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Bak3rm3

2020 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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Alright, I don't think there is a thread for the 2019-2020 application cycle yet (to enter fall 2020). If there is, mods please delete. I did see a neuro application for 2020 but this one is for all biomedical/biological umbrella'ed programs. Applications should start to open in a few weeks so I hope everyone has started somewhat to get their things together. This is a template that I've taken from previous years to carry over for this year. 

Good luck to all who are applying! 

Undergrad Institution: (School or type of school, such as big state, lib arts, ivy, technical, foreign (what country?)... Overall Reputation in Biology?)
Major(s):
Minor(s):
GPA in Major:
Overall GPA:

Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?)

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:
V:
W:
B:



TOEFL Total: (if applicable, otherwise delete this)

Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

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

Applying to Where:

School - Department - Research Interest
School - Department - Research Interest
School - Department - Research Interest

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Undergrad Institution: University of Georgia (Biochem/Mol.Bio)

Masters institution: Tufts University (Pharmacology and Drug Development)


GPA in Major: 3.14 (B.S), 3.46 (M.S)

Type of Student: Domestic Male , minority 

GRE Scores: N/A - applying to programs that don't require
Q:
V:
W:
B:


Research Experience: ~4 years academic experience in lab, undergrad = plant bio/mol. bio; Master's = pharmacology,  also 3 years industry working on protein research.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: N/A

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Intern with Department of energy - bioscience division (mol.bio)

Special Bonus Points:  LoR from current CEO, VP of R&D, and M.S adviser and/or M.S program director

Any other info that shows up on your app and might matter: 1 patent application in industry, 1 publication in journal (second author), 2 poster presentations (both academic setting)

Applying to where: (PhD programs)

Umass-Biomedical Sci.

Harvard - BBS
Boston University - Biomedical Sci (PiBS)

Brandeis - Mol/Cell bio

Emory - Biological sciences

Icahn School of Med - Biomedical Sciences

Weill Cornell - medical sciences

Rutgers - molecular biosciences

NYU - Biomedical Sciences

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Neuromantic said:

Yikes... Being a woman and/or minority is considered a "special bonus point"? 

Sorry, the templated was copied and pasted from a previous year. I will go back and edit that. 

edit. how come i can't change the main post?

Edited by Bak3rm3

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1 hour ago, Neuromantic said:

Yikes... Being a woman and/or minority is considered a "special bonus point"? 

Women, not as much, but minority, sort of. More funding options are open to minorities and funding agencies like to fund minorities, which means universities like to accept minorities because they're more likely to get funded by outside sources.

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Posted (edited)

Undergrad Institution: University of Maryland, College Park 
Major(s): Public Health Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.1
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 156
V: 157
W: 5.0


Research Experience: 

1 year research fellowship program/ class that was created for first year undergraduate students. Was also one of the few students to win the summer fellowship and get paid to work in the lab over the summer. Research based in microbiology and genetics.

2.5 years in Molecular biology and genetics lab under the Head of the department. 6 presentations from this lab 2 and best poster presentation awards. Tons of hours in this lab, worked there every single summer and winter in college as well as for credit over the semester. Expect to be published as a co-author on a paper from this lab before I start applications.

2 year postbacc program at the NIH/NCI: working in the RNA biology section


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list for 6 semesters, Student Commencement Speaker for my school's commencement, 2 best poster presentation awards at separate regional research conferences

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for summer research class, Free tutor for children on the weekends, President of a school non-profit that donated unused medical supplies to clinics abroad for 2 years, Worked at wawa for 7 years, Crisis counselor

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Have truly excellent LORs, My current PI knows a lot of people in the field and will help introduce me / email them. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: GPA dip in sophomore year. Lots of science classes with C's and two F'. This is explained by my recommender and I have a doctor's letter detailing why I could not go to class and almost failed out (due to undiagnosed mental disorder, bipolar and depression). After I got on medicine I made dean's list every semester without faltering and my GPA has an upward trend from 3.6->3.94. I took credit overloads every semester and max credits every winter and summer. I've taken classes since I've graduated in both chemistry and psychology and I've gotten A+'s in both. 

Applying to where:

UCLA - Genetics & genomics 

Berkeley - Cognitive Neuroscience

University of Colorado Boulder - Psychology and Neuroscience behavioral genetics 

University of Denver - clinical psychology

USC - clinical psychology

Harvard - BPH

NYU - Developmental genetics

Duke - neurobiology

OHSU - behavioral neuroscience

Caltech - neurobiology

Anyone have any other recommendations for behavioral genetics programs - particularly in california or florida? 

Edited by episome1996

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3 hours ago, episome1996 said:

Undergrad Institution: University of Maryland, College Park 
Major(s): Public Health Science
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA: 3.1
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 156
V: 157
W: 5.0


Research Experience: 

1 year research fellowship program/ class that was created for first year undergraduate students. Was also one of the few students to win the summer fellowship and get paid to work in the lab over the summer. Research based in microbiology and genetics.

2.5 years in Molecular biology and genetics lab under the Head of the department. 6 presentations from this lab 2 and best poster presentation awards. Tons of hours in this lab, worked there every single summer and winter in college as well as for credit over the semester. Expect to be published as a co-author on a paper from this lab before I start applications.

2 year postbacc program at the NIH/NCI: working in the RNA biology section


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list for 6 semesters, Student Commencement Speaker for my school's commencement, 2 best poster presentation awards at separate regional research conferences

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for summer research class, Free tutor for children on the weekends, President of a school non-profit that donated unused medical supplies to clinics abroad for 2 years, Worked at wawa for 7 years, Crisis counselor

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Have truly excellent LORs, My current PI knows a lot of people in the field and will help introduce me / email them. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: GPA dip in sophomore year. Lots of science classes with C's and two F'. This is explained by my recommender and I have a doctor's letter detailing why I could not go to class and almost failed out (due to undiagnosed mental disorder, bipolar and depression). After I got on medicine I made dean's list every semester without faltering and my GPA has an upward trend from 3.6->3.94. I took credit overloads every semester and max credits every winter and summer. I've taken classes since I've graduated in both chemistry and psychology and I've gotten A+'s in both. 

Applying to where:

UCLA - Genetics & genomics 

Berkeley - Cognitive Neuroscience

University of Colorado Boulder - Psychology and Neuroscience behavioral genetics 

University of Denver - clinical psychology

USC - clinical psychology

Harvard - BPH

NYU - Developmental genetics

Duke - neurobiology

OHSU - behavioral neuroscience

Caltech - neurobiology

Anyone have any other recommendations for behavioral genetics programs - particularly in california or florida? 

Those are very different programs. Clinical psychology, neuroscience, genetics.

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18 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

Those are very different programs. Clinical psychology, neuroscience, genetics.

yes I am very well aware.

I'm applying to programs where faculty under each program studies behavioral genetics and for clinical psychology I'd still be happy conducting research as a clinical psychologist as well as practice, I've gone over these options with my adviser at the NIH. 

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3 hours ago, episome1996 said:

yes I am very well aware.

I'm applying to programs where faculty under each program studies behavioral genetics and for clinical psychology I'd still be happy conducting research as a clinical psychologist as well as practice, I've gone over these options with my adviser at the NIH. 

The actual content of what you'll be learning in each program varies dramatically, though. Generally you apply for the degree that will teach you the content you need to perform the research you're interested in. If you want to learn about genetics, do a genetics program. If you wanted to be in a neuroscience lab, usually you can join labs from different departments and still be getting a certain degree.

Clinical psychology is the most random of the three, as it gives you a completely different set of skills, but if that's another interest you want the potential to pursue, that's fair.

I'm just trying to understand how you chose genetics vs neurobiology at those schools.

Generally, I think your application is strong enough. Your GPA just might prevent you from getting through at places like Harvard or Caltech. It's all on SOP and LORs. 

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Posted (edited)

Undergrad Institution: Rutgers University, New Brunswick
Major(s): Genetics
Minor(s): none
GPA in Major: 3.50
Overall GPA: 3.54

Type of Student: Domestic female minority (Hispanic)
GRE Scores (revised/old version): still studying
Q:
V:
W:
B:



Research Experience: Three academic years of part time research experience for credit, 9 months of full time research experience (3 summers, 3 fellowships). All of this was in the same molecular biology, molecular genetics, and biochemistry lab. (total of 3 years with the same lab) 1 manuscript in review (co-author). 7 presentations, 2 conference talks, 1 national 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list 5 times for undergrad, highest honors for undergraduate thesis (Within your school or outside?)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 1 year lab tech, currently research associate funded by NIH, manager at pharmacy for 2 years,

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Took 5 graduate classes in undergrad (A/B+ in all) and taking one while I apply. Met with department chairs of Duke and Denver. Got invite to Preview Weekend for UNC. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:   Board member of local non profit for LGBT youth. Rocky grades in chemistry and maths (C+'s). 

Applying to Where:

UNC- BBSP

Duke- Genetics and Genomics 

U Miami- PIBS

University of Colorado Denver- Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development

OHSU

UC Davis- Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

University of Washington- Pathobiology

Am I aiming too high with some of these schools? Any recs on other schools I should apply to?

Edited by sadGenes

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1 hour ago, BabyScientist said:

The actual content of what you'll be learning in each program varies dramatically, though. Generally you apply for the degree that will teach you the content you need to perform the research you're interested in. If you want to learn about genetics, do a genetics program. If you wanted to be in a neuroscience lab, usually you can join labs from different departments and still be getting a certain degree.

Clinical psychology is the most random of the three, as it gives you a completely different set of skills, but if that's another interest you want the potential to pursue, that's fair.

I'm just trying to understand how you chose genetics vs neurobiology at those schools.

Generally, I think your application is strong enough. Your GPA just might prevent you from getting through at places like Harvard or Caltech. It's all on SOP and LORs. 

eh, from what I've been told by PIs and other PhDs and my adviser is that you can take other courses and that the program you're in doesn't matter as much. I'm not sure if you understood my answer but what I mean by faculty for each program is that that specific program be it genetics or neurobiology has faculty working on the projects I want to work on and that was my determining factor. What matters for me is working in a lab under my area of interest where I can gain the skills and publications needed to pursue a career in that field. thank you for your input, though. As for clinical psych I have a passion for working with people which I've seen in my job as a crisis counselor and with research so my mentor told me to apply for both and he's sure I'd be happy in either position since I still get to research my topics of interest in either. 

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Undergrad/Grad Institution: University of Nevada, Reno
Major(s): B.A. Philosophy, B.S./M.S. Biotechnology
Minor(s): Business Administration
GPA in Major: B.S./M.S. STEM GPA 3.24
Overall GPA: 3.00 (undergrad), 3.76 (grad Masters)
Type of Student: Domestic, male, Latino

GRE Scores (revised/old version): N/A - applying to programs that don't require it

Research Experience: Combined Bachelors/Masters 2.5 years lab research genotyping plants (including summer undergrad research w/poster presentation, masters symposium talk), R&D industry job researching infectious pathogens

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Undergrad summer poster presentation award, summer research award

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for senior chemical engineering capstone course teaching protein purification in partnership with Genentech, 3 years industry experience including 2 startups (1.5 years on R&D team working on diagnostic device for infectious disease detection), currently research tech in renown gene therapy lab at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Close with my PI/grad program adviser, completed 1st year grad classes, 1st gen Latino student, board member of inaugural People of Color group for grad students and lab research techs at Fred Hutch

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Poor undergrad GPA from working multiple jobs to support myself throughout undergrad that led to burnout, changed majors many times due to disinterest in certain fields, completed B.A. Philosophy then took 6 months off to work before returning to complete B.S./M.S. Biotechnology, grades improved during Masters when only working exclusively on school work and research

Applying to Where:

U of Washington  - Molecular and Cellular Biology

UC Santa Cruz - Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

UC Santa Barbara - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

U of Arizona - Biological and Biomedical Sciences

City University of New York (CUNY) - Biology

Indiana University - Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology

U of Minnesota - Microbiology Immunology and Cancer Biology

Temple University - Biomedical Sciences

U of Maryland, Baltimore - Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Despite my GPA, hoping these schools are in reach. Counting on my LORs, SOP, and lab experience to get me in. Good luck to everyone!!

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2 minutes ago, smurky said:

Undergrad/Grad Institution: University of Nevada, Reno
Major(s): B.A. Philosophy, B.S./M.S. Biotechnology
Minor(s): Business Administration
GPA in Major: B.S./M.S. STEM GPA 3.24
Overall GPA: 3.00 (undergrad), 3.76 (grad Masters)
Type of Student: Domestic, male, Latino

GRE Scores (revised/old version): N/A - applying to programs that don't require it

Research Experience: Combined Bachelors/Masters 2.5 years lab research genotyping plants (including summer undergrad research w/poster presentation, masters symposium talk), R&D industry job researching infectious pathogens

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Undergrad summer poster presentation award, summer research award

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for senior chemical engineering capstone course teaching protein purification in partnership with Genentech, 3 years industry experience including 2 startups (1.5 years on R&D team working on diagnostic device for infectious disease detection), currently research tech in renown gene therapy lab at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Close with my PI/grad program adviser, completed 1st year grad classes, 1st gen Latino student, board member of inaugural People of Color group for grad students and lab research techs at Fred Hutch

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Poor undergrad GPA from working multiple jobs to support myself throughout undergrad that led to burnout, changed majors many times due to disinterest in certain fields, completed B.A. Philosophy then took 6 months off to work before returning to complete B.S./M.S. Biotechnology, grades improved during Masters when only working exclusively on school work and research

Applying to Where:

U of Washington  - Molecular and Cellular Biology

UC Santa Cruz - Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

UC Santa Barbara - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

U of Arizona - Biological and Biomedical Sciences

City University of New York (CUNY) - Biology

Indiana University - Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology

U of Minnesota - Microbiology Immunology and Cancer Biology

Temple University - Biomedical Sciences

U of Maryland, Baltimore - Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Despite my GPA, hoping these schools are in reach. Counting on my LORs, SOP, and lab experience to get me in. Good luck to everyone!!

I think that's a solid list. No publications? That can be excused since you worked industry. It'll depend on strength of LORs and SOP. Good luck! 

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:18 PM, Throwawaydnf99 said:

Any recs on neuro/pharmacology/behavioral programs that dont require GRE?

Here's a link to a shared Google Sheets list of schools in the life sciences that don't require GRE - fair amount of neuro programs listed

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MYcxZMhf97H5Uxr2Y7XndHn6eEC5oO8XWQi2PU5jLxQ/edit#gid=0

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2 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

I think that's a solid list. No publications? That can be excused since you worked industry. It'll depend on strength of LORs and SOP. Good luck! 

Thanks! Publications have always eluded me. The bench work/data produced I do now as a research tech gets into papers but my name doesn't end up on it as an author. Working in a large lab has its perks and drawbacks

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6 hours ago, smurky said:

Thanks! Publications have always eluded me. The bench work/data produced I do now as a research tech gets into papers but my name doesn't end up on it as an author. Working in a large lab has its perks and drawbacks

Hm, you're producing the data? How about analysis? Sounds like grounds for authorship... Have you expressed to your PI that you want to get on papers?

It's not a big deal for graduate admission, more so just an ethical thing.. 

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12 hours ago, smurky said:

Undergrad/Grad Institution: University of Nevada, Reno
Major(s): B.A. Philosophy, B.S./M.S. Biotechnology
Minor(s): Business Administration
GPA in Major: B.S./M.S. STEM GPA 3.24
Overall GPA: 3.00 (undergrad), 3.76 (grad Masters)
Type of Student: Domestic, male, Latino

GRE Scores (revised/old version): N/A - applying to programs that don't require it

Research Experience: Combined Bachelors/Masters 2.5 years lab research genotyping plants (including summer undergrad research w/poster presentation, masters symposium talk), R&D industry job researching infectious pathogens

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Undergrad summer poster presentation award, summer research award

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for senior chemical engineering capstone course teaching protein purification in partnership with Genentech, 3 years industry experience including 2 startups (1.5 years on R&D team working on diagnostic device for infectious disease detection), currently research tech in renown gene therapy lab at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: Close with my PI/grad program adviser, completed 1st year grad classes, 1st gen Latino student, board member of inaugural People of Color group for grad students and lab research techs at Fred Hutch

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Poor undergrad GPA from working multiple jobs to support myself throughout undergrad that led to burnout, changed majors many times due to disinterest in certain fields, completed B.A. Philosophy then took 6 months off to work before returning to complete B.S./M.S. Biotechnology, grades improved during Masters when only working exclusively on school work and research

Applying to Where:

U of Washington  - Molecular and Cellular Biology

UC Santa Cruz - Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

UC Santa Barbara - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

U of Arizona - Biological and Biomedical Sciences

City University of New York (CUNY) - Biology

Indiana University - Cell, Molecular and Cancer Biology

U of Minnesota - Microbiology Immunology and Cancer Biology

Temple University - Biomedical Sciences

U of Maryland, Baltimore - Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Despite my GPA, hoping these schools are in reach. Counting on my LORs, SOP, and lab experience to get me in. Good luck to everyone!!

I see you are west coast and applied to CUNY in nyc. You chose only 1 program in NYC and not more? Does CUNY have faculty you want to work with? 

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1 hour ago, Bak3rm3 said:

I see you are west coast and applied to CUNY in nyc. You chose only 1 program in NYC and not more? Does CUNY have faculty you want to work with? 

There's 3 faculty members with work that interests me, but overall I'm a little on the fence with that program since I feel stronger towards others. I haven't tried doing this yet, but I'm thinking of reaching out to faculty regarding their research to help me make my decision on whether to apply.

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4 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

Hm, you're producing the data? How about analysis? Sounds like grounds for authorship... Have you expressed to your PI that you want to get on papers?

It's not a big deal for graduate admission, more so just an ethical thing.. 

Unfortunately the analysis part is handled by a bioinformatics programmer. I'm about to enroll in a short course to handle bioinformatics data so I can do analysis. I am producing data but the PIs involved try to limit authors to people who have contributed intellectually or financial resources such as grant money and the whole thing seems pretty off to me. I haven't explicitly told me PI I'd like to get on a paper but that's an excellent idea. I'll bring it up since I don't see the harm in asking at this point

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Undergrad Institution: Medium sized state school
Major(s): B.S. Biology, B.S. Chemistry
GPA in Major: 3.1
Overall GPA: 3.21
M.S. Institution: small state school
M.S. Biology
GPA: 3.7

Type of Student: Domestic White Female

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Took it 2 years ago, but not submitting scores to schools that don't require it
Q: 161
V:150
W: 4.5
B: N/A


Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)
2 semesters undergrad experience in plant biology resulting in 0 publications but 1 local poster presentation
3 years M.S. research (full time, >50hrs/week) in molecular bio lab resulting in 2 national conference poster presentations, 1 first author paper that has been accepted, 1 co-first author paper that is currently in review, 1 mid author paper currently in review, and hoping that 1-2 mid authorships might be submitted in the next month or two in high impact journals

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Deans list for only one semester in undergrad
small grants from undergrad and grad institutions


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
T.A. for general biology labs for 3 years during M.S.


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
expecting one very strong letter from my current P.I. and two mediocre letters from current professors that I have only had classes with

Special Bonus Points:
Hoping to be on a paper with a PI that has published seminal papers in the field my MS research is in

Applying to Where:
Duke- CMB and PCB
Johns Hopkins- BCMB
UNC Chapel Hill- BBSP
Univ of Pittsburgh- IBGP
UC Davis- BMCD
UT Southwestern- BBS
U Virginia- BIMS
Vanderbilt- IGP
Iowa- BSP
Indiana University- IBMG

I am expecting some rejections, but I am wondering if I might be aiming too high because unfortunately my undergrad performance is not very strong, so any input is helpful! I am also wondering whether I should be contacting P.I.s whose labs I would like to do rotations in or whether this is frowned upon in umbrella programs, as it might look like I am contacting them to increase my chances of getting into a program.

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, shae123 said:

Undergrad Institution: Medium sized state school
Major(s): B.S. Biology, B.S. Chemistry
GPA in Major: 3.1
Overall GPA: 3.21
M.S. Institution: small state school
M.S. Biology
GPA: 3.7

Type of Student: Domestic White Female

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Took it 2 years ago, but not submitting scores to schools that don't require it
Q: 161
V:150
W: 4.5
B: N/A


Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)
2 semesters undergrad experience in plant biology resulting in 0 publications but 1 local poster presentation
3 years M.S. research (full time, >50hrs/week) in molecular bio lab resulting in 2 national conference poster presentations, 1 first author paper that has been accepted, 1 co-first author paper that is currently in review, 1 mid author paper currently in review, and hoping that 1-2 mid authorships might be submitted in the next month or two in high impact journals

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Deans list for only one semester in undergrad
small grants from undergrad and grad institutions


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
T.A. for general biology labs for 3 years during M.S.


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
expecting one very strong letter from my current P.I. and two mediocre letters from current professors that I have only had classes with

Special Bonus Points:
Hoping to be on a paper with a PI that has published seminal papers in the field my MS research is in

Applying to Where:
Duke- CMB and PCB
Johns Hopkins- BCMB
UNC Chapel Hill- BBSP
Univ of Pittsburgh- IBGP
UC Davis- BMCD
UT Southwestern- BBS
U Virginia- BIMS
Vanderbilt- IGP
Iowa- BSP
Indiana University- IBMG

I am expecting some rejections, but I am wondering if I might be aiming too high because unfortunately my undergrad performance is not very strong, so any input is helpful! I am also wondering whether I should be contacting P.I.s whose labs I would like to do rotations in or whether this is frowned upon in umbrella programs, as it might look like I am contacting them to increase my chances of getting into a program.

Thanks!

Contacting PIs in advance wouldn't increase your chance of acceptance, unless you got really lucky and emailed someone on the adcomm. I recommend sending emails - it'll help you get a better idea of if you want to apply to those schools. If your faculty of interest aren't taking students, no reason to apply.

Considering your experience, you have good odds at interview offers at a bunch of those schools. It'll depend on SOP and LORs now. 

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Posted (edited)

Undergrad Institution: Top 5 public school in Aerospace Engineering
Major(s): Aerospace Engineering and Applied Physics (dual degree)
GPA in Major: 3.0
Overall GPA: 3.1
Position in Class: I am assuming average

Type of Student: Domestic

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 162 (may be 161, I forgot my exact score here)
V: 158
W: 5.5


Research Experience: 

Had research at a T1 university in high school in an unrelated STEM field. Won awards for my research. Never got published in academic journals though.

Had lab experience freshman year in an unrelated STEM field (same as high school) and did mostly instrumentation and low fidelity first pass analysis

Research internship at NASA during my jr. year. I have a strong rec letter from my supervisor

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Had research accolades in high school but not much other than that

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Two internships at NASA focused on ramjet design for planetary missions (Venus and Mars)

Internship at satellite company doing orbit visualization and space situational awareness

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

My work at NASA led me to asking a professor to take up the project for a design class. We ended up having the design class and it turned out well. Got a rec letter from the professor.

Special Bonus Points: 

Took grad classes in my area of interest (entry, descent and landing/astrodynamics). Orbit Mechanics and optimal control. Didn't do well in the classes (B and C+), but I had internship experience using those skill-sets. 

I am a dual degree student. Took 18+ credits a semester in physics and aerospace engineering courses. While I was a bonehead, sometimes I just couldn't handle the workload of two degrees which led to the low GPA.
 

Three rec letters:

1 former NASA employee

1 former boss at Satellite Company (well known in the industry)

1 distinguished professor at my school in a slightly unrelated area (still within same major of study, just a bit different of a focus).

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

Was president of FSAE electric team, had plenty of good club and design team experience which helped me land my internships.

Applying to Where:

Tennessee - Aero and Astro - Autonomous Controls and Astrodynamics (MS)
UT Austin - Aero and Astro - Astrodynamics (MS)
Illinois - Aero and Astro - EDL and hypersonic trajectory design (MS, potentially a PhD depending on funding)
Georgia Tech - Aero and Astro - Astrodynamics and Space Robotics (MS)
Stanford - Aero and Astro - Astrodynamics and Formation Flying (PhD)

Edited by edl123

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