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2021 Neuroscience PhD Applicants and Admissions Results


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Btw, one professor who I worked with in the comp neuro field said his lab is recruiting new phd students. He’s a new faculty at University of Texas El Paso - not one of the top name schools, but he’s a great caring advisor and has many exciting projects in comp neuro which generated great publications as well. He directly mentored me in a project that eventually published in a very high impact journal where he was the first author, which helped me a lot in my application cycle. If anyone is interested, please message me! Their biology department phd application is due Feb 1st.

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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

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.

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

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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. 

I'm gonna provide a different perspective here and say that it's totally fine if you completely switch your subfield during grad school. I also have a cell & molec background and am interested in systems/computational stuff. I've talked to many computational professors and none care what your background is, as long as you're interested in the work. Some even find it to be a positive that I've had a different background.

What DOES matter for getting into grad school is how you talk about your research, i.e. why did you form your hypotheses? why did you choose your techniques? how did you interpret your data? The point is, don't feel like you have to change labs, unless you're tortured by the work you do now. If you had one more year in your current lab, would you have significantly more to talk about? Adjusting to a new project can be tough and may not give you as much to talk about in next round of applications as seeing your current project to completion. 

Ultimately I can't tell you what to do, but don't feel discourage from pursuing computation in grad school if you weren't already in computation! It frankly doesn't matter as long as you can back up your interest. 

good luck, you seem qualified and sure of yourself, so you'll be fine in the end.

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15 hours ago, corticostriatal said:

International w/o Us degree, just got rejected by Northwestern, and that’s five rejections in a row. Good luck with the interview guys.

How many schools did you apply to? Honestly, things happen for a reason and i'm sure great things are coming your way!

 

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16 hours ago, corticostriatal said:

International w/o Us degree, just got rejected by Northwestern, and that’s five rejections in a row. Good luck with the interview guys.

Hey! I'm so sorry to hear that. This is my second time applying, so I feel you. It'll be alright. I wanted to ask, how do you know that you were rejected from Northwestern? Did they send out rejections or did you ask? Thanks.

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18 hours ago, BrainsAreJustMeatMachines said:

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 ~

 

yes thanks so much! hard to give up on those but as you mentioned in another post in the long run it'll be easier to move on rather than dwell on possible waitlist or late-round interviews. congrats on your interview invites and good luck to you this round! hopefully it'll be the last for us both :) 

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5 hours ago, space8 said:

Hey! I'm so sorry to hear that. This is my second time applying, so I feel you. It'll be alright. I wanted to ask, how do you know that you were rejected from Northwestern? Did they send out rejections or did you ask? Thanks.

Yup they sent out a (seemingly personalized) email to me. With my name on the email and I’m the only receiver 

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6 hours ago, wings101 said:

How many schools did you apply to? Honestly, things happen for a reason and i'm sure great things are coming your way!

 

I applied to 16 programs. Yeah im trying my best to be optimistic about the situation 🙂

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How many interview invites would you feel “safe” at? I know that there are a lot of factors to consider (research fit, lab fit, etc.), but I’m just wondering at what number of interview invites everyone else would feel like they had a good chance of getting at least one acceptance. 

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1 hour ago, GoldenNeuro said:

How many interview invites would you feel “safe” at? I know that there are a lot of factors to consider (research fit, lab fit, etc.), but I’m just wondering at what number of interview invites everyone else would feel like they had a good chance of getting at least one acceptance. 

I would say getting 2 interviews would give you a good chance of getting at least 1 offer of admission, getting 3 or more interviews will make it excellent. 

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On 1/14/2021 at 7:43 PM, BrainsAreJustMeatMachines said:

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. 

Hey! UCI’s INP is one of my top choice programs and I am so excited for my interview :) Do you feel as if the students are generally happy in this program? The faculty list is so impressive and very much aligned with my research interests.

 

Also any general tips for the interview or if you have heard what acceptance rates look like post-interview?

Thank you so much!! 

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6 minutes ago, HoplessNeuroRomantic said:

After 2/3 interviews I received my first admissions offer today! Huge sigh of relief knowing I will be able to go into a PhD program this fall, I was worried about coming straight form undergraduate. Ah! Exciting day!

 

Good luck to you all!

Congratulations, that's great news!

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8 minutes ago, HoplessNeuroRomantic said:

After 2/3 interviews I received my first admissions offer today! Huge sigh of relief knowing I will be able to go into a PhD program this fall, I was worried about coming straight form undergraduate. Ah! Exciting day!

 

Good luck to you all!

Congrats and thanks for sharing the luck!

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7 hours ago, HoplessNeuroRomantic said:

After 2/3 interviews I received my first admissions offer today! Huge sigh of relief knowing I will be able to go into a PhD program this fall, I was worried about coming straight form undergraduate. Ah! Exciting day!

 

Good luck to you all!

Congratulations. Which program did you receive the offer from?

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13 hours ago, beardedlabrat said:

Hey! UCI’s INP is one of my top choice programs and I am so excited for my interview :) Do you feel as if the students are generally happy in this program? The faculty list is so impressive and very much aligned with my research interests.

 

Also any general tips for the interview or if you have heard what acceptance rates look like post-interview?

Thank you so much!! 

I’ve worked with a few rotation students who’ve come through our human lab, each cohort are all incredibly supportive of each other and have become a close group of friends. Irvine itself is pretty bland (safest city), but you just drive 15-20 min in any direction and you’re in some really fun cities, or at the beach, or in the mountains. SD and LA are only an hour away in either direction too so there’s that. Grad life is stressful, yes, but it’s got a great support system and tons of stuff to do.

 

As for acceptance rates, idk. Cohort size seems to be somewhere around 15 people? If it’s a good fit for you, and you demonstrate that passion for research, and are clear about the research process you’ve done, you’ll be great! DM me your POIs, if they are human models I might be able to tell you a little about their  lab life too!

 

Hope this helps ~

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1 hour ago, pedrxre said:

Does anyone know what’s going on with UCSD invites and rejections? I just saw a couple rejections on the results page that were general emails, but I did not receive anything.

Is there potentially a waitlist for UCSD?

I would suggest emailing the committee and they should tell you if you have been rejected. I did a few days ago and they recently told me they could not offer me an interview this cycle.

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30 minutes ago, NeuroQween said:

Has anyone who got an interview at Columbia received the interview schedule yet? It's this coming week and I've still not heard anything after selecting my POIs. 

Generally, schools will send you the schedule the day before or 2 days before the interview. I've always gotten my schedule the day before interviews start!

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On 1/15/2021 at 8:05 PM, beardedlabrat said:

Hey! UCI’s INP is one of my top choice programs and I am so excited for my interview :) Do you feel as if the students are generally happy in this program? The faculty list is so impressive and very much aligned with my research interests.

 

Also any general tips for the interview or if you have heard what acceptance rates look like post-interview?

Thank you so much!! 

Hello! I also work at UCI and know a bunch of people in the INP program! In general, students are really happy and people in each cohort are pretty close with each other!

As @BrainsAreJustMeatMachines mentioned, Irvine is a pretty uneventful city but you have a ton of other places within driving distance where you can find stuff to do!

As for chances of being accepted after an interview, I'm not sure if things have changed because of COVID, but grad students have told me that for the most part, as long as you seem like you're a passionate and decent person during your interviews and you don't set off any red flags to the students or PIs, then you have a good shot at getting in!

Best of luck with the interview process and feel free to DM me too if you have any questions about PIs or Irvine in general! I'll try to help to the best of my ability! :)

 

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