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2020 Neuroscience PhD Applicants and Admission Results

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On 10/8/2019 at 12:29 PM, glialstar said:

I’m in the Brown NSGP if you have any questions on that program!

Thanks! I'm DM you!

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On 10/8/2019 at 7:36 PM, masha18 said:

Research: 2.5 years part-time during undergrad in a somatosensory systems lab + currently working there full-time on an independent project (human psychophysics); 1 second-author published paper in Scientific Reports; working on a first-author paper right now but it might not be ready for submission by the application deadlines

I think you can write a possible title / author list on your CV for your unfinished paper. just label it (In preparation)

Edited by sYsTeMsN
"quoted" too much

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On 10/13/2019 at 6:02 PM, HawaiiLee808 said:

Trying not to be that guy but I'm here to tell you it's "not fine" if you have that GPA and anyone who tells you otherwise has no clue what they are talking about. That length of time will not counter your GPA and your GRE scores are not quite strong enough to offset it either especially considering that many schools are no longer using it. Neuroscience is insanely competitive right now with many/most R1's having admit rates below 5% with many being below 2%. I know people at the schools you listed and got into comparable ones but I had to do a ton to compensate for my similarly low GPA and still I didn't do well. I did end up at Boston University (a good school) but only because I networked with the right PI who pulled me into a direct-admit program because he looked past my GPA. My stats are posted in a block below. The key for you is to network and to get several PI's at schools to fall in love with you so they can pull for you no matter your GPA. I don't believe your GPA is reflective of your abilities and schools know that but the unfortunate truth is that it's hard to look past it when so many other students have higher ones (and no PI wants to knock someone for not having a "hard major") plus incoming class GPAs matter for rankings and when applying for institutional grants like the T32. Furthermore, a low GPA means that you are unlikely to get competitive individual fellowships like the GRFP, NDSEG, CSGFm Ford, and possibly the F31 so the school is less inclined to take you.

I wish you all the best and feel free to message me if you have any questions. I know first-hand how difficult it is to offset a low GPA but I've been somewhat successful so hopefully I can help you out.

 

Undergrad Institution: Top 100 liberal arts university
Major(s): Math and Biochemistry
Minor(s): Neuroscience
GPA in Major: 3.1
Overall GPA: 3.2
Position in Class: Average
Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 164 (88th percentile)
V: 167 (98th percentile)
W: 6.0 (99th percentile)

Graduate Institution: Top 5 Public University
Degree: M.S. Applied Mathematics
GPA: 3.7
Position in Class: ?
Type of Student: Domestic Male

Research Experience: 3 academic years in neuroendocrinology and biophysics (one third-authorship in a small journal). 2 REU's. 1 2nd-authored poster at SfN.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Several awards for travel, summer research grant, academic scholarship (half of tuition), and awards for tutoring/mentorship.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 3.5 years of research at a premier neuroscience research institution. 2-3 posters authored (2 large-authorship and 1 first-authored). 3 publications (all large-authorship) in eLife, eNeuro, Nature with three more in preparation (1 3rd-author, 1 large-authorship, 1 potential first-authorship MS thesis) but probably no more than 1 submitted by application time. Possibly one or two more I'll be included on. Also work as a mentor for underprivileged science students. Several years of serious programming (software development-ish level) in Python with some Matlab.

Special Bonus Points: Completed MS in Applied Math consisting of 36 credits (see above); very well-connected through my current institution 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Institution is very very well-known in neuroscience and pretty much universally-lauded (you could probably guess it).

Research Interests: Computational neuroscience especially dimensionality reductive approaches to large-scale datasets in mouse with calcium imaging and vision

I see exactly what you mean and have been prepared for rejections and looked for safety schools should my GPA greatly hinder my application but lately I've been emailing PIs at columbia, UC boulder and UCLA and almost all of them have quickly gotten back to me and said I look like a great candidate and want to interview/ meet with me despite seeing my GPA on my CV. I'm assuming that my current position at the NIH and my experience has made up for my GPA but I'm also not sure how much weight these emails should hold.

Edit: I also would like to mention that the research I've done is very closely related to the POI's current research

Edited by episome1996
add info

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5 hours ago, episome1996 said:

I see exactly what you mean and have been prepared for rejections and looked for safety schools should my GPA greatly hinder my application but lately I've been emailing PIs at columbia, UC boulder and UCLA and almost all of them have quickly gotten back to me and said I look like a great candidate and want to interview/ meet with me despite seeing my GPA on my CV. I'm assuming that my current position at the NIH and my experience has made up for my GPA but I'm also not sure how much weight these emails should hold.

Edit: I also would like to mention that the research I've done is very closely related to the POI's current research

Sure I just wanted to make sure you didn't only apply to top schools having heard the advice that "GPA doesn't matter if you have strong research" which I made the mistake of. If you're in NIH PREP/IRTA that's a big plus. Just make sure to appeal to at least 3 professors at each school you really want: I had a few PI's want me (and tell me as much) but because they were only 1 or 2 per school, I never ended up getting in (*cough* Carnegie Mellon *cough*); mea culpa. I have some specific recommendations regarding Columbia if you want to PM me and I can help you through which PI's to talk to or how BU works if you want as well.

Best of luck!!!

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Long time lurker, thought I would throw my profile into the mix!

Undergrad Institution: Top 20 school (not an ivy)
Major(s): neuroscience, philosophy 
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: Don't know? This isn't calculated on my transcript haha
Overall GPA:  3.19 

Type of Student: Domestic female, white as the driven snow

GRE Scores (revised/old version): taking in 2 weeks! Hardly any programs wanted this, and if they did, I asked and they did not require official scores. Aiming for 165+ in bothV and Q

Research Experience: 
1 year in a radiology lab in undergrad, doing basic cognitive analyses and correlations with MRI data; 2 posters (1 local as first author, 1 national conference but middle author)

3 years neuroimaging research (will be 3.5 by the time I submit apps): a lot of posters, most local but a few national; co-author on 3 papers that are in the works right now/submitted that I am not sure will be accepted by the time I submit apps; 1 first author paper under revision (fingers crossed!)


Awards/Honors/RecognitionsScientific research award (undergrad), a couple of awards for posters
 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: just current research job, get to do independent research project that is pretty novel 
 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: lol nope

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...): not sure how "famous" anyone is, but LORs are really good (I think) from pretty well-respected people in the field; have been lucky to be at an institution for work and undergrad that are both very well known for their research, and connections are pretty great

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I want to do neuroimaging research, so programs with cognitive /computational options are what I am drawn to. However, these are all VERY top heavy, and I know super competitive -- I have connections, but not sure how much they matter. Obviously I am worried about my GPA-- I was premed for awhile, and those classes killed my GPA, although I have a very strong upward trend. I know my chances of admission are slim, but I figure I am not getting a PhD just for the sake of having one, so I am only applying to schools I am very excited about!

Applying to Where (tentative):

-MIT BCS

-Brown (both NSGP and GPP)

-BU (BBC or GPN, I am not sure)

-UPenn

-Stanford

-Duke CNAP

-USC

-NYU

-Weill Cornell

 

Probably will change this list and add more, but curious to know what you all think of my chances? Everyone here is so accomplished, I hope we all get to bring our talents somewhere! 

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5 hours ago, MyelinatedSheath said:

Long time lurker, thought I would throw my profile into the mix!

Undergrad Institution: Top 20 school (not an ivy)
Major(s): neuroscience, philosophy 
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: Don't know? This isn't calculated on my transcript haha
Overall GPA:  3.19 

Type of Student: Domestic female, white as the driven snow

GRE Scores (revised/old version): taking in 2 weeks! Hardly any programs wanted this, and if they did, I asked and they did not require official scores. Aiming for 165+ in bothV and Q

Research Experience: 
1 year in a radiology lab in undergrad, doing basic cognitive analyses and correlations with MRI data; 2 posters (1 local as first author, 1 national conference but middle author)

3 years neuroimaging research (will be 3.5 by the time I submit apps): a lot of posters, most local but a few national; co-author on 3 papers that are in the works right now/submitted that I am not sure will be accepted by the time I submit apps; 1 first author paper under revision (fingers crossed!)


Awards/Honors/RecognitionsScientific research award (undergrad), a couple of awards for posters
 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: just current research job, get to do independent research project that is pretty novel 
 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: lol nope

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...): not sure how "famous" anyone is, but LORs are really good (I think) from pretty well-respected people in the field; have been lucky to be at an institution for work and undergrad that are both very well known for their research, and connections are pretty great

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I want to do neuroimaging research, so programs with cognitive /computational options are what I am drawn to. However, these are all VERY top heavy, and I know super competitive -- I have connections, but not sure how much they matter. Obviously I am worried about my GPA-- I was premed for awhile, and those classes killed my GPA, although I have a very strong upward trend. I know my chances of admission are slim, but I figure I am not getting a PhD just for the sake of having one, so I am only applying to schools I am very excited about!

Applying to Where (tentative):

-MIT BCS

-Brown (both NSGP and GPP)

-BU (BBC or GPN, I am not sure)

-UPenn

-Stanford

-Duke CNAP

-USC

-NYU

-Weill Cornell

 

Probably will change this list and add more, but curious to know what you all think of my chances? Everyone here is so accomplished, I hope we all get to bring our talents somewhere! 

Not sure if I am qualified to comment on your profile as I am also a current applicant with similar stats/experience as yours. I would perhaps add one or two safety schools. Like maybe Penn State or Case Western? But of course it's all about whether they have faculty with similar interests as you or not

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On 9/3/2019 at 3:13 AM, Allaboutbrain! said:

@HawaiiLee808 
Hi! Thanks a lot for your reply.

I would like to know why you think my profile is a bit odd for a neuroscience PhD program? I have a very good research experience close to 3 years  in electrophysiology, right from designing experimental paradigms to data acquisition to  EEG analysis.
Yes, I have worked in a traditional neuroscience lab, which is a part of a company that manufactures EEG & ERB machines. They do conduct a lot of studies related to sleep, aphasia, ADHD and many more. And I don't think MBBS from India is an alien degree to universities in the US, (I hope not)

Coming to my publications, I have one under review in https://www.journals.elsevier.com/explore and the other in  https://www.journals.elsevier.com/international-journal-of-psychophysiology
So it would be great if you tell me why you think I should re-consider my decision? It could save hundreds of dollars for me!:)) 
 

Hey, why go to someone who did not get into a lot of schools for advice. You look great for interviews. You never know in the end but our program is looking for interdisciplinary thinkers! Hawaii did not get in so I would not go to them for advice on your life! What it always comes down to is how you do in the interviews if you get one. Always remember that reaching out to faculty is super important. Make connections and be passionate about your goals. Also when you come in to be interviewed, stay positive, don't whine and try to see yourself as part of a community that you can grow with. Student opinions mean a lot! Don't underestimate the power of the current students you are hanging out with!

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On 8/29/2019 at 6:55 PM, charmingdiary said:

Does anyone have any info on the reputation on BU's GPN vs A&N (Anatomy and Neurobiology)? 

Aside from their differences in coursework, I can't tell much of a difference. I take it that GPN has the better reputation?

Both programs are solid. It really depends on your intended journey. AN is a department based program and GPN is university wide. They really are very different. GPN is based on a cohort coming from many varied backgrounds (Math, Physics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Sci, and Neuroscience). Students can take classwork and do their thesis in labs all across BU including the MED school. The program boasts a really flexible curriculum and even Clinical Rounds. Of course we think its awesome. AN is great if you want to be a teacher. They have a very intense and outstanding program that stresses education in Medical Anatomy. The department also has some great investigators that also are part of GPN training faculty. GPN takes in a great variety of students. Numbers are not their thing. They look for intense prior research experiences and a good mix of passionate students that can work together. Good luck!

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On 10/15/2019 at 7:49 PM, HawaiiLee808 said:

Sure I just wanted to make sure you didn't only apply to top schools having heard the advice that "GPA doesn't matter if you have strong research" which I made the mistake of. If you're in NIH PREP/IRTA that's a big plus. Just make sure to appeal to at least 3 professors at each school you really want: I had a few PI's want me (and tell me as much) but because they were only 1 or 2 per school, I never ended up getting in (*cough* Carnegie Mellon *cough*); mea culpa. I have some specific recommendations regarding Columbia if you want to PM me and I can help you through which PI's to talk to or how BU works if you want as well.

Best of luck!!!

Hey, don't listen to this guy about BU. He just got there and really knows very little about it and turned everyone off during the GPN interviews...duh... why he didn't get in! Problem with this site is that everyone comes off like an expert. First lesson, they are not. If you have great research experiences do reach out to faculty. Show you are passionate about coming and about their research. Make sure you reach out to those who will appreciate your previous accomplishments. See if you can get an interview. If you do, don't screw it up. Be positive to both faculty and students, be humble and show your vision! Don't respond to folks who say "PM me". They are just too nervous about discussing the truth on the forum where it shd be. You will get in somewhere have faith!

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5 hours ago, mmalam294 said:

Not sure if I am qualified to comment on your profile as I am also a current applicant with similar stats/experience as yours. I would perhaps add one or two safety schools. Like maybe Penn State or Case Western? But of course it's all about whether they have faculty with similar interests as you or not

 

5 hours ago, mmalam294 said:

Not sure if I am qualified to comment on your profile as I am also a current applicant with similar stats/experience as yours. I would perhaps add one or two safety schools. Like maybe Penn State or Case Western? But of course it's all about whether they have faculty with similar interests as you or not

Graduate education today is very different than what it used to be. Faculty and programs are really looking for students who are well seasoned and know what they want. Sounds like you are deeply committed to human brain imaging. This is great. GPN is university wide with a great mix of students in all disciplines. There are a lot of labs to look into. Check Karin Schon at MED, Chantal Stern, Joe McGuire, David Somers just to mention a few. Good luck! If you want any other real advice about GPN just reach out. Good Luck! Don't be discouraged as times have changed. Apply to a good mix of programs but make sure if you get in you want to be there!

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If anyone wants the real information about the BU GPN program just reach out. No "PM" here. Happy to share our excitement with you or point you in a different direction! We are pretty tight about our community so watch out what you hear about it and all programs. First- make sure that the person giving you the advice was actually accepted! 

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On 10/24/2019 at 11:07 AM, MyelinatedSheath said:

Probably will change this list and add more, but curious to know what you all think of my chances? Everyone here is so accomplished, I hope we all get to bring our talents somewhere! 

You sound like a strong applicant! Honestly, we have similar applications but your stats are a bit better : ). Also, I love your positivity and I hope to see you at an interview weekend.

As for putting safety schools, maybe only put them on there if you might want to attend them. Otherwise, in the very unlikely chance you don't get in anywhere, you could apply again with more experience next year.

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20 hours ago, sYsTeMsN said:

You sound like a strong applicant! Honestly, we have similar applications but your stats are a bit better : ). Also, I love your positivity and I hope to see you at an interview weekend.

Aww I love that haha I hope so too!! 

 

Thanks for all the advice here, Re: BU, safeties, etc. is anyone else struggling with their essays as much as I am?! I know how to write about my experience but am really uncertain on how to organize and introduce everything. Are you all taking a more technical tone and just sticking to what eachprompt asks, or are people being creative? 

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Hi,

After reading some posts, I may be too underqualified but maybe there’s some hope one of you can offer or like a previous poster said, you can save me hundreds in app fees by saying my chances are small.

 

undergrad inst: Princeton

major: molecular biology

gpa: 3.2, major gpa would have to be lower 

postbacc inst: Univ of Penn

program for prehealth students that I studied in for a year; gpa: 3.48 (five courses total)

research experience: 2 academic years

one at undergrad with biochm prof, who would be a strong lor writer, working on neurodegeneration and neuroprotection re PD

the other at UPenn in a compbio lab where I assisted with transcriptome analysis and neuroimaging study (but I don’t think I was in the lab every single day)

pubs: none, was planning to pub with undergrad lor writer but never did; they are technically researched and written and I could preprint as one of the two contains a novel etiopathogenesis/neuroprotection model

undergrad “pubs” are mandatory junior paper and thesis, which were received well, the first more than the second (e.g. well regarded neuroscience prof was super excited about it)

inexplicable gap: in the two years since being at Penn, started and stopped different paths: helping deliver different services to the developmentally disabled through the state, taught K-12 (language arts), started (but didn’t stop) a profitable company focused on student mentorship (not a plug)

sop: the only version I have (from a previous app cycle) has super specific detail about what I want to pursue in neuro

gre: 320 but more and more programs don’t seem to require it so don’t know if I should send (when I mentioned the breakdown to a prof on the grad committee of an Ivy neuro or science program he said it’s fine, i.e. didn’t seem to think it was worth it to take it again but this was before inception of test optional)

lors: undergrad prof and Penn lab prof indicated they would be strong writers, have to find a third

not sure what else to share except that I feel like I should finagle my way into a lab asap so that at least on my app I can say something like I know there’s a gap but by time the Spring rolls around I should have another half academic year of lab experience (ridiculous/desperate/what do you think??

 

 

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Also a potential “diversity” add as I’m a minority gender-wise, race-wise, etc

And forgot to note where I’m hoping to apply

Penn

Univ of Sciences in Philadelphia

Rutgers

NYU

Columbia

Rockefeller 

(such a reach, not that the others aren’t)

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On 10/28/2019 at 2:27 PM, MyelinatedSheath said:

Aww I love that haha I hope so too!! 

 

Thanks for all the advice here, Re: BU, safeties, etc. is anyone else struggling with their essays as much as I am?! I know how to write about my experience but am really uncertain on how to organize and introduce everything. Are you all taking a more technical tone and just sticking to what eachprompt asks, or are people being creative? 

I tried being creative, especially with the intro (had a riddle), in a previous app cycle but a prof I know who is/was on the grad committee of an Ivy indicated that a simpler approach would be better so maybe that will help guide your writing. 

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21 hours ago, Neuro_logos said:

not sure what else to share except that I feel like I should finagle my way into a lab asap so that at least on my app I can say something like I know there’s a gap but by time the Spring rolls around I should have another half academic year of lab experience (ridiculous/desperate/what do you think??

My feeling, and I am no expert at this, is that you should perhaps try to get an year of experience under your belt before you apply? It is hard to think that since you have taken two years off already, but given the caliber of the schools you are aiming for, your research experience seems low to me. Like how about a full-time research tech job? But then on the other hand, admissions seems to be more about fit, so if you feel like you are a good for, then of course no need. Just something to think about

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7 hours ago, mmalam294 said:

My feeling, and I am no expert at this, is that you should perhaps try to get an year of experience under your belt before you apply? It is hard to think that since you have taken two years off already, but given the caliber of the schools you are aiming for, your research experience seems low to me. Like how about a full-time research tech job? But then on the other hand, admissions seems to be more about fit, so if you feel like you are a good for, then of course no need. Just something to think about

Thank you! I think I'm going to apply to see if any think I'm a decent fit with the plan to find a research tech position should I be across-the-board rejected.

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On 11/1/2019 at 1:00 PM, Neuro_logos said:

pubs: none, was planning to pub with undergrad lor writer but never did; they are technically researched and written and I could preprint as one of the two contains a novel etiopathogenesis/neuroprotection model

I would throw this on biorxiv if it doesn't take time away from your applications. If it does, throw it on biorxiv after you apply. Why not put the info out there and put it on your CV

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I posted in this thread before, but here area my stats now that I've finished applying to all the PhD programs in computational neuroscience on my list:

  • Boston University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon-University of Pittsburgh
  • Princeton University
  • University College London
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Washington (one in Applied Math and another in Neuroscience)

Here are my stats:

  • Academics

    • Undergraduate GPA: 3.3

    • Post-baccalaureate GPA: 4.0 

      • Undergraduate and post-baccalaureate years include: thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, biophysics, quantum physics, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, linear algebra, calculus, differential equations, neuroscience, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, epistemology, logic, poetry, ethics, history, philosophy of science, and lab coursework in physics and chemistry. 

    • GRE: 161V, 164Q, 4.5W

  • Research

    • 4 years of bioinformatics research during undergrad

      • Includes two summer REU's: one in bioinformatics (Cornell University) and one in computational neuroscience (U Chicago)

    •  2 years of NIH postbac IRTA: 1 year of bioinformatics and 1 year of computational neuroscience

    • 3 publications (2 first-authors and 1 second-author)

    • Two bioinformatics contest awards and one national research award

    • Dozens of GitHub repositories with thousands of commits showcasing my work in mathematics, physics, philosophy, computer science, biology, neuroscience, and other areas.

      • R, python, MATLAB, C, and Haskell skills in data science, software engineering, machine learning, visualization, pipelines, and other techniques that span computational disciplines.

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Hi! 

Applying for neuro Grad School for 2020,

Just graduated from my masters focusing on cognitive neuroscience, total of 3 years of research experience. 3 strong LORs, two publications: one 2nd and one 1st author, GRE V165 Q167. 

Pretty worried about my letter of intent. 

Wanted to ask for pro/dis recommendations for services for professional reviewing of letter of intent. 

(In my country this type of letter is never required and I want to make sure that my draft is aligned with the american requirements.)

Many thanks! 

Good luck to all 🙂

 

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On 11/17/2019 at 11:53 AM, Neurosci2020 said:

Hi! 

Applying for neuro Grad School for 2020,

Just graduated from my masters focusing on cognitive neuroscience, total of 3 years of research experience. 3 strong LORs, two publications: one 2nd and one 1st author, GRE V165 Q167. 

Pretty worried about my letter of intent. 

Wanted to ask for pro/dis recommendations for services for professional reviewing of letter of intent. 

(In my country this type of letter is never required and I want to make sure that my draft is aligned with the american requirements.)

Many thanks! 

Good luck to all 🙂

 

You mean statement of purpose/personal statement? I received very good comments from users here. You may try posting a thread and see if some of the users are free to review your essay. You haven't got much time though. A lot of the schools have Dec 1st deadline! 

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Hello everyone,

I am planning to apply to Tufts, UMass, and BU for their neuroscience Ph.D. programs for 2020. I'd like to pursue research in neurodegeneration.

Undergraduate GPA: 3.3, graduated in 2017, from University of South Florida

GRE: V 156 Q 163

Almost 6 years of research experience in neurodegenerative diseases from three different labs (2 at USF, 1 at Mass General Hospital) with strong recommendation letters

2 co-author published paper, 2 co-author manuscripts in submission, and 1 first author paper to be submitted, plus two other co-author papers in the pipeline.

I pretty much want to stay in MA, do I have a shot?

 

Thank you very much!!

 

Edited by frzam1
Added university name.

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32 minutes ago, frzam1 said:

Hello everyone,

I am planning to apply to Tufts, UMass, and BU for their neuroscience Ph.D. programs for 2020. I'd like to pursue research in neurodegeneration.

Undergraduate GPA: 3.3, graduated in 2017, from University of South Florida

GRE: V 156 Q 163

Almost 6 years of research experience in neurodegenerative diseases from three different labs (2 at USF, 1 at Mass General Hospital) with strong recommendation letters

2 co-author published paper, 2 co-author manuscripts in submission, and 1 first author paper to be submitted, plus two other co-author papers in the pipeline.

I pretty much want to stay in MA, do I have a shot?

 

Thank you very much!!

 

Yes

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On 11/20/2019 at 9:10 PM, frzam1 said:

Hello everyone,

I am planning to apply to Tufts, UMass, and BU for their neuroscience Ph.D. programs for 2020. I'd like to pursue research in neurodegeneration.

Undergraduate GPA: 3.3, graduated in 2017, from University of South Florida

GRE: V 156 Q 163

Almost 6 years of research experience in neurodegenerative diseases from three different labs (2 at USF, 1 at Mass General Hospital) with strong recommendation letters

2 co-author published paper, 2 co-author manuscripts in submission, and 1 first author paper to be submitted, plus two other co-author papers in the pipeline.

I pretty much want to stay in MA, do I have a shot?

 

Thank you very much!!

 

Had very similar statistics and got into comparable schools. With your very strong research efforts, I think you have made up for your GPA but just make sure you network so that PI's can make sure you don't get filtered out. If you really want to stay in MA (I would suggest applying to other states unless you have a very compelling reason), apply to other programs at those schools like psychology, biology, biomedical sciences etc. I do think you should also consider Brandeis neuroscience as they are excellent. Maybe even Harvard or MIT just to give it a shot.

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