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About synapticcat

  • Rank
    Espresso Shot

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Cornfield Hell (Ohio)
  • Interests
    pipetting zebrafish poop, oversleeping, coffee brewing, listening to podcasts too loudly in the shower, trying to pretend I don't have concrete opinions about craft beers while also arguing fervently in support of my favorite IPA
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    Biomedical Sciences - Neuroscience

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  1. Congratulations! I know at least one current grad student at Cinci from my undergrad department and she's very happy there . Wishing you an awesome time!
  2. I think honestly that both are awesome schools. At this level, I'm pretty sure that you can't go wrong. However based on your other comment about Yale, I'd suggest that if you didn't enjoy the location/environment/faculty as much, it's probably not worth attending if you preferred UPenn and UM. The best place you can be for your PhD is where you'll have the best mentor support, lab environment, and support from other students in your cohort. Feel better, work better, and all that jazz. What area of neuro are you interested in? I'm very tempted to tell you to come join me at Michigan - if you have any questions about the midwest/metro Detroit/or the university I'm happy to help! I promise to be as free of bias as possible, since growing up in the area and knowing a lot of current Michigan students I have gotten a LOT of input on my decision, haha.
  3. Hey there! Congrats on having these awesome choices! I'm not anything close to being a virologist, but I do religiously listen to the The Week in Virology podcast and have developed quite an appreciation for viruses from listening while pipetting my own samples This seems like an incredibly tough decision, but I would say when you get to this level, prestige is going to matter much less - your pick should be (at least, this is how I made my decision) where you think you can do your best work, surrounded by the most supportive mentor, lab mates, living environment, and cohort group. I would also say to not worry too much about NYC vs. Boston - both are very cool places to live! I genuinely think there's something for everyone in both of these places. I want to bring something up that I think is important to consider, especially since wanting to work with that PI at Sinai makes this choice even more difficult I'd imagine. Do you feel that you could be just as happy in another lab at Sinai? A PI can have a good mentoring track record but not be the right mentor for you, in the end. I also think that there's something to be said for being able to explore your research interests a bit and see if you like another area of Virology even more - perhaps Harvard could be better for that if there are more faculty you're interested in? I say this as someone who has their own specific pet interest and fully intend to continue on in this area in grad school. I ended up choosing between a school with less overall prestige, but some of the best research in an area I'm really interested in (prion disease), vs a slightly more prestigious program with faculty working in less specific areas of neurodegeneration, but with whom I really clicked with. For me, I wasn't 100% set on studying prions, and felt that I would be just as happy working in lab focused on other neurodegenerative diseases, as long as I had a mentor who fit my needs/work style. This is one of the things that really pulled me to Michigan. Finally, I want to ask about community - is there any way for you to get to know the social scene among cohorts at Sinai a bit more? Is there a student host or someone you met while there who you could contact? I know I was able to reach out after receiving my offers and ask my student host a bit more about student life on campus and more specific things I was curious about. If this is a possibility for you I would definitely reach out and see if you can get a little bit more info to help base your decision on. Congrats again! At the end of the day, it sounds like you have strong reasons to attend both schools, and I'm sure you'll be happy wherever you pick! I'm sure we'd all love to know what your decision is (when you make it)
  4. Well, I, for one, totally think you should come to UM PIBS so we can be classmates. Also because you can tell people where you live by using your hand as a map, since you'll be living in The Mitten! Put those points in your pro-con list As far as reputation goes, they're all fantastic schools, you really can't go wrong. I was rejected from Northwestern DGP and UW Neuro, but Michigan was at the top of my list anyways so I'm pretty content with how that shook out. I also echo the other commenter's position that it looks better to not stick around at your undergrad institution for grad school. However, if you have strong reasons for sticking in the Seattle area, that's also an important consideration. If you were at the PIBS interview weekend, you probably saw their post-PhD job placement stats at Saturday breakfast, and personally, I was really impressed with them. My current PI is a UM PIBS alum and he's going off to a TT position in the fall, and he only graduated in 2013. Obviously n=1, but he speaks very highly of UM's job network and felt supported there as a student. I also think, though, that you won't have significantly more issues with job placement at one of these schools compared to the others, as they're all high-caliber institutions. I don't know about UW or Northwestern, but UM seems to have more students placed into academia post-grad, but a healthy % also go into industry. I imagine UW might have connections in the PNW biotech industry, however, and from my understanding, Seattle is a pretty big biotech hub - so there's that to consider. As far as breadth goes, I also think you're likely to have plenty of faculty options at any of these schools. UM PIBS has over 500 faculty, and it seems like a LOT are currently looking for students. I imagine, however, that Northwestern and UW have comparable faculty lists. In terms of student community, that's something you'll have to evaluate for yourself I'd imagine. I loved UM's neuro department because the students and faculty were very close knit and friendly - it felt like a slightly bigger neuroscience community than the one I have here at my undergrad, and I really liked that. Is there a student host you interacted with on your interview weekends who you could reach out to and discuss some of your questions/concerns with? I communicated with several current students at the two programs I chose between, and it was really helpful in my decision-making process. I think something that hasn't been discussed yet is location - where do you see yourself spending the next ~5-6 years? Downtown Chicago is going to be a very different living environment than suburban metro-Detroit. Ann Arbor is a large college town, sure, but it's very much a college town, and not a sprawling city. I'm a born & raised Michigander who's moving back to the state for grad school, currently living in Ohio. Personally, I didn't really want to live in a big city, and I really enjoy the size and feel of Ann Arbor. However, it is bitterly cold here some parts of the year, and you should take things like this into account when deciding if you could be happy living in either of these places. If you have any more specific questions about southeastern Michigan/Ann Arbor/metro Detroit, feel free to PM me - I grew up in the area and know a lot of students currently at UM, including 2 PIBS students. Whew, that ended up being long. Definitely not trying to push UM, it just happens to be the school I have the most info on! I would say that you should think on where you think you'll be happiest - Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Seattle are very different cities, and you're going to be spending the next 5+ years at this program. I'm a firm believer that the more balanced, happy, and supported you feel in your program and by your mentor/lab mates/colleagues, the better work you'll produce, and the more productive your grad school career will be. Congrats on having these awesome options to choose from! Feel free to reach out if you'd like to chat about UM, living in the midwest, or anything else I could help with
  5. One thing I'd say is that honestly, I think that once you get to this caliber of institution, it all comes down to location/lifestyle fit, research fit, and ultimately, what you do in the lab once you get there (i.e. finding the right mentor who will help you succeed, being in a research environment conductive to your work style, etc). I think others have echoed this sentiment above. In terms of "tiers" strictly, I would agree with others who said that the absolute "top tier" would be more of the Harvard/MIT/Stanford/JHU/etc, but that both UTSW and Northwestern are solidly at the caliber of Duke/UNC/UWash/Vanderbilt/etc. Of course this will vary based on your interests. But in terms of making a choice, I would go where you feel you (a) have the best opportunities for you research, and (b) where you think you'll be the happiest. I know that personally, my decision came down to the school I could see myself finding the right mentor and research environment for myself, and that lifestyle factors played a big role (as they should!). You really can't go wrong with either, they're both fantastic schools. But I'm a firm believer that the better supported you feel by your mentor and friends in your cohort, the better work you'll do, and the happier you'll be.
  6. Wooo! Good luck on your interview! I had a kick ass time interviewing at Michigan and their Neuroscience department is really great and close knit. If you have any logistical questions about UM/neuro/ I'm happy to answer!! I'm from the area originally and know the school fairly well, just went out-of-state for undergrad.
  7. hey! this is kind of a late response, but I do know that a friend of mine was admitted to NACS yesterday. I believe she was contacted by them fairly early in December (around the 10th? it was before I received any interview invites, my earliest was the 12th) by a faculty member who was interested in her application, inviting her to interview. I don't know much about the program, but her interests are more on the computational/network side of cogsci, if that helps.
  8. Hi everyone! I officially committed to my top-choice program yesterday. However, now I have to turn down the other offers I have. Can I just go in to the app portal and decline the offer, or should I send an email? Is it rude to decline without notifying the admissions committee or something? Help lol.
  9. Hi everyone! Wondering if anyone else is attending the University of Michigan in the fall. I'll be starting a PhD in Neuroscience through the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS). Would love to hear from anyone else who will be moving to Ann Arbor!
  10. Officially committed to the University of Michigan PIBS for Neuroscience!!! This is my dream program and I'm beyond excited to attend. Good luck to everyone else in the decision making process! It's so awesome to see people committing to so many amazing places already
  11. Congratulations!!!! UW is a great school! As per your question, I'm pretty sure this is just standard procedure, especially if they only requested an unofficial transcript for your application. You should be able to just contact your undergrad and get an official transcript sent their way? I would maybe call the grad school and ask, but I don't think it's any reason to worry. They likely just need the official transcript for confirmation and records. I know a few of my acceptance emails mentioned that my acceptance is contingent on me graduating this spring and sending an official transcript to the graduate school.
  12. Received a rejection email from UNC on Jan 30th. Not sure about the others. I've met a couple people on the interview trail who were interviewing at Emory, though. Good luck!!!
  13. Congratulations!!!! Notre Dame is a fantastic school. Welcome to the midwest!!!
  14. I know how you feel! I never heard back from UC-Denver....haha. I know the interviews have already happened/are happening because I met others on the interview trail who were going there, but am kinda miffed I was never officially rejected. I'm not sure about calling, but I know others have emailed inquiring about their status. They usually end up receiving an "all interview invites have gone out" or "program expects to extend all interview offers by X date" kinda response, so at least you know for sure. So..I would recommend trying that, maybe? However, I haven't called or emailed about my app status anywhere so maybe someone else has better advice!
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