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Everything posted by BabyScientist

  1. I would say there are no safeties for grad school. Yes, UW is very competitive, but so are all the other schools. And UCSD is also more competitive than you'd think. It's not about the school it's the specific department. I'd swap UCSD and Princeton on your lists if anything. That being said, assuming you have decent letters of rec and write a good SOP, you stand a good chance at any of the schools you listed (if you're international though, your odds go down a lot)
  2. I had a worse GPA but more publications, and I think the Duke, BU, WashU tier is about right (I got into BU, didn't apply to the others). It'll definitely depend on your statement of purpose and letters of rec, but you can include the paper that isn't published yet on your CV and say "manuscript in preparation" and it counts.
  3. Unlikely if you weren't even offered an interview. If you were interviewed and waitlisted it likely would've made the difference, but unlikely if you weren't interviewed.
  4. Potential advisors is key. Of course you can't know who you'll end up with, but which program has the most faculty you want to work with? Which program gave you the best vibes? I'd recommend emailing faculty you're most interested in at each program you're considering and asking for a meeting/call, and talk to them about your deciding process.
  5. This is exactly the answer I'd give (current student). Focus on the lab, not the institution. It will matter wayyyy more who you worked with/what you accomplished than where you did it. Choose faculty who will be good mentors and who have the resources for you to do good science. Doesn't matter which institution they're at, matters what you can do in the lab.
  6. What can you do to get into the 1 school you're applying to where multiple faculty have told the admissions committee they support you? Don't be an ass at the interview. Seriously. That's it.
  7. Didn't even catch that... NIH postbac program doesn't have an admissions fee. Not sure about others, but seems silly for them to charge you if they're also going to pay you...
  8. Your plan sounds solid to me... I was a RA and am very glad I did it over a postbacc program. I guess in part it depends on the lab you work in, but I published as an RA, made great connections, and saved a ton of money. I had my own projects, and helped some others with their's, but I wasn't responsible for everyone's stuff. For the argument that postbacc programs are designed to make continuing education easier... It can be the same way as an RA if you make it that way. My lab knew I wanted to go to grad school so they set me up with opportunities to do so: publishing papers, pres
  9. The department you're in matters mostly only in the structure of your program. The training you get is mostly from your lab, so if you have access to your labs of interest, the program doesn't matter as much.
  10. I think a second masters would serve you less than a research position if you ultimately want a PhD. Your application is fine for a PhD, depending on your LORs and SOP, but not for programs of that caliber. A research associate position would give you opportunities for publication that will certainly help.
  11. I've heard of people having a post doc write the letter and the PI cosigns it. It's like the PI saying I don't know this kid but I trust the judgment of the person who wrote this. If you feel he could write a good letter after knowing you a short time, couldn't hurt.
  12. I think your list looks good and your GPA is fine. I had a 3.4 without a masters. I think at this point your biggest focus should be on writing a good SOP. The worst part of your application is that you're an international student. I think you should add a few more schools (I hear the pandemic is decreasing admissions slots), and maybe add a few more private schools. I'm not sure if this is true, but I'm under the impression private schools have more ability to fund international students.
  13. There are a lot of "reach" schools in there, but I think you have enough more reasonable ones in there that it's fine. It's a long list, but if you can afford it I think it's fine.
  14. I agree with above. There's always a chance, though time off could make your application stronger. If you can afford it, can't hurt to apply to the schools you're really into and find a job if you don't get in.
  15. What do you mean by competitiveness? How hard is it to get in for the average applicant? Sure, then it depends on how many people apply. But then each applicant is more or less competitive for each school as well, so it's hard to say. You should be more concerned with how impactful the science is at each school (also hard to measure) and who you're most interested in working with at each school. Sorry, this has nothing to do with the original question. I know nothing specific about Stanford's grad programs, was just trying to understand what you meant by competitive. If you're trying to d
  16. Sounds like the only thing that makes a program competitive is how many people apply to it? Most schools interview about twice as many as they hope to enroll, accept 50-75% of interviewees, and hope for fewer people to accept the offer. How many people apply in the first place is independent of that.
  17. Some programs allow it. Mine allows you to work up to a certain number of hours a week at another job (don't remember how many, maybe 10-20?). I do know someone whose advisor didn't know he got a job as a waiter and kicked him out when she found out.. Even though it was allowed..
  18. You have a chance. There's always a chance. You'd just have a wayyy better chance with a year or 2 of full time experience under your belt... If you have the means to apply, then apply to your favorites now, just know you may get rejected. If you'd rather have a better shot, get more experience first. Full time research experience is incredibly important, not just for getting in, but for succeeding once you're in. I took 2 years off and I know how to do most techniques and keep projects organized and all the logistical things that go into research that my labmates who didn't take time off stru
  19. Your profile looks great beyond the low GPA. If your letter writers can attest to your academic capabilities, that can make up for the GPA. If I were you I'd be proactive about emailing faculty of interest at schools you want to apply to and you can bring up your low GPA. If they want you in their lab, they'll help you get in. I know someone who got into USC and NYU molecular bio programs with a 2.9 GPA and only one publication. I'd say your list is a little top heavy, but it's hard to suggest programs without knowing more about your interests. Make sure you're only applying to schools wh
  20. Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you wouldn't get in. Your profile is fine, your GPA is great, and grad school admissions are incredibly unpredictable. I guarantee that having more experience could only help, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't get in now. That's why I say go ahead and apply now if you can afford it, but know that your application would be strengthened with more experience. I'm happy to discuss further if you want.
  21. If you really want to start grad school right away, go ahead and apply to those schools. But if I were you I'd highly consider getting a job as a lab tech or a postbacc and apply after a year of doing that. It'll get you more experience. So since that isn't a long list of schools and you wouldn't lose that much money, maybe apply to those and if you don't get in or feel like you could get in somewhere better with more experience, then look for a lab job first.
  22. From my understanding it's realllly small. They accept like 1-3 students a year.
  23. I know people who attended a tiny PhD program at a hospital in LA and got great post docs. Small programs can still have great faculty. What matters is how productive you are and how much you accomplish, not where you want. Congrats on getting in!
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