Jump to content
carboniscool

2019 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

Recommended Posts

Help (PLEASE)! Should I go to UCSF or MIT? I'm from the Bay Area and would like to experience living somewhere else, but I'm also worried that being away from my family for 6 years would be so difficult. I am interested in a similar number of faculty at both places, but felt more comfortable overall (with faculty and students) at SF. I think it's probably because of this complex that I'm simply not good enough to go to MIT, even though I know UCSF is of very similar caliber. UCSF would probably be a safer option for me, but I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing. Any advice would be GREATLY GREATLY appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, MLC2019 said:

Help (PLEASE)! Should I go to UCSF or MIT? I'm from the Bay Area and would like to experience living somewhere else, but I'm also worried that being away from my family for 6 years would be so difficult. I am interested in a similar number of faculty at both places, but felt more comfortable overall (with faculty and students) at SF. I think it's probably because of this complex that I'm simply not good enough to go to MIT, even though I know UCSF is of very similar caliber. UCSF would probably be a safer option for me, but I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing. Any advice would be GREATLY GREATLY appreciated.

Don't let the impostor syndrome take over you - if you got in then you got because you are capable. This being said definitely choose the place you feel the warmest community with. If both have similar opportunities go where you will be the happiest. Graduate school can be very stressful and if you rely on family as a support system then its best to hold onto it but MIT offers a unique opportunity to be apart of one of the most academically involved communities in the world (Super cold though). No reason you couldn't go back to Cali afterwards. I know im not really providing a decision but these are things to consider if you havn't already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, LiamG said:

MIT offers a unique opportunity to be apart of one of the most academically involved communities in the world (Super cold though).

thank you,  I appreciate the advice. do you mean cold in the sense of community at MIT?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, MLC2019 said:

thank you,  I appreciate the advice. do you mean cold in the sense of community at MIT?

I think by cold they mean the Boston weather!! I will be starting at MIT this fall in the biology program, and I chose MIT over UCSF so I'm happy to talk about my decision making process if you want to PM me! (I've been a grad cafe lurker for a while now, but I made this account legit just to reply to this post lol) 

Edited by MouthPipetter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Desperate for some input here - I'm trying to decide between Duke and Baylor College of Medicine for Genetics & Genomics PhD programs. Baylor is the better research fit and I liked the students and faculty more, but they were very negative about my wanting to pursue an alternative career path. Meanwhile, Duke is just an okay research fit but has fantastic resources for the career I want to pursue. I also don't know how well-regarded Duke is for genetics in particular, whereas IMO Baylor is a major center for human genetics (which I want to study). Any advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, aiyaaa said:

Desperate for some input here - I'm trying to decide between Duke and Baylor College of Medicine for Genetics & Genomics PhD programs. Baylor is the better research fit and I liked the students and faculty more, but they were very negative about my wanting to pursue an alternative career path. Meanwhile, Duke is just an okay research fit but has fantastic resources for the career I want to pursue. I also don't know how well-regarded Duke is for genetics in particular, whereas IMO Baylor is a major center for human genetics (which I want to study). Any advice?

Oof. Honestly, this is really tough. Was Baylor pushing more towards academia and you wanted to go elsewhere (industry I'm guessing?). Most importantly, were the individuals in the Baylor career center against you pursuing you career path of interest? Personally, I would put more weight on research fit. It would be really difficult for me to do well in a lab/program as a whole if I'm not very interested in the research. So I think you should think about that too for you, as that might put one program over the other. You also have to consider that a better research fit would mean more labs for you to rotate through etc. I've had so many grad students tell me go where you have options, because you might love a lab on paper but hate the atmosphere or whatever. I know this decision won't be easy but best of luck to you! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/10/2019 at 2:33 PM, MLC2019 said:

Help (PLEASE)! Should I go to UCSF or MIT? I'm from the Bay Area and would like to experience living somewhere else, but I'm also worried that being away from my family for 6 years would be so difficult. I am interested in a similar number of faculty at both places, but felt more comfortable overall (with faculty and students) at SF. I think it's probably because of this complex that I'm simply not good enough to go to MIT, even though I know UCSF is of very similar caliber. UCSF would probably be a safer option for me, but I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing. Any advice would be GREATLY GREATLY appreciated.

This is tricky. I was facing a similar decision and just recently chose UCSF over Yale. The best advice I got was to go where you feel most comfortable. UCSF had a friendly, open vibe that I did not get on the east coast. There's something to be said for leaving home, but you can always do that for your postdoc/job after grad school. At the end of the day though you're likely going to succeed wherever you go! You've already been accepted to both schools, so don't let self doubt get you down!

Happy to chat over DM, too! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2019 at 4:31 PM, aiyaaa said:

Desperate for some input here - I'm trying to decide between Duke and Baylor College of Medicine for Genetics & Genomics PhD programs. Baylor is the better research fit and I liked the students and faculty more, but they were very negative about my wanting to pursue an alternative career path. Meanwhile, Duke is just an okay research fit but has fantastic resources for the career I want to pursue. I also don't know how well-regarded Duke is for genetics in particular, whereas IMO Baylor is a major center for human genetics (which I want to study). Any advice?

I might be playing devil's advocate here, but I would really think about which program is going to set you up for your career.  You want to join a lab who's research is interesting to you, but ultimately that lab should have a mentor and environment that is going to set you up for success later on.  You could join a lab that has the best research fit, but you don't mesh as well with the PI, or you could join a lab with less interesting research but the PI is amazing.  In that case, I would choose the latter in a heartbeat.  The PI, environment, and program support can be what makes or breaks your graduate school experience even if that research is extremely interesting to you.  I think, as long as you are at least interested in the research at Duke, if you are committed to a career path that Baylor is very negative about, you might find better success at Duke.  The PhD is a crucial step towards your career goals, but positions (academia and industry) are still competitive to land, and you do want to be as prepared as possible.  Just my 2 cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/11/2019 at 3:31 PM, MouthPipetter said:

I think by cold they mean the Boston weather!! I will be starting at MIT this fall in the biology program, and I chose MIT over UCSF so I'm happy to talk about my decision making process if you want to PM me! (I've been a grad cafe lurker for a while now, but I made this account legit just to reply to this post lol) 

I'm kind of in a similar boat. Right now I'm trying to decide last minute between UCSF, Stanford, and MIT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, carboniscool said:

Committed to Weill Cornell! Anyone matriculating this fall?

Yes, Neuro here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/18/2019 at 10:45 AM, FMAnder said:

Committed to UMich PIBS program! Would love to hear from others.

My sister did her PhD there! It's a lovely place to be a student, have a great time and make sure you go to Tio's for their queso dip and tabeside guacamole!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad Institution: University of Maryland, College Park 
Major(s): Public Health Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.1
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 156
V: 157
W: 5.0




Research Experience: 

1 year research fellowship program/ class that was created for first year undergraduate students. Was also one of the few students to win the summer fellowship and get paid to work in the lab over the summer. Research based in microbiology and genetics.

2.5 years in Molecular biology and genetics lab under the Head of the department. 6 presentations from this lab 2 and best poster presentation awards. Tons of hours in this lab, worked there every single summer and winter in college as well as for credit over the semester. Expect to be published as a co-author on a paper from this lab before I start applications.

2 year postbacc program at the NIH/NCI: working in the RNA biology section


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list for 6 semesters

Student Commencement Speaker for my school's commencement.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for summer research class

Free tutor for children on the weekends.

President of a school non-profit that donated unused medical supplies to clinics abroad for 2 years

Worked at wawa for 7 years.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Have truly excellent LORs, I've had multiple people tell me that one of my recommenders recommends me as one of the "brightest female millennial minds". My current PI knows a lot of people in the field and will help introduce me / email them. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: GPA dip in sophomore year. Lots of science classes with C's and two F'. This is explained by my recommender and I have a doctor's letter detailing why I could not go to class and almost failed out (due to undiagnosed mental disorder, bipolar and depression). After I got on medicine I made dean's list every semester without faltering and my GPA has an upward trend from 3.6->3.94. I took credit overloads every semester and max credits every winter and summer.

Applying to Where:

  • A really far reach...: BPH program at harvard (Biological sciences in public health) PhD
  • BostonU: Behavioral neuroscience PhD
  • UCLA: Behavioral neuroscience PhD
  • Stanford: Behavioral neuroscience PhD
  • Several universities in sweden for an MPH or MS in biomedical sciences since I can attend schools there for free
  • Emory: (I know a professor here) Genetics and molecular biology PhD
  • NYU: Neural science PhD
  • Berkely: Molecular and cell biology PhD
  • UMD: Epidemiology (I'm very close with several faculty and the dean here)
  • Columbia: Neurobiology and behavior PhD
  • UCSD: Biomedical sciences PhD
  • USC: Cancer biology and genomics PhD
  • UCI: Cellular and molecular sciences PhD
  • University of miami: Neuroscience PhD

Suggestions for some other schools I should apply to? I know my GPA is low and my GRE is okay but I'm hoping the other things will make my application shine enough. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, episome1996 said:

Undergrad Institution: University of Maryland, College Park 
Major(s): Public Health Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.1
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 156
V: 157
W: 5.0




Research Experience: 

1 year research fellowship program/ class that was created for first year undergraduate students. Was also one of the few students to win the summer fellowship and get paid to work in the lab over the summer. Research based in microbiology and genetics.

2.5 years in Molecular biology and genetics lab under the Head of the department. 6 presentations from this lab 2 and best poster presentation awards. Tons of hours in this lab, worked there every single summer and winter in college as well as for credit over the semester. Expect to be published as a co-author on a paper from this lab before I start applications.

2 year postbacc program at the NIH/NCI: working in the RNA biology section


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list for 6 semesters

Student Commencement Speaker for my school's commencement.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for summer research class

Free tutor for children on the weekends.

President of a school non-profit that donated unused medical supplies to clinics abroad for 2 years

Worked at wawa for 7 years.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Have truly excellent LORs, I've had multiple people tell me that one of my recommenders recommends me as one of the "brightest female millennial minds". My current PI knows a lot of people in the field and will help introduce me / email them. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: GPA dip in sophomore year. Lots of science classes with C's and two F'. This is explained by my recommender and I have a doctor's letter detailing why I could not go to class and almost failed out (due to undiagnosed mental disorder, bipolar and depression). After I got on medicine I made dean's list every semester without faltering and my GPA has an upward trend from 3.6->3.94. I took credit overloads every semester and max credits every winter and summer.

Applying to Where:

  • A really far reach...: BPH program at harvard (Biological sciences in public health) PhD
  • BostonU: Behavioral neuroscience PhD
  • UCLA: Behavioral neuroscience PhD
  • Stanford: Behavioral neuroscience PhD
  • Several universities in sweden for an MPH or MS in biomedical sciences since I can attend schools there for free
  • Emory: (I know a professor here) Genetics and molecular biology PhD
  • NYU: Neural science PhD
  • Berkely: Molecular and cell biology PhD
  • UMD: Epidemiology (I'm very close with several faculty and the dean here)
  • Columbia: Neurobiology and behavior PhD
  • UCSD: Biomedical sciences PhD
  • USC: Cancer biology and genomics PhD
  • UCI: Cellular and molecular sciences PhD
  • University of miami: Neuroscience PhD

Suggestions for some other schools I should apply to? I know my GPA is low and my GRE is okay but I'm hoping the other things will make my application shine enough. 

Overall, your profile sounds good and I think you are a solid PhD applicant. However, I would definitely apply to schools that are not as "top tier" just to be safe. All the programs you've listed are fantastic but they are highly competitive programs. I can say that I personally know several people, have seen people on here and heard of others, that only apply to high tiered schools and go 0/10+ on interviews. Why? because hundreds of outstanding applicants apply to these programs and they can only give out so many interviews. But then again, safety schools do not really exist... just maybe something for you to think about? Side note: with this many programs, applying can be expensive so maybe check to see if you qualify for application fee waivers? I never did and turns out, I qualified for some of the programs I applied to. I could have saved myself a ton of money - don't be like me lol.

Also professor connections can be a tricky thing; each program admissions is different and in the end there is no guarantee that a professor can secure you a spot in a cohort. 

Best of luck! :) 

Edited by lanaabear

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone. Has anyone heard anything from UTK or Oklahoma state uni?? Both said they would get back to applicants in April and tomorrow is the last day in April. Really stressed just thinking about being rejected, these are my last options. Already rejected from NCSU and University of Oklahoma. I applied to the Microbiology departments for a masters degree. Fingers crossed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad Institution: University of Florida, Gainesville 
Major(s): Microbiology and Cell Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.1
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic hispanic female

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 154
V: 151
W: 3.5
Taken in 2015. Plan to retake


Research Experience: 

1 year research experience as a Lab Tech at an Entomology lab researching siRNA gene silencing in western corn rootworm. Performed qPCR, PCR, sorting of insects, extraction of DNA, extraction of RNA, care of insects. No posters nor publications

2 years of experience as a lab manager for an Oral biology lab at the College of Dentistry. 4 poster presentations (2 of them at major conferences) and 1 oral presentation (mini-symposium at a major conference). 

Manuscript (about my research) underway as first author (<-- does this matter?)

Volunteer research with social sciences (effects of study abroad on students). 2 Posters presentation (major and minor conferences) and manuscript underway as first author

So far, no previous publications


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: none that i can think of

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for Microbiology Teaching lab for one semester

Worked as a lab tech for my current lab for 2 years before becoming lab manager

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Graduated from my master's in 2017, but I do not have any type of contact nor relationship with my professors from back then so the only LOR I really have is my boss's and a collaborator.


Applying to Where:

  • EMBL international PhD Programme
  • Max Planck in Germany
  • University of Florida (last choice)
  • Canada
  • Northeast coast and west coast

Notice I don't have program choice because I'm having a hard time deciding what to apply to. If anybody cares to help: My current research and experience is mostly microbiology and bacterial molecular biology. I would like to go into immunology-arthropod borne-viruses (dengue specifically), or infectious diseases. Plan to apply for the Fall of 2020 or 2021

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 10/10/2018 at 6:36 AM, cis-stem error said:

Undergrad Institution:

Local junior college

 

Major(s):

Arts and Humanities - AA; Teacher Education Preparation - AA; Mathematics and Science - AS

 

Overall GPA:

3.5

 

Undergrad Institution:

167 year-old private university mostly known for its dental, pharmaceutical, and international studies programs (university focus is not research-based)

 

Major(s):

Biology & Biochemistry - BS

 

Overall GPA:

3.4

 

Grad Institution:

Same private university as undergrad

 

Major:

Biology - MS

 

Overall GPA:

4.0

 

Position in Class:

Top 10%

 

Type of Student:

Domestic female

 

GRE Scores:

Admittedly I never studied for the GRE (I simply didn't have time due to my home situation), and my scores unfortunately reflect this: 50% Q 60% W 70% V

 

Research Experience:

Biochemical research - one semester; Project focused on protein interactions and predictive models of protein folding. I gained some networking and a single conference presentation (no publications).

 

Biological research - 4 years; Project focused on morphological studies. Project approach was very integrative and resulted in two publications (first and second authorship), three published acknowledgements, and two more publications that are in preparation (first authorship).

 

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Dean’s list

Awarded graduate fellowship (from attending university)

Active Phi Kappa Phi membership

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Graduate TA & ATA - 3 upper division courses and 1 course for non-majors

Substitute lecturer - upper division course

 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Resident presenter at annual research conference (four years running)

President of academic (non-greek) chemistry club (highly involved with local academical outreach)

President of several non-academic campus clubs (I’m hoping this shows interest diversity)

 

Special Bonus Points:

Female, first generation college student, LGBTQ+

 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

I took 8 years getting my 5 undergraduate degrees and 3 ½ years earning my master’s degree. This was due to ongoing family issues (I was the primary caregiver of an elderly stroke survivor which required an immense time commitment), but I’m worried that the amount of time taken to complete my education combined with my low GRE scores will negatively impact my chances of entering a PhD program. In addition, the duration of time spent means I’m older than most candidates (late 20’s), and I’ve heard this can also reflect poorly on applicants.

 

Applying to Where:

Rutgers University - Biological Sciences

Oregon State University - Intagrative Biology

University of New Hampshire - Intagrative & Organismal Biology

Lehigh University - Intagrative Biology

Boise State University  - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

North Dakota State University - Zoology

 

I hope I did this correctly (first post and all), if not my apologies. Feedback would be appreciated because I'm uncertain as to how realistic my school choices are. I chose programs based on my interest in the works of specific PIs at each of the universities listed. I'd be open to school suggestions if anyone feels I missed something that might be a better match for me. I'm really interested in integrative biology with a particular focus on comparative vertebrate morphology, as well organismal biology.

 

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

I know I'm late to the party, but here are my results:

Rutgers University - skype interview, accepted

Oregon State University - rejected

University of New Hampshire - rejected

Lehigh University - in-person interview, waitlisted

Boise State University - rejected

North Dakota State University - no response

I was really happy to get accepted to Rutgers, but they have yet to disclose any information regarding financial support and it's been quite a while since I was accepted. Anyone know if this is normal/has anyone who's been accepted received financial information? Insight on this matter would be much appreciated!

NDSU has been sending me bi-weekly updates stating that my application is still under review, but having never been invited to an interview I'm assuming they're simply drawing out my rejection.

If I don't receive a stipend from Rutgers I'm planning on applying again next cycle to programs that no longer require the GRE.  I'm currently looking into University of Washington, University of Minnesota, Boston University, and re-applying to Rutgers.

Any words of wisdom or constructive criticisms would be most welcomed. Thank you!

Edited by cis-stem error

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi I think this is the wrong thread to post on but I'm intending to apply for graduate school in fall 2020 and i'm just extremely worried that I'm not good enough and i should just go into the workforce instead. These are my stats:

Undergrad Institution: Nanyang Technological University (World 12th, Asia 3rd)   
Major(s): Biological Sciences
Minor(s): NIL
Overall GPA: 3.63 (Expected 3.67)
Position in Class: First Class Honours/Honours with Highest Distinction (the nomenclature is confusing but top 10% of school)
Type of Student: International female, Asian

 

I extended my graduation by a semester to do extra research on my final year thesis at MIT in Boston (under a prof with quite a few industry associations and startups himself) so I’ll be graduating in December 2019. My current GPA stands at 4.52/5.0 (~3.63) but I’m pretty confident that I can pull it up to about 4.6 (~3.67).


GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 167 (91%)
V: 162 (91%)
W: 5.5 (98%) 
I’m not sure if I should take the GRE Biology Subject Test? Most of my peers are advising against it because they say it doesn’t really help much and it’s extra studying time that could be put into strengthening my statement of purpose and working on my current project in an RNA lab.

TOEFL Total: Not applicable, I’m a native English speaker 

Research Experience:

- Half a year in a skin/skin cancer lab working on a research project investigating the effect of biofilm conditioned media of bacteria on skin cancer cells and potential therapeutic properties. (it was a short stint and I got an A+ for that project… haven’t really followed up with my mentor or professor from that lab but I wont really be asking them for LORs)

- 9 months in a structural biology/virology lab and was part of two projects. I contributed quite frequently in the lab so my PI and mentor can both write me strong LORs. Also presented a poster in my school for the first project and got an A+ for the second project.

- 9 months on my final year thesis at a bioengineering lab. i was working on a vaccine for RSV but the initial funding got cut so we pivoted the project into a investigating the structural interactions for my thesis. This project is still ongoing after i returned to singapore and they plan to wrap it up at the end of summer and publish soon after. 

- Currently working in an RNA therapeutics lab. I actually interacted with many people in MIT who made me very interested in RNA therapeutics and this is what I am very interested in researching on for my PhD. 

- One poster presentation as part of my final year thesis

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

CN Yang Scholar (awards undergraduate students a scholarship for full tuition, housing and a stipend as well. about 50 students get accepted each year and our curriculum focuses on research and gears us towards graduate school; kind of similar to an undergraduate fellowship?)

Nanyang Scholarship 

I also submitted my previous works to The Global Undergraduate Awards (awaiting results)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

I worked in a biopharma (GSK) as a marketing intern for half a year on top of my schoolwork which gave me quite some insight into the pharma industry and is also the main reason I decided on focusing on the science research behind drug development instead of the more commercial aspects (i.e. marketing, sales). 

I’m currently working as a student research assistant in a biophysics lab working on RNA therapeutics (anti-sense oligonucleotides targeting lymphoma) and will be working here throughout the summer and my final semester in Fall 2019. Probably converting to a research officer after I graduate and working there until PhD (if i get into a school in the states).

Throughout my undergraduate life I’ve also been extremely involved in competitive sports (which contributed partly to the slump in my grades in my second year) but at MIT I was working on my research 90% of the time which made me realise how much I enjoyed and found purpose in doing it. 


Special Bonus Points: 

- I actually spent a lot of my undergraduate years figuring out what I wanted to pursue as a career and why. I explored both research, sales and marketing and project management which led me to be absolutely sure that I want to pursue a career in research in drug development. 

- Final year thesis was 9 months in MIT so I think my professor should be pretty well known. His LOR should be pretty strong. We are still in contact and the lab will be including me in the publication (some parts of my thesis is included in part of it) but I’m not sure if it will be out in time for the applications. It could be in the manuscript or first submission phase would that help boost my applications?

- My professor in the second lab also has quite a few global contacts. He actually connected me with my MIT professor for my final year thesis.  
 

Applying to Where:

Rockefeller U

Gerstner Sloan Kettering 

Weill Cornell

Cold Spring Harbour Lab (I really really want to get into a university in new york hence thinking of applying to all these schools)

MIT

Stonybrook U

UCSF

UC San Diego

UC Davis

Scripps

Boston University

Columbia U

NYU

considering Mayo Clinic and JHU

My end goal is to continue working in therapeutics (small molecule/AB engineering or even RNA therapeutics) for infectious diseases and cancer. Could someone let me know my chances and perhaps how to boost my portfolio and even tips on writing a strong statement of purpose? Any other schools focused on therapeutics-based research would be nice as well :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad Institution: big public research school in florida
Major(s): cell, developmental and molecular biology as well as public health sciences (dual degree)
GPA in Major: 3.8+ ( all my upper level cell and molecular biology classes are A+)
Overall GPA: 3.83
Position in Class :top 
Type of Student: International and female.


GRE Scores (revised/old version): didn’t take it yet, most don’t require it anymore. 

Research Experience: Cancer research for 3 years. Topic – next generation sequencing/genomics. Led to a publication in a top oncology journal as 1stauthor (YAYY!). However, it was more clinical research than wet lab research. But, due to studying in a big research school, our lab classes were extensive and led me to know a lot of the molecular biology techniques and running gels and e.t.c. I graduated a month ago, and one of my professors recommended me to my current PI, where I am doing wet lab research and I absolutely love it. Uptill my application, I would have around 5 months and would continue till I start grad school. 
 
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I completed my dual degree in 9 semesters out of the usual 11 and out of 9 semesters, received dean’s list for 6 of them. 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: volunteered and tutored Basic science to kids who are refugees/minories/low economic status (who were between 2ndgrade and 5thgrade). Had 2-3 leadership positions while at school. Went on service trips to talk and motivate young girls to pursue stem careers. Lots of other EC’s.

Special Bonus Points: 4 recommenders 

1-   Doctor I worked on research with – doctor at one of the top cancer hospitals in the country.

2-   Professor who knows me very well – for developmental biology – did his post doc at UCSF – well known name 

3-   Professor who knows me very well – molecular biology – did his post doc at Dana Farber at Harvard – known scientist within his field  

4-   Current PI – also post doc from Dana Farber. 

I have been interested in research all long and extremely passionate about cells (specifically chromatin structure, mitotic spindle, cell signaling and, DNA repair) but due to time commitments and a lot on my plate, was unable to actual independent bench research. However, I don’t regret my decision to pursue clinical genomics research in one of the rarest cancers in the world in a top cancer hospital. It was a great experience, but I am worried that I would be at a disadvantage for not having enough wet lab experience under a certain PI.

Applying to Where:
Well, I need some suggestions. I have read a lot about molecular biology programs and have spent days reading about various labs in universities, but here are some places where I liked more than 1 lab. Not too sure if I should apply this year or next.

UChicago Cancer Biology  

JHU – BCMB (long shot)

Princeton cell biology, development and cancer 

UT Austin – Cell and Molecular Biology

Duke – Molecular Cancer Biology  

Georgetown – BMCB

UCSF Tetrad 

Cincinnati Childrens – Molecular and developmental biology

Harvard MCB (extremely long shot)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/29/2019 at 6:29 AM, Fountain96 said:

Hi I think this is the wrong thread to post on but I'm intending to apply for graduate school in fall 2020 and i'm just extremely worried that I'm not good enough and i should just go into the workforce instead. These are my stats:

Undergrad Institution: Nanyang Technological University (World 12th, Asia 3rd)   
Major(s): Biological Sciences
Minor(s): NIL
Overall GPA: 3.63 (Expected 3.67)
Position in Class: First Class Honours/Honours with Highest Distinction (the nomenclature is confusing but top 10% of school)
Type of Student: International female, Asian

 

I extended my graduation by a semester to do extra research on my final year thesis at MIT in Boston (under a prof with quite a few industry associations and startups himself) so I’ll be graduating in December 2019. My current GPA stands at 4.52/5.0 (~3.63) but I’m pretty confident that I can pull it up to about 4.6 (~3.67).


GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 167 (91%)
V: 162 (91%)
W: 5.5 (98%) 
I’m not sure if I should take the GRE Biology Subject Test? Most of my peers are advising against it because they say it doesn’t really help much and it’s extra studying time that could be put into strengthening my statement of purpose and working on my current project in an RNA lab.

TOEFL Total: Not applicable, I’m a native English speaker 

Research Experience:

- Half a year in a skin/skin cancer lab working on a research project investigating the effect of biofilm conditioned media of bacteria on skin cancer cells and potential therapeutic properties. (it was a short stint and I got an A+ for that project… haven’t really followed up with my mentor or professor from that lab but I wont really be asking them for LORs)

- 9 months in a structural biology/virology lab and was part of two projects. I contributed quite frequently in the lab so my PI and mentor can both write me strong LORs. Also presented a poster in my school for the first project and got an A+ for the second project.

- 9 months on my final year thesis at a bioengineering lab. i was working on a vaccine for RSV but the initial funding got cut so we pivoted the project into a investigating the structural interactions for my thesis. This project is still ongoing after i returned to singapore and they plan to wrap it up at the end of summer and publish soon after. 

- Currently working in an RNA therapeutics lab. I actually interacted with many people in MIT who made me very interested in RNA therapeutics and this is what I am very interested in researching on for my PhD. 

- One poster presentation as part of my final year thesis

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

CN Yang Scholar (awards undergraduate students a scholarship for full tuition, housing and a stipend as well. about 50 students get accepted each year and our curriculum focuses on research and gears us towards graduate school; kind of similar to an undergraduate fellowship?)

Nanyang Scholarship 

I also submitted my previous works to The Global Undergraduate Awards (awaiting results)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

I worked in a biopharma (GSK) as a marketing intern for half a year on top of my schoolwork which gave me quite some insight into the pharma industry and is also the main reason I decided on focusing on the science research behind drug development instead of the more commercial aspects (i.e. marketing, sales). 

I’m currently working as a student research assistant in a biophysics lab working on RNA therapeutics (anti-sense oligonucleotides targeting lymphoma) and will be working here throughout the summer and my final semester in Fall 2019. Probably converting to a research officer after I graduate and working there until PhD (if i get into a school in the states).

Throughout my undergraduate life I’ve also been extremely involved in competitive sports (which contributed partly to the slump in my grades in my second year) but at MIT I was working on my research 90% of the time which made me realise how much I enjoyed and found purpose in doing it. 


Special Bonus Points: 

- I actually spent a lot of my undergraduate years figuring out what I wanted to pursue as a career and why. I explored both research, sales and marketing and project management which led me to be absolutely sure that I want to pursue a career in research in drug development. 

- Final year thesis was 9 months in MIT so I think my professor should be pretty well known. His LOR should be pretty strong. We are still in contact and the lab will be including me in the publication (some parts of my thesis is included in part of it) but I’m not sure if it will be out in time for the applications. It could be in the manuscript or first submission phase would that help boost my applications?

- My professor in the second lab also has quite a few global contacts. He actually connected me with my MIT professor for my final year thesis.  
 

Applying to Where:

Rockefeller U

Gerstner Sloan Kettering 

Weill Cornell

Cold Spring Harbour Lab (I really really want to get into a university in new york hence thinking of applying to all these schools)

MIT

Stonybrook U

UCSF

UC San Diego

UC Davis

Scripps

Boston University

Columbia U

NYU

considering Mayo Clinic and JHU

My end goal is to continue working in therapeutics (small molecule/AB engineering or even RNA therapeutics) for infectious diseases and cancer. Could someone let me know my chances and perhaps how to boost my portfolio and even tips on writing a strong statement of purpose? Any other schools focused on therapeutics-based research would be nice as well :)

You are an incredibly strong applicant and I would be shocked if you did not get interviews at most of the places you are applying, barring a weak essay or letter of recommendation. However, your international status may pose some funding issues at some state universities. For example, I know that UCSF funds far fewer international students than some other private institutions, but YMMV. 

Lastly, I would recommend against taking the subject test and instead focus on pushing your project to publication. That'll be far more advantageous for grad apps. and grad school itself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.