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Biomedical Engineering/Bioengineering Applicant Profiles for 2019 Admission

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Hi All,

Let's adhere to the time-honored tradition of seniors stressing each other out on GradCafe, and begin the thread for 2019 applicants.

Here's the classic template:

_________________________________________

Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): 

Major(s): 
Minor(s): 
GPA in Major: x.xx/4.00
Overall GPA: x.xx/4.00
Demographics/Background: 


GRE Scores:
Q: xxx (xx%)
V: xxx (xx%)
W: x.x (xx%)


LOR: 


Research Experience: 

 

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations:

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

 

Fellowships/Funding:

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

 

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

 

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.):

 

Research Interests:

 

Institutions/Programs:

 

Comments:

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I'll start.

My GPA/scores are not perfect, my school is not very prestigious, and none of the faculty I have worked with are famous, so I don't know how I will stand with the top institutions/fellowships...

 

Undergrad Institution: Medium-size public R2, strong regional reputation in STEM.
Major(s): Chemical Engineering (emphasis in bioengineering) and Biology (emphasis in biotechnology); Honors Student.
Minor(s): Mathematics and Biomedical Engineering
GPA in Major: 3.95
Overall GPA: 3.89
Position in Class: Top 5-10%
Type of Student: Domestic male, non-minority. Non-traditional student, first-generation college graduate.

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 167 (92nd %ile)
V: 165 (96th)
W: 5 (93rd)
 

LOR: 5 very strong letters from tenure-track faculty, sending only 3 per school.

 

Research Experience: 

I love research. Period.

**Summary: 13 projects in 9 labs (2 industrial, 7 academic) over four years.**

• 4 years at home institution (two biology labs, three engineering labs; bioprocess, cell culture, biochem, cancer bio, molecular bio)

• 1 summer REU in cancer biophysics

• 6-month R&D co-op internship at Fortune-500 biopharm company (bioprocess research)

• 6-month (extended) SULI research internship at a DOE national lab (biofuels research)

• 1 summer REU/Amgen Scholar doing CRISPR/Cas9 signaling studies at a Top-5 institution

 

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations:

• 4 papers in preparation (2 first-author, 2 second-author). Hoping at least two will be accepted by December deadlines.

• 12 poster presentations at conferences (9 of them national), 2 oral conference presentations, 2 in-house oral presentations in industry.

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

• Goldwater Scholar

• Amgen Scholar

• Tau Beta Pi Engineering Scholar

• ISPE Goldenberg Scholar

• Honors Research Fellow

• Awarded grants and DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge and Engineering Prototyping Competition funding for my NGO (see below)

• A bunch of school/department merit scholarships

 

Fellowships/Funding:

• Received an undergraduate fellowship for research.

• Applying to NSF, DoD, DoE, Hertz, and Ford fellowships.

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

 Founder and Director of 7-person NGO dedicated to researching, engineering, and implementing biodigester technology in Haiti. Have raised funds to finance numerous team trips to Haiti, and oversaw the construction of a pilot biodigester plant near my school. Cultivated partnerships with organizations in the US and Haiti. Conducted bench-scale work in a faculty lab to develop preliminary results for an EPA grant application. The team has received 3 school-wide awards as a result of efforts I spearheaded.

• 4 years of academic and industry research experience

• Peer tutor and mentor in engineering

 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

• Co-Founder and Vice President of campus Engineers for Change club.

• Secretary of two other STEM-related clubs

• Member of AIChE, ISPE, and 3 honors societies (ODK, TBP, OXE)

• I have taken 15 online Coursera courses in Systems Biology, Statistics, and programming in Python and R.

• Completed and will defend my honors thesis

 

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.):

• 4.0 GPA in seven graduate-level courses like Experimental Design, Biomedical Engineering, and Isolation/Purification

• Have taken 20+ credits most semesters, with very challenging electives

• Very strong faculty connections at Berkeley, strong faculty connections at Caltech and Santa Barbara.

• Strong interviewer and SOP writer

 

Research Interests:

I am mostly applying to chemical/biological engineering programs, but I am still seriously considering biology programs where there is particular research that interests me. Broad interests include cancer/systems/chemical biology and metabolic and protein engineering, as well as computational modeling.

 

Institutions/Programs:

Engineering programs (will shorten this list over time):

MIT - Chemical Engineering, Biological Engineering (Love, Wittrup, Langer, and many others)

Stanford - Bioengineering (Barron, Cochran, et al.)

Berkeley - Chemical Engineering (Landry, Schaffer, Keasling)

Caltech - Chemical Engineering (Shapiro, Arnold, plus others outside the department)

GA Tech - Chemical Engineering (Champion and many others)

Princeton - Chemical Engineering (Avalos, Nelson)

UC Santa Barbara - Chemical Engineering (O'Malley and Muhkerjee)

Hopkins - Biomedical Engineering (too many to list)

UCSD - Bioengineering (many)

Wisconsin (Shusta), Michigan, Minnesota (Azarin, Hu), UTAustin (Alper), Cornell (Varmus), and Northwestern, all for Chemical Engineering.

Biology programs:

MIT - Biology (Young Lab, et al.)

Harvard - Chemical Biology (Schreiber, Liau, Silver, et al.)

Rockefeller - Computational/Cancer/Immunology

Comments:

Please let me know what you think. Thank you in advance for your thoughts/suggestions.

 

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Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM):  Top Ranked Masters University in Silicon Valley (for joint BS/MS)

Major(s): Bioengineering
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: N/A (my school doesn't calculate this)
Overall GPA: 3.75/4.00
Demographics/Background: White female

 

Grad School (same institution, same PI):

Major(s): Bioengineering (MS)
Overall GPA: 3.98/4.00


GRE Scores: Taking this Saturday. Will Update. Expect around 90 percentile
Q: xxx (xx%)
V: xxx (xx%)
W: x.x (xx%)


LOR: Undergrad/Grad research PI, Undergrad/grad research co-advisor, VP of manufacturing at my company (boss)


Research Experience: 

2.5 years in same lab for grad and undergrad. One project with one PI.

2 Years working in research and development at a medical device start up

 

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations:

2 first author conference pubs

1 conference poster presentation

~3 university poster presentations

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Outstanding Bioengineering Senior

Senior Design Presentation Award

Engineering Ethics Prize

Multiple university fellowships for undergrad research

Tau Beta Pi membership

Graduated Magna Cum Laude for undergrad

Graduated "With Distinction" for grad

Named merit fellowship to pay for masters degree

Accepted into start up incubator program for company spun off from my research

 

Fellowships/Funding:

I'm thinking I'll wait until fall of my first year of PhD to apply for NSF since they changed the rules and I can only apply once

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Teaching assistantships in grad school

Volunteer work encouraging female participation in stem

Volunteer and paid tutoring positions for calculus, chemistry, physics, etc.

2 years experience as an R&D engineer at a med device start up

 

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

Completed University Honors Program

 

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.):

My PI's PI (academic grandpa) is at Stanford, but he's in EE (with some BioE research) and I'm applying to BioE. Idk if this matters at all.

 

Research Interests:

Microfluidics, bioMEMS, biosensors, nanodevices, single molecule detection, point-of-care diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip, transcriptomics

 

Institutions/Programs:

Berkeley BioE

Standford BioE

University of Washington BioE

UCLA BioE

CalTech Medical Engineering

University of Michigan BME

Cornell BME

Georgia Tech BioE

Maybe: Boston University BME, UC Davis BME, UCSD BioE, MIT Biological Engr.

Comments:

I'll be 26 when I start grad school. I guess this makes me a "mature" student.

I'm taking a year off (now until I start school fall 2019) to travel the world. Not sure if this will look good or bad but I'm doing it anyways.

Too many schools to apply to? Too few?

Edited by ad_infinitum

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Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): Top 5 institution in the country. Probably for the world, too. 

Major(s): A somewhat unique engineering major. Similar to chemical engineering with elective focus on biological engineering topics.
Minor(s): German
GPA in Major: x.xx/4.00 Will be ~3.30/4.00 when applying
Overall GPA: x.xx/4.00 3.18/4.00, should be ~3.25/4.00 when applying. I had a very rough first two years and have a very strong upward trend
Demographics/Background: White female. First generation college student and international adoptee, if that counts for anything.


GRE Scores:
Q: xxx (xx%)
V: xxx (xx%)
W: x.x (xx%)

Will be taking in a few weeks. Predicting 160V/165Q based on recent practice tests.

LOR: Should be strong. One from my PI (also took one of his graduate level courses and did well), one from the head of my major's undergraduate department (has witnessed my strong upward academic trend), and then one from a very influential professor who has taught multiple graduate level courses in my field of interest (also did very well)

Research Experience: 1.5 years in a somewhat well-known microfluidics/systems biology PI's lab. Not quite my field of interest.

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations: No publications. Have presented at undergraduate research conference at my university a couple of times, but that probably doesn't mean much...

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Was awarded a $4k grant by my undergraduate institution to do my research this summer.

Fellowships/Funding: Might apply to P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans. But honestly I don't think I have a chance of receiving any awards.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I worked in the R&D department at a chemical plant the summer after my first year.

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.): I know I can write a strong SOP.

Research Interests: Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. I enjoy topics regarding spinal cord and musculoskeletal repair.

Institutions/Programs: Applying to biomedical engineering programs only.

University of Washington*

Columbia*

Rice

Washington University in St. Louis*

Northwestern*

UCSD

Duke

UC Davis

UCLA

Still thinking of a few others like University of Pittsburgh and University of Utah. Yes, I know I am aiming too high. * are my favorites.

Comments:

My institution is infamous for grade deflation (this may already give my school away, but whatever), but I know this is no excuse for my terrible GPA. I know that it closes a lot of doors for me. I had personal issues going on my first two years, but I don't think it is anything significant enough to mention in my SOP because I wasn't diagnosed with cancer or something like that. However, I do have a strong upward trend -- my GPA for my final 1.5 years will be ~3.40. The head of my department has told me I shouldn't worry as much as I am as long as I'm not aiming for top 5 programs, but I feel like a mess. I am desperate for just one interview at one of the schools listed. I really, really, really don't want to work instead of continuing school after I graduate. I also don't think I can afford to do an unfunded master's program instead, but I may apply to some with later deadlines if (more like when) I get absolutely nothing. Sorry this turned into a bit of a rant. 

Edited by sgaw10

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Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): University of California campus. Top 25 BioE/BME, good research reputation.

Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Minor(s): Microfluidics && Social Sciences
GPA in Major: 3.10/4.00
Overall GPA: 3.0/4.00
Demographics/Background: Black Male. Domestic Applicant. First generation.


GRE Scores:
Q: 160 (76%)
V: 163(93%)
W: 5.5 (98%)

I think I'm going to retake.


LOR:

UG Research PI (Excellent relationship), UG Senior Design Project Professor (Good relationship). Last LOR writer is a professor I took a class with last fall.


Research Experience:

2 years of undergraduate research in 1 lab. Led other undergraduates on a multidisciplinary project.

1 year senior design project. Microfluidics and POC testing.

1 year post-bacc Research Assistant with same PI as UG research.

Mainly systems neuroscience and neuroengineering.

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations:

Presented at school conferences and symposiums multiple times, working on a paper right now with my PI.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

NIH Post-bacc IRTA Fellowship

Multiple Research Fellowships with school for lab and for 

Fellowships/Funding:

Applying to the GEM National Consortium fellowships at most schools.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Internship with major medical device company

President of engineering society.

Teaching Assistant experience

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

Co-founded a food pantry on my campus, and have consistently worked over the years to grow it.

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.):

Upward trend (~3.6 in upper division coursework)

I know my GPA is low -- I had a difficult family situation throughout college.

Research Interests:

I am interested in a few research topics -- Neuroscience, BioMEMS, and single-cell analysis.

Institutions/Programs:

UW, USC, JHU, Columbia, WUSTL, UPitt, Berkeley, Berkeley/UCSF, GA Tech, MIT, MIT/Harvard, UCSD, Northwestern, Rice, Stanford.
EE at some of these schools depending on the faculty of interest, but mostly Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Comments:

I am applying to a lot of competitive programs right now. I don't think it's a good idea, typing it out. Does anyone have any suggestions on programs/labs I should be applying to? Which programs should I remove from my list?

Edited by WaliaIbex

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6 hours ago, WaliaIbex said:

 

Institutions/Programs:

UW, USC, JHU, Columbia, WUSTL, UPitt, Berkeley, Berkeley/UCSF, GA Tech, MIT, MIT/Harvard, UCSD, Northwestern, Rice, Stanford.
EE at some of these schools depending on the faculty of interest, but mostly Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Comments:

I am applying to a lot of competitive programs right now. I don't think it's a good idea, typing it out. Does anyone have any suggestions on programs/labs I should be applying to? Which programs should I remove from my list?

Have you looked at Maryland-College Park?  If it seems like a good fit, I'd add them.

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Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM? Top 5 MechE US, R1 institution. Top 50 (?) World

 

Major(s): Engineering Mechanics

Minor(s): Computational Science and Engineering

GPA in Major: x.xx/4.00 (I have no clue how to find this through my transcripts)

Overall GPA: 3.16/4.00

Demographics/Background: White female

 

Grad School (same institution):

Major(s): Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Overall GPA: 4.00/4.00

 

GRE Scores: (I plan on retaking this…with some studying this time)

Q: 159 (72%)

V: 159 (83%)

W: 4.0 (59%)

LOR: (Haven’t asked yet, but basing these my application for MS)

Undergrad PI, Graduate PI, Professor Emeritus or Manager from research related internship

Research Experience:

1.5 years undergraduate, arterial blood flow models using high performance computing (still working on getting my PI to publish the paper)

1 year masters thesis, large scale simulations of bone biomechanics as it relates to structure (hopefully applying to some conferences soon)

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations:

1 international conference presentation/talk

Manuscript in Progress, Journal of Biomechanics, 2nd author

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Senior department award for outstanding contributions, 2017

College of engineering award, given to 8-15 students each year, 2017

 Academic All-Big Ten 2017

Fellowships/Funding: Plan to apply for NSF, NDSEG, Hertz, etc. (recommendations welcome)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

DI Track and Field and heavily active in engineering student organization in undergrad

Teaching assistant, internship at small research-based company 

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments: N/A

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.): My undergrad PI is well known at Stanford, but possibly in a different degree program than mine

Research Interests: Computational biomechanics with real world applications, preferably an actual experimental component. I don’t enjoy microbiology, so no genomics or cell research. I also love neuroscience but have no background in it.

Institutions/Programs:

Looking for Bioengineering but willing to apply to Mechanical Engineering or Applied Math as well (recommendations welcome)

ETH Zurich, Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Georgia Tech, University of Michigan

Other international considerations: TU delfts, University of Stuttgart, Auckland, German TU 9 schools, etc.

Comments:

I’m really nervous about spending a lot of time, energy, and money on applications only to be rejected. I go to a fantastic university and I have a lot of connections here, but I really want to leave and get a different experience (potentially even outside of the US). Unfortunately, there are not a lot of reasonable schools better than mine and my poor performance from undergrad and lack of publications/conferences in my master’s is making me worry that I should just find a job and try to come back for a PhD later.

Edited by SpitFire921

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On 7/24/2018 at 11:20 AM, ad_infinitum said:

Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM):  Top Ranked Masters University in Silicon Valley (for joint BS/MS)

Major(s): Bioengineering
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: N/A (my school doesn't calculate this)
Overall GPA: 3.75/4.00
Demographics/Background: White female

 

Grad School (same institution, same PI):

Major(s): Bioengineering (MS)
Overall GPA: 3.98/4.00


GRE Scores: Taking this Saturday. Will Update. Expect around 90 percentile
Q: xxx (xx%)
V: xxx (xx%)
W: x.x (xx%)


LOR: Undergrad/Grad research PI, Undergrad/grad research co-advisor, VP of manufacturing at my company (boss)


Research Experience: 

2.5 years in same lab for grad and undergrad. One project with one PI.

2 Years working in research and development at a medical device start up

 

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations:

2 first author conference pubs

1 conference poster presentation

~3 university poster presentations

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Outstanding Bioengineering Senior

Senior Design Presentation Award

Engineering Ethics Prize

Multiple university fellowships for undergrad research

Tau Beta Pi membership

Graduated Magna Cum Laude for undergrad

Graduated "With Distinction" for grad

Named merit fellowship to pay for masters degree

Accepted into start up incubator program for company spun off from my research

 

Fellowships/Funding:

I'm thinking I'll wait until fall of my first year of PhD to apply for NSF since they changed the rules and I can only apply once

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Teaching assistantships in grad school

Volunteer work encouraging female participation in stem

Volunteer and paid tutoring positions for calculus, chemistry, physics, etc.

2 years experience as an R&D engineer at a med device start up

 

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

Completed University Honors Program

 

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.):

My PI's PI (academic grandpa) is at Stanford, but he's in EE (with some BioE research) and I'm applying to BioE. Idk if this matters at all.

 

Research Interests:

Microfluidics, bioMEMS, biosensors, nanodevices, single molecule detection, point-of-care diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip, transcriptomics

 

Institutions/Programs:

Berkeley BioE

Standford BioE

University of Washington BioE

UCLA BioE

CalTech Medical Engineering

University of Michigan BME

Cornell BME

Georgia Tech BioE

Maybe: Boston University BME, UC Davis BME, UCSD BioE, MIT Biological Engr.

Comments:

I'll be 26 when I start grad school. I guess this makes me a "mature" student.

I'm taking a year off (now until I start school fall 2019) to travel the world. Not sure if this will look good or bad but I'm doing it anyways.

Too many schools to apply to? Too few?

Hi! I used to have the same research interest so it was exciting reading your post, and now I have to let you know....

since you are taking a gap year, you can apply to nsf grfp twice! The rules changed so that you can only apply once as a graduate student, but you can still apply many times before that. I applied twice myself and will apply my last chance soon. 

Here it is straight from the grfp website! “As a bachelor's degree holder without any graduate study, you are eligible to compete with others at the undergraduate level. If you are offered and accept the award, you would need to be ready to begin your graduate program in the fall after you are awarded the fellowship. If you are not offered an award and decide to delay graduate school, you can re-apply at this level again if you haven't yet enrolled in or completed any post-baccalaureate graduate courses. Applying before you begin your graduate studies does not affect your ability to apply once after you're enrolled in graduate school, as long as you continue to meet eligibility requirements.”

Alas, I’m sick of biology now lol so I switched to matsci. Good luck!

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18 hours ago, WhyTry said:

Hi! I used to have the same research interest so it was exciting reading your post, and now I have to let you know....

since you are taking a gap year, you can apply to nsf grfp twice! The rules changed so that you can only apply once as a graduate student, but you can still apply many times before that. I applied twice myself and will apply my last chance soon. 

Here it is straight from the grfp website! “As a bachelor's degree holder without any graduate study, you are eligible to compete with others at the undergraduate level. If you are offered and accept the award, you would need to be ready to begin your graduate program in the fall after you are awarded the fellowship. If you are not offered an award and decide to delay graduate school, you can re-apply at this level again if you haven't yet enrolled in or completed any post-baccalaureate graduate courses. Applying before you begin your graduate studies does not affect your ability to apply once after you're enrolled in graduate school, as long as you continue to meet eligibility requirements.”

Alas, I’m sick of biology now lol so I switched to matsci. Good luck!

I actually already completed a MS through a joint BS/MS program so I'm pretty sure I only have one chance to apply -- right? Man, if I'm wrong I have a lot more writing to do than I thought...

From the NSF GRFP Eligibility Page:

What if I applied in the final year of my joint BS/MS program? Under the new one-time rule for graduate student applicants, am I still eligible to apply in the first year of my Ph.D. program?

Yes. When you applied in the final year of your joint BS/MS program, you were still considered to be an undergraduate since you hadn't yet earned your BS degree. After your joint degree was awarded, you have one more chance to apply-but it must be at the beginning of the first year of your Ph.D. studies (before you complete any additional graduate credits). Note that having earned a joint BS/MS degree, you would not be eligible in the second year of your Ph.D. studies, as by then you will already have completed more than the allowable amount of graduate study.

 

EDIT: WhyTry is right I'm pretty sure! Dang ok, gotta start thinking about NSF GRFP then too! Ahh I'm overwhelmed.

Edited by ad_infinitum

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On 7/24/2018 at 11:20 AM, ad_infinitum said:

GRE Scores: Taking this Saturday. Will Update. Expect around 90 percentile

Good luck tomorrow!

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On 7/24/2018 at 11:34 PM, Chai_latte said:

Have you looked at Maryland-College Park?  If it seems like a good fit, I'd add them.

I haven't! There were a few labs that looked like a good fit, thank you for the reccomendation!

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AUGH. Just finished GRE.

169V(99%) 162Q(81%)

Gotta retake it. ?

Damn that quant score. I was so proud of verbal. And I think I did well on AWA too.

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5 hours ago, ad_infinitum said:

AUGH. Just finished GRE.

169V(99%) 162Q(81%)

Gotta retake it. ?

Damn that quant score. I was so proud of verbal. And I think I did well on AWA too.

What???!!! Lol I got 162Q/154V/4 or 3.5, and UW bioE told me my scores were excellent during the interview. Also got accepted 4/5 of my applications.

But then, if you have the time and money to retake, no harm to it

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1 hour ago, WhyTry said:

What???!!! Lol I got 162Q/154V/4 or 3.5, and UW bioE told me my scores were excellent during the interview. Also got accepted 4/5 of my applications.

But then, if you have the time and money to retake, no harm to it

Thanks for the encouragement. I don't exactly have the time, especially since you just alerted me to the fact that I have to do the NSFGRFP! :) (Thanks btw.) But I'll find some time - no one talk to me until December 15 ;)

But I KNOW I can score higher because I scored higher in all of my practice tests. So I'm just going to go for it. November 7 GRE here I come.

I know that if I don't and get rejected from my top choices that I'll always wonder if I could have gotten in by spending another $200 and some time. If I retake after some more intense quant study, I'll know that I put together the best application that I possibly could, even if I get rejected.

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Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): Top school with a highly respected engineering program

Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: I never know how to calculate this. Everything except liberal studies: 3.56/4.00 or 3.63/4.00 for just things under my department name. 
Overall GPA: 3.62/4.00 but I have a 3.89 in the last two semesters
Demographics/Background: White, female, first generation college student, LGBT but not sure if I'll mention that


GRE Scores: TBD

LOR: Excellent letter from my primary PI, not so excellent letter from my summer PI (only not excellent because how much can they write about me after knowing me for 8 weeks), and one more TBD. Will probably either be the lab instructor for a class I was a TA for or a professor that I've taken classes with for three semesters (I did well in two of them, including a graduate-level course, not so great on the first class because I was struggling sophomore year) and hope to TA for next semester.

Research Experience: 1 year in a lab at my school (started summer 2017) where I will be writing an honors thesis. 8 weeks this summer as an Amgen Scholar at a top school. The research I've done doesn't align with my research interests for grad school, but they are BME related.

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations: 2nd author publication in review, poster at a small regional conference, just sent in an abstract for a niche conference and planning to apply for another more general conference. Will write an honors thesis that could result in a first author publication, though obviously way after getting into grad school

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I got a research grant from my department, I won an award from a niche academic society, and I was on a team that placed at a local Hackathon

Fellowships/Funding: I'm not sure if I'll apply for any fellowships, just because most require more than 3 LOR and I just don't know who else I'd ask.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:  Some STEM outreach positions. 

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments: 

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.): My PI did their undergrad at Stanford, our lab is collaborating with UC Davis but probably not in my department and definitely not a lab of interest. 

Research Interests: Biomaterials, tissue engineering, hydrogels for drug delivery

Institutions/Programs: 

I still need to narrow down the list but currently:

UCB/UCSF
UCSD
UCLA
UC Irvine

UC Davis
MIT
Stanford
Caltech (maybe)
WashU (maybe)

Comments: I know I'm not a super competitive applicant. I'm pretty average out of the people who will be applying to these programs. My GPA isn't great but everyone says that admissions committees will know that it's pretty good at my school (maybe the same school as . I'm trying to figure out more "target" schools to apply to, but I don't know what those would be. It's also somewhat limiting that I've lived in NY my whole life and California seems very appealing... but obviously I would go somewhere else if the program was great. So if anyone has recommendations for target/safety BME programs that offer full funding and do interesting research, let me know!

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@gummybear9 I feel like we are slightly similar applicants. In which area of tissue engineering/biomaterials are you interested? I am also itching to get out to the west coast but feel mediocre. I am honestly afraid of not even getting an interview anywhere. The head of my department insists that I should not be as hung up on my GPA as I currently am, but that sounds fake, hahaha

Edited by sgaw10

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@sgaw10 Yeah, we're definitely similar! I thought we might even go to the same school given the grade deflation and all that, but I couldn't figure out what major you were talking about lol. I totally feel that fear of not getting an interview. It's just so hard to be competitive. I have pretty broad interests but I really like orthopedic research. Cartilage and bone repair sort of things. My current research is on bone but it's more on the basic science side, so I'd love to use what I know for more translational applications.

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22 hours ago, gummybear9 said:

@sgaw10 Yeah, we're definitely similar! I thought we might even go to the same school given the grade deflation and all that, but I couldn't figure out what major you were talking about lol. I totally feel that fear of not getting an interview. It's just so hard to be competitive. I have pretty broad interests but I really like orthopedic research. Cartilage and bone repair sort of things. My current research is on bone but it's more on the basic science side, so I'd love to use what I know for more translational applications.

Nope, I have actually never been to New York in my life. I have been told that I should go 100% for whatever option I want, but I really think I might end up with no graduate school options AND no job if I give this my all. Which is what I'm doing. Oh well :b That's actually a topic I would really like to pursue! Have you checked out Columbia?

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On 7/29/2018 at 8:08 PM, sgaw10 said:

Nope, I have actually never been to New York in my life. I have been told that I should go 100% for whatever option I want, but I really think I might end up with no graduate school options AND no job if I give this my all. Which is what I'm doing. Oh well ? That's actually a topic I would really like to pursue! Have you checked out Columbia?

I've actually been avoiding looking at Columbia because of how much I do not want to live in NYC on a graduate student stipend

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Did all of this last year, so if anyone has questions about my experience applying, feel free to ask! 

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Taking the GRE on Monday. Feeling pretty nervous and desperately hoping I won't have to retake...

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On 7/28/2018 at 10:43 AM, gummybear9 said:

Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): Top school with a highly respected engineering program

Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: I never know how to calculate this. Everything except liberal studies: 3.56/4.00 or 3.63/4.00 for just things under my department name. 
Overall GPA: 3.62/4.00 but I have a 3.89 in the last two semesters
Demographics/Background: White, female, first generation college student, LGBT but not sure if I'll mention that


GRE Scores: 166V, 170Q

LOR: Excellent letter from my primary PI, not so excellent letter from my summer PI (only not excellent because how much can they write about me after knowing me for 8 weeks), and one more TBD. Will probably either be the lab instructor for a class I was a TA for or a professor that I've taken classes with for three semesters (I did well in two of them, including a graduate-level course, not so great on the first class because I was struggling sophomore year) and hope to TA for next semester.

Research Experience: 1 year in a lab at my school (started summer 2017) where I will be writing an honors thesis. 8 weeks this summer as an Amgen Scholar at a top school. The research I've done doesn't align with my research interests for grad school, but they are BME related.

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations: 2nd author publication in review, poster at a small regional conference, just sent in an abstract for a niche conference and planning to apply for another more general conference. Will write an honors thesis that could result in a first author publication, though obviously way after getting into grad school

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I got a research grant from my department, I won an award from a niche academic society, and I was on a team that placed at a local Hackathon

Fellowships/Funding: I'm not sure if I'll apply for any fellowships, just because most require more than 3 LOR and I just don't know who else I'd ask.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:  Some STEM outreach positions, TA for two classes 

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments: 

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.): My PI did their undergrad at Stanford, our lab is collaborating with UC Davis but probably not in my department and definitely not a lab of interest. 

Research Interests: Biomaterials, tissue engineering, hydrogels for drug delivery

Institutions/Programs: 

I still need to narrow down the list but currently:

UCB/UCSF
UCSD
UCLA
UC Irvine

UC Davis
MIT
Stanford
UC Riverside (safety)
WashU (maybe)

Updated with my GRE score and an updated school list

Edited by gummybear9

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On 8/17/2018 at 6:43 PM, gummybear9 said:

Updated with my GRE score and an updated school list

You definitely don't need to worry about GREs now. I'm still contemplating re-taking but leaning against it. No professor I've spoken with has said that it is a critical part of the application.

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On 8/29/2018 at 7:22 PM, Victorious Secret said:

You definitely don't need to worry about GREs now. I'm still contemplating re-taking but leaning against it. No professor I've spoken with has said that it is a critical part of the application.

Your scores are super impressive! From what I can tell, any quant score above 165 is good for a top program, and for verbal honestly a 155 is good for STEM haha. I definitely wouldn't retake it if I were you. No school is going to take a second glance at your scores.

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On 7/24/2018 at 6:48 PM, sgaw10 said:

Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): Top 5 institution in the country. Probably for the world, too. 

Major(s): A somewhat unique engineering major. Similar to chemical engineering with elective focus on biological engineering topics.
Minor(s): German
GPA in Major: x.xx/4.00 Will be ~3.30/4.00 when applying
Overall GPA: x.xx/4.00 3.18/4.00, should be ~3.25/4.00 when applying. I had a very rough first two years and have a very strong upward trend
Demographics/Background: White female. First generation college student and international adoptee, if that counts for anything.


GRE Scores:
Q: 164
V: 159
W: 5.0

Will be taking in a few weeks. Predicting 160V/165Q based on recent practice tests.

LOR: Should be strong. One from my PI (also took one of his graduate level courses and did well), one from the head of my major's undergraduate department (has witnessed my strong upward academic trend), and then one from a very influential professor who has taught multiple graduate level courses in my field of interest (also did very well)

Research Experience: 1.5 years in a microfluidics/proteomics lab.

Publications/Abstracts/Presentations: No publications. 2-3 conferences, including ABRCMS.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Was awarded a $4k grant by my undergraduate institution to do my research this summer.

Fellowships/Funding: Might apply to P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans. But honestly I don't think I have a chance of receiving any awards.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I worked in the R&D department at a chemical plant the summer after my first year.

Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments:

Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.): I know I can write a strong SOP.

Research Interests: Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, especially musculoskeletal repair and orthopaedics

Institutions/Programs: Applying to biomedical engineering programs only.

University of Washington, Columbia, Penn, Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis, UCSD, Duke, Rice, UT Austin, University of Virginia, Mayo Clinic

Comments:

My institution is infamous for grade deflation (this may already give my school away, but whatever), but I know this is no excuse for my terrible GPA. I know that it closes a lot of doors for me. I had personal issues going on my first two years, but I don't think it is anything significant enough to mention in my SOP because I wasn't diagnosed with cancer or something like that. However, I do have a strong upward trend -- my GPA for my final 1.5 years will be ~3.40. The head of my department has told me I shouldn't worry as much as I am as long as I'm not aiming for top 5 programs, but I feel like a mess. I am desperate for just one interview at one of the schools listed. I really, really, really don't want to work instead of continuing school after I graduate. I also don't think I can afford to do an unfunded master's program instead, but I may apply to some with later deadlines if (more like when) I get absolutely nothing. Sorry this turned into a bit of a rant. 

Updated with my mediocre GRE scores and finalized list of schools. I know I will probably be rejected everywhere, but I am hoping just a single school offers an interview. And I am hoping that turns out to be Columbia or Penn ?

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