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2019 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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3 hours ago, daauni said:

So I applied to 7 schools last year (1 interview) and was rejected by all of them. After an extra year in research, I retook the GRE, rewrote my statement, and switched up some of my LORs. This year, I applied to more schools and have 7 interviews. Things are looking much better.

As others have mentioned, I wouldn't waste your time or money on taking the GRE again. My scores didn't drastically improve and are pretty average, and over half of my schools I applied to this year didn't even need it.

I don't know if a PREP program is the best option. Unless you feel you need to improve your undergraduate record in biology/biomedical sciences, I would just apply for lab positions, preferably in academia (quicker in publishing than industry). I think your best option is to stay at your current lab or look at other labs in your university, leaving other institutions or industry as a last resort. Just work your ass off for 6 months and by the app deadlines next fall you could have at least one manuscript in the works if you're in the right lab. One manuscript, even if it's still in writing, can be HUGE for your apps.

Lastly, I agree with @Hamsterball about applying to umbrella programs; they are less competitive and good for people that are unsure about what specialization to go into. If you do have an idea about a track in an umbrella program, mention it in your statement and it shows initiative and focus.

I have finally received my rejection from Baylor. Still nada from Vandy or UC Denver. I am interviewing for a PREP program, fingers crossed. I will be applying to present my honors thesis at ASM and SACNAS, as well as a few other events, both big and small. My thesis also requires I do a defense presentation and a presentation to a large audience. (>_<)

Mostly, I am getting the feeling I need more general experience and I need to take more time with my essays. Also, three of my LORs are from profs at my university, all have good backgrounds, but it's a small school. One LOR is from a very experienced mentor and PI of a major research facility (note I am in Houston) that I did 2 summers with and has an amazing background. I have to work hard not to be kinda awed by him.

ON A WHOLE OTHER NOTE- 

I'm terrified. I have a Zoom interview for the PREP program! How do I not look stupid and stiff? Where should I do this thing? The quietest place I know is my research lab at my university. Would that be weird? I am high-functioning autistic so I can communicate well in writing and have learned how to do it in person... How do I not seem "off?" I have never video chatted before!!!!  What are they going to ask me? About my experience, my goals, my future hobby plans, the recipe for meatballs? 

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Can anyone explain to me the meaning of the following email snippet. Does it mean i am waitlisted. Please see -

"Although you were not selected this year, we value you as an applicant. If you plan to apply again in the future, I would be happy to discuss your application with you; however, this is a particularly busy season and I ask for you to wait to reach out to me until late spring. Unfortunately, I will not be able to respond to you if you email now."

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4 hours ago, Ayub2306 said:

Can anyone explain to me the meaning of the following email snippet. Does it mean i am waitlisted. Please see -

"Although you were not selected this year, we value you as an applicant. If you plan to apply again in the future, I would be happy to discuss your application with you; however, this is a particularly busy season and I ask for you to wait to reach out to me until late spring. Unfortunately, I will not be able to respond to you if you email now."

It's a rejection. It says that if you want to improve your application for the future, you can contact then in late spring to find out what you can do to be a better applican next time. 

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I noticed someone had an acceptance from immunology at Mayo, but I received an email from their program director stating that they haven't met and that they wouldn't be making any offers until this Friday. Is this some kind of wait list email? Does anyone know more about their offer schedule than me? I'm holding off on other offers waiting for them, but maybe I'm jumping to conclusions.

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7 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

It's a rejection. It says that if you want to improve your application for the future, you can contact then in late spring to find out what you can do to be a better applican next time. 

Ohk...... Thanx for saying so. 

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17 hours ago, failing_upward said:

I have finally received my rejection from Baylor. Still nada from Vandy or UC Denver. I am interviewing for a PREP program, fingers crossed. I will be applying to present my honors thesis at ASM and SACNAS, as well as a few other events, both big and small. My thesis also requires I do a defense presentation and a presentation to a large audience. (>_<)

Mostly, I am getting the feeling I need more general experience and I need to take more time with my essays. Also, three of my LORs are from profs at my university, all have good backgrounds, but it's a small school. One LOR is from a very experienced mentor and PI of a major research facility (note I am in Houston) that I did 2 summers with and has an amazing background. I have to work hard not to be kinda awed by him.

ON A WHOLE OTHER NOTE- 

I'm terrified. I have a Zoom interview for the PREP program! How do I not look stupid and stiff? Where should I do this thing? The quietest place I know is my research lab at my university. Would that be weird? I am high-functioning autistic so I can communicate well in writing and have learned how to do it in person... How do I not seem "off?" I have never video chatted before!!!!  What are they going to ask me? About my experience, my goals, my future hobby plans, the recipe for meatballs? 

For the video interview, wear something slightly formal and professional. Most likely they will ask you about your honor thesis research. Be able to explain every single detail of your research. A common mistake I see among applicants is they fail to explain the big picture of their project. Yes, often times we work on things that are assigned by the postdocs or PI.  The interviewers certainly know this but they still want to see if you have the ability to explain the rationale behind. For example, why do you work on gene X? Why did you choose this approach? What alternative approach can you take? What is the ultimate goal of your project? Try to explain these from a broad perspective.  Most PIs like to see that you understand the value of science. 

Edited by Hamsterball

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Applied to 5 schools this year. 2 in top 30, 1 in top 50, the other two didn't even break the top 100. Pretty sure I was outright rejected by all 5, and am looking for a little bit of clarification. I went to a small, private institution, had almost 2 years research experience under my belt, LORs from current PI and profs I have tutored for. I have a 3.5 GPA, which could have been significantly higher if it wasn't due to a health crisis during my sophomore year, every other semester hovers around a 3.8. GREs were alright, not 90th percentile but certainly strong enough not to be thrown away. Presenting my research at a national conference in a few weeks. 

Due to an unfortunate medical diagnosis my senior year for a condition thats out of my control, I had to withdraw from one class in order to attend multiple doctors appoints, and preoperative assessments. Could this have been the deciding factor in my application? I know a withdraw is quite an ugly mark on a transcript, but I explained it in my SOP. I'm currently at a loss. For those who succeeded, what were the things you credit your success to?

I am looking to reapply next year and come back even stronger. I plan to find an excellent job, maybe take a few supplemental classes in order to show how serious I truly am about this. 

Thanks in advance to you all! And congrats to those who have got in (:

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Has anyone heard back from Harvard BBS after the most recent interview (Feb 7-10)? No one has said in the results that they received an acceptance letter and during the interview, they mentioned they'd get back to us by 2/12.

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52 minutes ago, blondebiophysicist said:

Applied to 5 schools this year. 2 in top 30, 1 in top 50, the other two didn't even break the top 100. Pretty sure I was outright rejected by all 5, and am looking for a little bit of clarification. I went to a small, private institution, had almost 2 years research experience under my belt, LORs from current PI and profs I have tutored for. I have a 3.5 GPA, which could have been significantly higher if it wasn't due to a health crisis during my sophomore year, every other semester hovers around a 3.8. GREs were alright, not 90th percentile but certainly strong enough not to be thrown away. Presenting my research at a national conference in a few weeks. 

Due to an unfortunate medical diagnosis my senior year for a condition thats out of my control, I had to withdraw from one class in order to attend multiple doctors appoints, and preoperative assessments. Could this have been the deciding factor in my application? I know a withdraw is quite an ugly mark on a transcript, but I explained it in my SOP. I'm currently at a loss. For those who succeeded, what were the things you credit your success to?

I am looking to reapply next year and come back even stronger. I plan to find an excellent job, maybe take a few supplemental classes in order to show how serious I truly am about this. 

Thanks in advance to you all! And congrats to those who have got in 🙂

Hey there!

So rankings are kind of arbitrary. I wouldn't focus on those so much. Your SOP, LOR, and research experience are the most important. Many biomedical and biological sciences programs are phrasing out the GRE. Some put very little emphasis on it while others do not require it to even apply. I would not stress about retaking it.

I would look over your SOP and make some adjustments. Your LOR's sound solid and your research experience is definitely there. I would not put a ton of emphasis on your medical diagnosis (hope you are well/okay btw!). I do not think you need to explain your GPA, its a solid GPA. If it was below a 3.0 then maybe, but yours is honestly fine. Also, if someone asks about the W you can explain it in person. Again, I don't think it needs to be addressed unless you are specifically asked. Your SOP should be focused on your research interests, how you discovered those interests/fostered them with previous research, and in the future how you want to pursue those interests. It may have been that your SOP seemed to be too focused on your medical diagnosis? Everyone applying to grad school has research experience and LOR's saying how great they are etc etc. What sets a student out can be your SOP, especially in a stack of hundreds of applications. For example, in my SOP I mention how I like puzzle and the immune system is my favorite puzzle (I wanna do immunology work.) 

Good luck on reapplying! I'd be happy to answer any other questions for you.

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2 hours ago, cidmeister said:

Hey there!

So rankings are kind of arbitrary. I wouldn't focus on those so much. Your SOP, LOR, and research experience are the most important. Many biomedical and biological sciences programs are phrasing out the GRE. Some put very little emphasis on it while others do not require it to even apply. I would not stress about retaking it.

I would look over your SOP and make some adjustments. Your LOR's sound solid and your research experience is definitely there. I would not put a ton of emphasis on your medical diagnosis (hope you are well/okay btw!). I do not think you need to explain your GPA, its a solid GPA. If it was below a 3.0 then maybe, but yours is honestly fine. Also, if someone asks about the W you can explain it in person. Again, I don't think it needs to be addressed unless you are specifically asked. Your SOP should be focused on your research interests, how you discovered those interests/fostered them with previous research, and in the future how you want to pursue those interests. It may have been that your SOP seemed to be too focused on your medical diagnosis? Everyone applying to grad school has research experience and LOR's saying how great they are etc etc. What sets a student out can be your SOP, especially in a stack of hundreds of applications. For example, in my SOP I mention how I like puzzle and the immune system is my favorite puzzle (I wanna do immunology work.) 

Good luck on reapplying! I'd be happy to answer any other questions for you.

Thank you for your advice! I dedicated a total of 2 sentences explaining one C and one withdraw, but I'm still paranoid that my withdraw was the reason why I got denied. I spent most of my SOP describing my past research, completed projects, and how it curated my current research interests. I discussed my future goals and how I would like to apply them, and why the school and I were an excellent fit for each other. I'm a little at a loss, but I'm choosing to use this opportunity for a gap year that may expand my horizons a little more. 

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3 hours ago, blondebiophysicist said:

Thank you for your advice! I dedicated a total of 2 sentences explaining one C and one withdraw, but I'm still paranoid that my withdraw was the reason why I got denied. I spent most of my SOP describing my past research, completed projects, and how it curated my current research interests. I discussed my future goals and how I would like to apply them, and why the school and I were an excellent fit for each other. I'm a little at a loss, but I'm choosing to use this opportunity for a gap year that may expand my horizons a little more. 

Hmm.. that's so strange. That sounds like a great SOP! It could entirely be possible that schools rejected you because they felt like your research did not fit well with their program? Or the professors you liked were not taking students and no other faculty matched research interests with you? I'm sorry. You sound like an amazing applicant! :( What programs did you apply for?

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Did any international applicants hear back from Einstein Biomedical sciences regarding an interview??

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To all the people posting here - 

While writing up on this page hoping that one day I might post a positive reply here but unfortunately, I could not do so. So, I am wishing good luck to all those who got accepted in various PhD programs. In my case, I applied to 11 universities out of which got rejected by 8. I also, as of now, do not have any positive hopes from the other 3 available universities as it is already mid-February. I applied to 3 universities before for Fall 2018 but could not get admitted. I left everything, made my profile better and applied again for Fall 2019. For those of you, who think my profile must be weak let me tell you my profile summary - 3.62 GPA, 107/120 TOEFL, 2+ years research experience, 1 publication, 3 conference posters and won in all three. So, I am now giving up on this PhD dream of mine. I don't have any hopes and as per my financial condition goes I have already spent half of my savings in giving these exams, filling applications and again repeating the same.

Good Luck to all others. Hope you all do your PhD successfully. Also, Thank You for reading my rant for 2 minutes. I felt light. I don't want to spread negativity.

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7 hours ago, Ayub2306 said:

To all the people posting here - 

While writing up on this page hoping that one day I might post a positive reply here but unfortunately, I could not do so. So, I am wishing good luck to all those who got accepted in various PhD programs. In my case, I applied to 11 universities out of which got rejected by 8. I also, as of now, do not have any positive hopes from the other 3 available universities as it is already mid-February. I applied to 3 universities before for Fall 2018 but could not get admitted. I left everything, made my profile better and applied again for Fall 2019. For those of you, who think my profile must be weak let me tell you my profile summary - 3.62 GPA, 107/120 TOEFL, 2+ years research experience, 1 publication, 3 conference posters and won in all three. So, I am now giving up on this PhD dream of mine. I don't have any hopes and as per my financial condition goes I have already spent half of my savings in giving these exams, filling applications and again repeating the same.

Good Luck to all others. Hope you all do your PhD successfully. Also, Thank You for reading my rant for 2 minutes. I felt light. I don't want to spread negativity.

Keep your head up. If a PhD is your dream, you should not give up quite yet. It's hard to base how you stand for those schools off of GPA and test scores. Your SOP and LOR are the most important aspects of your application. What were the profiles of your LOR writers and how well did they know you? Don't let this cycle get you down from your scientific dreams, it was extraordinarily competitive. Work hard this next year in your lab position and perfect that SOP. I'm sure that you will find a place that fits your interests down the line.

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21 hours ago, blondebiophysicist said:

Applied to 5 schools this year. 2 in top 30, 1 in top 50, the other two didn't even break the top 100. Pretty sure I was outright rejected by all 5, and am looking for a little bit of clarification. I went to a small, private institution, had almost 2 years research experience under my belt, LORs from current PI and profs I have tutored for. I have a 3.5 GPA, which could have been significantly higher if it wasn't due to a health crisis during my sophomore year, every other semester hovers around a 3.8. GREs were alright, not 90th percentile but certainly strong enough not to be thrown away. Presenting my research at a national conference in a few weeks. 

Due to an unfortunate medical diagnosis my senior year for a condition thats out of my control, I had to withdraw from one class in order to attend multiple doctors appoints, and preoperative assessments. Could this have been the deciding factor in my application? I know a withdraw is quite an ugly mark on a transcript, but I explained it in my SOP. I'm currently at a loss. For those who succeeded, what were the things you credit your success to?

I am looking to reapply next year and come back even stronger. I plan to find an excellent job, maybe take a few supplemental classes in order to show how serious I truly am about this. 

Thanks in advance to you all! And congrats to those who have got in 🙂

The withdraw is almost definitely not the problem. Most schools scrutinize your transcript a lot less than you'd think. Your GPA is great, your GRE scores are probably fine. The SOP is a great place to start. Did you list techniques and projects you did? Comma separated lists are not the way to go. Did you adequately describe your interests and emphasize why do graduate school at all? Also consider LORs. Did any of your writers seen in any way hesitant? One red flag in a LOR is enough to put someone out of an interview. Also, we're those 2 years experience during undergrad or after? During undergrad holds less weight than being full time after undergrad. Did you have publications? Presentations?

The best next step is to work full time in a lab for a year or 2 and get publications/presentations out of it. More research experience is always better, and publications/presentations show that you know how to carry out projects fully. 

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21 hours ago, SpinningGold said:

Has anyone heard back from Harvard BBS after the most recent interview (Feb 7-10)? No one has said in the results that they received an acceptance letter and during the interview, they mentioned they'd get back to us by 2/12.

 

Hey man, I don't have the answer to your question but I want to ask you one. I also applied the BBS this year (international applicant but live in Boston right now) but didn't get the interview. Does that mean it's a rejection? or there will be another round? I just want to confirm there is no hope at Harvard and I can move on with others. I e-mailed them but they just replied as my application is under review and the decision will be made by mid-March, which I cannot wait for such a long time. Thank you very much in advance.

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On 2/12/2019 at 12:59 PM, sydber said:

I noticed someone had an acceptance from immunology at Mayo, but I received an email from their program director stating that they haven't met and that they wouldn't be making any offers until this Friday. Is this some kind of wait list email? Does anyone know more about their offer schedule than me? I'm holding off on other offers waiting for them, but maybe I'm jumping to conclusions.

I also interviewed for immunology there last weekend and from what I heard, it sounded like they were hoping to send out initial acceptances/rejections by the end of this week. Some of the current students also said that past this point you could usually email the program director and ask about where you are on the waitlist and your chances of getting accepted. 

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34 minutes ago, CarbChemist said:

I also interviewed for immunology there last weekend and from what I heard, it sounded like they were hoping to send out initial acceptances/rejections by the end of this week. Some of the current students also said that past this point you could usually email the program director and ask about where you are on the waitlist and your chances of getting accepted. 

Well she emailed me saying that I was a great fit already, but that they couldn’t make any offers until Friday. That’s why I was confused at people claiming to have already been accepted. I’m wondering if maybe some applicants misinterpreted that email?

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9 hours ago, Bruce_JJ said:

 

Hey man, I don't have the answer to your question but I want to ask you one. I also applied the BBS this year (international applicant but live in Boston right now) but didn't get the interview. Does that mean it's a rejection? or there will be another round? I just want to confirm there is no hope at Harvard and I can move on with others. I e-mailed them but they just replied as my application is under review and the decision will be made by mid-March, which I cannot wait for such a long time. Thank you very much in advance.

They only have two interview weekends as far as I know and they didn't mention plans of interviewing any more people so I would move on at this point. But who knows, I've heard stories of some programs offering interviews even after the April 15th deadline. Keep your options open at this point.

 

Edit: but since you're an international applicant, I'm not sure if they would offer skype interviews and such later on.

Edited by pexygalax

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16 hours ago, willut said:

Keep your head up. If a PhD is your dream, you should not give up quite yet. It's hard to base how you stand for those schools off of GPA and test scores. Your SOP and LOR are the most important aspects of your application. What were the profiles of your LOR writers and how well did they know you? Don't let this cycle get you down from your scientific dreams, it was extraordinarily competitive. Work hard this next year in your lab position and perfect that SOP. I'm sure that you will find a place that fits your interests down the line.

Thank you for your motivation but I waited for another year. Also, it's about circumstances at home. Not everytime everything goes favourable. Anyways thank you for your supportive kind words. They mean a lot.

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1 hour ago, Manilo said:

Any news on Sackler, NYU?

They still have an interview weekend March 1st, so they're probably waiting.

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Decided to accept the offer from University of Florida!

I just have one interview now and I do have 5 schools pending which I found I may not hear back from.

Anyway, do no give up!

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