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DRMF

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About DRMF

  • Rank
    Caffeinated

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  • Location
    Chicago
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Immunology

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  1. I saw this from CMU's website: "The majority of full-time Ph.D. students accepted through the standard application process receive fellowships that cover full tuition, the technology fee, and a stipend for living expenses for up to five years, as long as sufficient progress is made toward degree completion." (https://www.meche.engineering.cmu.edu/education/graduate-programs/phd-programs.html) Have you asked why you weren't offered funding? Is it because you're an international student? For UC Berkeley that's more expected, since they're a public school, but I thought CMU would be better off with private funding. Now I'm not in mechanical engineering so I don't know if anything like this exists, but for my own field you could kind of look for better funded PIs by searching on websites of public grant agencies such as the NIH or something. Also, did the "department" sound friendly and helpful? Can you ask for specific recommendations of advisers? Or at least a list of people that they don't recommend? Can you connect to any year 4 or year 5 current student who are more aware of the whole department's financial situation? I'm sorry you're going through this.
  2. DRMF

    Why Do They Wait on Rejections

    Because yield can be unpredictable, and they don't know how big of a waitlist would be big enough, so everyone is either accepted or waitlisted, until enough accepted people commit. Someone told me that one year some school sent 47 offers expecting like 15 to come, but 46 ended up coming... what a disaster that must have been. Especially if it's a PhD and the program needs to fund everyone somehow.
  3. It sounds like there's no actual conflict, you're just busier than you thought you'd be? That doesn't sound very good to me.. Also what field/discipline is this? Is there any other in-person interview times that you can reschedule to?
  4. I generally agree with the above that, for now, it probably won't do anything and it'll only make sense if there's any funding negotiation going on. I do want to note that for medical school, getting in a good/top tier school likely makes you seem more competitive to others. I know nothing about business schools, perhaps there's a chance that the same is true there (do you have info on that)? Is your "second choice" generally regarded as on par with your first choice?
  5. Who was it from and how did they phrase it? If it's a call from the program chair ("hey this is unofficial but you're in; everyone on the committee liked you"), I'd say it's more reliable than from a particular PI. If they actually said "you may consider this call your official notification", even better (I had a call like that, the associate dean actually said that it was "set in stone"). Did it sound like the person was calling everyone to give unofficial calls, or was it because they really liked you specifically and wanted to let you know earlier? If it's the former, not getting an email within say a week would be concerning to me. But if it's the latter, then any amount of wait time is probably normal.
  6. I know nothing about how physics labs work... To me it seems completely reasonable to contact now and say that you came across more details on this other project listed and am now also very interested in that one, and ask if it's already been assigned to someone else. (In fact I was under the impression that for most lab-based sciences, everyone changes their thesis project like 5 times before actually settling with one, sometimes even third year into the PhD.)
  7. DRMF

    (Crowd Sourced) Deadlines Spreadsheet

    Thanks for the reply! To the second point, I just tried typing in "University of Chicago" again in the Submit Your Results page, and the third version (with capitalized Of) doesn't exist as a full name in that drop down menu, only as part of "University Of Chicago Divinity School" or "... Harris School". It does still exist as a full name in the drop down menu in the Deadlines List Google sheet. And it took an embarrassing amount of time for me to realize TGC means TheGradCafe. I thought it was some sort of play on the username TGCA, which was itself a play of TCGA, the cancer genome database...
  8. DRMF

    Weill Cornell vs. Columbia PhD in Immunology

    If it were me personally I'd go to Weill Cornell, because there are more labs there (well, in MSKCC, to be precise) working on things that I like, plus it has this whole connection with MSK and Rockefeller (plus I know friends there hehe). But this is me and I didn't get interviews at either of these anyway lol - in terms of the general feel of the faculty/student cohort, did you feel more at home during one interview than the other? If TA/mentorship opportunities are important to you, you should reach out to people (program director or current students) at Weill Cornell and ask about that. For programs without an undergrad population, they sometimes have upperclassmen TA courses for first year grad students, or have student clubs that focus on tutoring high school kids, sciences outreach etc.
  9. DRMF

    Post your decision-making process and factors

    Factors (which may have been implicitly included in the ones you listed) Career development support (academia vs industry, recruitment event with potential employers, professional skill workshops, how many years of full support post-graduation?) International students/scholars support (cultural events, visa and tax workshops) Prestige (is this what you meant by ranking?) Whether there's an undergrad population, or TA/mentorship opportunities Lab rotation setup (only applicable to sciences; how many, for how long) A note about prestige: for an international student heading back to their home country after graduation, reputation of the institution can be a huge factor affecting employment opportunities, at least for the first job. This, of course, varies largely across fields and country pairs. Also for an international student, whether there's a required language (e.g. English) course could also be a huge annoyance. Some schools outsource these classes to for-profit organizations (who have an incentive to fail you so you need to retake it), and/or require you to come a few weeks early, possibly at your own expense.
  10. DRMF

    (Crowd Sourced) Deadlines Spreadsheet

    Also, I see at least 3 different versions of UChicago's name listed in the drop down menu: U of Chicago University of Chicago University Of Chicago Someone should probably clean up the list a bit...
  11. DRMF

    (Crowd Sourced) Deadlines Spreadsheet

    How should I choose the program for "Biological and Biomedical Sciences"? Can I add it as a choice in the "Programs" sheet? A lot of universities have these "BBS" umbrella programs, but I do not see it listed. I feel choosing either "Biological sciences" or "Biomedical sciences" is going to create confusion/inconvenience.
  12. DRMF

    Why do you think you're admitted?

    If I had to guess I'd say research experience. I wrote about 3 separate projects in my SOP. At least 2 interviewers said something like "you seem to have a lot of research experience" at the beginning of their interviews, and one specifically mentioned single cell seq as "pretty advanced for an undergrad". However, when I got acceptance calls nothing specific was mentioned except things like "everyone was impressed". As for LORs, mine were likely helpful but not sure to what extent. I joined my undergrad lab when it was started, so my (very young) PI knows me extremely well and must have written a fantastic letter. The other 2 letters are probably on the scale of "pretty good" and "very generic", respectively. (I had some troubles with the third letter writer, and later an interviewer informed me that this particular letter was "very short"...) Someone in my lab is on the adcom of her program, and says mostly people just want to know that (1) you are truly interested in and knowledgeable about the field, (2) you know what research looks like and have what it takes (demonstrated by research experience and how you explain what you did/want to do), and (3) you are a normal human being (mostly assessed during interviews). For your last question: I knew that for programs rich enough to consider a fair amount of international students, I should be competitive enough to get in somewhere, though I've been pleasantly surprised with the offers I ended up with. My expectation was based on my college roommate's experience, who applied a year before me in a closely related field, and knowing her well gave me something to measure myself against.
  13. Does your current institution have a history of rejecting qualified candidates due to worries about yield? My college's bio PhD program has a thing of not liking our own undergrads (and someone told me the reason was they think we wouldn't come anyway even if admitted), but I hear it's quite rare. In general I agree with Novclouds that it shouldn't hurt, and in fact demonstrates how good you are.
  14. DRMF

    Does prestige really matter?

    For grad school, "prestige" is probably more tied to the program/department than to the school name, and certainly quite separate from the undergrad. If I read the top publications or look at CVs of big-name people in your field X, and very often see a certain school, then the X department of that school would be "prestigious" in the field, in my opinion. That said, it sounds like you don't think the ivy league in question necessarily "lacks" good potential mentors for you, it's just up in the air and you'll decide about advisers later on (perhaps I'm misunderstanding here). If that's the case, you should contact potential advisers at the said Ivy and have a rough idea of your chances at actually working with someone you want to work with.
  15. DRMF

    Sloan Kettering (GSK) vs. Weill Cornell

    I'm also trying to decide primarily between GSK and another program (not Cornell), and I'm attracted by GSK's course/rotation setup etc. but one thing I've been hearing is that you really shouldn't base your grad school decisions mainly on first year classes, TAships or rotations. Yes these are non-negligible factors, but should not be the primary determinant; at the end of the day it's all about your thesis. Are you going to GSK's revisit tomorrow? I think you can ask to speak with current students who are computational about how they made their decisions. Good luck with decisions and possibly see you tomorrow!
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