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  1. There are no required writing samples. Sometimes they let you upload extra documents. I would only do this if you could add a publication for example (I didn't do this, btw).
  2. ^ This is untrue for chemistry. It is true that barely any interview. A couple do, but it's more of a last check after deciding offers to make sure you are a normal person/can speak english well. You won't be formally interviewed at visits, but it is basically an interview for the group you want to join at some places. You will be being watched.
  3. 1) Apply to a mixture. It can't hurt to aim high. 2) Your GPA is quite low. Would that be a major GPA jump from 3.1 to 3.4? If not, doesn't seem like a big jump. 3) I would take it if you think you can do well in it! The fact you have a first author paper as an undergrad should help a lot. Is there a reason your GPA is low? You/your letter writers may be able to explain it away.
  4. If you have any of the following things: great LoR, publications, a famous advisor, excellent research experience... then you'll be fine.
  5. Yes you should contact them and ask that. Many will probably say no but they will point you to relevant scholarship schemes/apply for funding on your behalf. Unless you are applying for a CDT then you'll apply directly to the supervisor.
  6. If you are applying to the UK then you should definitely contact professors. I also contacted professors in the US (even got replies from some of the bigger names...) and got into schools both where I emailed profs and where I didn't. Pretty sure at least one offer was because I did email a prof though as we ended up talking a lot!
  7. Princeton has a young faculty and is not traditionally known as a top school for Chemistry. It is very up and coming, especially for organic chemistry. I would agree that it has a stronger department for straight, pure organic chemistry (particularly if you want to do methodology/catalysis) than Stanford or Harvard as well. This all changes however if you want to add a biological element to your PhD.
  8. I was faced with a similar problem (I'm also in organic chemistry). I think you need to figure out what is important to you. For me I decided the 'vibe' of the department was important, as I'm quite a social person and I wanted to have like minded students there that I resonated with. Personally I would not pick a prof if I didn't jive well with their graduate students since that is who you will spend most of your time with. However this may not be the top of your list. It sounds like you need to figure out the negatives of the Yale prof(s) since you've only listed negatives for the Stanford prof (all groups have negatives). I ended up going against Stanford for the exact reasons you list, but mostly because of lack of faculty I was interested in. You never know what will happen down the line. It does seem however that the department and graduate students as a whole are very confident Noah Burns will get tenure, and I thought he seemed like a great PI. Might be worth talking to other people you met who chose between Yale and Stanford! Feel free to PM me. I did not visit Yale but I did visit Stanford.
  9. What are the top 5? Does it actually matter? Surely advisor is more important...
  10. Thanks for your help! I agree about Scripps and I'm going to scratch it.
  11. I must not have been clear. I mean that I want the upcoming summer off before grad school starts, as I know I am never getting the opportunity to have this much time off in the next 5+ years. Thanks for your help!
  12. It's a shame she is not answering. If you have had any contact with any her grad students, I would ask them what she is like with e-mail. Some professors are notoriously bad and need a poke. I have actually just turned down a full merit fellowship to go to a school with a particular PI who I think is the perfect fit for me. This could be the wrong decision, but it feels right in the gut and I'm happy about it!
  13. The full merit fellowship sounds very nice - this will mean you'll have more time to focus on classwork and research at the beginning. You didn't mention anything about the professors, but I would pick based on that. Are there more professors you are interested in at one place? Does one professor at one place have a perfect fit? I don't know about UChicago's program but the rotation system at Michigan seemed to be a strong plus to help find your ideal group.
  14. Might be worth calling up to see if all acceptances are sent out (or not). They might give you more information.
  15. Wow I can't decide where to go... here are my thoughts, please help. These are all for org chem. Stanford - Perfect research/personality fit with a professor. Group were great as well. However he doesn't have tenure yet and there is only one other person in the department I am somewhat interested in. I'd much prefer to be on the west coast. Scripps - Multiple professors I am interested in. Fit is not quite as perfect as Stanford but there are options I would be happy with. Appears to be heavy competition for rotations. To be honest, I felt some of the grad students were quite miserable. Location quite good. Princeton - Multiple professors I am interested in, again fit is not quite as perfect as Stanford. Facilities are amazing. Location sucks. Feels like you need to do a summer with the PI to get into the group you want and I want the summer off ideally.
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