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What are my chances of getting into a neuroscience PhD program


Maria Anaya

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I want to apply to a neuroscience PhD program; but I am curious to know if I have a strong possibility to get into a PhD program. 

As an undergraduate I did research for two years, one in neglected disease and the second year was on Bipolar disorder. After I graduated in May 2017, I was a research assistant at Rutgers University in a neuroscience research lab, where I learned how to analyze brain waves and how to work with EEG. I did that for 6 months, because I got accepted into the Postbac program at the NIH. Currently, I am working as a post bac research assistant at a Molecular Imaging lab in the National Institute of Mental Health. 

Besides my research experience, I graduate with a honors degree and a 3.5 GPA. My honors thesis was on substance abuse and depression among college students. So far, I have not taken the GRE but I am planning on doing so.  

The programs I want to apply to are: Rutgers University, Cornell, NYU, Mount Sinai, UPENN, and Northwestern. 

Edited by Maria Anaya
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What kind of neuroscience do you wish to pursue? It sounds like your research background is pretty mixed, ranging from mental health to cognitive neuro to molecular neuro. Sometimes, all three of those areas can fall under different departments. It sounds to me like you have solid credentials (unknown GRE scores aside). However, from your description, it sounds like your past experiences are pretty eclectic, and it is unclear what your focus is for grad school. It will be extremely important to have a very good idea of your research interests and goals before applying. You'll need to be able to clearly articulate which faculty member(s) you wish to work with, and why. If your new interests diverge from your past experiences, you'll need to clarify why you've shifted focus, and how your past experience has still been valuable and relevant.

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I think you stand a very strong chance of getting into Rutgers for their graduate program. You have a diverse background which you can paint to be a strong asset. I interviewed with Northwestern and they liked I was open to different areas of specialization instead of coming in headstrong to only work in one. 

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