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  1. All of your letters of recommendation should come from PIs. Your statement of purpose should state clearly your research experience. Describe your projects. Don't waste your time taking the GRE subject test. In your interviews, you will be expected to describe your work.
  2. Stanford is probably the most prestigious of the three because of its universal excellence in nearly every academic field (STEM, business, law, humanities). Having said that, Berkeley is quite renowned (Physics, CS, ML). Within the medical and biomedical communities, UCSF is outstanding. I also was accepted to all three. I liked them all and could see myself happy at any of them. You should go where you'd rather live. The three locations are actually quite different.
  3. Get over your own ego. You're misinterpreting MIT's rejection letter. I'm sure you have other good options.
  4. I applied as a senior. I'm between 3.2-3.4.
  5. I have a very mediocre GPA at Princeton and I got in nearly everywhere I applied (all top 10), so I don't agree with this whatsoever. Unless you're talking like ~3.0 or below, in which case I would agree.
  6. Which mediocre school are you headed to next year?
  7. Subject tests are useful if you come from a school that the faculty hasn't heard of and therefore are unable to assess the quality of your biology education. Do not waste your time with the exam if that does not describe your background.
  8. I did my undergraduate thesis in Botstein's lab in LSI. I really would go to UCSF. Just my opinion.
  9. I'm aware Princeton is prestigious: It's probably the only reason I got into MIT (among many others). I would only go to Princeton if you were set on computational genomics or computational neuroscience. UCSF is much stronger in every other area. I know their department and faculty very well. Princeton is renowned for undergraduate education and some graduate programs (economics, public policy, history, physics, math, etc.). Biology is not one of those programs. Again, this is coming from someone who spent 4 years there (and loved it).
  10. Coming from a former undergrad at Princeton, go to UCSF. It's program is much, much better for biological research, both in basic and translational science.
  11. Your research experience and recommendations are significantly more important than your GPA or your GRE scores.
  12. I'll play. Here's my list, criticize as you please: Top 5: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, UCSF, Caltech Top 10: Berkeley, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania Top 15: Princeton, Duke, Scripps, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Chicago Top 20: UCSD, Cornell, UCLA, Rockefeller, University of Michigan NOTE: No ordering within each group of 5, too subjective.
  13. Phone call from faculty member I interviewed with - accepted to UCSF BMS
  14. Echoing what Epigenetics said, I've spoken to several faculty members at elite universities (Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Harvard) who have served on committees. They have said: 1) The most important parts of your application are your letters of recommendation and research experience 2) The correlation between success in graduate school and GPA usually disappears around 3.2 3) GRE scores are not very important 4) Some faculty members don't even bother reading your SOP
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