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2019 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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I am applying to Grad schools for PhD programs. I am interested in pursuing cancer research as focus.

My credentials.

Undergrad Institution: (D.Y.Patil University (India) not a big league school)
Major(s): Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
Overall GPA:  First class, the scoring scale was not GPA. WES  evaluation (in process).
Position in Class: above average
Type of Student: International, Male.

grad Institution: Georgetown University, Washington DC
Major(s): Biochemistry and molecular Biology.
Overall GPA: 3.86
Position in Class: top 5%

 

Research Experience: 

6 month thesis dissertation for undergraduate degree

6 month thesis dissertation for graduate degree

4 year research/work experience: 1 year experience post undergraduate + 3 years of experience after masters.

I have worked on wide range of topics from diabetes, lung cancer, wound healing, breast cancer, neuroinflammation and cancer immunotherapy. 
 

Publications:

2 (2nd author, in reputed journals of impact factor: 8 and 10) 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

undergraduate research project was awarded at a recent conference in India.

Honors degree for academic performance at graduate level.



Applying to Where: 
I am interested in transnational research in cancer Biology/molecular Biology with recently developed fascination for immunotherapy. I have decided 6 schools and considering 3 other schools(evaluating if my research aligns with prof. at these schools), I need  more mid bracket schools to add to this list. Any advice in much welcomed and appreciated.

Schools that I am applying to:

Georgetown university (Biochemistry an molecular biology)
MD anderson (cancer biology)
UCSF (BMS)
SLOAN kathering
Harvard (BBS)
MIT (Biology)

Schools I am thinking of applying to:

UVA (BIMS)

University of washington (molecular biology and cell biology)

Baylor school of medicine (Biomedical Sciences )

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I'm applying for PhDs in microbiology/MCDB from my final year of undergrad at a non-US school and I'm a little worried about not stacking up as a domestic applicant, especially since my experience isn't primarily in micro! Could use some advice about my viability for my program choices. My area of interest is microbial genetics and diversity, and microbe-host interactions.

Undergrad Institution: respectable mid tier UK university
Major: Biology
Over-all GPA: First-class marks, foreign credit GPA conversion of 3.83 
Position in class: not calculated
Type of student: domestic, white, (transgender) male

GRE Scores: (new) 163 V / 155 Q / 4.0 A

Research Experience:

  • Currently on a full year undergrad research project/dissertation in epigenetics (key gene methylation in mouse neural tissue in response to developmental folate depletion)
  • Spent 6 months working as a volunteer on an independently funded project in plant-pollinator interactions and melissopalynology. Will be co-author on publication when finished, but no date for that yet because data collection ran longer than planned, so moot point. Am getting a LOR from the project lead.

Other:

  • Intern at an aquarium doing environment maintenance, animal care, and public outreach in conservation
  • Undergrad biology program student representative

 

Applying to:

university of florida Microbiology
university of chicago Microbiology
  Evolutionary Biology
university of washington Microbiology
university of pittsburgh Molecular/Cellular/Developmental Biology
michigan state university BioMolecular Science
ohio state university Microbiology
university of oregon Biology (Institutes of: Molecular Biology; Ecology and Evolution)
university of wisconsin Microbiology

 

 

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Undergrad Institution: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
Major(s): Microbiology, Premedical Studies
Minor(s): Molecular Biology, History
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.96
Position in Class: Top 10%
Type of Student: Domestic, White Male
GRE Scores: The M.S. programs that I'm applying to do not require it


Research Experience: 

Academic
Three different research groups: 

1) Endospore Modulation, Hastened Proliferation, and Medical Applications Group: Kent State University = 2 summers (6 months); manuscript in the works 

2) Behavioral Ecology: Arachnology Research: Miami University = 3 years; Undergraduate Research Forum (URF) presentation 

3) Organic Chemistry Synthesis/Antibiotic Discovery: Miami University = 2 winters (4 months); compound to treat leishmaniasis currently being tested in Geneva, Switzerland 


Awards/Honors/Recognitions:  
Departmental Honors, 7 scholarships
Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
Science tutor (2 years), Academic team (2016-2017), Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity (2015-2018)
Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)
Medical Bacteriology grad course: A+. Good recommendations.


Applying to Where: Masters courses

NYU = General Biology

Drexel = Infectious Diseases

Georgetown = Biohazardous Threat Agents/Emerging Infectious Diseases

Any thoughts/pieces of advice? Thank you in advance!! 

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On 10/29/2018 at 4:34 PM, palyndrone said:

I'm applying for PhDs in microbiology/MCDB from my final year of undergrad at a non-US school and I'm a little worried about not stacking up as a domestic applicant, especially since my experience isn't primarily in micro! Could use some advice about my viability for my program choices. My area of interest is microbial genetics and diversity, and microbe-host interactions.

Undergrad Institution: respectable mid tier UK university
Major: Biology
Over-all GPA: First-class marks, foreign credit GPA conversion of 3.83 
Position in class: not calculated
Type of student: domestic, white, (transgender) male

GRE Scores: (new) 163 V / 155 Q / 4.0 A

Research Experience:

  • Currently on a full year undergrad research project/dissertation in epigenetics (key gene methylation in mouse neural tissue in response to developmental folate depletion)
  • Spent 6 months working as a volunteer on an independently funded project in plant-pollinator interactions and melissopalynology. Will be co-author on publication when finished, but no date for that yet because data collection ran longer than planned, so moot point. Am getting a LOR from the project lead.

Other:

  • Intern at an aquarium doing environment maintenance, animal care, and public outreach in conservation
  • Undergrad biology program student representative

 

Applying to:

 

university of florida Microbiology
university of chicago Microbiology
  Evolutionary Biology
university of washington Microbiology
university of pittsburgh Molecular/Cellular/Developmental Biology
michigan state university BioMolecular Science
ohio state university Microbiology
university of oregon Biology (Institutes of: Molecular Biology; Ecology and Evolution)
university of wisconsin Microbiology

 

 

Hi there! University of Chicago graduate student here! I'd be happy to help with any questions about UChicago that you have. I'm a member of the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team, a group of grad students who are committed to the recruitment and retention of marginalized students to UChicago (check out signature for more info). 

From your stats I think you look like a competitive applicant. I'd say your experience being more genetics-based is perfect for UChicago. I'm a little biased as a geneticist myself (haha) but I know the majority of the programs here are super interdisciplinary and I know at least in my program I wasn't penalized for not having taken many programming or computer science classes (my research project is about 40% computational and I had no experience with that coming into graduate school).  

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On 10/29/2018 at 12:17 AM, bio applicant said:

Hey, guys! Looking for some help here. I'm taking my GRE soon, but majority of the programs that I apply don't really require them and I know I have to score really high (like 165~167ish at least) to be avg~above avg for my list of schools so I'm not sure how to go on with this. Maybe I won't submit to schools that don't require them if I get below 167ish for each section.... I'm shotgunning top schools and that's why I'm applying a lot. Do I have a chance?

 

 

Undergrad Institution: one of the top public universities for bio (UC)
Major(s): Biology/psychology double major
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.62
Overall GPA: 3.69
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?) ~top 10%
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?) - international, Asian male

GRE Scores (revised/old version): I'm taking one very soon

Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

I did 1.5 yrs of research at my undergrad institution (back then was small, now big), 2 years at HYPSM as a lab tech at a very well known lab in the field

1 mid author paper submit soon before I apply, 1 international conference (poster), two regional conference (poster), several undergrad conferences. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

Cum laude

Summer Research Scholarship at my school

Provost honors

One school academic scholarship



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

TAed for several lower div and upper div bio classes



Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

1 rec from my PI (very well known), 1 rec from physician I worked with, 1 rec from one of the prof from my undergrad. Letters are all solid.



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

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

Applying to Where:

Harvard

Division of Medical Sciences/biological and biomedical sciences

Human biology and disease mechanism/molecular neuroscience/Stem cell and regenerative biology

MIT

Department of biology

Molecular Medicine and Human Diseases

Yale

Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience

Stanford

Biosciences

Neuroscience

Caltech

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering

Molecular medicine

University of Chicago

Biological Sciences Division

Biomedical sciences

Cornell

Weili Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences

Neuroscience

Columbia

Biological Sciences

Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, and Molecular Genetics

Northwestern

NUIN

 

Duke

Neurobiology

 

Johns Hopkins

School of Medicine

Neuroscience

UPenn

Biomedical graduate studies

Neuroscience

NYU

Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience and Physiology

USC

Neuroscience

 

UC Berkeley

Neuroscience

 

UCSF

Biomedical sciences

 

UCLA

Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program (NSIDP) 

Neuroscience

UCSD

Biomedical Sciences

Neurobiology of Disease

UCI

Biological Sciences

Interdepartmental neuroscience

UMichigan

Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience

Hi there! Regarding the GRE, at least for UChicago you can't be penalized for not submitting it, so if you feel like it'll help your app, go for it, if not, then dont! Just curious, which programs within UChicago Biomedical Sciences Division are you considering? (We also have a Neuroscience department that might interest you) 

Personally, I think you are applying to way too many schools. I personally don't think its worth it to apply to this many, but others may disagree. Even if you got interviews at all of them, I dont think there are enough weekends between December and March for you to attend all the interviews!! I'd suggest only applying to schools that 1) have at least 3 PI's you would consider working for, 2) are located in an area you are interested in, and 3) have the type of coursework you are looking for  and or specific expertise in your subject area. 

For me, that meant applying to 9 schools (some of which didn't fulfill criteria 1) that were all in mid-large cities, and had specialized programs in genetics. 

Hope that helps! 

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On 10/4/2018 at 6:32 PM, EnchantedR said:

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? UWash-seattle? UT Southwestern? UCSF chemical biology (how's the program btw?)? Uchicago med? Northwestern med?

 

 

Hey there! UChicago has a Biophysics program that might give you the chemistry / biology crossover you're looking for. In the Biophysics department you have to have a PI in the Physical Sciences (includes all Chemistry) and one in the Biological Sciences. We also have a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) program housed within the Molecular Biosciences that might be a good fit for you. The people I know in BMB range from being in true biochemistry labs to more chemistry-focused labs with medical leanings. 

 

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On 8/31/2018 at 12:00 PM, rorykinss said:

Undergrad Institution: International school.
Major(s): Biotechnology
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: N/A 
Overall GPA: 86% 
Position in Class: 3rd of my class


Graduate Institution: Top 10 public US university
Major(s):  M.Sc. Animal Science (Doing mostly genetics & computational biology work) (Will finish In spring 2019)
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA: 3.9 
Position in Class: I am not sure, but I am at the top surely. 
Type of Student: International female


GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 158
V: 162
W: don’t remember.

TOEFL
Total: 117

 

Research Experience: 
-1 year of research in cell models for in vitro fertilization for bachelor’s thesis
-Internship in viral vaccine production company producing and developing vaccines.
-1 year of working in a goverment food microbiology lab 
-5 months of research in stem cell transcriptomics at the bioinformatics lab of a recognized institute
-2 years of research in transcriptomics/epigenomics using computational biology for master’s thesis
-1 publication as 2nd author, 2 publications under review as 2nd author, 2 submitted publications (one as middle author and one as 1st author).


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)
-Received department scholarship
-Was invited to speak at huge international conference


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
-Undergrad TA for biochemistry lab
-TA for a programming course
-Reviewer for journal of undergraduate research for my school


Applying to Where:

I’m not sure of my chances  at any of these places or how competitive I might be for a PhD program, if any of you could indicate me that would be great!
If you all have any other suggestions of some places to apply that would be great as well.

University of Chicago- Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology
Boston University - Bioinformatics
Tri-Institutional - Computational Biology and Medicine
CMU-Pitt - Computational Biology
Columbia - Systems Biology
Cornell - Genetics, Genomics and development
Sanger Institute 4-year PhD program
EMBL-EBI PhD program

Hi there! I'm a 3rd year PhD student in UChicago's Genetics, Genomics, and Systems Biology program. Your research experience looks great and I think you would certainly be a competitive candidate. In particular, UChicago has a big focus on transcriptomics, with labs that are completely computational, completely molecular, and everywhere in between. Especially since you already have computational experience with your masters, I think you'd be a good fit. I'd be happy to chat with you more about the program and answer any questions you may have! 

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Undergrad Institution: Small liberal arts college
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.85
Overall GPA: 3.84
Position in Class: Magna cum laude

Type of Student: International student

GRE Scores (revised/old version): 
Q:153
V: 157
W:3.5



Research Experience:

  • 3 summers research experiences a
  • 2 years of post bac research experience
  • 1 publication from a summer research experience 


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

  • 2nd rank - Poster presentation at state level
  • A couple other awards for academic achievement 

 


Applying to Where: Biomedical sciences

 

Rockerfeller 
uc san diego- 
Northwestern university
scripps research institute
mayo clinic
Mt Sinai - 
yeshiva universtiy einstein
sloan memorial place
Boston
UT southwestern dallas
University of Virginia

Vanderbilt University

UC chicago

 

I know my GRE is not good. this is the second time taking it and I only improved 4 points. Do you think I have a chance in any of these schools or am I reaching too far? Thank you.

Edited by curious_who

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On 11/1/2018 at 12:20 PM, curious_who said:

Undergrad Institution: Small liberal arts college
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Physics
GPA in Major: 3.85
Overall GPA: 3.84
Position in Class: Magna cum laude

Type of Student: International student

GRE Scores (revised/old version): 
Q:153
V: 157
W:3.5



Research Experience:

  • 3 summers research experiences a
  • 2 years of post bac research experience
  • 1 publication from a summer research experience 


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

  • 2nd rank - Poster presentation at state level
  • A couple other awards for academic achievement 

 


Applying to Where: Biomedical sciences

 

Rockerfeller 
uc san diego- 
Northwestern university
scripps research institute
mayo clinic
Mt Sinai - 
yeshiva universtiy einstein
sloan memorial place
Boston
UT southwestern dallas
University of Virginia

Vanderbilt University

UC chicago

 

I know my GRE is not good. this is the second time taking it and I only improved 4 points. Do you think I have a chance in any of these schools or am I reaching too far? Thank you.

Hi there! UChicago does not require the GRE, so that shouldn't be a problem there! I definitely think you have a chance at these programs. Do you know which program within Biomedical Sciences you are interested in? 

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Hi all,

Panicking a bit as I'm doing submissions and just hoping for some feedback on my profile. I'm applying to primarily umbrella programs with hopes of going into cell cycle regulation/cancer research or structural biology. Any input is appreciated!

Programs:

Michigan -PIBS

Wisconsin Madison -CMB

UNC -BBSP

Vanderbilt - IGP

Michigan State - Biomolecular gateway

Northwestern -DGP

Notre Dame - Integrated biomedical science

UVA - BIMS

Purdue - biological sciences

 

Profile:

Undergrad school: large state

UG GPA: 3.52

Major: cell and molecular biology

Minor: chemistry

Honors College Student

GRE: 159Q, 160V, 4.5W

Currently also working on my masters at the same school (combined degree program)

Masters Major: CMB, biotech emphasis

Masters GPA 4.0

Research Experience: 2.5 years in cell cycle regulation lab, 2 summers of full time NSF funded work there. 5 poster presentations at regional conferences. Oral presentation at departmental senior symposium where I won best presentation. No publications sadly.

Internship at a pharma company in technical operations- not directly related to field of interest but lots of analytical chem and stats work. 

Not research but other experience: analytical chem lab tech for 8mo at a oral healthcare company.  

Teaching experience: Tutor at acenter for high schoolers for a year, TA in a cell bio lab, currently scientific writing consultant for the department.

LoRs: one from my PI who I am really close with, one from my advisor that I had for several lab based courses, and one from a prof who oversaw my TA and who I had several literature review type courses with.

 

Any thoughts would be great. Am I being too ambitious in my choices? Also, for those that did not get accepted on your first application cycle - what did you do in your off year to strengthen your profile?

Thanks!

 

 

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19 hours ago, Madison17 said:

Hi all,

Panicking a bit as I'm doing submissions and just hoping for some feedback on my profile. I'm applying to primarily umbrella programs with hopes of going into cell cycle regulation/cancer research or structural biology. Any input is appreciated!

Programs:

Michigan -PIBS

Wisconsin Madison -CMB

UNC -BBSP

Vanderbilt - IGP

Michigan State - Biomolecular gateway

Northwestern -DGP

Notre Dame - Integrated biomedical science

UVA - BIMS

Purdue - biological sciences

 

Profile:

Undergrad school: large state

UG GPA: 3.52

Major: cell and molecular biology

Minor: chemistry

Honors College Student

GRE: 159Q, 160V, 4.5W

Currently also working on my masters at the same school (combined degree program)

Masters Major: CMB, biotech emphasis

Masters GPA 4.0

Research Experience: 2.5 years in cell cycle regulation lab, 2 summers of full time NSF funded work there. 5 poster presentations at regional conferences. Oral presentation at departmental senior symposium where I won best presentation. No publications sadly.

Internship at a pharma company in technical operations- not directly related to field of interest but lots of analytical chem and stats work. 

Not research but other experience: analytical chem lab tech for 8mo at a oral healthcare company.  

Teaching experience: Tutor at acenter for high schoolers for a year, TA in a cell bio lab, currently scientific writing consultant for the department.

LoRs: one from my PI who I am really close with, one from my advisor that I had for several lab based courses, and one from a prof who oversaw my TA and who I had several literature review type courses with.

 

Any thoughts would be great. Am I being too ambitious in my choices? Also, for those that did not get accepted on your first application cycle - what did you do in your off year to strengthen your profile?

Thanks!

 

 

Hi, I think you have a decent shot at most of those programs on your list.  I think you will be competitive for UW Madison's program.  It'll come down to your personal statement, research experience, and letters of rec, so I'd make sure you are able to write a compelling and personalized statement for each of those programs.

I got in on my 2nd try, and I worked as a research tech in a lab.  I made sure to join a lab that would allow me to do research projects rather than just genotyping, making solutions, or other routine work.  This gave me more research experience to talk about and another strong letter of rec.

Edited by StemCellFan

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Hey guys, 

Just wondering if the schools I picked are a good fit for me. I am passionate about understanding neurological diseases using a combination of approaches (cell biology, microscopy, computational biology). Thanks for your time! 

Undergrad Institution: Large UC
Major(s): Biochemistry
Minor(s): n/a
GPA in Major: 3.68
Overall GPA: 3.72
Position in Class: Top 5-10%
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 163 (83)
V: 157 (76)
W: 4 (59)

Research Experience: 1 Year in structural biology lab with 1 publication in prep, then transitioned to 1.5 years in an interdisciplinary lab with 3 publications (1 submitted, 3 in prep)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Undergrad Research Scholar, Dean's Honor List for 3 years

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Worked full time in my current lab for a summer,  learning assistant for organic chemistry

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Presented poster at two different conferences (one at school, one at Amgen)

Special Bonus Points: Famous PI

Applying to Where:

Berkeley - MCB - Neurobiology, Genetics/Genomics, Biochemistry

University of Chicago - Biosciences - Molecular Biosciences, Neurosciences

UW - MCB - Neuroscience

UW - Neuroscience - Cell and Molecular Neuroscience

UCSF - Neuroscience - Cell and Molecular Neuroscience

Oregon Health and Science University - Neuroscience - Molecular, Cellular, Neurobiology of Disease

 

 

 

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Hello everyone, 

I am unsure of my qualifications and looking for some feedback on my list of schools/programs (as well as any suggestions to add, which are not listed here). I am interested in studying cell/matrix interactions, cell shape and polarity, and tissue morphogenesis and patterning.

Undergrad Institution: Top UC

Major(s): MCDB
Minor(s): Biomedical Research
GPA in Major: 3.942
Overall GPA: 3.859
Position in Class: Currently qualify for Magna Cum Laude (top 10%)
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 163 (93%)
V: 163 (83%)
W: 4 (59%)

Research Experience: 

2 yrs (3 by PhD entry) in epithelial biology lab - 20 hrs/week during the school year and 2 full-time summers, 40 hrs/week

[Working independently for 2/3 years]

One manuscript submitted for review (second author), one in preparation (co-first), two poster presentations, one departmental seminar talk, completing an honors thesis now

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: College Honors, Dean's Honors List all quarters since sophomore year, Departmental Honors (upon thesis completion)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Work-study job in same lab during my freshman year

Special Bonus Points: Expect very strong letter from my PI, strong letter from faculty member familiar with my work, and good letter from faculty part of minor

Applying to Where:

MIT Biology

UCSF Tetrad

Stanford Biosciences

UCLA GPB

UC Davis BMCDB

UW MCB

Vanderbilt IGP BBS

Thank you in advance for your input!

Edited by MLC2019

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Really need to know if I’m applying to the right range of schools. Please help! I'm applying to mostly umbrella programs with Cancer Bio concentrations that have PI's that do DNA repair, which is the area where I have the most research experience.

Undergrad Institution: University of Kentucky
Major(s): Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology
Minor(s): Microbiology
GPA in Major: 3.3; I was a transfer student so I am fairly certain that all of my classes at UK were major requirements
Overall GPA: 3.3 for Bachelor’s degree; 3.9 for Associate’s degree
Position in Class: Not calculated
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores:
Q: 168
V: 165
W: 5.0
B: N/A


Research Experience:

  • Full time technician for 2 years, part-time technician/lab assistant for 3 years in a melanoma/nucleotide excision repair lab.
  • Second author on a total of 4 papers during the last 2 years with an average IF of 4.0, third and fourth author on two finished book chapters
  • I have submitted a first author paper for review, hopefully that will be published by the time I submit applications. Plan to submit a co-first author paper in the upcoming months.
  • 4 poster presentations - one at an international conference (I received a competitive travel grant for this one), two at regional conferences (one during my associates, one during my bachelors), two short talks at my home University - one each of the last two years of my undergrad.
  • Served as primary mentor for 2 high school students, 3 undergraduates, and 2 medical students for their fellowships or experiential learning credits.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

  • Undergraduate Research Travel Award Recipient, Spring 2017
  • Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society Inductee, Spring 2017
  • Academic Scholarship Recipient, Fall 2015–Spring 2016
  • Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Society Inductee, Spring 2013
  • Outstanding Biology Student Award, Spring 2014, Fall 2014
  • Dean’s List, Spring 2013–Spring 2015

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

  • Senior Laboratory Technician (Full time), August 2018–Present
  • Laboratory Technician (Full time), May 2017–August 2018
  • Laboratory Technician (Part time), May 2016–May 2018
  • Biology and Chemistry Peer Tutor, August 2015–August 2016
  • Examination Proctor, August 2015–August 2016
  • Natural Sciences Laboratory Assistant, August 2013–May 2015

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • Volunteered for several outreach programs for biotechnology (High School and Middle School level) and Science Olympiad
  • Co-Organizer of a DNA Repair Journal Club at my home institution
  • Member of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the local Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) chapter – I don’t know if these even mean anything anymore

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

  • Several connections through my boss for potential PI’s
  • Qualify for a lot of fee waivers because of poverty status, not sure if that is really applicable but it means that application fees are less of an issue
  • Expect really spectacular letters of recommendation - I'm writing the one from my boss.

Any Other Info: 
My mother is a drug addict who I supported financially for my entire undergraduate career. I worked up to 60 hrs/week to provide for her and my teenage sibling while in school. I took a year off between graduating with my bachelor’s and applying to graduate school to help her get in to a rehab facility that will help her provide for herself financially, and so I no longer support her financially. I mention all of this in my personal statement as a reason that my GPA will improve in graduate school.

Applying to Where:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Cellular and Molecular Biology)
  • University of Washington (Molecular and Cellular Bio, Cancer Bio Concentration)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Cell and Molecular Biology, Cancer Bio Concentration)
  • Weill Cornell Medical College (BCMB Allied Program)
  • Vanderbilt University (IGP, Cancer Bio Concentration)
  • UNC at Chapel Hill (Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program)
  • University of Colorado Boulder (Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology)
  • Case Western Reserve University (Biomedical Sciences Training Program)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology or Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program)
  • University of Colorado Denver (Molecular Biology)
  • University of Cincinnati (Cancer & Cell Biology)

 

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12 hours ago, kayjayz said:

Really need to know if I’m applying to the right range of schools. Please help! I'm applying to mostly umbrella programs with Cancer Bio concentrations that have PI's that do DNA repair, which is the area where I have the most research experience.

Undergrad Institution: University of Kentucky
Major(s): Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology
Minor(s): Microbiology
GPA in Major: 3.3; I was a transfer student so I am fairly certain that all of my classes at UK were major requirements
Overall GPA: 3.3 for Bachelor’s degree; 3.9 for Associate’s degree
Position in Class: Not calculated
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores:
Q: 168
V: 165
W: 5.0
B: N/A


Research Experience:

  • Full time technician for 2 years, part-time technician/lab assistant for 3 years in a melanoma/nucleotide excision repair lab.
  • Second author on a total of 4 papers during the last 2 years with an average IF of 4.0, third and fourth author on two finished book chapters
  • I have submitted a first author paper for review, hopefully that will be published by the time I submit applications. Plan to submit a co-first author paper in the upcoming months.
  • 4 poster presentations - one at an international conference (I received a competitive travel grant for this one), two at regional conferences (one during my associates, one during my bachelors), two short talks at my home University - one each of the last two years of my undergrad.
  • Served as primary mentor for 2 high school students, 3 undergraduates, and 2 medical students for their fellowships or experiential learning credits.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

  • Undergraduate Research Travel Award Recipient, Spring 2017
  • Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society Inductee, Spring 2017
  • Academic Scholarship Recipient, Fall 2015–Spring 2016
  • Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Society Inductee, Spring 2013
  • Outstanding Biology Student Award, Spring 2014, Fall 2014
  • Dean’s List, Spring 2013–Spring 2015

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

  • Senior Laboratory Technician (Full time), August 2018–Present
  • Laboratory Technician (Full time), May 2017–August 2018
  • Laboratory Technician (Part time), May 2016–May 2018
  • Biology and Chemistry Peer Tutor, August 2015–August 2016
  • Examination Proctor, August 2015–August 2016
  • Natural Sciences Laboratory Assistant, August 2013–May 2015

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • Volunteered for several outreach programs for biotechnology (High School and Middle School level) and Science Olympiad
  • Co-Organizer of a DNA Repair Journal Club at my home institution
  • Member of American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the local Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) chapter – I don’t know if these even mean anything anymore

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

  • Several connections through my boss for potential PI’s
  • Qualify for a lot of fee waivers because of poverty status, not sure if that is really applicable but it means that application fees are less of an issue
  • Expect really spectacular letters of recommendation - I'm writing the one from my boss.

Any Other Info: 
My mother is a drug addict who I supported financially for my entire undergraduate career. I worked up to 60 hrs/week to provide for her and my teenage sibling while in school. I took a year off between graduating with my bachelor’s and applying to graduate school to help her get in to a rehab facility that will help her provide for herself financially, and so I no longer support her financially. I mention all of this in my personal statement as a reason that my GPA will improve in graduate school.

Applying to Where:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (Cellular and Molecular Biology)
  • University of Washington (Molecular and Cellular Bio, Cancer Bio Concentration)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Cell and Molecular Biology, Cancer Bio Concentration)
  • Weill Cornell Medical College (BCMB Allied Program)
  • Vanderbilt University (IGP, Cancer Bio Concentration)
  • UNC at Chapel Hill (Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program)
  • University of Colorado Boulder (Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology)
  • Case Western Reserve University (Biomedical Sciences Training Program)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology or Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program)
  • University of Colorado Denver (Molecular Biology)
  • University of Cincinnati (Cancer & Cell Biology)

 

Your application looks like it's pretty solid - just depends on LORs and SOP. Make sure you write a strong SOP that really says why you want to pursue this degree, why that school/program in particular, and which faculty there you'd want to work with (name ~3-5).

That looks like a solid range of schools to me. I'd guess the "reach" schools for you would probably just be UPenn, Cornell, and maybe UWashington (would be reach for neuroscience, but idk about MCB). If you aren't super excited about some of the" lower tier" schools, I'd even recommend adding one or two more "reach" schools (UCSD/UCLA/UCSF? Not sure where there are good cancer bio programs).

 

Edited by BabyScientist

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I'm reposting because I've switched some schools around...

My main concerns are my lower GPA (freshman year mostly) and okay GRE (it's the GRE, I wasn't super invested) will potentially harm my chances at these schools...Tulane anthropology is my first choice, so I'm really hoping hard here...

Undergrad Institution: McGill
Major(s): Environmental Biology (Plant Biology)
Minor(s): Anthropology
GPA in Major: Not easily discernible...
Overall GPA: 3.32 (will climb up to maybe 3.45 by the end of next semester)
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 and other metabolite 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...
  • My letters of recommendation should be strong, and pack a punch. Two of my three recommenders are well-known in their fields.
  • I'm a female, so, yeah...?

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 - Geography (MSc. then hopefully sidle into a PhD) - Young, Doolittle
UT Austin - Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (PhD) - Fowler, Jha
Tulane - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (PhD) - Farrer

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

University of Hawai'i at Manoa - Botany (PhD) - Ticktin, Hynson

 

I also applied for the NSF GRFP in the multidisciplinary category (ecology and anthropology). Here's to hoping for that to come through too...

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5 hours ago, QuothTheRaven said:

Undergrad Institution: Foreign
Major(s): Biology
Overall GPA: 3.43 
Position in Class: top 10%
Type of Student: domestic studying overseas

Got a masters from a Foreign institution as well, which I did better in.

Masters GPA: 3.9


GRE Scores : Extremely bad because maths is not my strong suit 

Q: 151
V: 160
W: 4.0
B:


TOEFL Total: 110 

Research Experience: 

- Working in a protein lab at the moment. Learning a lot but my primary interest remains  in Cancer biology. 

- Finished up my thesis in cancer lab and ended up working there for 9 months developing different cell lines.

- No publications yet, unfortunately.

- Undergrad: Pretty basic research but I interned in two different labs (cancer and molecular biology) during undergrad.

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

- Dean's Honor List 
- Merit Scholarship

- Honorable mention for best poster presentation during a bio-conference


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

- TA for Introductory Biology course. 

- Also a volunteer for 2 years during grad school for an summer outreach program teaching biology

- Working as a Science Communicator with a start-up aimed towards making STEM education fun for kids. 

- Have been a tutor for ESL and  Bio/chem/physics.

 
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

- Pretty active in extra-curricular activities in both undergrad and grad school. Debating, Dramatics, Science Olympiad, Poetry Slam, Quiz competitions and Student Council. Basically I did everything I could manage with my courses. 

- Was an RJ for the campus radio, also in charge of establishing the program/format/structure for broadcasting campus news during undergrad

- Have hosted a Tedx as well as UX conference, and volunteered for organising 2 research conferences, among other logistics experience.

- Organised a Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in undergrad.

- Also taught drama at a summer camp, directing a couple of plays with the kids.

Special Bonus Points: 

- I'm female and a minority
- At least 2 strong SOPs


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

GRE scores might hurt my overall application. Not to mention my SOP just seems like crap no matter how I write it.


Applying to Where:

Yale - BSB
Stanford -  Cancer Biology

UChicago - Cancer Biology

UPenn - Cell and Molecular Biology

UMich - PIBS

Dartmouth - MCB

I feel like I should add some mid-tier schools so I'm applying to at least 10 places. I want to work in the industry or consulting afterwards, not really aiming towards academia. I really want to add another degree alongside the PhD so I'm open to any dual degree programs.

I applied last year as well but got rejected from everywhere (unfortunately I was dealing with personal issues at the time so it wasn't the strongest application). I'm super nervous about applying this time but **fingers crossed** 

Any feedback or suggestions would be super welcome. :)

 

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21 hours ago, QuothTheRaven said:

 

You're going to want a wider range of schools... Your application looks fine depending on LOR and SOP, but if you want to maximize your chances of getting in, those are all pretty high tier schools. Consider Tufts and Tulane (places I've heard of good for industry and cancer bio, respectively).

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3 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

You're going to want a wider range of schools... Your application looks fine depending on LOR and SOP, but if you want to maximize your chances of getting in, those are all pretty high tier schools. Consider Tufts and Tulane (places I've heard of good for industry and cancer bio, respectively).

Thank you so much!  I was thinking of including UNC, BostonU and UW Madison to the list as well. But I feel my choices are super random (or maybe just imposter syndrome kicking in):(

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18 hours ago, QuothTheRaven said:

Thank you so much!  I was thinking of including UNC, BostonU and UW Madison to the list as well. But I feel my choices are super random (or maybe just imposter syndrome kicking in):(

Well all that really matters is that there are at least 3 people you'd be interested in working with at each school. School choices always seem random. 

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On 10/21/2018 at 10:57 PM, AllieKat said:

You've got quite the spread of programs here, with some neuroscience and some completely different. Are you wanting to continue in neuro or branch into something else? If you want to keep your options open, it may be wise to apply to the schools' umbrella programs when available, instead. Baylor has a separate umbrella program (IMBS), as does Northwestern (IBiS or DGP, for the respective campuses). You'd be able to rotate in any department's labs. As for Emory, they don't have an umbrella, so you'll be picking your top two for possible interviews. As you can probably tell, I applied to a several of these schools, so let me know if you have any specific questions.

I do want to keep my options open (hence several of the umbrella programs I picked). For some of the specific programs I was interested in certain faculty. Brain cancer research is one of the areas I am very interested in. Depending on the school, the faculty members doing that type of research could be in any department (neuro, cell/cancer bio etc.).

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On 11/22/2018 at 1:28 AM, QuothTheRaven said:

 

Hi!

I agree with the comments from BabyScientist, I would add more programs if you are able to. I'm a US citizen currently doing a Master's abroad, so I've helped students at my foreign institution apply to places in the US. Many international applicants focus on a great GPA, great GRE and publications. So, my suggestion, is to work really hard on your SOP (for some reason I've met so many international applicants who overlook the importance of your SOP...not sure why). Not only can this demonstrate your English proficiency, but it tells the admissions panel more about you rather than some numbers. In my opinion, a really good SOP stands out when you're able to connect all of your experience into a cohesive, convincing story instead of just a disconnected list of achievements. SOP will also give admissions teams an idea if you have the capability to succeed in their program.

Best of luck!!

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5 hours ago, yash13177 said:

Hi!

I agree with the comments from BabyScientist, I would add more programs if you are able to. I'm a US citizen currently doing a Master's abroad, so I've helped students at my foreign institution apply to places in the US. Many international applicants focus on a great GPA, great GRE and publications. So, my suggestion, is to work really hard on your SOP (for some reason I've met so many international applicants who overlook the importance of your SOP...not sure why). Not only can this demonstrate your English proficiency, but it tells the admissions panel more about you rather than some numbers. In my opinion, a really good SOP stands out when you're able to connect all of your experience into a cohesive, convincing story instead of just a disconnected list of achievements. SOP will also give admissions teams an idea if you have the capability to succeed in their program.

Best of luck!!

Thanks for the helpful advice! :) 
Yes the SOP seems to be the deal breaker. I think most people are over confident about the SOP and hence don't really give it time and attention but the adcomms do. 

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On 11/24/2018 at 9:27 AM, QuothTheRaven said:

Thanks for the helpful advice! :) 
Yes the SOP seems to be the deal breaker. I think most people are over confident about the SOP and hence don't really give it time and attention but the adcomms do. 

The SOP should be individualized for each program and explain why you are applying to that program, what you can bring, and what they can give to you to help you grow as a scientist, independent researcher, etc.  And yes, you should have at least 3-5 faculty you would be willing to work with at each school you apply to.  I think you have a shot with your background at the schools you listed but it's always good to have a range of places to apply to.  I know for UWMadison, there are about 8 programs here that waived the requirements for the GRE if you are at all worried about that--but I also heard for my program, we are getting more applicants than in previous years because we waived the requirement.  If you have any questions about the programs at Madison feel free to PM me! 

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Hello everyone,

Please help!! I am unsure of my qualifications and looking for some feedback on my list of schools/programs. I am interested in studying cell/matrix interactions, cell shape and polarity, and tissue morphogenesis and patterning.

Undergrad Institution: Top UC

Major(s): MCDB
Minor(s): Biomedical Research
GPA in Major: 3.942
Overall GPA: 3.859
Position in Class: Currently qualify for Magna Cum Laude (top 10%)
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 163 (93%)
V: 163 (83%)
W: 4 (59%)

Research Experience: 

2 yrs (3 by PhD entry) in epithelial biology lab - 20 hrs/week during the school year and 2 full-time summers, 40 hrs/week

[Working independently for 2/3 years]

One manuscript submitted for review (second author), one in preparation (co-first), two poster presentations, one departmental seminar talk, completing an honors thesis now

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: College Honors, Dean's Honors List all quarters since sophomore year, Departmental Honors (upon thesis completion)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Work-study job in same lab during my freshman year

Special Bonus Points: Expect very strong letter from my PI, strong letter from faculty member familiar with my work, and solid letter from faculty part of minor

Applying to Where:

MIT Biology

UCSF Tetrad

Stanford Biosciences

UC Davis BMCDB

UW MCB

Vanderbilt IGP BBS

UNC Chapel Hill  BBSP

Thank you in advance for your input!

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