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some advice to set realistic PhD school goals for My profile


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I am new to this forum and not sure how this works. I have been working for 2 years post my Masters degree and I am considering applying for PhD programs this year to start in Fall 2019. I would like to get so advice to set some realistic goals when it comes to selecting my universities.

I have copied the template from another post:

Undergrad Institution: (D.Y.Patil University (India) not a big league school)
Major(s): Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
Overall GPA:  the scoring scale was not GPA. I have sent it to WES for evaluation.
Position in Class: 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%

Type of Student: International, Male.

 

GRE Scores (revised/old version): I have not given my GRE yet I am going to give it in the next month. How much will that score matter in terms of aiming for top 10 schools.

Research Experience: 

6 month thesis dissertation for undergraduate degree followed by 1 year experience post degree working on the same project in India.

6 month thesis dissertation for graduate degree followed by 2 and a half year experience.

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.


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

In all, a research experience of 3 years + (2) 6-month thesis.
I have worked on wide range of topics from diabetes, lung cancer, wound healing, breast cancer, neuroinflammation and cancer immunotherapy. 


Applying to Where: 
I am mainly attracted to transnational research in cancer Biology/molecular Biology with recently developed fascination for immunotherapy. I am hoping my profile is competitive enough to apply to the top schools but I am not sure. Any advice in much welcomed and appreciated.
 

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Definitely, MD Anderson Cancer Center which is part of the UT Health MD Anderson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Immunotherapy labs are mainly related to Immunology Ph.D. program. You can indicate your choices of Cancer Biology and Immunology programs on their application. Amazing program! I interviewed and was accepted to MD Anderson for their cancer biology Ph.D. program. 

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Thank you ChallengerSwimmer23. 

I am mainly thinking of Molecular Biology or cancer Biology Programs. MD Anderson is definitely on my list. 

What kind of GRE score should I be aiming for? What do you think are my chances when it comes to top tier programs? Is there anything I should be doing to bolster my profile to be competitive? 

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On 7/25/2018 at 10:23 PM, manish3303 said:

Thank you ChallengerSwimmer23. 

I am mainly thinking of Molecular Biology or cancer Biology Programs. MD Anderson is definitely on my list. 

What kind of GRE score should I be aiming for? What do you think are my chances when it comes to top tier programs? Is there anything I should be doing to bolster my profile to be competitive? 

GRE scores are not as critical as you might think. Some schools aren't even requiring them anymore. Aim for 155+ in verbal and quant, but really that number just means "above average". If you do super well, it helps, if you do meh, it's almost irrelevant (depending on the school). Top programs get a lot of applicants, so they tend to weed people out based on numbers in their first round of looking at applications. That's where GPA matters most. You should look at schools across all tiers - University of Vermont, UC Davis, University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Virginia, and maybe throw in a few of the Harvard Yale MIT Stanford type schools.

At this point, the best things you can do to bolster your application are writing a killer SOP, making sure your LOR are strong, and contacting faculty of interest at your schools of interest to make sure the research interests actually match. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you BabyScientist. I will look into those schools as well. I am not sure about the harvard , stanford and MIT with my profile. I was just trying to evaluate if it would be worthwhile applying to these schools? 

I am working on my SOP. Is there any reference that you would suggest me to look at before wriiting the SOP?  

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19 minutes ago, manish3303 said:

Thank you BabyScientist. I will look into those schools as well. I am not sure about the harvard , stanford and MIT with my profile. I was just trying to evaluate if it would be worthwhile applying to these schools? 

I am working on my SOP. Is there any reference that you would suggest me to look at before wriiting the SOP?  

It's worth a shot to throw in 1 or 2 top tier schools. Your stats are good and sometimes it's a crap shoot. But definitely focus on mid tier schools.

I don't have any references, but I would suggest emphasizing perseverance on your SOP. Show them that hard times in the lab won't make you drop out.

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