is wayyy too short of a time, especially if I'm expected to answer other questions related to the program and to listen/ask questions about their own research areas. Does anyone have any advice on how much I should aim to talk about my own work? I have been working in the same lab for 3 years now, and for 2 of those years I have run experiments completely independent of grad students/postdocs/etc, so I could talk about the various projects I've been working on for hours lol. How should I approach discussing my research in a way that is succinct? Like I mentioned before, I took part in (but was by no means the main researcher) a project that is under review for publication; but since then I've spent almost all additional time with projects (not yet ready for publication) in a related but different area, and these are the ones I know best having been the only one working on them. So I've thought about only talking about one of these, or alternatively I could very briefly describe both project types and then just ask my interviewer which project he/she would like to know more about? I think it would help me in deciding which way to approach the research discussion by having a better understanding of exactly what these interviewers are looking for. I know they want to make sure I can logically explain it and know the reasoning behind the various steps, but I guess I'm not sure which project would make me sound the most impressive. Another question I had: How exactly do these interviews result in an admissions decision? Will all of my interviewers confer later on to decide if I'm admitted, or do they write down notes and send them off to an additional adcom committee? This is out of interest more than anything else.
  5. Unfortunately all of their interview invites have been sent... I emailed them to ask about it and they said all invitees were notified before Christmas. Sorry, also super bummed here
  6. Yeah, I just tried emailing them but the graduate affairs office is closed for break. They did say that all invites will be sent between Jan. 3-6, so I'm not sure why they would say this if all of them were already sent? Maybe this is more wishful thinking...
  7. I also haven't heard from Berkeley yet, but it looks like only a few people have. I'm wondering if they've sent out all of the invites? I know the official email is set to come on Jan 3 but some people have gotten "unofficial" calls from professors. I'm debating whether or not it would come off as super annoying if I emailed the program coordinator about this, it just confuses me because it seems like not enough people got the "unofficial" invites, which gives me a shred of hope that more invites are still to come lol.
  8. I'm assuming you are only referring to publications that have been printed (i.e. that are not in press or review), right? I am an author on a publication that was just submitted for review in December, so I'm betting it won't be public access by the time my interviews happen (meaning my interviewers won't be able to ask me about specifics of the paper). You're post made me think of a related question, though. The paper I am authored on was based on some work a grad student and I did during my first semester working in my lab. The grad student did almost all of the work, but we both (equally) contributed to one experiment in the paper that I spent six months on but which turned out to be a complete failure (in the paper, its basically explained away in a single sentence). Aside from that, my other contribution was just to do some mutagenesis on a plasmid, which took about a month total. Basically, my work on the paper was pretty minimal compared to her's. My question is: when asked about the paper during interviews, do you think I should try to put a positive spin on the work I did, or should I be very honest and tell them that my work on it was not extensive (but if I did this i would still plan on knowing all about the project so I could explain it to them anyway). I should mention that since working on this project, the remaining 3 years spent in my lab have been on a number of completely different projects that I have pretty much been doing entirely independently (except my PI). So if they're looking to see if I can communicate effectively about projects that I'VE done, I would much rather spend my time talking about those. The only downside is that none of them are finished (even though I'm really close with one of them), so I'm not sure if that will negatively affect me in some way. I suppose I'm really asking if I would come off as a better candidate if I talk about the finished publication I had little to do with or the incomplete number of projects that I have been the sole researcher for. If the latter is better, how do I smoothly deflect in depth questions on the publication so I can talk more about current experiments? Thanks for your input!
  9. I know interviews are still about a month away, but I wanted to prep at least a little during the winter break before I get swamped with school again. I'm not sure exactly what approach to take when I'm getting ready for these, does anyone who's been through the process before have any advice? From what I've heard about interviews so far, I think I'm going to spend a lot of time reading papers and lab websites for the professors I am interested in working with, and I'll be sure to come up with plenty of questions for them. I also plan on going over my research and making sure I can explain it sufficiently to them and hopefully that I can answer any questions they have about it. Finally, I was going to go over some standard job interview questions, the stuff everyone hates about my biggest weakness, time I had to take charge, etc. Am I missing anything? I also had some general questions about the interviews themselves. If it helps, I am interviewing at umbrella programs in cell/developmental biology, biochem, and genetics mostly. How many interviews can I expect to do over the whole weekend for these programs? Some of the invites I've already received want me to give a ranked list of 5 faculty I want to speak to, does this mean I will have to interview with all 5 of them or will I not know until the day of? Also, since I will be reading about them a lot beforehand, is it appropriate to jot down my questions for them ahead of time and bring a notepad with me so that I can continue taking notes and also so I can remember what I want to ask? Finally, am I only interviewing with faculty, or do I have to interview with other adcomm members who I am not interested in working with? If this is the case, what kinds of questions will they ask? Thanks in advance for clearing some of this up!
  10. Does anyone know the status of the Harvard MCO apps? Based on the previous messages I guess the BBS program is done sending invites, but has anyone gotten any MCO invites?
  11. This may be a pretty specific request, but does anyone know anything about the interview weekend specifically for the UCSF Tetrad program? It is my very first interview but also one of my top choices, so I'm feeling a bit nervous! Any info about the post-interview admission rate would also be greatly appreciated. I read on some other forum that UCSF's acceptance rate after interview is actually a lot lower than normal, but I'm hoping this isn't true. Has anyone heard anything about this before?
  12. Any updates on Berkeley MCB? I know official invitations are being sent on January 3rd but I've been praying for an unofficial phonecall!
  13. I also applied to both of those programs, heard back from UCSF but not Berkeley as of yet... Do you have any idea about the chances of admission after the UCSF interview? That's my first one so I'm a bit nervous! Also, have you heard back from Berkeley MCB yet? Saw on here that a few people got calls from professors on Friday, I'm hoping that wasn't the only wave of interview invitations lol.
  14. Does anyone know if Berkeley MCB is sending out any more phone calls/emails? There have already been a few people getting calls on Friday.
  15. I basically thought i had my SoP all written and ready for me to send out, but last week my PI informed me that he is publishing on a project I did about a year ago and that I would be an author on the paper. This is my first publication, so I'm obviously super excited, but I'm wondering if I now have to change my SoP to mention this? Aside from the headache of having to rewrite half of my SoP, I'm a bit concerned because I did not do this work by myself (I was actually only a minimal part of this paper) and the topic doesn't fit in super well with what I'm researching now. My current draft is written so that I have a paragraph dedicated to my current project, which (even though it isn't finished) I think is a good one since all of the work is completely independent. In other words, I'd rather not get rid of the bit I wrote about my current project. Alternatively, I could mention the publication in a sentence or two before my current project, but I feel like the Adcom might want me to explain more about it. My main question is, will it hurt me if I don't mention the publication at all? They will be able to see it because there is a separate section where I list publications, but will they be suspicious if they see the publication but I don't discuss it in the SoP?
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