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Everything posted by StemCellFan

  1. I might be playing devil's advocate here, but I would really think about which program is going to set you up for your career. You want to join a lab who's research is interesting to you, but ultimately that lab should have a mentor and environment that is going to set you up for success later on. You could join a lab that has the best research fit, but you don't mesh as well with the PI, or you could join a lab with less interesting research but the PI is amazing. In that case, I would choose the latter in a heartbeat. The PI, environment, and program support can be what makes or breaks y
  2. Your offer shouldn't be rescinded for a D. They will want your transcripts after you graduate, but this is to verify that you actually graduated with your Bachelors. If this D doesn't stop you from getting your degree you're set.
  3. I don't think your numerical stats are what caused you to be rejected post-interview. A 3.3 GPA isn't awful. I think what you should focus on is research, securing better letters of rec if the ones you currently used aren't the best, and revising your SOP for the next round of applications. I don't know what your interviews were like, but the fact you were invited means that despite having a GPA of 3.3, they still were interested in inviting you out and meeting you in person. From what I've heard, from the admissions committee at my school because I asked this, is that they are looking for
  4. I would not focus on the GPA or the GRE (your GPA is perfectly fine here). I doubt either of those two factors affecting your outcome this cycle. I would focus on getting more research experience, getting more or better letters of recommendation, and revising your personal or research statements. Unless you are interested in a niche area of research or have financial constraints, I would apply to more programs next cycle or widen your net (though the range of choices you have seems ok here).
  5. I'm a domestic student, so I don't have advice for international students specifically. However, my general advice is to think about what your end goal is. If your end goal is a PhD, I don't know if a masters degree is what you need. It definitely won't hurt and it could help, but I only advise masters degrees for people who either have a poor GPA and need to boost it or are going into a different field and need more background experience before applying to the PhD (i.e. general biology to biomedical engineering). In your case, it sounds like you have a bit of research experience and an ex
  6. I sent thank you emails to the administrator, director, and faculty I interviewed with at my top choice program. I wanted the director to know that this was the program I really wanted to go to, and he said during the interview weekend to let him know if this was your top choice (which I also included in my thank you email). I did get into all the places I interviewed at, so I think it's a nice gesture but I wouldn't say it's necessary.
  7. First-year at UW Madison but in a different program than CMB or Genetics. It doesn't usually make a big difference since faculty recruit students from different programs. There are some differences with regard to coursework requirements and possibly stipends (I didn't ask about other students' stipends though), you may be required to TA at some point, but the students in either of those programs who did rotations with me seemed happy in those programs. I heard that the first-year Genetics students were highly encouraged to submit GRFPs and I know a couple who did.
  8. I think it depends on the program you are applying to. I applied to biomedical sciences umbrella programs and I was told I didn't need to contact anyone, and that stating my research interests (and maybe name dropping a couple PIs) in an SOP was enough. Because some PIs don't really know what their funding situation or projects for students won't be, and depending on the program, it may be a year or two before you officially join a lab. I didn't contact any PIs when I sent in my applications and I got interviews at 6 out of 7 programs I applied to. On the other hand, some programs enco
  9. For your first question, I'm in a program somewhat geared towards industry (Pharm/Tox) so placement in my program might be skewed compared to general Cell and Molecular Biology or Genetics, for example. For my program it's about 40% postdoc/academia and 60% industry or other non-academic science careers. Industry positions range from scientists to project management or clinical development. I think most of my cohort, myself included, want to go into industry afterwards. The programs themselves are highly interdisciplinary. In my Pharm/Tox program there are trainers who range from neur
  10. My school does this. From what my program coordinator told me, there are students that definitely apply to more than one program, and you can alter your SOP and LORs to fit an additional application. Students may get interviews at 2 of 3 programs, but interviews at all 3 is uncommon. I would reach out to a program coordinator to make sure you're going through the process correctly if you are unsure.
  11. It's difficult to gauge whether you will be outright rejected since you are well-rounded on paper. It will come down to your LORs and your SOP since there's nothing here that indicate that your app will immediately get sent to the "no" pile. For applicants who don't have glaring flaws in their application, it really is a crapshoot since graduate school admissions aren't like med school ones. It really depends on whether YOU are ready to go to graduate school or not. Would YOU feel more comfortable taking a couple years off before applying? There is nothing wrong with sending out applicati
  12. The SOP should be individualized for each program and explain why you are applying to that program, what you can bring, and what they can give to you to help you grow as a scientist, independent researcher, etc. And yes, you should have at least 3-5 faculty you would be willing to work with at each school you apply to. I think you have a shot with your background at the schools you listed but it's always good to have a range of places to apply to. I know for UWMadison, there are about 8 programs here that waived the requirements for the GRE if you are at all worried about that--but I also h
  13. Hi, I think you have a decent shot at most of those programs on your list. I think you will be competitive for UW Madison's program. It'll come down to your personal statement, research experience, and letters of rec, so I'd make sure you are able to write a compelling and personalized statement for each of those programs. I got in on my 2nd try, and I worked as a research tech in a lab. I made sure to join a lab that would allow me to do research projects rather than just genotyping, making solutions, or other routine work. This gave me more research experience to talk about and anot
  14. Hi! I think your school choice looks okay. You have a mixture of tiers in there which I think is good. I also wanted to mention that age does not matter for applicants, at least not in bio. I was 30 when I applied for school, got in, and no one batted an eye at my age. And there were at least a couple fellow prospectives on my interviews who were around my age. Everyone has their own paths to graduate school (and beyond). I'm in a different area, so I don't know any other good schools to apply to, but I think if you focus on your fit with the school when writing your personal statem
  15. I would apply to a mix of both and see what happens! I'm not in Immunology so I can't verify what your friend says is true or not, but I don't think it hurts to apply to both Immunology and BBS programs (with the intent to rotate in Immunology labs). BBS programs will have you take more general coursework with the option to do electives in your area of interest. Chances are you will take Immunology courses in a BBS program anyway. Umbrella biomedical sciences programs will usually have a microbiology/immunology department you can join at the end of rotations. At the end of your PhD, what
  16. To answer your question about the best programs to apply to, I would focus less on the particular program but more on the research interests of the faculty within that program. So if the faculty tend to cluster to biomedical sciences, apply there rather than general biology. Other things to consider when it comes to program choice: Is TAing a requirement? Are there opportunities within the program that speak to your specific career goals? What are their prelims like? How might their committee meetings and graduation requirements differ (number of required publications, etc). I don't
  17. I think it's really good you have diverse experiences in research. I think to help your chances, you should narrow your research interests down, even if it's something as broad as cancer biology or immunology. If a program your applying to has a defined field you are interested, highlight how your research interests coincide with faculty X, Y, Z, or the overall research program, because that will demonstrate how you fit into their program. For example, if you've done research in toxicology, cancer biology, and developmental organismal biology, and the program you're interested in at U P
  18. I don't think your chances are that bad considering what you've told us here. I think 4 schools may have been too small a number to apply to last year. I would definitely look over your personal statement, reaffirm that you have 3 strong LoRs, and revise your CV--look to see what may have went wrong last year and open your net a little more like you are doing this cycle. I think you have a good list here.
  19. I think you have a good philosophy and I think that shouldn't apply anywhere you do not see yourself going. If you have one school on the list because it's a safety school but you would not be happy there or would never go there, I would not apply. I would take a year or two off and (re)apply to the schools you actually would be interested in going to. That said, you have a tough list of schools there, and your scores are good and your research experience is decent. Do you have any presentations? Will you have 3 solid LoRs? I think the application season might be rough--but apply any
  20. I would go ahead and send the the second set of scores. Percentile-wise, there isn't too huge of a difference between your two verbal scores, but your AW jumps from a 17% to a 41%. AW is the score they care least about. Either way, your verbal scores are still pretty decent and are above the 70th percentile.
  21. Hi, To answer some of your questions: 1) I would take out anything that's not related to research or teaching. It doesn't matter if you've done it as a high school student, if you've done research, I would definitely include it on there. Teaching I would put under a separate section 2) Mine starts with my name, education, research experiences, bibliography/publications, presentations, teaching experiences, I have a small section on the two undergraduate grants I wrote, if you have awards (like a poster award) you can add that, and I have my relevant volunteer information last
  22. No problem! I was a couple years out from my undergrad before I got a middle author paper from my thesis work and another from my work as a technician. And it's taken me almost 5 years post-undergrad to get to the point where I have a couple first publications coming out. I think what's considered a good impact journal, outside of the prestigious ones, depends entirely on your field. I work in blood research right now, and the top journals for us are Blood (Impact factor: ~15), ATVB (Impact factor: ~6), and Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostsis (Impact factor: ~5.5). Journal of Clinica
  23. Any pub from a reputable (as in, non-predatory) peer-reviewed journal looks good, but a high impact, prestigious journal like Nature or Science might make the adcomms look at your application more closely. Subfields also have their own high-impact, well-regarded journals. If someone is really interested in the work you've done, then they might look at your actual publications and read them more closely, but overall the committee will just look at publications as a measure of your research accomplishments. During my interviews, I've had a couple PIs request to meet/interview with me bec
  24. I didn't, and another user made a topic and posted this link here. The individual who did is Dr. Joshua Hall at UNC (Who directs admissions to the BBSP program there). His contact information is at the bottom of the spreadsheet.
  25. Hi, I'm late to the party, but I wanted to mention that there are a number of PhD programs in biomedical sciences/biology that are waiving GRE requirements. This link will give you more information on that: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MYcxZMhf97H5Uxr2Y7XndHn6eEC5oO8XWQi2PU5jLxQ/edit#gid=0 I know Brown isn't on the list, but I think it's worth it to apply. See if you can make a connection with someone there since you will be an alumnus, as BabyScientist suggested. I'm not familiar with your field, but other schools in the area I know of are Harvard, Tufts, Boston U
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