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Posts posted by canigetuhhhhhhhanswerpls

  1. 6 minutes ago, loci_thepoki said:

    I appreciate your very thoughtful answer. Thank you!!! 

    No problem I should add: a general ranking/prestige may not be reflected on your specific field of interest. For example, let's say you're interested in neurodegeneration.  A "lower ranked" school may have an entire center dedicated to neurodegenerative diseases and have a strong connection with a great nearby hospital, while a higher ranked school may put less emphasis on that topic of interest. Something to consider.

  2. 25 minutes ago, loci_thepoki said:

    Looking to a get a few different perspectives on this, maybe from some older grad students as well if they are here. When choosing a program, how much weight should be given to the prestige/ranking of the program (not the university) if the ultimate goal is to hopefully end up in academia?

    I'm not a current grad student, but literally everyone (faculty, postdocs, students) has told me that the number one priority should be choosing a school that has at least a few labs you're really interested in. Prestige will not get you a postdoc, your performance in grad school will. My current PI went to a grad school that is ranked lower than #200 but did her post doc at a top ranked ivy. 

    So, it's important that the work you'll be doing is inspiring to you. Grad school is very long. Where do you see yourself happy and successful? 

    The one aspect that prestige may affect is funding, but many schools have ample funding despite being "lower ranked." I wouldn't let USNews decide for you.

  3. I also have a UCLA admissions update (27 Jan):


    "Thank you for your email and for your application to the NSIDP! At this time, I cannot provide any updates however, I would encourage you to review the timeline for our admissions process on the Admissions FAQ page: http://www.neuroscience.ucla.edu/admissions-faq

    If there is an update to the status of your application, we will contact you directly."


    I'm gonna assume this means they did sent out all their invites, given that they're sticking to the timeline. I'm surprised, to be truthful. I would've expected more people to report on it on these forums. 

  4. 40 minutes ago, AOMO9248 said:

    For those of you who finished interview, do you need to present your research via PowerPoint?

    I've talked to a few faculty about this in advance, and frankly it can only be seen as a negative if you use a PowerPoint. A big part of interviews is seeing how you do communicating your research in a little more casual, less scripted setting. Your PowerPoint could be seen as a crutch. Faculty want to talk with you not listen to you present.

    I know others have done it, even in person, and it's worked out for them. But, I wouldn't count on using it. 

    in short, no lol

  5. 16 minutes ago, lowestprime said:

    I am planning to email them again if I do not hear anything by tomorrow afternoon. Last time I emailed them on January 11th, they said:

    "Thank you for your email and for your application! Currently applications are still be reviewed for the NSIDP program. We will contact you directly with any updates regarding your application and status."


    22 minutes ago, vdngit said:

    Okay I lied, maybe there is NO hope because I looked at the Neuroscience specific program website which states:


    What is the admissions timeline for the Neuroscience PHD program?  

    Completed applications will be reviewed throughout December and early January.  Interview invitations will be made via e-mail towards the end of December and early January.  Interviews are conducted in February.  Admission recommendations are made in late February.  We abide by the Council of Graduate School’s Resolution of acceptance of financial offers of support by April 15. ”


    there were just so few posts about interviews... Like I saw 3 on the results page and 1 was way earlier than the other two. It's possible that UCLA is taking far fewer students this year but it just all seems odd. I'm staying open minded.

  6. 17 hours ago, AOMO9248 said:

    Can anyone who had an interview recently share their experience? 

    Hi - I've been on two so far. Around 60% of the time, the school will be trying to recruit you by showing presentations about the school, giving faculty talks, hosting socials and conversations with current graduate students.

    You'll like have 5ish actual interviews which are 30-45 minutes long. Honestly, they can really range in format. Some faculty will ask for a 3-5 minute recap of your research, some will ask you to describe one of your projects in depth (usually of your choosing). Sometimes, professors will ask tons of questions, not necessarily as a "gotcha," but mostly just to see how you're thinking about your research. Then your interviewer will likely talk about their research (which they love to do, so show enthusiasm!) and offer to answer any questions you have about the program or anything.

    Mine have really ranged; I've talked for 20 minutes straight at some and at others we only talked about why we love to do research and what I hope to do in grad school. So, be prepared to talk about your research, but don't be surprised if you don't at all! Hopefully, your faculty are very friendly and interviews will feel like a fun conversation about science.

    To be honest, it's kind of difficult to feel out the vibe of the school virtually so I'm really paying attention to subtleties in how the current students talk about their experiences. Hopefully, you're meeting with faculty who have labs you'd be interested in joining, because this is a great time to feel out if you would enjoy their lab. You should choose a grad school that has options for you, so if you find out you're not really vibin with some faculty that were once interested in, take note. 

    Finally, if there's anyone you didn't get to talk to during the actual interview dates, the program will absolutely coordinate a meeting for you. 

    Feel free to reach out to me if you wanna talk about anything more specific, I'm happy to do so.

  7. 33 minutes ago, MyCortisolLevelsRVeryHigh said:

    I’m not so sure about this. I was under the impression that most admissions committees (for PhD at least, med school is a completely different story) really only care about research experiences and academics. Science outreach/teaching always is a bonus but not necessary, and I dont think much weight is placed on participating in unrelated extracurriculars themselves. Maybe they could help illustrate how you might work as a scientist, (eg athlete-> hardworking) but I don’t think they are necessary for admissions into a top program. Just my (possibly incorrect) take 🤷

    I agree with this. At no point besides the CV would anything not related to science (extracurriculars, non science jobs, volunteering) come up. About 90% of your application and basically 100% of your interview will be specifically talking about performing research. 

  8. 12 hours ago, Meggggr said:

    anyone have any advice for virtual interviews?

    What to wear? How to stand out? Things to avoid? 


    kinda bummed that interviews are virtual since I feel like I am 10x more nervous talking on zoom than in person?? 

    I would dress in business attire: blazer + blouse/shirt and tie. Interviews are not very formal but it can't hurt to dress professionally.

    How to stand out: show your personality and passion for science! Interviews can range from you talking about your work for 20 minutes straight to very casual conversations about science and doing research. Interviewers want to see that you will complete a PhD. That means showing that you love science, showing you are not blindly following the instructions of a superior, and frankly that you can handle the workload. If you haven't done an independent project, be prepared to justify how you will be able to work on your own/without guidance. You will probably also be asked if you could continue working on your current project for 1 more year, what you would do.

    Also, there will be a portion where the interviewers tell you about their work. Look interested and ask questions. I read a couple papers of each of my interviewers before going in. I don't think it was necessary but did help me.

    Finally, you will be asked pretty often what you want to do in grad school. It doesn't have to be specific, but dream big. It would help to know a couple of techniques you're interested in learning and the subfield you want to explore. Example: "I'm really interested in addiction and drug use and would love to learn some molecular techniques to study opioid receptors as well as do fMRI studies in patients..." etc. It doesn't have to be perfect.

    Overall, schools are also adjusting to online interviews and recognize the challenge. They are also trying to convince you to go to their school, so they are also working very hard to show the culture and value of their program. If you have multiple interviews lined up, you should also be feeling out the school and seeing how well you connect with the program! I also get nervous about online meetings but it's a two way street - everyone is very understanding of that and some difficulties are expected. 

    In short: 

    -practice talking about your research clearly and concisely

    -know who you're interviewing with

    -say a bit about what you dream of doing in grad school

    -relax, you'll do fine if you like science

    -take note of how much you like the school

    Hope that helps, feel free to reach out to me if you have any other questions.


  9. 1 hour ago, actionpotential said:

    Does anyone know acceptance rates of various programs? I feel like this info is impossible to find. I just interviewed at Drexel so I'm driving myself crazy with wonder

    It certainly varies, but a few I have insight on (some top 10, ivies, some top 25) get around 500-600 applications, give maybe 50-60 interviews, and make offers to most (50-90%) of those interviewees. Not everybody will commit so class size will be around 20. I'm not sure how much it varies between schools but I don't think by a ton. 

    Typically, if you interview you have a good shot of getting in. I don't know anything about Drexel specifically, but I hope that helps.

  10. 10 hours ago, BonBon said:

    Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. 

    I am an international student from China, but I did my high school and undergrad in the States. My undergrad major is behavioral neuroscience. I have been working in a neurobiology lab at Harvard Medical School for more than 14 month (in the rate of 40 hours per week). The lab was mainly focus on molecular and cellular, developmental studies on animal models.  I honestly found the projects that I was working on do not fit my personal interest. I am very interested in human mind and intelligence but not sure what would be the best approach to study it, like computational neuroscience through building models, or psychological studies through imaging technologies, etc. I was debating whether I should start applying for master programs or should I find another lab to work at for full time. Not sure which route is the best to take in order to prepare for another round of application. 

    I'm gonna provide a different perspective here and say that it's totally fine if you completely switch your subfield during grad school. I also have a cell & molec background and am interested in systems/computational stuff. I've talked to many computational professors and none care what your background is, as long as you're interested in the work. Some even find it to be a positive that I've had a different background.

    What DOES matter for getting into grad school is how you talk about your research, i.e. why did you form your hypotheses? why did you choose your techniques? how did you interpret your data? The point is, don't feel like you have to change labs, unless you're tortured by the work you do now. If you had one more year in your current lab, would you have significantly more to talk about? Adjusting to a new project can be tough and may not give you as much to talk about in next round of applications as seeing your current project to completion. 

    Ultimately I can't tell you what to do, but don't feel discourage from pursuing computation in grad school if you weren't already in computation! It frankly doesn't matter as long as you can back up your interest. 

    good luck, you seem qualified and sure of yourself, so you'll be fine in the end.

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