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PHD Applicants: Fall 2019

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Seeing a few posts about international students - feel free to reach out should you have any questions regarding applying in the US (either this cycle or next) 😊😊😊

Haven't heard back from JHU since my interview (International Health, Human Nutrition - anyone applied/heard back???), but I have accepted Harvard's admission offer and sent out emails informing the remaining schools of my decision. Wishing everyone waiting to hear back the very best!!!

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12 minutes ago, epi3333 said:

Thanks @apex45 and @Epidemiology19  :)

I guess it probably sounds a bit silly of me to be embarassed, it' just that one of the professors is a really really big shot. I'm feeling a bit intimidated, I think I got symptoms of an early imposter syndrome since the moment I got the acceptance! haha  

No worries! If you're super nervous, email someone in admissions, the department admin, or the PhD program coordinator. Often staff know more students than professors do, so they might be able to connect you with a wider range of student perspectives.

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23 minutes ago, epi3333 said:

Thanks @apex45 and @Epidemiology19  :)

I guess it probably sounds a bit silly of me to be embarassed, it' just that one of the professors is a really really big shot. I'm feeling a bit intimidated, I think I got symptoms of an early imposter syndrome since the moment I got the acceptance! haha  

I definitely feel that way sometimes too! Just remember that there were probably hundreds of applicants and they chose you! 

Maybe it’s a matter of how to frame the email? For example- see if they can connect you with students so that they can share transition to a new city, current research projects, volunteer opportunities within the school, etc? And then of course mix in the hard-hitting questions once you get in touch with the students and feel them out :) 

Edited by Epidemiology19

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2 hours ago, Epidemiology19 said:

I find this to be an interesting topic. Aside from ranking & funding, what are some of the “softer” factors that others are considering? I’ve been keeping these types of things in mind: responsiveness of potential mentors, track record of their mentees, size of the cohort (and collaboration vs competition), encouragement for grant writing, location of the school, etc. 

I've got a whole spreadsheet of factors with weighted averages based on how important they are to me. I made it for MPH programs two years ago but updated the categories. I wish it were helping more... 3 schools are within a tenth of a point of each other. 

Anyway, here's the categories in it:

  • Research
    • alignment with content interests
    • alignment with methods interests
    • PI's mentorship
    • secondary sources of support (other faculty with interest overlap, basically)
    • student/alumni opinions
    • productivity (# of papers students graduate with)
  • Program/School
    • curriculum aligned with my interests
    • ranking/prestige 
    • time/completion rate
    • student/alumni opinions
    • cohort size
    • likelihood I'll make real friends 
  • Financial
    • funding amount
    • funding model
    • cost of living
    • perks (spousal insurance, moving stipend, etc.)
  • Location
    • ability to escape
    • interesting stuff to do
    • diversity/integration 
    • political climate
    • partner's opinion 

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8 hours ago, epihope said:

 

 

No I didn't, did you?  (I didn't think they interviewed)  I spoke with some PI's in the fall. Let us know if you hear back, good luck!

No, I didn' t have an interview. Sure! Good luck for you too!

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35 minutes ago, apex45 said:

I've got a whole spreadsheet of factors with weighted averages based on how important they are to me. I made it for MPH programs two years ago but updated the categories. I wish it were helping more... 3 schools are within a tenth of a point of each other. 

Anyway, here's the categories in it:

  • Research
    • alignment with content interests
    • alignment with methods interests
    • PI's mentorship
    • secondary sources of support (other faculty with interest overlap, basically)
    • student/alumni opinions
    • productivity (# of papers students graduate with)
  • Program/School
    • curriculum aligned with my interests
    • ranking/prestige 
    • time/completion rate
    • student/alumni opinions
    • cohort size
    • likelihood I'll make real friends 
  • Financial
    • funding amount
    • funding model
    • cost of living
    • perks (spousal insurance, moving stipend, etc.)
  • Location
    • ability to escape
    • interesting stuff to do
    • diversity/integration 
    • political climate
    • partner's opinion 

This is amazing! Thanks for sharing! I think the only other item that I have in my mental list is data availability. I’m particularly interested in using administrative datasets, so their availability through mentors is something I always keep an eye out for. 

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2 hours ago, apex45 said:

I've got a whole spreadsheet of factors with weighted averages based on how important they are to me. I made it for MPH programs two years ago but updated the categories. I wish it were helping more... 3 schools are within a tenth of a point of each other. 

Anyway, here's the categories in it:

  • Research
    • alignment with content interests
    • alignment with methods interests
    • PI's mentorship
    • secondary sources of support (other faculty with interest overlap, basically)
    • student/alumni opinions
    • productivity (# of papers students graduate with)
  • Program/School
    • curriculum aligned with my interests
    • ranking/prestige 
    • time/completion rate
    • student/alumni opinions
    • cohort size
    • likelihood I'll make real friends 
  • Financial
    • funding amount
    • funding model
    • cost of living
    • perks (spousal insurance, moving stipend, etc.)
  • Location
    • ability to escape
    • interesting stuff to do
    • diversity/integration 
    • political climate
    • partner's opinion 

Wow I love this! Thanks for sharing!

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12 hours ago, tryinnaaskquestions said:

You're talking about UT Health correct? I also got in but it seems like a lot of work to secure funding. A quick search through Reddit showed that their program may not guarantee funding, but after you accept their offer you're able to get GTA/GRA-ships and scholarships to cover tuition but there's no guarantee apparently. 

 

Here's the link a commenter (who claims to be a current PhD epi student) posted in case you're interested:

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.reddit.com/r/publichealth/comments/7xaukt/uthealth_biostats_phd_funding/

Yes, thank you so much for the information. I am an international applicant and I have to move to the city and find an RA position to fund my Ph.D. education. That sounds a little bit overwhelming. I will still try though. In addition, I got the interview invitation from the U Iowa, and the faculty who will interview me is the one whose research I am most interested in. But still concerned funding. By the way, what does fully-funded actually mean, would this be mentioned in the acceptance letter?

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19 hours ago, apex45 said:

Sure!

Undergrad: 3.4 from a top-3 liberal arts college; Biology major & Education minor

Grad: 3.8 for an MEd from a low-ranked state school; 4.0 for an MPH from Brown 

Work experience: 5 years teaching middle & high school science, health, and engineering; no public health work experience 

GRE: I don't remember the exact scores, but percentiles were 98% for Verbal, 57% for Quant, and 98% for Writing 

Research: ~1 year, no pubs at time of application but ~5 mostly first author papers under review; experience writing R34 grant

LORs/SOP: I know everyone rates theirs as "really strong" but I honestly think these are what set me apart given my mediocre uGPA & quant GRE and lack of longterm research experience. My interests are pretty unique and specific, so I think fit has also played a major role in getting me interviews (& acceptances). 

 

 

 

Thank you sharing and Best of Luck!

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22 hours ago, apex45 said:

Sure!

Undergrad: 3.4 from a top-3 liberal arts college; Biology major & Education minor

Grad: 3.8 for an MEd from a low-ranked state school; 4.0 for an MPH from Brown 

Work experience: 5 years teaching middle & high school science, health, and engineering; no public health work experience 

GRE: I don't remember the exact scores, but percentiles were 98% for Verbal, 57% for Quant, and 98% for Writing 

Research: ~1 year, no pubs at time of application but ~5 mostly first author papers under review; experience writing R34 grant

LORs/SOP: I know everyone rates theirs as "really strong" but I honestly think these are what set me apart given my mediocre uGPA & quant GRE and lack of longterm research experience. My interests are pretty unique and specific, so I think fit has also played a major role in getting me interviews (& acceptances). 

 

 

 

I think you made a good point. Everybody's experience is unique and sometimes we may have to take detours in order to achieve our goals and we make mistakes in the process. But I think mistakes are also valuable lessons and if you can really learn from it, it will lead you to the final destination.

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8 hours ago, gloriaepi2019 said:

By the way, what does fully-funded actually mean, would this be mentioned in the acceptance letter?

I've seen it offered as part of the admissions letter, or post admission in a separate letter. Usually I'm guessing it's due to your research interest and admission standing being quite high. Here's an example of what a funding offer with admissions looks like:

 

offer.jpg

 

Sometimes you might have to ask your potential PIs to see if they would have a spot to support you as an RA, or if the department has a spot for TA. Assuming you're also able to get tuition waived.

I'm in the same boat, quite undecided on UTHealth due to the funding situation. Admitted to GW without funding either and now I will have to see if the PIs I want to work with can get me some type of funding and tuition assistance (unlikely). Hoping Irvine for me goes through with a funding package at least. 

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57 minutes ago, ASA15 said:

Has anyone heard from Berkeley?

Two years ago I heard back from them mid February, but I think most go out late February or early March.

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48 minutes ago, epiapplicant2019 said:

Any idea if they interview?

It might depend on the department? I applied for EHS and while they don't normally interview, I was in the area so they invited me for an impromptu interview. Normally there is just an admittance day in mid March.

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Did any other Epi folks receive word on UW funding? I got an email letting me know I was in line to be matched for an RA position for first quarter, should I choose to go, and the research seems right in line with my interests! I'm wondering if other folks got the impression that these matches were likely to continue on to subsequent quarters, or were a little "bait and switch" to set us up nicely for first quarter and leave us to find our own from there. Hoping for the former!

Edited by Epidem2019

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13 hours ago, Epidem2019 said:

Did any other Epi folks receive word on UW funding? I got an email letting me know I was in line to be matched for an RA position for first quarter, should I choose to go, and the research seems right in line with my interests! I'm wondering if other folks got the impression that these matches were likely to continue on to subsequent quarters, or were a little "bait and switch" to set us up nicely for first quarter and leave us to find our own from there. Hoping for the former!

Maybe speaking with some current/past students? They might be able to give you some info on that. Ignore this if you have already done so.

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14 hours ago, Epidem2019 said:

Did any other Epi folks receive word on UW funding? I got an email letting me know I was in line to be matched for an RA position for first quarter, should I choose to go, and the research seems right in line with my interests! I'm wondering if other folks got the impression that these matches were likely to continue on to subsequent quarters, or were a little "bait and switch" to set us up nicely for first quarter and leave us to find our own from there. Hoping for the former!

That's awesome! I have not received any word on UW funding aside from getting an interview for the START RA position, which would be awesome! 

That's what worries me most about UW- having to scramble for funding quarter to quarter... although one professor I spoke to did say students get very good at writing grants because of this!

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1 hour ago, tryinnaaskquestions said:

Maybe speaking with some current/past students? They might be able to give you some info on that. Ignore this if you have already done so.

 

56 minutes ago, ASA15 said:

That's awesome! I have not received any word on UW funding aside from getting an interview for the START RA position, which would be awesome! 

That's what worries me most about UW- having to scramble for funding quarter to quarter... although one professor I spoke to did say students get very good at writing grants because of this!

@tryinnaaskquestions Awesome call! I'll see if there are any students that that professor can put me in touch with, thanks for that recommendation.

 

@ASA15 Congrats on getting an interview for that, that would be dope to have that locked down for the 2 years; good luck! That's my biggest worry now. I'm thinking that UW seems like the best fit for me, but if quarter-to-quarter funding is gonna take up a solid chunk of time, that's something to think about -_-

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Hi. I saw someone post a result for an offer from Umich today. Would you mind sharing what track are you in? And did the email come from the graduate school as an official acceptance letter? Thank you so much!!!

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Does anyone know if UNC Health Behavior admits students without interviews? I am worried because I've seen others posting that they were interviewed in late January, and I was never contacted for an interview. Do I still have a shot, or am I probably going to be rejected?

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9 hours ago, greenturtle said:

Does anyone know if UNC Health Behavior admits students without interviews? I am worried because I've seen others posting that they were interviewed in late January, and I was never contacted for an interview. Do I still have a shot, or am I probably going to be rejected?

From my understanding, they only consider from those they interviewed :( ... best of luck to you though. At the end of the day it all comes down to faculty fit, don't let it get you down!

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