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cyberwulf last won the day on October 23 2019

cyberwulf had the most liked content!

About cyberwulf

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    Latte Macchiato

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  • Program
    Biostatistics (faculty)

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  1. Yes, we're quite aware that COVID-19 is a thing, and a lot of institutions are doing some form of optional or mandatory Pass/Fail grading. I would anticipate that we'll essentially just ignore Spring 2020 grades when evaluating applicants.
  2. Just include extracurriculars and don't worry about it. At worst they'll have no impact, and at best they might catch an admissions committee member's eye as a slight positive.
  3. Disciplinary boundaries only matter insofar as they influence what you are likely to work on and where you are likely to publish, hence how much your profile will appeal to potential postdoc supervisors.
  4. 4 years is fairly standard for someone with a Masters in the same field. And if you're almost but not quite done in your fifth year and making good progress, then most programs will happily find something for you even if they didn't "guarantee" it up front.
  5. Unfortunately, the middle of the admissions & recruiting season is probably the worst time to make an "unofficial" campus visit. Faculty and staff are already occupied with admitted students (who have highest priority) and may not be particularly keen on making additional arrangements for someone who is unlikely to be admitted. They would (rightly) also be concerned about precedent; if you were to visit and then ultimately be accepted, this would potentially create a big incentive for future non-admitted students to try to arrange such unofficial visits. Things could quickly get out of hand.
  6. Here's the thing: It's much easier for programs to make "no decision" on applicants who aren't admitted in the first round and aren't obvious rejections than to come up with an official waitlist of people who are first in line to be admitted if first round offers decline. So, many schools keep a bunch of applicants hanging, even though most of these aren't really in the running for admission (editorial comment: I think this is unfair to students, but it's the reality). If you haven't heard from a school, offers don't seem to be trickling out gradually, and you haven't been notified that you're on an official waitlist, then you should probably be prepping yourself for bad news.
  7. In my ~10 years doing admissions, I've never seen a student try to negotiate a higher stipend. So, it's not commonplace, and if you haven't thought about doing it, you're not missing out. Sometimes, if a student is really on the fence, we'll try to come up with additional money, but this almost always comes in the form of additional (lump sum) fellowship awards. Base salaries (i.e., stipend amounts) are often dictated by university regulations, and so are difficult (sometimes impossible) to change. Also, from an accounting perspective, it's much easier to budget an up-front fellowship payment than an increased salary over an indeterminate (4-6 year) time period. Honestly, a student negotiating a stipend would rub me the wrong way. We are trying to make the most attractive offer we possibly can while juggling concerns about equity and fairness. Further, Ph.D. programs generally lose money so it's not like we're holding back on stipend amounts to boost profits. If you feel that the stipend offered by a program isn't livable, then you probably shouldn't go to that program. If it's just about trying squeeze more money out of a program, it isn't worth it.
  8. As in, they had people visiting in previous years who didn't show up to events during the recruiting visit? That's pretty crazy.
  9. This is the first time I've heard of UW doing in-person interviews during visit days. Could be a strategy to increase their waitlist yield: if you admit & invite 20 to visit and waitlist 10 more (no visit), your yield on those last 10 is likely to be lower than if you invite 30 to visit then admit 20 and waitlist 10.
  10. If you don't have anything particularly notable to write, and it's optional, it's probably not worth your time to draft one.
  11. @bayessays, usually your advice is spot on, but here I strongly disagree. Academics love a "story", and for the most part are very willing to be open-minded about those who have taken a nontraditional path. @anon231, the fact that you were able to overcome obstacles to reach this point speaks to your ability and perseverance, both of which are vital for success in a graduate program. I would recommend that you be as open as you feel comfortable being in your personal statement. Consider: would you really be happy in a program that would have rejected you if they knew you had a GED or struggled with addiction?
  12. I wouldn't be worried about the 164Q score; that's not going to kill you. The fact that your grades were lower in "tougher" math classes is the bigger concern. Your application is a pretty standard one. You've got more math than most applicants to top biostat programs, but your grades are on the low end of the competitive range. If your letters are really strong, you could have some excellent results, but if they are just "good" then you might slip down the rankings a little.
  13. You should probably expand your list of targets to include more schools in the 10-20 ranking range: Pitt, Iowa, UCLA, etc. Not because you definitely won't get into a higher-ranked program, but just to be safe(r).
  14. I think you should add some higher-ranked schools to your list. It's hard to do much better than you did, so if your letters are really strong then you might be an intriguing candidate for some pretty good places.
  15. Your results might be a little more variable than a "standard-age" applicant with a similar record, but that variance won't necessarily only work against you (i.e., I could easily see you getting into some of the very best programs). Being able to excel in college at such a young age is incredibly impressive, and a strong marker of intellectual firepower. Many top researchers were "young" passing through various academic milestones. In biostatistics, for example, rock star Tianxi Cai at Harvard graduated from college at 17 and got her PhD at 21. Bottom line: I think your young age is far more likely to be viewed as an asset (indicating tremendous potential upside) than a liability.
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