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2021 Neuroscience PhD Applicants and Admissions Results


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This may be controversial: I don't think that it's worth investing your heart and soul into the Ivies or the UC's. For domestic & international students alike, it's a game of 3D chess to determine

I’m not so sure about this. I was under the impression that most admissions committees (for PhD at least, med school is a completely different story) really only care about research experiences and ac

Declined my offers and accepted my top school! Very excited, officially going to start my PhD journey this fall. Good luck to you all! Sending so many good vibes.

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45 minutes ago, neuro2021hopeful said:

Honestly I was feeling pretty good until I told my family and they seemed a bit disappointed. But you're right, I still have a shot so I'll keep it positive :)

Stay positive! You've cleared the biggest hurdle by getting the interview invite, now just show them how great you are!

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24 minutes ago, SNAAP said:

Stay positive! You've cleared the biggest hurdle by getting the interview invite, now just show them how great you are!

I really appreciate this! I'm feeling a lot better about my upcoming interviews now :)

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1 hour ago, neuro2021hopeful said:

Honestly I was feeling pretty good until I told my family and they seemed a bit disappointed. But you're right, I still have a shot so I'll keep it positive :)

Wow, that seems pretty harsh of your family. Its a big hurdle, and not disappointing. You'll get in, just be positive during your interviews!

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2 hours ago, akl97 said:

I got an email from a PI last Tuesday to schedule a brief Zoom call, which we had on Friday. He told me that they were contacting about 20 applicants for this preliminary interview, and would eliminate some before sending invites to the full interview weekend. The ~20 pre-interviews were divided among all the admitting faculty. I have a feeling most or all of those would have been contacted last week, but I'm not positive.

I also interviewed with a PI at CU Boulder last Friday and he said that 200 people applied for 2 open positions, so anyone who didn't make the first cut shouldn't feel too bad, as these types of situations rely on fit just as much or more than how good you are as an applicant.

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15 hours ago, capa_detated said:

hearing rumors that MIT BCS faculty are meeting / met today to finalize interview invites... only rumors though, no other details regarding process or timeline. fingers crossed that these invites come out this week!

Applications are still being reviewed and we expect invitations will go out early next week.” from the program coordinator!

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Really struggling with the lack of responses at this point, the desperation is kicking in now that 'mid-Jan' is officially upon us 😓

Is anyone still holding out hope for UC Berkeley, San Diego, or LA? I know Cal and SD sent a full round of invites before the holiday and it seemed like LA also sent out a few (?), but curious how others are feeling about these in particular or if there's any more info anyone might have about second round invites or anything like that. don't want to extrapolate too much from previous years' patterns since this seems to be an exceptional application cycle for all programs across the board.

Also, if any out there are wishing they'd submitted more places and have resources/willingness to apply outside US, def recommend checking out Canadian and European schools as they tend to have later deadlines or rolling admissions, low or no app fees (Europe esp), and options for MSc or PhD (although MSc students typically don't get tuition or stipends covered). I'm American but went to Canada for undergrad and am applying somewhat broadly, feel free to reach out if you want!

 

here's my status just for fun (stole formatting from @SalamNeuro, ty!):

UCSF Neuro (Rejection) | Harvard PiN (Presumed Rejection) Columbia NBB (Presumed Rejection) UCB Neuro (Presumed Rejection) | UCSD Neuro (Presumed Rejection)

UCLA NSIDP (Pending?) | CSHL Biology PhD (Pending?) | MIT BCS (Pending) | McGill IPN Phd Rotation (Pending) | UBC Neuro MSc (Pending)

UToronto Neuro  MSc  (unsubmitted, due Feb) | Munich Centre for Neuroscience GSN PhD (unsubmitted, due Feb)

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2 minutes ago, AnxiousNeuroKitty said:

Did anyone else get asked to make a canvas account with Weill Cornell?

I got an email saying thank you for registering with Canvas but I didn't make it and no one reached out saying what to do with it. Did you go in and finish the registration process?

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Just now, Smoothbrain said:

I got an email saying thank you for registering with Canvas but I didn't make it and no one reached out saying what to do with it. Did you go in and finish the registration process?

Yeah - just seems like a regular canvas page

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4 hours ago, capa_detated said:

Really struggling with the lack of responses at this point, the desperation is kicking in now that 'mid-Jan' is officially upon us 😓

Is anyone still holding out hope for UC Berkeley, San Diego, or LA? I know Cal and SD sent a full round of invites before the holiday and it seemed like LA also sent out a few (?), but curious how others are feeling about these in particular or if there's any more info anyone might have about second round invites or anything like that. don't want to extrapolate too much from previous years' patterns since this seems to be an exceptional application cycle for all programs across the board.

Also, if any out there are wishing they'd submitted more places and have resources/willingness to apply outside US, def recommend checking out Canadian and European schools as they tend to have later deadlines or rolling admissions, low or no app fees (Europe esp), and options for MSc or PhD (although MSc students typically don't get tuition or stipends covered). I'm American but went to Canada for undergrad and am applying somewhat broadly, feel free to reach out if you want!

 

here's my status just for fun (stole formatting from @SalamNeuro, ty!):

UCSF Neuro (Rejection) | Harvard PiN (Presumed Rejection) Columbia NBB (Presumed Rejection) UCB Neuro (Presumed Rejection) | UCSD Neuro (Presumed Rejection)

UCLA NSIDP (Pending?) | CSHL Biology PhD (Pending?) | MIT BCS (Pending) | McGill IPN Phd Rotation (Pending) | UBC Neuro MSc (Pending)

UToronto Neuro  MSc  (unsubmitted, due Feb) | Munich Centre for Neuroscience GSN PhD (unsubmitted, due Feb)

Fellow (second time) Applicant here,
UC Berkeley Neuro sent me a personalized email saying they unfortunately could not offer me an interview, but they recommended I transfer my app to Vision Science as its better fit and my application is strong. Odds are not in anyone's favor at this point to get an interview, sadly :(

Same goes for UCSD Neuro, I got a generic invite to interview , and then a few days ago a request to fill out a survey for PIs we want to speak with. Given they are also pretty up there, I don't expect anyone to turn down the invite.

As for MIT, I'm in the same boat as you, crossing fingers and anxiously reading emails.

Hope this helps ~

 

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Hi I'm new to this forum!

Second time applicant, learned a few things the first time around. Got a research position at UC Irvine and am trying again after two years! 

So far I got interview invites to:
UCSD Neuro - Generic email
NYU Cognition & Perception - Personalized email

Rejected from:
UW Neuro
UC Berkeley Neuro

Pending (Not all neuro):
UCSD CogSci, UW Psych, Stanford Psych, Harvard Psych, MIT BCS, BU GPN, BU BBC, UC Berkeley Vision Science

If anyone's heard from these programs, please let me know :D

Also if anyone has some question's about UC Irvine INP I'm willing to answer any questions! I've been a Lab Manager here for a little over a year in the Neurobiology & Behavior department, and work closely with a few other labs. 

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Hello y'all,

This is my first time applying and I haven't heard back from any of the schools. The schools that I am applying to are Stanford, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Harvard, Columbia, UPenn, NYU. What would you guys suggest to do next? I'm lowkey panicking right now 😓.

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So what does it mean if I haven't gotten a rejection from U of Washington Neuro yet? Someone said all invites have gone out but is there a waitlist? It seems odd that they would do their rejections in batches.

Also haven't gotten anything from Yale INP or NYU Neuro yet but I assume those are rejections as well?

Overall, I've gotten invites to 6 out of 9 programs so I'm happy, but I'd like to know about the other ones to know if I have to add any more interviews 😬

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5 minutes ago, BonBon said:

Hello y'all,

This is my first time applying and I haven't heard back from any of the schools. The schools that I am applying to are Stanford, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Harvard, Columbia, UPenn, NYU. What would you guys suggest to do next? I'm lowkey panicking right now 😓.

I'm so sorry to say, but odds are you won't hear invites from most of them, as these programs usually send invites in one go and not in batches. There's a chance with waitlist, but if you see invites being sent out its best to try moving on if you didn't get one. Dwelling on potentially being on the waitlist does more harm than good :/.

What's your profile like? More often than not it comes down to fit and research experience, both of which can be remedied by seeking a research assistant / lab manager position at a top 50 program. Which isn't easy, and takes time, but once you find one you can be financially stable while spending time building your skills and CV, refining your research interests, and reaching out to prospective  labs. Being able to attend conferences and present is a huge way to make connections, too. 

Initially being rejected my first round, I was really disappointed. One of the labs I applied to, though, liked me enough that they helped me find a job as a Lab Manager. Its not what I originally wanted, but it ended being incredibly worth it. Now, even if I'm rejected again, I'll just apply next year knowing I'll have a stronger CV, more publications, more connections, etc. 

Point is, you have got options to pursue, just don't give up! :D

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45 minutes ago, BrainsAreJustMeatMachines said:

I'm so sorry to say, but odds are you won't hear invites from most of them, as these programs usually send invites in one go and not in batches. There's a chance with waitlist, but if you see invites being sent out its best to try moving on if you didn't get one. Dwelling on potentially being on the waitlist does more harm than good :/.

What's your profile like? More often than not it comes down to fit and research experience, both of which can be remedied by seeking a research assistant / lab manager position at a top 50 program. Which isn't easy, and takes time, but once you find one you can be financially stable while spending time building your skills and CV, refining your research interests, and reaching out to prospective  labs. Being able to attend conferences and present is a huge way to make connections, too. 

Initially being rejected my first round, I was really disappointed. One of the labs I applied to, though, liked me enough that they helped me find a job as a Lab Manager. Its not what I originally wanted, but it ended being incredibly worth it. Now, even if I'm rejected again, I'll just apply next year knowing I'll have a stronger CV, more publications, more connections, etc. 

Point is, you have got options to pursue, just don't give up! :D

Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. 

I am an international student from China, but I did my high school and undergrad in the States. My undergrad major is behavioral neuroscience. I have been working in a neurobiology lab at Harvard Medical School for more than 14 month (in the rate of 40 hours per week). The lab was mainly focus on molecular and cellular, developmental studies on animal models.  I honestly found the projects that I was working on do not fit my personal interest. I am very interested in human mind and intelligence but not sure what would be the best approach to study it, like computational neuroscience through building models, or psychological studies through imaging technologies, etc. I was debating whether I should start applying for master programs or should I find another lab to work at for full time. Not sure which route is the best to take in order to prepare for another round of application. 

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13 minutes ago, BonBon said:

Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. 

I am an international student from China, but I did my high school and undergrad in the States. My undergrad major is behavioral neuroscience. I have been working in a neurobiology lab at Harvard Medical School for more than 14 month (in the rate of 40 hours per week). The lab was mainly focus on molecular and cellular, developmental studies on animal models.  I honestly found the projects that I was working on do not fit my personal interest. I am very interested in human mind and intelligence but not sure what would be the best approach to study it, like computational neuroscience through building models, or psychological studies through imaging technologies, etc. I was debating whether I should start applying for master programs or should I find another lab to work at for full time. Not sure which route is the best to take in order to prepare for another round of application. 

Honestly, at least you know you like research! You sound incredibly ready for PhD, so it must be just research area doesn’t quite match up. I know comp Neuro is especially hard to match with (you need practical experience with coding skill and neuro modeling/imaging).

 

I’m sorry the projects you are working on don’t line up with what you want to do, but given your experience I’m sure transferring or applying to another lab would be a lot easier for you than most, especially since you’re in neurobio already. What helped me was being pointed to several email lists in research areas that I like, and searching for lab research positions in research I was interested in.  Also reaching out to labs you like and asking if they have any research positions available. Worst case scenario you can leave them with your CV and if a position opens they will be more likely to contact you.

You’re in a better boat than me, I’d say, but I hope this helps! 

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2 hours ago, BrainsAreJustMeatMachines said:

Honestly, at least you know you like research! You sound incredibly ready for PhD, so it must be just research area doesn’t quite match up. I know comp Neuro is especially hard to match with (you need practical experience with coding skill and neuro modeling/imaging).

 

I’m sorry the projects you are working on don’t line up with what you want to do, but given your experience I’m sure transferring or applying to another lab would be a lot easier for you than most, especially since you’re in neurobio already. What helped me was being pointed to several email lists in research areas that I like, and searching for lab research positions in research I was interested in.  Also reaching out to labs you like and asking if they have any research positions available. Worst case scenario you can leave them with your CV and if a position opens they will be more likely to contact you.

You’re in a better boat than me, I’d say, but I hope this helps! 

This is super helpful! Thanks a million!!!🙏

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10 hours ago, BonBon said:

Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it. 

I am an international student from China, but I did my high school and undergrad in the States. My undergrad major is behavioral neuroscience. I have been working in a neurobiology lab at Harvard Medical School for more than 14 month (in the rate of 40 hours per week). The lab was mainly focus on molecular and cellular, developmental studies on animal models.  I honestly found the projects that I was working on do not fit my personal interest. I am very interested in human mind and intelligence but not sure what would be the best approach to study it, like computational neuroscience through building models, or psychological studies through imaging technologies, etc. I was debating whether I should start applying for master programs or should I find another lab to work at for full time. Not sure which route is the best to take in order to prepare for another round of application. 

Do you have computational backgrounds? If not, programs like neuromatch specifically train you on comp neuro skills so I’d recommend that over the summer. Some other summer schools also help a lot! 
 

Since you are already at Harvard, you should definitely reach out to some professors there to ask if you could do research w them as an intern. Feel free to message me for specific professors in comp neuro, but they are  also not hard to figure out from their websites. I’d also look at other schools and professors whose websites will say that they are looking for summer interns or just “undergrads/masters” to work with. Even if not, just reach out as long as you are interested in their papers - you have nothing to lose.
 

My field is comp neuro (and I’m also an international student from China!), and this field is still quite small and definitely needs more talent. So it’s great that you want to research in this area!

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