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About biomednyc

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Cell/Molecular Biology

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  1. I don’t know the NYU Sackler post-interview acceptance rate, but I can tell you that the interview weekend was very laid back and well organized. Regarding the faculty, I remember being struck by how happy and friendly they were. One of my interviewers had research interests aligned pretty closely with what my current undergrad PI was doing, and she offered to send a bunch of mice over for some experiments. I got them in touch and they are now working together. Of course maybe it was just the department I happened to interview in (it was mostly the cardiovascular division of the cell bio department), but the program directors and other faculty were also very helpful and informative during the lunches/poster sessions/what-have-you mingling times after the interviews. The interviews in general were very casual--very typical discussion of like 20 mins about my research/career goals/questions and then the last 15-20 mins discussing the research interests of whoever was doing the interviewing. The way the interviews go depend on who you happen to get as an interviewer and how you click with them, but in my experience very few faculty are looking to grill you and put you on the spot. I would say that during these interview weekends you should look into getting the know the students/faculty as well as possible and figure out if the program is right for you. Don't be scared to ask students questions about quality of life, support systems, cost of living, etc. and the faculty about collaborations, mentorship, what past students have done and anything else that is important to you. This is your time to show that you are passionate about science and confirm what was in your application, of course, but it is also the time to figure out if this is the place for you for the next 5-7 years. Keep you eyes open and enjoy it.
  2. For Yale BBS, last year was apparently a competitive year (according to my student host) and the post-interview acceptance rate was somewhere around 2/3 of those interviewed, so anywhere between 60-70%. I obviously have no idea what the applicant pool looks like this year, but I think it's safe to say that they are able to accept more than half post-interview.
  3. Congrats to you too! I can say the same for Harvard thanks a lot for the kind words, I wish you the best of luck!
  4. It ultimately came down to which school had the whole package of research, mentorship/support and location for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very hard decision. I definitely lost some sleep over it. Long story short, the research fit was very good at both schools, and it would be very hard for me to choose solely based on that. As for mentorship/support, I got along better with the faculty I interacted with at Penn. This obviously depends on who I happened to interview with/run into, but the gut feeling was there. I decided to listen to it because I got matched with POIs I was really interested in at both places, and simply could see myself working with those at Penn over Harvard. I’ve learned the hard way that personality is something that matters to me. I also approached it from the angle of: “If (or maybe when) something goes wrong, who (other than my PI) can I go to for guidance?” At Penn I could name two such people after the visiting weekend, at Harvard it was a bit harder. I think this one is largely because CAMB is broken up into a few sub-groups, and each has a chair and administrator. It’s very different when you’re one of six or seven people, versus one of 65. Both of them at Penn sought the few of us in the sub-group out during the interviews to touch base and get to know us. Does not being sought out during the interview mean there is less support at Harvard? Probably not. But the structures of the programs are undeniably different, and I decided that Penn fit my needs better. Also, there is a higher junior faculty turnover at Harvard than at Penn. To me, this had a higher probability of translating into a high pressure environment that I didn’t feel would fit the type of environment I learn best in. Of course that will differ on specifics labs and it’s probably avoidable; but again, it’s there, and might limit who I get to work with. I tend to gravitate toward smaller labs (which tend to be led by assistant professors) so I did not want to be limited by this fear. Finally, I preferred Philly over Boston. I can afford a one bedroom apartment about a 15 minute walk from campus by myself in Philly, in Boston that is nearly impossible. I wanted to have the option to live by myself comfortably. Ruled out NYC because of this one too. All in all, I had to go with where I felt I would have the highest probability of being happiest and most successful. So it’s not really one deciding factor, but kind of the context of the whole program, including the location, that just made Penn the better fit for me. It was one hell of a personal decision.
  5. I seem to be one of the only one on this thread crazy enough to say no to Harvard. I'll be attending Penn CAMB in the fall
  6. No of course you're not going to be a shoo-in for any career post-PhD, and I would hope no recent PhD graduate thinks that lol. I think I understand what you're saying...that it's not worth the time and energy to pursue a PhD if you don't really know what you want to do and think it's a good way to make yourself more "employable". I certainly know people who wanted to apply to PhDs to put off going into the "real world." I would just caution against piling people who might not want to pursue an academic career into that boat. People have different reasons for pursuing it, and I would say that those that simply pursue it to put time off from looking for jobs will most likely not make it through. Also I'm not sure where the shame for wanting to go into academia is coming from...I am someone who intends to pursue an academic path and had no problem having conversations about it during interviews. I'm also not sure how much to read into the introductory presentations...again even as someone who wants to pursue an academic career I usually ask questions about career development/alternative careers because I think it's important to be aware of the options. At interviews they need to cover a lot in a little bit of time so they could've been catering to what people are (probably) most curious about. Don't feel threatened about what you want to pursue post-PhD. Don't threaten other people about what they want to pursue post-PhD. Do your thing and learn as much as you can from everyone, even those who have different career goals than you.
  7. I read a question on Quora a while ago on whether there are too many PhDs given out, and I thought the answer was succinct and to the point: https://www.quora.com/Do-we-really-need-this-many-PhDs-as-a-society/answer/Joseph-Wang-9?srid=Lbmp Advanced degrees are much more than gateways for certain careers. It is very very dangerous to think of an education as something that should be limited only to certain people going for certain careers. The application process for PhDs is fairly rigorous, most people that get in are qualified and have what it takes to make the most of it and make an impact in WHATEVER WAY THEY WISH. They are driven by curiosity and the desire to challenge themselves and push the bank of knowledge forward. The PhD lets them flesh out those traits, gain a solid set of problem solving and technical skills and figure out where they can best apply them. If that means consulting for investment companies, then fine. If it means editing scientific communication, then fine. Why in the world would you keep someone from pursuing a PhD just because they don't want to do lab research??? Please take a step back and think of what that means at a societal level. Just because the PhD used to be solely for the academic path does not mean it needs to stay that way. There was also a time when women couldn't vote, and plenty of people screamed about how it should stay that way, which is obviously ridiculous. For better or for worse, the PhD is changing. Instead of being one of the people complaining about it, think of ways of using your position to impact this change in a constructive way.
  8. Thank you!! It's gonna be one heck of a decision where to commit for the fall, but an exciting one nonetheless
  9. I'm nursing a 102 degree fever that refuses to go down and coming to terms with the idea that it probably isn't a good idea to drive tonight to my interview... And suddenly I get an email that I got into Harvard BBS!!!!!! Happy, feverish mess = me.
  10. I wouldn't get anxious just yet, it was an informal email from one of the faculty members I interviewed with who also happens to be on the admission committee wanting to congratulate me and let me know that I will be receiving the official acceptance soon. So they're definitely still working through things. I applied to cell biology, physiology and metabolism (CPM). Good luck, keeping my fingers crossed for ya
  11. Just got an offer from Penn - CAMB!! So pumped...I loved the interview weekend
  12. Has anyone heard back from Columbia's Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences? They say they expected to send the first round of acceptances by this Friday, but I'm not seeing much on the results page.
  13. Wow, you just made my day. Yale BBS is by far my top choice, and I've heard about them being around the ~50% mark as well. I honestly don't remember where I got that number from, but it's nice to hear from someone who's there that that odds are a bit more generous.
  14. Thanks so much, your input is immensely helpful. I really appreciate it. On a related note, do you have any tips for good questions to ask interviewers? Regarding their work, their students, or maybe the program at large?
  15. Seasoned interviewers: what were some of the hardest questions you got, or that maybe took you off guard? I understand that the process is fairly casual and designed to gauge the applicant's research experience/personality while confirming what's on paper, but I have 7 interviews lined up (!!!!!) and I'm trying to prepare myself for the worst. I have no idea what to expect and any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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