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samman1994 last won the day on August 17

samman1994 had the most liked content!

About samman1994

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  • Birthday July 2

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    Getting into grad school
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
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  1. Is my application that weak?

    I second what those above have said. I'm not going to attempt to understand why the person said what they did, or judge their character,(many potential factors), but from my searches, you're application is not only good, I'd say it's really good. I think if you get good GRE scores, you'll not only have a chance, but a pretty good one. In fact, I'd say don't look at lower schools. The general trend here appears to be, most people with really good applications (such as yours), actually end up getting rejected at some lower tier schools because the schools think you won't pick them (since you can get into better schools). Regardless, of why they said the statement, its bogus. Edit: I have a 3.00 GPA and low GRE scores, and no ones told me not to apply (even though I'm pretty sure I won't get into my top school picks). So gives you some perspective
  2. Made a separate post about this a while ago. When you do bad, you feel terrible initially. Makes you feel like you're not good enough, you're an idiot, you should just give up grad school, etc. But then you realize the GRE is garbage, and that it's only one part of an application (a part that many departments are starting to look less and less at). So even if you do retake it, regardless of your score, I'd say apply to the schools and fuck the test. It's a stupid test, everyone knows it, it's just something that needs to be done.
  3. So made a few more changes 1) Rewrote the entire intro 2) Discussed my role in the research and my thought process (rather than I did then, then this, then this). I now explain why I do what I did. 3) Went into even more detail on my focus. Discuss only one faculty member now, and what role I would have in their lab and where I could fit in. 4) Cut out out the entire instrumentation paragraph, and made it only 2 sentences describing how I would use the instruments and for what purpose. 5) Rewrote the conclusion to display a more detailed focus for my future career.
  4. Yeah with that word count that can be difficult. If there is one thing I've sorta come across writing my own SOP, is that you have to be very selective about what you want to talk about (especially in your case). I came across the issue that my SOP was more like a resume instead of a story. I listed a lot of general techniques and skills that I knew, and wanted to learn, but I didn't go into detail for any of them due to page limits. So instead, I cut out a bunch of stuff out, and focused on the most useful skills that would relate to my field, and instead went into detail with them. This also really helped my transitions as well, and made my SOP as a whole more organized. So instead of saying, I've become responsible, mature, learned organization, trouble shooting, critical thinking, maturity, etc. I decided to focus on just trouble shooting, organization, and responsibility instead. Bringing my list down to 3 made it a lot easier to link them together, and discuss them in more detail by showing how I am organized and responsible (rather than stating it).
  5. Yeah, I was personally thinking #2 as well, it flows better and relates to my SOPs theme as well (structural biology and biophysics). Thanks for the feedback guys!
  6. Well naturally I wouldn't word it exactly like that, these were merely examples of how detailed or specific I should be (e.g. I would never just say I want to cure disease by seeing how proteins work)
  7. Hello everyone, First and foremost, I want to apologize for asking so many questions in general (and cluttering up the feeds with them). I hope at the very least they are at least good questions that other people may have and can find answers to. I had a question regarding the final portion of your SOP where you discuss your future goals/plans. How specific should I be? For example, my eventual goal is to understand how a particular disease/protein involved in disease works, and through that, design a drug around that (and also test drugs interactions); thereby curing the disease/problem. Now this is very general of course. The detailed version would probably look at a particular type of diseases, and then say focus on one disease such as Alzheimers. Alzheimers is caused primarily by aggregating amyloid plaques, so if I were to be super specific: I'd like to use the structural biology and biophysical skills I've learned at X school, to solve Alzheimers by elucidating the structure of amyloid plaques and finding out how to disrupt the formation of these aggregates in the first place (i.e. preventing Alzheimers from happening). So my question is again, how specific do you want to be? 1) I want to cure disease by understanding how proteins work. 2) I want to cure neurodegenerative diseases by understanding how proteins function through solving their structure and probing their dynamics 3)I want to cure Alzheimers by elucidating the structure of amyloid plaques and disrupting their formation Each level is more specific in its focus, and its methodology addressing how to solve the focuses problem.
  8. I see. I personally sat down with each of my LOR writers, updated them as to the schools I picked, my status, and my plan in applying to the school. All of them preferred the idea of having it sent early so they can submit it now (or in the following month) instead of near the end of school. So I just assumed everyone would rather have it early than before, but I understand what you mean. Although, something that slightly does concern me, none of my writers really even cared where I was applying to, or for what programs. I mean, I sorta gave them a brief outline (wanna do Biochemistry), but nothing in detail. So when you tell me your writers want to know the program and the research you plan to do, I'm thinking, oh wow that's really good, none of my writers seemed to care. Not that I think my LOR aren't going to be good or anything, but seems like your writers are definitely putting much more though and effort into it. Edit: Although, it may be because 2 of my writers are synthetic and physical chemists, and I'm applying to a Biochemistry program (they probably don't understand much about the details of my research plans even if I told them, so maybe that's why they didn't ask)
  9. Well that's exactly my point. If you do all this early (as in now), that gives plenty of time for them to write it, for you to remind them, to resubmit if the school loses it etc. Leaving all these potential problems to the last 2-3 weeks puts pressure on everyone, so this is why I think it's best to do it as early as possible (even if it gets lost in the sea of emails right now). Personally, I didn't know I could do this (again not all schools as I stated), so I thought I'd inform people not only you can, but its highly recommended to do so.
  10. Iowa State University Fall 2017

    Hi, So I know this is pretty old, but did you end up going? I'm interested in going to Iowa State as well.
  11. Hello everyone, So thought I would just share some basic information that I have collected recently on LORs, and uploading them. From all the schools I've seen for grad programs, almost all of them have a deadline between December 1-5th. Now you may be planning to start/submit your application a week or two in advance, however, the school contacts the faculty members after you input their information. Meaning, if you start your application and submit it two weeks before the deadline, that gives your LOR writers only 2 weeks to write it (if they haven't already) and to upload it. This deadline is approaching finals week for some school, and final projects, meaning professors will be very busy (and thus annoyed if they suddenly find out they have to write and submit your LOR in a week, and you do not want an annoyed professor writing your letter). For many schools, you can actually start your application, input the LOR writers information, and have them upload it to your application even before you finish your application for submission. So that means you can start your application right now, and fill out the sections you have (including the LOR writers), and the school will send your writer an email right now. That gives your LOR writer a little under 2 months to write and submit your letter. This gives them plenty of time, and decreases your chance of them sending a letter late. Now not all schools do this (e.g. Iowa State) and some schools have you send the writer a link for them to upload their LOR (e.g Harvard). But from what I've seen, most of the schools will send your writer an email as soon as you input the information (even if you don't finish the application right then and there). In fact, most schools will even inform you when the letter has been uploaded and by who (so if your faculty member has forgotten, you know who to email to remind them). Tl'dr Start your applications now, and input your LOR writers information now (or as early as possible). This way you avoid rushed/annoyed faculty members writing it, and potentially having missing letters when you apply.
  12. Interesting enough, I feel like I said the same thing when looking at your SOP. Yeah you're right, I'll have to find a way to show those skills, but in a concise way. Thankx!
  13. Thank you for the reply! So: 1) Yeah, I think that's definitely a much better approach than what I do. As it stands, I'm describing what faculty membersdoes, and you can draw line between what they want to do and what I want to do, but it's not explicitly stated. I think I should probably ditch just summerizing their work and hoping the adcom can see the line draw, and discuss key parts of their research and how it fits into my interests (explicitly). 2) I didn't fully post the whole paragraph for it, but the entire paragraph is basically about how I learned to be responsible, through time management, critical thinking, and juggling multiple research and lab. In research, I feel like responsibility and maturity is actually very important, one that is not usually discussed. However, it plays a huge role in the research capabilities of a person, and from what I've seen, many people lack it and thus make poor researcher (despite their good grades or intellect). Here is the rest of it so you can see what I mean: "Working with other people in a similar time-constricted schedule as myself, taught me how to work not only as a team, but how to work efficiently and cleanly so as to not obstruct anyone else’s work. Since I was the only person assigned to my project, I learned how to pursue my project independently, relying on my own knowledge and data analysis skills to direct my project. Combined, all these skills taught me the most important skill, responsibility. Responsibility for my project, my time, my data, my notebook, my school and grades. With these skills in hand, I feel confident that, although a PhD program is big commitment, I am not only ready for it, but will succeed in it." 3) I think in regards to this then, it would probably be best to describe some of the instrumentation (instead of all of them) and again, explicitly state how I would use them. I think the main problem regarding faculty and their facilities is, I'm not drawing explicit lines, but rather just implying things. I.e. "This is what I want to do, this is what the faculty does, this is what the instrument does." Now since the faculty and instrument do what I want to do, one could assume ok so that's why I'm interested, but I think it's a poor way to do it. I think I should probably write explicitly out what sections of the faculties research I would fit into and could contribute to. Same with the instrumentation, probably ditch the instrumentation list+uses, and explicitly state which instruments I would be using and how (in regards to my research interests). I.E. Rather than saying the NMR will be good for liquid state/solid state. Go into more detail about what kind of experiments I could run, and how it would be useful for solving the structural components of proteins. Thanks for the feedback!
  14. Basics of Fellowships, Assistantships, Grants, and Stipends

    Well I've picked my schools, found the professors I want to work with, and even started the applications halfway. Now I've started to work on my SOP, but have a lot of time between editing. So wanted to start looking into fellowships and maybe apply with the deadlines coming up soon. Thank you all for your help and advise!!