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Chemistry Fall 2019 cycle

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Reject me already! I can not stand the silence.

no one freak out about grad schools, I just got into a top 10-15 school with a 3.0

I've applied to similar grad schools as yours, give or take a few! However, I am applying for physical/inorganic materials. From what I recall, these schools do not make decisions until late this

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16 hours ago, chemap said:

Hi everyone! I wanted to get an input on how you guys are deciding what program to commit to. If any of you could please help that'd be great! Thanks!

Hey! I basically made a pro-con list between the three programs I was seriously considering after visits. I ranked the aspects that were most important to me (research, location, etc.), and then looked at which schools had the pros for those aspects. The school with the most pros won. It's a very tough decision, so I decided to go about it in a somewhat quantitative way to make it easier. 

Good luck in your decision, and whichever program you choose will be right for you :)

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21 hours ago, chemap said:

Hi everyone! I wanted to get an input on how you guys are deciding what program to commit to. If any of you could please help that'd be great! Thanks!

I was told that you should pick a program if they have multiple faculty you can see yourself working with. You don't want to go to a program because of a specific faculty or lab because this can result in you not liking the lab or people or for some other reason and then you're stuck with no back up options. 

For me, Davis had more research that I was interested in than Santa Barbara. I'm still waiting to hear from four more schools, but at this point I'm leaning heavily on Davis.

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On 3/28/2019 at 2:57 AM, chemap said:

Hi everyone! I wanted to get an input on how you guys are deciding what program to commit to. If any of you could please help that'd be great! Thanks!

My ranked priorities when considering multiple offers:

1. Research: I looked into the types of research going on at each institution. I tried to find at least three faculty members that I would genuinely be interested in working with,  but also who are actively publishing.

2. Location: I am more of a city or beach person and I go out a lot so that factored into my choice.

3. Stipend: if the stipend matches the cost of living in that particular location.

4. General vibe: I would highly recommend visiting the school to learn more about the program and the department. But, if you don't get the chance then don't be afraid to email the professors. I was not able to visit every school I got into, so I talked to several professors via email and I got a really good vibe from some of them. I compared my experience with emailing my advisor/professors at my previous institution and the ones I talked to seemed friendlier and more enthusiastic. 

5. Prestige/name: matters for some people, but it is not a "priority" for me.

I am sure there are a lot more factors to consider, but hope this serves as a starting point! Good luck!


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Undergrad Institution: No-name California state university
Major(s): Biochemistry and cell biology double major

GPA in Major: 3.3/ 4 
Overall GPA: 3.3/4, 3.85 upper division
Position in Class: n/a
Type of Student:  Domestic, male, minority 

GRE Scores (revised/old version): 156(61st) quant 153(61st) verbal 3.5 AW (41st)

GRE chemistry: 67th, 750

Research Experience: 1 yr independent undergrad research and 1.5 yrs R&D in industry

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: ACS award, department award for research, scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 1.5 yrs R&D in industry

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Senior thesis,  a manuscript in preparation (based solely on my research), 4 letters of rec.

Applied to: UCI, UCSD, UCLA, Northwestern, UChicago, Stanford, MIT, Scripps, Caltech.

So far accepted to: Northwestern and UCLA

Declined by: UCSD, Uchicago, Stanford, MIT, Scripps, Caltech.

Never heard from UCI, but it was one of my backup schools.

My gpa and gre scores are bad, but my research is very good.  I applied to a lot of schools with the assumption most of them aren't going to read my application, because of my low scores. The few that read my research summary would likely accept me. My undergraduate advisor was adamant that I should be going to a top program despite my low scores. I mentioned wanting to continue working in industry in my SOP which probably hurt. 


Probably going to go to Northwestern.

Stipend at NU is 32.8k which is excellent considering the medium cost of living in Evanston. That said LA seemed like a nicer place to live, however I feel like more financially secure living in a cheaper area. Public transportation is decent so I wouldn't need to have a car. Most students I spoke to don't have a car or mentioned getting rid of it. The facilities were excellent and the chemistry department recently had hundreds of millions reinvested, which was generated from Lyrica royalties. Most of the research groups I looked at appeared to be very well funded. There are many more grad students than undergrads. I felt as though the school was much more focused on research and less focused on teaching. Job opportunities are arguably better here since many large corporations (Abbvie, 3M, Dow, Exon mobil, etc.) all recruit from Northwestern. There is also a strong alumni network surrounding NU. That said, job placement at UCLA was also great. I felt like the research fit was also better at Northwestern, but there are still plenty of interesting groups at UCLA. Students at NU were very encouraging and excited about their research.

The stipend at UCLA is 32k with a two time 2k payment at the first and second year. I feel like this really the bare minimum for living in LA. I could potentially make it work, however I would be living paycheck to paycheck. Transportation is horrendous so I would need a car which would be an additional huge expense. The facilities at UCLA are much older. Funding seemed to be an issue, some students I spoke to are funded by teaching all 4-5 years. Realistically its a public school focused more on teaching than research. That said most of the groups had great job placement for their graduates. Something to keep in mind is the funding situation may change in a few years at UCLA since they've made billions of dollars from Xtandi royalties, which was developed there. Personally I didn't see anywhere near the investment Northwestern made into its chemistry department. It's a public school so how they deal with profits from royalties is complicated. This may just be my impression, but students in general seemed more stressed out at UCLA.

Based off that I end up with primarily a list of cons for UCLA and mainly pros for NU. So I don't see any reason to go to UCLA.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Undergrad Institution: Large Public Research School
Major(s): Chemistry (ACS certification) 
Minor(s): none
GPA in Major: 3.59 
Overall GPA: 3.39 
Position in Class:  N.A. 
Type of Student: Female domestic white/asian 
GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:  157 (65%) (lol) 
V:  162 (91%)
W: 5.0 (92%)
S:  620 (29%) (lolll)  

Research Experience:  2 years of undergraduate research polymer nanoparticles (same lab), stayed for the summer after I graduated

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:  Summer research fellowship for two summers, some other fellowships during the academic year, Pfizer Undergraduate Research Award in Organic Chemistry, Dean's honor list (5 quarters), 4 total research presentations (2 were statewide, 2 were just within the school)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: President of Women in Chemistry club, Did some chemistry outreach stuff  

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: 

I became a chemistry major fairly late and my GPA has a noticeable upward trend as soon as I switched into chemistry. 

I worked on my SOP for a long time? 

I think all of my letters were pretty good? 

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

Applied after senior year so my senior classes would help boost my GPA 

Applying to Where:
Applied  with organic chemistry or materials focus 

University of California - Los Angeles (Accepted/committed) 

University of Washington  (Accepted)

University of Massachusetts Amherst (Accepted) 

University of Southern California (Accepted) 

University of California Santa Cruz (Accepted)

University of California Riverside (Accepted)

Boston University (Rejected) 

University of California- Santa Barbara (Rejected)

University of  California - Davis (Rejected)

University of California- San Diego (Rejected)

Northeastern (Rejected) 

Side notes: 

Some of my safety schools ended up rejecting me and the schools I thought were long-shot dream schools ended up accepting me. Grad school applications are really about your research interests more than any school's "ranking." (Everyone says this but it's good to remember) 

In hindsight, I probably applied to too many schools but it felt necessary at the time I was applying. 

I used to drive myself crazy on this site before I applied, scrolling through everyone's posts and getting very stressed out because  everyone's got incredible stats so I'm posting this so people can see even with meh stats you can make up for it with other stuff like a pretty solid SOP that emphasizes your research interests and development as a researcher then applying to schools that fit those research interests. 

Anyway hope this helps people looking through this for the 2020 cycle and beyond! Good luck! 

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Hello guys, I have been accepted in Saint Louis University (SLU), Ph.D. chemistry Fall 2019 !!

How good is the school reputation, do I stand a chance of post-doctoral post after graduation ??

any advise guys !

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On 4/19/2019 at 4:51 PM, Mahmoud. said:

Hello guys, I have been accepted in Saint Louis University (SLU), Ph.D. chemistry Fall 2019 !!

How good is the school reputation, do I stand a chance of post-doctoral post after graduation ??

any advise guys !

Hi, that's what you are looking for.

St. Louis University

St. Louis, MO

#122 in Chemistry (tie)


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I know about SLU ranking

I know some other universities of lower rank and have a good impact and chances for post-doc (e.g. Rutgers new ark, George Mason University, university of Utah, Colorado State, VCU, ..etc), it's not about rank. I just want to know about its significance, practically? and is it possible to get post-doc out of Missouri, near to the east-coast or not?

Thank you

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  • 3 months later...

Hope this helps any Fall 2020 applicants looking at the thread

Undergrad Institution: large state university (California)
Major(s): Chemistry
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.5
Overall GPA: 3.5
Position in Class: N/A 
Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 159 (70%)
V: 157 (76%)
W: 4.5 (81%)
S: N/A (lol)

Research Experience: 3 years in two labs (Broad environmental focus: Physical, Materials), NSF Summer REU, first author publication, oral and poster presentations at ACS national meetings etc

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: MARC, BUILD, President’s/Dean’s list

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Chemistry Club (Pres)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: took a grad course as undergrad?

Special Bonus Points: Letters of Recc’s were all from primary research advisors, one of whom is influential in their field

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Failed ODEs, retook and got a B so it's not the end of the world if you do

Applied to (Materials, Organic if no materials):

UCSB - attending

USC, Wisconsin Madison, UCR, UCI, U Oregon
Georgia Tech
Caltech, UIUC, MIT, Berkeley, UMich, Cornell

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