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Everything posted by Janiejoneswoah

  1. Nobody knows, but I think they were released the week of April 5th last year so either next week or the week after is a good bet.
  2. Yeah, I think if you had one or two interviews which were particularly good I don't think it could hurt to reach out and say you enjoyed meeting those professors. It's definitely not required though. Just don't email everybody you spoke to with a generic form letter, it will be very noticeable.
  3. Strategically, I would say no it's better to interview with somebody else... although it might not matter if your PI is not on the admissions committee. Usually the programs match you with a couple of PIs on the ad com and a few who you have said you are interested in. Although the ad com will account for the other interviews, the most important thing is to make a good impression on the PI's who are actually on the committee. Any opportunity you have to meet somebody new on the committee is an opportunity to get somebody else to fight for you in the admissions meeting. If your PI already likes you and are on the ad com, they will likely already fight for you. If they don't much like you and are on the ad com, you aren't going to change their mind in an interview. If they aren't on the committee, as I said it probably doesn't matter much since you would interview with them or somebody else not on the committee.
  4. I disagree with the previous comment... I can't think of any situation where the subject GRE will help you when it's not required by the program. If you have a strong math background that will speak for itself on your application in terms of grades and coursework, and if you don't then you aren't likely to do very well on the exam which is not very crammable. You might be able to make up for insufficient pure math coursework (although, your amount sounds fine to me for a biology phd program) by emphasizing computer programming experience which is more relevant to a computational neuroscience degree in any case. If you feel like you are missing something later in your program, you can always just take a course while you are there.
  5. If you're applying to medical school this could potentially be an issue, depending on what the exact requirements are in your region. But most phd programs that I am aware of do not have a specific list of courses they want to see you take. It can help to have several courses in the field that you are applying for—but most likely spending the time building research experience would be much more valuable. Research fit/experience is the first and most important metric used by grad schools. There's no need to freak out over specific courses that you can't fit into your schedule.
  6. It depends completely on your interests - I don't think I've heard much about U Alberta but that doesn't mean much. if you look at their faculty page and can easily pick out several PI's whose work appeals to you and who seem to be publishing somewhat regularly, it could definitely be a good choice. You can also see if you can email some current graduate students there and ask what their experience in the program has been like.
  7. I think you are correct in your assessment that your GRE is the biggest thing holding you back. If there's anything you could do to bring that quantitative score up, even if it means dishing out $500 for one of those Kaplan classes, I think it would be worth it. I say that because your research experience is really solid and your PI (I also went to UT and I think I know who you are talking about) is going to have a very weighty letter. Other than that quantitative score, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't get into some of those programs you mentioned as dream schools.
  8. IDK if your GPA is irrelevant but a GPA that trends positively as yours does can make up for the low average. I agree with the previous poster, high GRE and good research experience along with a positive trending GPA and you should be fine.
  9. Also check out Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Stanford! MIT and Caltech are also great but their departments are very computational.
  10. In your SOP, you need to be able to construct a narrative for why you are applying to a given program - why would you fit in, why should they take you? That is easier if you have a lot of experience in exactly what the department is strongest in, but this is not required for admission. Strong interest and comparable experiences are sufficient. From your post it sounds like you might be applying to a program for a single lab. Be careful if so. You don't necessarily know if the PI will have the funding and/or desire to take a student next year. Even a verbal assurance to the contrary from the PI isn't worth much - they might move, they might retire, something might change in their lab between now and when you want to start. In any case, you'll be more likely to get in if you can make a case to the department as a whole for why they should accept you rather than just to a single PI. The admissions committees will be more than one person, and your PI of interest may not even be a part of it.
  11. Nobody ever responded to this so I will chime in on the off chance you check this site: Your application looks strong. If you can get GRE scores around the 90th percentile and write a really strong SOP, I think you can apply to mostly top tier programs as well as any other programs that you feel fit your interests especially well. UCSF and UCSD are excellent programs that you mentioned you were interested in, and I would highly encourage you to apply to them. Harvard also has a great translational program that you should look into if you can stand the cold. 10-12 schools is probably too many; try to narrow it down to 7 or 8 so that you are only applying to the schools that are highly suited to your interests. Go through the faculty pages of each school, and if you can't find 3 or 4 PI's who you would be excited to work with then you shouldn't bother applying -- going to a program you aren't interested in is far worse than waiting another year to strengthen your app. Feel free to message me if you have any questions!
  12. Why just Yale, out of curiosity? It is a very prestigious university obviously but that does not always correspond to quality of particular graduate programs. I think that of the four schools you listed CalTech is a tier above the others for neuroscience, although the department seemed fairly computational last time I checked which may not be your thing. If you are only applying for the prestige value of the school it will be fairly obvious to people reviewing your application, and in any case the prestige of a school outside of the scientific community should not be a part of your decision making process. Make sure you have a solid justification for why you want to go to each school you apply to, and that you can find at least 3 or 4 people you would be a good match for based on your experiences and interests. Fit for the program is usually more important than any other application component.
  13. Basically I have no idea where to start—how far in advance should I set up my rotations? Should I wait until I start the program and meet some more PI's of interest before I actually choose my first one, or is it better to do it in advance? When contacting the PI, what is the etiquette—keep it brief, just say 'hey your research seems really cool' etc. or should I go into some detail in terms of what I found interesting and what my experience has been? Include a CV and/or personal statement? Any and all advice appreciated.
  14. Is anybody else having a hard time staying motivated for undergraduate courses after having decided on a grad school? It's killing me at the moment, everything feels like busy work (especially all the GE courses that have nothing to do with my major). Any thoughts on finding a new carrot/stick to keep my GPA above a C- this semester?
  15. "The only Broader Impacts addressed are the potential benefits that the research might have to human health. " Seems like a pretty broad impact to me, but what do I know
  16. We've already heard a lot of wonderful things about UCSF but I'm wondering how it might compare to Rockefeller. I read through the previous UCSF vs Princeton post and stole the pros and cons that I agreed with/cared about. Currently I'm leaning towards UCSF because I think its a better fit for my scientific interests, but I want to be convinced to go to Rockefeller because I think I would be happier and have a better lifestyle there. Unfortunately the cons I have with Rockefeller are really fairly major drawbacks. UCSF pro Huge choice of PIs and labs Excellent research in systems neuroscience -- arguably the best in the world. All the resources of the bay area and San Francisco No TA requirement con Just a medical campus, no engineering or physics etc (although Berkeley connection). I'm not very computational anyway though. Lots of coursework Crazy expensive (stipend is 37K, but SF is crazy expensive). So housing and general lifestyle are gonna be rough. Rockefeller pro Full access to mentors at Weill Cornell Most faculty are extremely well-regarded scientists -- something like half of them are NAS members Insanely good benefits - 39k stipend, healthcare. Studio housing on the upper east side of manhattan for 640/mo which is just ridiculous. Very small department with heavy focus on educating and nurturing graduate students. Department pays all stipend/tuition costs for 5 years, which could improve relationship/availability of PI's No TA requirement and coursework is very light, mostly seminars with no exams New York! con Small neuroscience faculty - only a handful really match my interest and I won't know until after I commit whether I really like them and their lab environments Mostly large labs, though there are a decent number of small ones. Again, I might not have much choice in terms of the intersection of my interests with who wants a graduate student that year.
  17. Congrats guys! I'm a current undergrad at UT and I have to say it's a wonderful place to go to school. You're gonna love Austin! Let me know if you have any questions -- though I don't know much about this specific program, I'm happy to speak to housing or other non-academic related issues.
  18. Yeah, the second interview weekend has already taken place :-/ Sorry.
  19. That's what I tried. They basically just said it was a super competitive year, don't be too hard on yourself etc... Even if you don't get any useful information, it doesn't hurt and you never know what you'll find out. It really sucks to get rejected at this stage without knowing why, especially with everybody saying acceptance rates are 60-90%, so I totally sympathize with you.
  20. If they've already bought your plane tickets, expect to be sent the bill...
  21. Has anybody had an admissions decision from Harvard PIN yet? They said they would be going out yesterday or today so I'm assuming the worst at this point.
  22. My interviews were mostly focused on what I had done -- and there weren't really any trick questions. Sometimes an interviewer will probe you with pretty detailed questions, but that's just to find the limits of your knowledge. Eventually they'll ask you something you don't know and that's where the probing ends - don't freak out when this happens, so long as it's not something you really ought to know ("So, what was your result?" for example). Know what you did, what the outcome was, and why you were doing it. Have a handful of faculty you would want to work with in mind, and know a general field you want to work in (for me, systems/circuit level structural plasticity).
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