Jump to content

2019 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results


Recommended Posts

On 9/23/2018 at 8:04 PM, Imalthica said:

I'm a little concerned that my lower GPA will potentially harm my chances at these schools, but I think I've done enough to balance it out...

Undergrad Institution: McGill
Major(s): Environmental Biology (Plant Biology)
Minor(s): Anthropology
GPA in Major: Not easily discernible...
Overall GPA: 3.32
Position in Class: Not calculated
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores:
Q: 150
V: 160
W: 4.5
B: N/a

Research Experience: 

  • Honors thesis exploring changes in the population ecology of Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard), an invasive plant in southeastern Canada, and how it affects the glucosinolate contents for human consumption.
  • Ethnobotanical study on changes in culinary herb and spice consumption in central Texas and southern Québec.
  • A paper titled “Three Ethnobotanically Important Plants of Texas: Southern Prickly Ash, Ocotillo, and Jimson Weed” published in the journal "HerbalGram"
  • An internship at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory, cleaning and cataloguing a collection of mostly plant and other organic remains from the George C. Davis site


Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

  • The 2018 Undergraduate Ethnobiologist Award from the Society of Ethnobiology
  • A peer mentorship award for teaching an advanced plant systematics class

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

  • Working as a curatorial assistant and lab technician for the McGill Herbarium curator, a specialist on Cyperaceae
  • Working as a McGill teaching and research greenhouse manager for 3 years
  • Started and run my own lapidary and metalsmithing business, The Illustrious Madman
  • I'm a student board member on the Society of Ethnobiology board of advisers

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • I've coached Olympic and traditional Central Asian archers for 11 years now
  • I teach classes in theatrical special effects, make-up, improvisational acting, and global historical folklore

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

  • Being part of the Society for Ethnobiology, I've got strong connections with many of the heavy-weight members...

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

  • My GPA is low because I failed Physics 1 at McGill (hated the prof, and I had previously thought I would be getting out of the class due to high school credits). I took it again at a community college, and got an A

Applying to Where:

UT Austin - Plant Biology - Fowler, Jha
UT Austin - Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior - Fowler, Jha
Tulane - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - Farrer

Tulane - Anthropology - Balee
Texas A&M - Anthropology - Hopkins, Thoms, Bryant
University of Arizona - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - Wilder, Arnold

  •  

Your experiences look really good and well rounded! Unfortunately I'm in a very different field so I can't contribute too much to school choice. 

Also by physics 1 do you mean PHYS 101 and Ragan lmao I'm also at McGill. I haven't seen him around after first year except for last week when I saw him trip on the pavement in front of McLennan/bronfman.

Edited by lamivudine
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 994
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Would anyone find it helpful to create a separate thread just for interviews? Looking back through previous years, I felt it would have been more helpful to have a thread dedicated to just interview n

After waiting and waiting, happy to say I got two acceptances today! Guess I'll be going to graduate school this year after all!

I've planned for alternate options. I have 3 separate contingency plans, lol. I applied to a PREP program, and I am working on my resume so I can get applications going for lab positions as soon as I

Posted Images

On 9/26/2018 at 10:02 PM, BabyScientist said:

1. Your application seems strong on the experience/CV side. Make sure to complement that with strong LORs and SOP. 

2. Your experience/interests sound super cool... Jealous

3. Have you considered UC Davis? 

Thanks! I have three very strong LOR writers. Two supervised projects of mine (one is my honors thesis adviser), and the third nominated me for that peer mentor award. I have looked around at other schools, and I know that the west coast has strong botany and ethnobiology faculty, but I really would rather stick closer to home, and near to where I intend to study...

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/27/2018 at 12:53 PM, lamivudine said:

Your experiences look really good and well rounded! Unfortunately I'm in a very different field so I can't contribute too much to school choice. 

Also by physics 1 do you mean PHYS 101 and Ragan lmao I'm also at McGill. I haven't seen him around after first year except for last week when I saw him trip on the pavement in front of McLennan/bronfman.

I'm actually out at Mac, so I got to experience the joy of taking AEPH 112 with Dr. Titley-Peloquin...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone :) I'm applying for the second time this year -- last year I pretty much only picked top tier schools, but I also simply didn't have the experience as I was set on veterinary school through my undergrad and focus has shifted since. 

Undergrad Institution: University of Connecticut
Major(s): Pathobiology; Animal Science
GPA in Major: 3.45 (combined both majors)
Overall GPA: 3.381
Position in Class: Average
Type of Student: Domestic, female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 154 (56th percentile)
V: 165 (96th percentile)
W: 6

I am retaking my GRE's this week with a hope of boosting my quantitative. I know GRE's are not so valuable anymore, but I'm hoping a solid GRE offsets my GPA at least a little. 

Research Experience/Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Undergraduate independent study in "Gut Microbiota"
Multiple years (junior year of high school through senior year of college) as part-time lab assistant at major Boston hospital/Harvard affiliate in a research lab; no paper ever published although I believe it was submitted 
3 summers of veterinary internships, including a week with the CDC Pathology department (again, was set on vet school in undergrad)
3 semesters/1.5 years doing undergraduate honors thesis (Ketosis in Pregnant Ewes): 1 published paper, 3rd author
1 semester in an equine extension/state equine program independent study: 1 published abstract, 2nd author
4 semesters in state diagnostics laboratory, some attached research projects that I contributed to indirectly
1 year post-bacc as a research associate in a parasitology/microbiology laboratory at a medical school; 3 manuscripts in process but won't be submitted before apps, 1 poster presentation at conference

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Dean's List (1 semester only)
UConn Sophomore Honors; (missed GPA for Honors gradation by 0.2 pts :()

Received a departmental merit scholarship every year
President of college outing club, social media chair of college riding team and of pre-vet club


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help/Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Worked since sophomore year of college, including in disability services and as a riding instructor (this has affected my GPA)
2017 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail/2019 attempt of the Pacific Crest Trail
Licensed MA Riding Instructor
Current PI worked at UCSD for over a decade and has connections with microbiome heads

Applying to Where:
UMass Medical School - GSBS - Microbiology/Immunology

University of Colorado Denver - BSP - Microbiology/Immunology
Baylor School of Medicine - GSBS -- Microbiology/Immunology
UCSD - Biomedical Sciences - 
Microbiome and Microbial Sciences
UCSF - BMS - Microbial Pathogenesis & Host Defense
Considering:
CU Boulder
UW Madison
University of Washington
Tufts Vet School
UNC Chapel Hill
Penn State

My interests are chiefly in the microbiome and infectious disease, with a more translational approach and a focus on gastrointestinal microbiota (although I'm not very picky about this; skin and urogenital microflora are super interesting, too). For example, most of my reading focus has been on the development and alterations in the microbiome and how that effects pathogenesis of various disorders (GI infections, obesity, autism, etc.), namely in humans and other mammals. I work now in a laboratory studying STH infections and wouldn't mind getting involved in the microbiome aspect of this. I think I'd get incredibly bored studying the microbiota of leeches or plants, for example.

I don't feel very confident in my chances of getting into a graduate program, and am having a hard time finding mid-tier/lower-tier programs with research that cater towards my interests or will give me a leg up in my field. I applied to four schools last year (Harvard, CU Denver, Baylor, Tufts), and while I wasn't accepted at any, I didn't hear from any of them until April/May and had some professors from those schools add me on LinkedIn, which felt like an affirmation that I wasn't exactly at the bottom of the barrel. I do have contacts at Harvard, Baylor, UCSD, and in STH-microbiome laboratories through my previous labs. I have 2 very solid LORs, but am working on the 3rd (graduated college over two years ago now). I also plan on applying to one or two masters programs as a backup. One other odd point of importance: I'll be attempting a PCT thru hike this summer, with the hope of finishing early August. Programs that begin late Aug/early September are preferable to summer start or early Aug start programs. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/5/2018 at 4:36 PM, carboniscool said:

(It's my first time posting on here... am I doing this right?) 

Undergrad Institution: University of North Dakota
Major(s): Biology 
Minor(s): Math 
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.59
Position in Class: Cum laude honors, rank unknown 
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Not yet taken!! 
Life got crazy after graduating in May... Applying this round to two schools that do not require GRE score and one that lets you wait until December(!!). Taking the GRE in December (hopefully, if prepared) otherwise in the spring if nothing works out this round and applying again next fall. 


Research Experience: 5 semesters + 1 full-time summer + 1 part-time summer of research lab experience at UND -- developmental biology / co-author on 3-5 papers (Author 4 of 5?) / two poster presentations (REU) 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Handful of Dean's List (top 15% in college, per semester) awards, 3-year member of NIH-funded US MASTER program + scholarships

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Two jobs while in school (average 20 hrs / week) , Currently full-time at a clinical trials CRO -- no technical research involved, only clinical 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Pretty proud of my senior capstone research paper, otherwise not a lot 



Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Research experience in developmental vascular biology but I'm applying for immunology / microbiology programs  

Applying to Where: 

Fall 2018 apps: 
Yale University - Biomedical Sciences - Immunology 
UCSF - Biomedical Sciences - Immunology
University of Washington - Immunology 

Fall 2019 apps (maybe):
Univ. Colorado Denver - Anschultz Medical Campus - Immuno + Micro
University of Minnesota Twin Cities - Microbiology, Immunology, Cancer Biology 
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi I would like to get a sense of my odds of getting accepted into some of the schools I currently have in mind :)  Furthermore, I am afraid my lack of publications might hold back my application although I have a decent amount of research experience (close to 2 years).

Undergrad Institution: UC San Diego
Major(s): Biology,  Literature
Minor(s): Music
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.9+
Position in Class: Summa cum laude (top 2%) 
Type of Student: Asian American


GRE Scores

Q: 170

V: 169

W: 6 

Research Experience:  Will have done almost 2 years of research in 3 biology labs but no publications yet

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Summa cum laude, Provosts honors every quarter and Phi Beta Kappa. 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Did some TA work and independent research studies in various fields (e.g. musicology)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: My interests so far has been pretty diverse although I do want to make a career in research in Biology. What might be a good way to showcase how this diverse background might benefit my suitability as a PhD candidate? LORs should be fairly strong coming from 3 PIs at the head of their respective fields. 

Special Bonus Points: Will have finished undergrad and graduated in 3 years! 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I might hold the school record for taking the most classes in a quarter. 

 

Applying to Where: 

Harvard - BBS 

Stanford - Biology

UCSF - Biology

JHU - Biology

U Michigan - Biology

WashU - Biology

U Penn- Biology

UCSD- Biology

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, corgibutt19 said:

Hi everyone :) I'm applying for the second time this year -- last year I pretty much only picked top tier schools, but I also simply didn't have the experience as I was set on veterinary school through my undergrad and focus has shifted since. 

Undergrad Institution: University of Connecticut
Major(s): Pathobiology; Animal Science
GPA in Major: 3.45 (combined both majors)
Overall GPA: 3.381
Position in Class: Average
Type of Student: Domestic, female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 154 (56th percentile)
V: 165 (96th percentile)
W: 6

I am retaking my GRE's this week with a hope of boosting my quantitative. I know GRE's are not so valuable anymore, but I'm hoping a solid GRE offsets my GPA at least a little. 

Research Experience/Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Undergraduate independent study in "Gut Microbiota"
Multiple years (junior year of high school through senior year of college) as part-time lab assistant at major Boston hospital/Harvard affiliate in a research lab; no paper ever published although I believe it was submitted 
3 summers of veterinary internships, including a week with the CDC Pathology department (again, was set on vet school in undergrad)
3 semesters/1.5 years doing undergraduate honors thesis (Ketosis in Pregnant Ewes): 1 published paper, 3rd author
1 semester in an equine extension/state equine program independent study: 1 published abstract, 2nd author
4 semesters in state diagnostics laboratory, some attached research projects that I contributed to indirectly
1 year post-bacc as a research associate in a parasitology/microbiology laboratory at a medical school; 3 manuscripts in process but won't be submitted before apps, 1 poster presentation at conference

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Dean's List (1 semester only)
UConn Sophomore Honors; (missed GPA for Honors gradation by 0.2 pts :()

Received a departmental merit scholarship every year
President of college outing club, social media chair of college riding team and of pre-vet club


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help/Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
Worked since sophomore year of college, including in disability services and as a riding instructor (this has affected my GPA)
2017 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail/2019 attempt of the Pacific Crest Trail
Licensed MA Riding Instructor
Current PI worked at UCSD for over a decade and has connections with microbiome heads

Applying to Where:
UMass Medical School - GSBS - Microbiology/Immunology

University of Colorado Denver - BSP - Microbiology/Immunology
Baylor School of Medicine - GSBS -- Microbiology/Immunology
UCSD - Biomedical Sciences - 
Microbiome and Microbial Sciences
UCSF - BMS - Microbial Pathogenesis & Host Defense
Considering:
CU Boulder
UW Madison
University of Washington
Tufts Vet School
UNC Chapel Hill
Penn State

My interests are chiefly in the microbiome and infectious disease, with a more translational approach and a focus on gastrointestinal microbiota (although I'm not very picky about this; skin and urogenital microflora are super interesting, too). For example, most of my reading focus has been on the development and alterations in the microbiome and how that effects pathogenesis of various disorders (GI infections, obesity, autism, etc.), namely in humans and other mammals. I work now in a laboratory studying STH infections and wouldn't mind getting involved in the microbiome aspect of this. I think I'd get incredibly bored studying the microbiota of leeches or plants, for example.

I don't feel very confident in my chances of getting into a graduate program, and am having a hard time finding mid-tier/lower-tier programs with research that cater towards my interests or will give me a leg up in my field. I applied to four schools last year (Harvard, CU Denver, Baylor, Tufts), and while I wasn't accepted at any, I didn't hear from any of them until April/May and had some professors from those schools add me on LinkedIn, which felt like an affirmation that I wasn't exactly at the bottom of the barrel. I do have contacts at Harvard, Baylor, UCSD, and in STH-microbiome laboratories through my previous labs. I have 2 very solid LORs, but am working on the 3rd (graduated college over two years ago now). I also plan on applying to one or two masters programs as a backup. One other odd point of importance: I'll be attempting a PCT thru hike this summer, with the hope of finishing early August. Programs that begin late Aug/early September are preferable to summer start or early Aug start programs. 

I don't think your chances are that bad considering what you've told us here.  I think 4 schools may have been too small a number to apply to last year.  I would definitely look over your personal statement, reaffirm that you have 3 strong LoRs, and revise your CV--look to see what may have went wrong last year and open your net a little more like you are doing this cycle.  I think you have a good list here.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/2/2018 at 10:54 PM, AUROCH said:

Hi I would like to get a sense of my odds of getting accepted into some of the schools I currently have in mind :)  Furthermore, I am afraid my lack of publications might hold back my application although I have a decent amount of research experience (close to 2 years).

Undergrad Institution: UC San Diego
Major(s): Biology,  Literature
Minor(s): Music
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.9+
Position in Class: Summa cum laude (top 2%) 
Type of Student: Asian American


GRE Scores

Q: 170

V: 169

W: 6 

Research Experience:  Will have done almost 2 years of research in 3 biology labs but no publications yet

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Summa cum laude, Provosts honors every quarter and Phi Beta Kappa. 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Did some TA work and independent research studies in various fields (e.g. musicology)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: My interests so far has been pretty diverse although I do want to make a career in research in Biology. What might be a good way to showcase how this diverse background might benefit my suitability as a PhD candidate? LORs should be fairly strong coming from 3 PIs at the head of their respective fields. 

Special Bonus Points: Will have finished undergrad and graduated in 3 years! 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I might hold the school record for taking the most classes in a quarter. 

 

Applying to Where: 

Harvard - BBS 

Stanford - Biology

UCSF - Biology

JHU - Biology

U Michigan - Biology

WashU - Biology

U Penn- Biology

UCSD- Biology

 

 

 

I think it's really good you have diverse experiences in research.  I think to help your chances, you should narrow your research interests down, even if it's something as broad as cancer biology or immunology.  If a program your applying to has a defined field you are interested, highlight how your research interests coincide with faculty X, Y, Z, or the overall research program, because that will demonstrate how you fit into their program.

For example, if you've done research in toxicology, cancer biology, and developmental organismal biology, and the program you're interested in at U Penn is focused more on cancer bio, perhaps elevate your cancer bio research experiences to demonstrate how well you'd fit into their program.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, StemCellFan said:

I think it's really good you have diverse experiences in research.  I think to help your chances, you should narrow your research interests down, even if it's something as broad as cancer biology or immunology.  If a program your applying to has a defined field you are interested, highlight how your research interests coincide with faculty X, Y, Z, or the overall research program, because that will demonstrate how you fit into their program.

For example, if you've done research in toxicology, cancer biology, and developmental organismal biology, and the program you're interested in at U Penn is focused more on cancer bio, perhaps elevate your cancer bio research experiences to demonstrate how well you'd fit into their program.

Thank you for the feedback! I am primarily interested in the process of senescence and ageing in general but am still finding labs and P.Is that have research in that area. Other than trawling though realms of papers and the respective faculty lists is there a more efficient way of finding such information?

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

Thank you for the feedback! I am primarily interested in the process of senescence and ageing in general but am still finding labs and P.Is that have research in that area. Other than trawling though realms of papers and the respective faculty lists is there a more efficient way of finding such information?

My suggestion is the NIH project reporter tool. Look up people's NIH funded grants. You can also look for similar grants to one's you're interested in in to give you an idea of where/which people are doing what you're interested in doing. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, AUROCH said:

Thank you for the feedback! I am primarily interested in the process of senescence and ageing in general but am still finding labs and P.Is that have research in that area. Other than trawling though realms of papers and the respective faculty lists is there a more efficient way of finding such information?

Hello! 

My suggestion is to take advantage of your network! If you have a chance, talk to your mentors/PIs/bosses in science/research and ask if they have any suggestions for labs! My PIs from my undergrad gave me a nice list, not only do they usually know the research background of the PI/lab but they can speak to the mentoring ability! Even if your PIs don't know anyone specific to senescence/aging, I think they would definitely be able to suggest some PIs in biology! While your research topic should be something you're interested in, I suggest you consider PIs that would be good mentors and that you could have a good relationship with during your program!

Best of luck! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Michigan doesn't have a general "Biology" program for graduate school. Instead it's spread over 15 different departments/programs. Are you more interested in some of the more biomedical aspects? If so, I would apply through PIBS, which covers 14 of the programs. Otherwise, you could apply to Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. PIBS will likely give you the most flexibility, with over 500+ faculty you can rotate with.

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

Michigan doesn't have a general "Biology" program for graduate school. Instead it's spread over 15 different departments/programs. Are you more interested in some of the more biomedical aspects? If so, I would apply through PIBS, which covers 14 of the programs. Otherwise, you could apply to Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. PIBS will likely give you the most flexibility, with over 500+ faculty you can rotate with.

Indeed! I was looking at MCDB degree offered by the LSA (admittedly because it shows up the first upon googling) but PIBS seems to offer a lot more flexibility. Would you know what the competitiveness of these respective programs are?  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished my undergrad within three years (two years for my major courses) in an international institute and then spent two years doing research in MIT. Last year I applied for some chemistry programs and got admission from UCLA but I rejected because I decided to do biomedicine research. Tho I major in chemistry, my research experience is all related to chemical biology or biomedicine. I wonder if I should apply for BBS programs in med school or Biology in Art and Science, or interdisciplinary programs related to chemistry and biology? And I'm interested in immunotherapy, but immunology programs can be super competitive and might not be my best shot, should I apply for them?

And I do care about the locations: I prefer big cities and east coast or anyplace have great academic environment.

 

Undergrad Institution: a not very well-known international institute
Major(s): chemistry (only took biochemistry course which is related to biology)
Minor(s): /
GPA in Major: 3.5
Overall GPA: 3.3
Position in Class: top 20% (I was in a weird class lol, 20% students from the college were selected into the class)
Type of Student: international female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 153 (61%)
V: 170 (99%)
W: 3 (18%)
B: /


TOEFL Total: 101 (S 23), 102 (S 20) (which one should I use?)

Research Experience: 

1. Two years in my undergrad institute, leader of a project (funded by state) and independent researcher. Organic synthesis and DNA damage and repair within in vitro nucleosome. My PI is not famous but he knows me well and would strongly recommend me. Co-first author of one in-preparation publication.

2. One year in MIT chemistry. Specific drug delivery to cancer cells. My PI is young but already gain reputation in chemical biology field. He knows me well and would recommend me. And I'm having an independent project which my PI has introduced to many of his collaborators. (idk how to stress this in my SOP?) It's about cancer immunotherapy. Hopefully one 2nd author publication in a good magazine can be submitted. Another 2rd author in preparation. 

3. One year in MIT biology. My research is about AD modeling using iPSC. My PI is best-known in cell biology and molecular biology field. And his recommendation can be very helpful.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: some scholarships within undergrad institute

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Famous recommendation and connections. And I've met some PIs, tho they couldn't promise me to get into any programs.

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

Applying to Where:

Harvard BBS

MIT Biology

Stanford Biosciences

Tri-institutes Chemical Biology

Yale BBS

NYU

Sloan-Kettering

Columbia  Chemical biology or med school?

JHU CB

Weil Cornell Umbrella

Upenn medical CAMB

Sinai

Duke? Scripps? WashU? UT Southwestern? UCSF chemical biology (how's the program btw?)? Uchicago med? Northwestern med?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, AUROCH said:

Indeed! I was looking at MCDB degree offered by the LSA (admittedly because it shows up the first upon googling) but PIBS seems to offer a lot more flexibility. Would you know what the competitiveness of these respective programs are?  

You can find all the statistics about the programs here:

https://tableau.dsc.umich.edu/t/UM-Public/views/RackhamDoctoralProgramStatistics/ProgramStatistics?:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:showShareOptions=true&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&FOSDParameter=All+Rackham

The competitiveness is about the same, ~20% acceptance. MCDB is one of the choices under PIBS, so you can apply there and still end up in the MCDB department. The advantage with PIBS is your first year is payed for while you rotate. You can choose to rotate in 1 department, or a mixture of others.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer your question about the best programs to apply to, I would focus less on the particular program but more on the research interests of the faculty within that program.  So if the faculty tend to cluster to biomedical sciences, apply there rather than general biology.

Other things to consider when it comes to program choice:  Is TAing a requirement?  Are there opportunities within the program that speak to your specific career goals?  What are their prelims like?  How might their committee meetings and graduation requirements differ (number of required publications, etc).  I don't think the core coursework or the type of program should be a major determining factor, IMO.

I think if you are interested in Immunotherapy and Immunology and want to apply to those programs, throw a couple applications out there and see what happens!  Umbrella biomedical sciences programs are also good for this since there are usually immunology faculty associated with those.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/17/2018 at 3:26 PM, yash13177 said:

Hello! Little late to this party but here is my profile! Any comments/suggestions are welcome. I am sifting through universities/faculty as I post this so that is why my current list is sparse. Best of luck to everyone!! ? 

 

Undergrad Institution: State University well-known for undergraduate student research (attended 2011 – 2016)

Current Institution: Went international to get a Master’s at a University ranked #3 in Asia (2016 - currently attending)
Undergrad Major(s): Neurobiology, MCB
Undergrad Minor(s): Biochemistry, Music Performance
Undergrad GPA in Major: 3.86 (Neuro)/ 3.511 (MCB)
Undergrad Overall GPA: 3.622 (Had a rough first semester, luckily my last 2 years are 4.0)
Current Major: Life Science

Current GPA: 3.767/4.000 (major GPA: 4.167/4.000)

Position in Class: Graduated cum laude, current position unknown
Type of Student: Domestic White & Asian Female, currently abroad


GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 160 (76%)
V: 158 (80%)
W: 5 (93%)
B: ---


Research Experience: 

1) Undergrad lab experience: started in Spring 2013

  • two labs where I stayed a year each, was looking into getting different types of neuroscience research experience. One was neuroanatomy/neuro-evolution the other was computational neuroscience
  • Most significant undergraduate lab: 2.5 years. Absolutely loved it, mainly dealt with neuron-glia networks and my PIs were just phenomenal!

2)    Masters lab experience: started in September 2016

  • Working on a “high risk high reward” project that is very creative... it is related to mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease

3)    Research output:

  • Undergrad:
    • One paper; authorship: 2nd / 8
    • SFN poster presentation 2015
    • Many University level poster presentations
  • Masters
    • SFN poster presentation 2017
    • Manuscript in preparation



Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

1)    During undergrad I managed to snag about ~10 research awards/poster winning stuff/travel grants and I was also recognized by my university for outstanding undergrad research ?

2)    Also have grade-based awards (ex deans list) from 2014 – 2016 for undergrad

3)    Current awards: I have a research and teaching studentship award as well as received a travel grant for 2017 SFN
 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

1)    A lot of teaching experience: preceptor for 4 neuroscience classes during undergrad and presently a graduate TA for intro bio lab course

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

1)    Very active in music, both during undergrad and Master’s

2)    Professional Development activities: very active in undergrad

  • Student club with longstanding leadership role
  • Nu Rho Psi:
    • active in undergrad chapter with leadership role
    • active in NRP at SFN
  • university research programs that provided funding and neuroscience training bootcamps

3)    Outreach activities: again…very busy in undergrad!

  • have some mentions in interviews (news articles/radio shows) about research and/or neuroscience outreach events
  • Summer counselor for a research camp for middle/high school students at a research center (this was between undergrad and masters)

4)    Will be attending SFN 2018 (no poster though) so I will definitely take the chance to network/visit posters of potential labs/meet with PIs of potential labs (hopefully)... etc.

 

Special Bonus Points: 

1)    I will have a Master’s degree! Yay! Obtained this because I was interested in gaining international research experience.

2)    My mentors at my undergrad institution and current PI can write me very strong LORs

3)    Active attendee to various academic workshops/conferences

4)    I have been fortunate to gain very diverse research experience from being active in labs starting from 2013!

5)    I have done a lot of networking and my past/current PIs are also well-known and well-connected. 

 

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

1)    Like I said, first semester of undergrad was rough…ended with a 2.0. Worked hard to turn it around but it still weighs down my cumulative GPA. Good news: I was in an upwards trend from there.

2)    I am worried about my GRE score…particularly my Quant is lower than I would like. I know that a student is more than a score and I have a decent amount of research experience but I’m still worried!

3)    I am currently abroad which makes me worry about whether schools would be willing to invite me for interviews…I’ll make it clear in my application that interviewing in-person is something I really want…but I’m scared it’ll be a turn-off.


Applying to Where:
Research interests: neuron-glia interactions, neuro-degeneration

But, my goal is to find a really great mentor... not as concerned what type of neuroscience it is... I find most things exciting! ?

 

(not final list)
UCSF - Neuroscience (Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience track)

Yale University - BBS (Neuroscience)

Rockefeller University - Bioscience (would like to work with Neuroscience labs)

Stanford University - Bioscience (Neuroscience IDP)

Harvard University - Neuroscience

Hi.... sorry to quote...but anyone have any suggestions/comments? :/

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

9 hours ago, yash13177 said:

Hi.... sorry to quote...but anyone have any suggestions/comments? ?

Your application looks good, nothing to worry about with your GRE, it's a great score and many schools aren't even requiring it anymore.

As far as being abroad... I met someone during an interview who was living in Italy at the time. Not sure how it affects your application, but she obviously got invited to interviews. I don't think they'd really look at that, as whether or not someone is in the country during interviews isn't something that makes them a good candidate or not.

Lastly, you have 5 schools on your list that would all be a reach for anyone. Nothing wrong with just applying to those, but you'd have to be okay with the chance that you won't get in. Make sure there are at least 3 people at each school who you really want to work with, and try broadening your list to include more realistic schools, if there are people at those who you're interested in working with. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, StemCellFan said:

To answer your question about the best programs to apply to, I would focus less on the particular program but more on the research interests of the faculty within that program.  So if the faculty tend to cluster to biomedical sciences, apply there rather than general biology.

Other things to consider when it comes to program choice:  Is TAing a requirement?  Are there opportunities within the program that speak to your specific career goals?  What are their prelims like?  How might their committee meetings and graduation requirements differ (number of required publications, etc).  I don't think the core coursework or the type of program should be a major determining factor, IMO.

I think if you are interested in Immunotherapy and Immunology and want to apply to those programs, throw a couple applications out there and see what happens!  Umbrella biomedical sciences programs are also good for this since there are usually immunology faculty associated with those.

Thank you for your suggestions! Yes I'm really interested in immunology and I've met some committee members of some immunology program. They all encouraged me to apply for immunology, tho my friend who's also applying for immunology told me these programs are even more competitive than BBS since many of the candidates already had some publications in immunology field and the pool is smaller but more competitive. I've never taken any immunology courses and neither of my PIs is well- known in this field. So I'm wondering if I should get into some BBS programs and then rotate to an immunology lab.

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

 

Your application looks good, nothing to worry about with your GRE, it's a great score and many schools aren't even requiring it anymore.

As far as being abroad... I met someone during an interview who was living in Italy at the time. Not sure how it affects your application, but she obviously got invited to interviews. I don't think they'd really look at that, as whether or not someone is in the country during interviews isn't something that makes them a good candidate or not.

Lastly, you have 5 schools on your list that would all be a reach for anyone. Nothing wrong with just applying to those, but you'd have to be okay with the chance that you won't get in. Make sure there are at least 3 people at each school who you really want to work with, and try broadening your list to include more realistic schools, if there are people at those who you're interested in working with. 

BabyScientist

Thank you so so much for your opinion!! I think I won't be retaking the GRE and I'll make it clear in my application that I'm really interested in attending interviews, maybe we can work something out. Right now my list is quite skewed with really competitive, amazing programs and there are so many truly amazing people applying... My list is currently expanding as I look into more programs/Universities. 

I think I'm adding University of Washington, NYU and University of Rochester to the list. And the list will definitely change when I email PIs and see if they have room in their labs and the feel I get from this year's SFN meeting!

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, yash13177 said:

BabyScientist

Thank you so so much for your opinion!! I think I won't be retaking the GRE and I'll make it clear in my application that I'm really interested in attending interviews, maybe we can work something out. Right now my list is quite skewed with really competitive, amazing programs and there are so many truly amazing people applying... My list is currently expanding as I look into more programs/Universities. 

I think I'm adding University of Washington, NYU and University of Rochester to the list. And the list will definitely change when I email PIs and see if they have room in their labs and the feel I get from this year's SFN meeting!

You might also want to look into the University of Virginia if you're interested in neuron-glia interactions. They have a center called the BIG center (brain immunity and glia, I think) and some of the biggest names in neuroimmunology. I almost went there for that myself.

You should go to the grad school fair at SfN and try to ask at some of the tables how they handle interviews for people who are abroad. I'll probably be at one of those booths!

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

You might also want to look into the University of Virginia if you're interested in neuron-glia interactions. They have a center called the BIG center (brain immunity and glia, I think) and some of the biggest names in neuroimmunology. I almost went there for that myself.

You should go to the grad school fair at SfN and try to ask at some of the tables how they handle interviews for people who are abroad. I'll probably be at one of those booths!

BabyScientist,

Funny you should mention University of Virginia, I just was looking into them today!! Turns out Tufts University has a big glia section as well so I might add them to my list as well... hahaha!! And yes, I'll definitely be at the grad school fair!! Maybe see you there! ?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2018 at 8:44 AM, EnchantedR said:

Thank you for your suggestions! Yes I'm really interested in immunology and I've met some committee members of some immunology program. They all encouraged me to apply for immunology, tho my friend who's also applying for immunology told me these programs are even more competitive than BBS since many of the candidates already had some publications in immunology field and the pool is smaller but more competitive. I've never taken any immunology courses and neither of my PIs is well- known in this field. So I'm wondering if I should get into some BBS programs and then rotate to an immunology lab.

I would apply to a mix of both and see what happens!  I'm not in Immunology so I can't verify what your friend says is true or not, but I don't think it hurts to apply to both Immunology and BBS programs (with the intent to rotate in Immunology labs).  BBS programs will have you take more general coursework with the option to do electives in your area of interest.  Chances are you will take Immunology courses in a BBS program anyway.  Umbrella biomedical sciences programs will usually have a microbiology/immunology department you can join at the end of rotations.  At the end of your PhD, what matters is whose lab you are graduating from.  Unless the program is horribly disorganized or have impossible graduation requirements, I think you should be fine.

Edited by StemCellFan
Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad: R1 Large State School                                                                                 

Major: Biology, concentrating Cell Biology, and Molecular Genetics                           

GPA in major: 3.55                                                                                                               

Overall GPA: 3.64                                                                                                                 

Position in class: unknown

Type of Student: Domestic, Male. 

GRE Scores: 

Q:166

V:159

W:5

Research Experience: 2+ years in a Drosophila lab studying regulatory network controlling polyploidy by conducting a genome wide RNAi screen, although halfway through the genome we decided to focus on gene candidates that were revealed to us through RNAseq experiments. Receiving a middle authorship in a paper that will be submitted sometime this month. Will likely receive another authorship in a paper sometime next year according to my PI, likely a second. Also took care of the lab's extensive fly stocks during that time. Presented results at lab meetings, but no poster presentations or conferences. Attended numerous seminars/ research group meetings on campus. 

Awards/Honors: Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, Deans List 4 semesters, received a full-tuition scholarship (although it was mostly need based, through a program the state I live in runs for poor families). 

Relevant Jobs: Have worked as a Hospital Lab Assistant for nearly 6 months. Performed mostly phlebotomy and processed samples. Not very sophisticated, although I have gained a pretty good background in medical tests and regularly communicate with physicians, nurses, patients, and lab techs regarding lab collection procedures and results. Also helped recruit blood donors for future genetic research. This job isn't ideal, but I just needed something to pay my bills while I continue to research in Fly lab. 

LORS: 1 from my PI, 1 from a professor who I got along with quite well and did fantastically in his class. 1 from a professor of medical and scientific history. 1 from my current employer at the hospital. Worried I don't have enough research related LORs, although I think I'll get pretty good letters from my current writers. 

Miscellanous: First generation college student. Took a statistics course that made me pretty proficient in R (not sure if this is worth mentioning, this is probably pretty common). Decent volunteer record: 100 hours as a hospital volunteer doing odds and ins. Event coordinator for Be the Match on Campus, mostly helped recruit bone marrow donors. Worked in a pizza restaurant throughout undergraduate career. 

Stuff that might come up: I had a  semester where I became pretty depressed. I got a C in Biochemistry, but I retook it and aced it. Not really sure how to discuss this on the application. 

Applying to where: Biomedical/ biological science programs in the Midwest (Indiana, Illinois, michigan, ohio), largely due to familial issues, although I might apply to a few distant schools. My research so far has focused on cell cycle regulation and cancer, but I am also interested in hematopathology/ immunology. 

IU School of Medicine- Medical and Molecular Genetics/ Pathology

Purdue University- Cell and Molecular Biology

IU-Bloomington- Cell and Developmental Biology 

University of Illinois-Urbana: MCB

University of Illinois-Chicago: Biological Sciences

Notre Dame-Biomedical Sciences

UChicago- Cancer Biology and Cell and Molecular Biology (pretty big reach)

MIT- Huge reach, but there is a professor there who's work strongly pertains to my undergraduate research. I have reached out to her, however I have yet to hear a response.

Considering the Purdue-Biology M.S. or the IU biotechnology M.S. in case it turns out I don't have enough research experience and don't get into any other programs.

 I'm not sure which of these schools are realistic for me. I feel like I am a pretty mediocre candidate compared to many of the posters on the forum, so I would appreciate any feedback regarding my applications strengths/weaknesses. Do I have a shot at these schools? Any other places I might have a chance in? 

Edited by Mybmuvb
Link to post
Share on other sites

Undergrad Institution: Northeastern University
Major(s): Bioengineering (Concentration: Cell & Tissue Engineering)
Minor(s): Political Science
GPA in Major: 3.3
Overall GPA: 3.6
Position in Class: Lower-top
Type of Student: Domestic, Hispanic Male

GRE Scores:
Q: 160
V: 160
W: 5.5
B: N/A



Research Experience: 

Academic
Research in two labs on campus. One was using biomaterials to influence endothelial cell function, primarily worked with protein and genetic analysis. Second lab focused on atherosclerosis research using physical flow models over endothelial cells to monitor genetic markers of atherosclerosis development. The first lab I have worked in for 2 years on and off approximately 10-15 hours per week, and the other I worked at during this most previous summer for ~20 hours per week.
Industry
My industry experience has been more in depth. 6 months at large pharma developing high content screens for rare disease small molecule drug discovery. Worked heavily with mechanism of action assays of drug targets. 12 months at smaller biotech in immuno-oncology and cancer biology. This is where my research interests have been strengthened. Worked mostly on the discovery side of immunology utilizing functional genomics to interrogate genes of interest, doing some deep genetic pathway research into cancer biology.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Full-tuition scholarship (Top 1%), Honors College, Dean's List

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: President of Fraternity (Social Fraternity), member of Biomedical Engineering Society,  Undergraduate Research, Club Lacrosse Team


Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)
Met and networked with scientific founders of current company (PI's at UCSF, Broad Institute, and Whitehead Institute), One LOR writer is past director of oncology at Novartis and is now CSO of current company, Hispanic and Asian Male


Applying to Where: I'm interested in translational biology specifically in the field of genetic disease and cancer. I've been looking at programs associated with large research hospital collaborations.

UCSF - Tetrad 
University of Washington - MCB
University of California, Berkeley - MCB
University of California, Los Angeles - MBIDP

University of Southern California - Molecular Biology
University of Texas - GSBS
 *Looking to see if these are a good group or other recommended programs for my stats/interests

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



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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