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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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20 hours ago, Anxiety101 said:

Officially accepted to UCSD! This year has been very tough. Applied to almost 18 schools and ALL but 3 were rejections. However, where there is a will... there is a way.

I am an international student so this process was that much more of a whirlwind. I am glad that I can finally breathe and this forum has been very helpful. Good luck to us all and if anyone will be committing to UCSD as well, message me!

Congratulations!!! Very happy for you, I remember all international students from the interview days.

Same situation here. The difference that I got a rejection letter this morning.  After an interview with a TOP university, it is a terrible feeling for international students after being rejected (not even wait-listed). International students do not have that many offers from top universities (like US citizens do). Some of my acquaintances who worked hard like me (citizens, I really don't know a single international student who wants to get to a neuroscience program) got into all top schools (this year and during previous years). Still, it is almost impossible for international students to hit 3-5 top schools. If you got one, it is the day of your life!

So, I would advise the admission committees not to invite international students to interviews unless they really want them to choose their program. Do they think international students are in the same position as domestic students and have to choose between Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Johns Hopkins? It is such a bummer. I would give a month from my life to turn things back and not being chosen for the interview. Because now it is going to hurt for years.


Many UCSD professors told me how great my application is and my personality too, and we talked that I want to join their labs. Then I just got a general (the one is given to students who are not selected for interviews) rejection letter...now I feel like a jerk because of their extremely kind attitude that gave me hope that I did not have in the beginning of the application process, when I was realistic about my chances. Cause I knew if I was given the interview, I will get in, and it was right for all programs that chose me. Why not just interview me in a normal way without all that enthusiasm for my candidature?

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17 minutes ago, Mike_AB said:

Congratulations!!! Very happy for you, I remember all international students from the interview days.

Same situation here. The difference that I got a rejection letter this morning.  After an interview with a TOP university, it is a terrible feeling for international students after being rejected (not even wait-listed). International students do not have that many offers from top universities (like US citizens do). Some of my acquaintances who worked hard like me (citizens, I really don't know a single international student who wants to get to a neuroscience program) got into all top schools (this year and during previous years). Still, it is almost impossible for international students to hit 3-5 top schools. If you got one, it is the day of your life!

So, I would advise the admission committees not to invite international students to interviews unless they really want them to choose their program. Do they think international students are in the same position as domestic students and have to choose between Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Johns Hopkins? It is such a bummer. I would give a month from my life to turn things back and not being chosen for the interview. Because now it is going to hurt for years.


Many UCSD professors told me how great my application is and my personality too, and we talked that I want to join their labs. Then I just got a general (the one is given to students who are not selected for interviews) rejection letter...now I feel like a jerk because of their extremely kind attitude that gave me hope that I did not have in the beginning of the application process, when I was realistic about my chances. Cause I knew if I was given the interview, I will get in, and it was right for all programs that chose me. Why not just interview me in a normal way without all that enthusiasm for my candidature?

I really feel this. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm international, or I just suck at interviews lol

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15 minutes ago, Mike_AB said:

Congratulations!!! Very happy for you, I remember all international students from the interview days.

Same situation here. The difference that I got a rejection letter this morning.  After an interview with a TOP university, it is a terrible feeling for international students after being rejected (not even wait-listed). International students do not have that many offers from top universities (like US citizens do). Some of my acquaintances who worked hard like me (citizens, I really don't know a single international student who wants to get to a neuroscience program) got into all top schools (this year and during previous years). Still, it is almost impossible for international students to hit 3-5 top schools. If you got one, it is the day of your life!

So, I would advise the admission committees not to invite international students to interviews unless they really want them to choose their program. Do they think international students are in the same position as domestic students and have to choose between Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Johns Hopkins? It is such a bummer. I would give a month from my life to turn things back and not being chosen for the interview. Because now it is going to hurt for years.


Many UCSD professors told me how great my application is and my personality too, and we talked that I want to join their labs. Then I just got a general (the one is given to students who are not selected for interviews) rejection letter...now I feel like a jerk because of their extremely kind attitude that gave me hope that I did not have in the beginning of the application process, when I was realistic about my chances. Cause I knew if I was given the interview, I will get in, and it was right for all programs that chose me. Why not just interview me in a normal way without all that enthusiasm for my candidature?

I completely understand where you are coming from. You start to feel worthless and think back to what you did wrong. This exact situation happened with Duke just two weeks ago and I was devastated.

However, this year was probably the hardest for us and they often have to prioritize funding towards American students and it is nothing we can control, especially during times like this. Please keep your head up, apply for research positions and continue pushing forward. Everyone I know who took a two year gap (including myself) do not regret it one bit. Everything happens for a reason and I truly believe there is something good coming soon for you.

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2 hours ago, Mike_AB said:

Congratulations!!! Very happy for you, I remember all international students from the interview days.

Same situation here. The difference that I got a rejection letter this morning.  After an interview with a TOP university, it is a terrible feeling for international students after being rejected (not even wait-listed). International students do not have that many offers from top universities (like US citizens do). Some of my acquaintances who worked hard like me (citizens, I really don't know a single international student who wants to get to a neuroscience program) got into all top schools (this year and during previous years). Still, it is almost impossible for international students to hit 3-5 top schools. If you got one, it is the day of your life!

So, I would advise the admission committees not to invite international students to interviews unless they really want them to choose their program. Do they think international students are in the same position as domestic students and have to choose between Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Johns Hopkins? It is such a bummer. I would give a month from my life to turn things back and not being chosen for the interview. Because now it is going to hurt for years.


Many UCSD professors told me how great my application is and my personality too, and we talked that I want to join their labs. Then I just got a general (the one is given to students who are not selected for interviews) rejection letter...now I feel like a jerk because of their extremely kind attitude that gave me hope that I did not have in the beginning of the application process, when I was realistic about my chances. Cause I knew if I was given the interview, I will get in, and it was right for all programs that chose me. Why not just interview me in a normal way without all that enthusiasm for my candidature?

Not sure if this is consolation but you had a solid shot and got an interview at a top program as an international student in the toughest application cycle since the Great Recession. I've seen that UCSD in particular (because they are a state school) will only take 0-2 international students per cohort. You're probably one of less than 1% of international students that were taken to interview! Every candidate is great so I don't think these professors were lying to you but maybe you weren't as good a fit as another student and that's fine; it's not a referendum on your abilities. Take this as an opportunity to learn to work through a rejection because neuroscience is all about rejections whether that's getting into grad school, getting a paper accepted, getting the NRSA, getting a postdoc, getting a K99/R00, getting a faculty position, getting a foundation grant, getting an R01, getting tenure etc etc. 

I've helped some of my international friends and they have to be twice as good as U.S. citizens and that's not fair to them; I wish it were different (I am a U.S. citizen). However, I will say that by having to work twice as hard, international students end up being twice as good. They end up being the stars of their cohort and star neuroscientists generally speaking. Why do you think international students are only around 10% of PhD students in neuro but end up being maybe 20% of faculty? You might fret not being at a place like UCSD but it's not the school that matters, it's how productive you are and the quality of your research. No matter where you land, if you do good work, you'll be able to postdoc in whatever big name lab you want. At that stage, the advantages of being international vs. citizen disappear because funding opportunities at that level are open to all. The F99/R00 and R01 only require a visa! You'll be that much better at that stage than American citizens because you've had to learn how to work harder and face tough rejections. 

Edited by ManifoldsAreMadeUp
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Do you guys write thank you letters to all the faculty after an interview? 

Also, do you guys know if MIT BCS admission is handpicked by individual faculty? Or decided as a team? 

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1 hour ago, j118 said:

Do you guys write thank you letters to all the faculty after an interview? 

Also, do you guys know if MIT BCS admission is handpicked by individual faculty? Or decided as a team? 

I can answer your first questions but not your second one :) 

I send thank you emails to all faculty I interviewed with and program leadership. Not sure if by letters you meant email or actual letters, but I tend to opt for email over sending t/y notes via snail mail because of timing and most faculty are still working from home. I keep my email brief, but usually try to personalize it. 
 

I also think it’s good practice to send thank you emails to all administrators/admin assistants and student hosts - even if they are not involved in the actual admissions decision, they still put a huge amount of time/effort into this process!   
 

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Is there anyone who's still waiting to hear back from Columbia? I interviewed the second weekend, it the Neurobio of behavior and cognition track (Darcy). I'm not sure if I should do something since everyone I know that had applied to Columbia received some news on their application, and I emailed Darcy on Monday but haven't received any replies... Am I the only one?

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16 hours ago, j118 said:

Do you guys write thank you letters to all the faculty after an interview? 

Also, do you guys know if MIT BCS admission is handpicked by individual faculty? Or decided as a team? 

Thanks MyCortisolLevelsRVeryHigh, I just noticed your user name and mine are very high too, haha. I just got a response to my own question today and no, it's not handpicked by individual faculty. I have no idea how the process works but it's pretty complex apparently...  

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Still haven't heard anything back from Columbia despite the coordinator telling me they'd be in touch soon on 2/22. I'm not sure if this means I'm rejected or on the waitlist or could still hold out hope for getting an acceptance. It's weird having interviewed 6 weeks ago and still being in limbo. 

Edited by neurochurro99
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5 hours ago, snowbaby said:

Is there anyone who's still waiting to hear back from Columbia? I interviewed the second weekend, it the Neurobio of behavior and cognition track (Darcy). I'm not sure if I should do something since everyone I know that had applied to Columbia received some news on their application, and I emailed Darcy on Monday but haven't received any replies... Am I the only one?

 

Me too! I also interviewed for the neurobiology of behavior and cognition track. I attended the first weekend and still haven't heard anything back despite Darcy telling me she'd be in touch soon on 2/22. I'm not sure if this means I'm rejected or on the waitlist or could still hold out hope for getting an acceptance.

Edited by neurochurro99
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On 3/11/2021 at 10:25 AM, whotfisSarahTonin said:

did it look personalized? my anxiety just skyrocketed haha

The email was more general than anything

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3 hours ago, neurochurro99 said:

 

Me too! I also interviewed for the neurobiology of behavior and cognition track. I attended the first weekend and still haven't heard anything back despite Darcy telling me she'd be in touch soon on 2/22. I'm not sure if this means I'm rejected or on the waitlist or could still hold out hope for getting an acceptance.

Wow then you've been waiting even longer! I feel like this track is the latest, and hopefully they'll let us know next week! Good to know I'm not alone lol. At this point any type of decision would make my life easier... 

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On 3/13/2021 at 1:17 PM, lnrnlds said:

I still haven't received anything from PBS, did you hear back?

Nor did I, They said all results are going to be released before April, but I highly doubt what it means is people are going to be rejected by then and all offers have already been sent out.

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3 hours ago, neurochurro99 said:

Is the general deadline for decisions April 15th or April 1st? 

I'm still waiting to hear back from 2 schools so I'm hoping its the former not the latter since that will give me more time to decide. 

Its the 15th

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Just got the rejection from Columbia NBB. The only consolation is that the coordinator said they had to take a much smaller cohort this cycle because they had so many people from last year defer to this year. It just sucks because I have been doing everything right throughout undergrad preparing to be a competitive applicant for grad school and bc of COVID most schools are only taking a fraction of the normal amount of students this cycle bc of all the deferrals from last year :(

Here's to hoping there's positive news from BU later this week!

 

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1 hour ago, neurochurro99 said:

Just got the rejection from Columbia NBB. The only consolation is that the coordinator said they had to take a much smaller cohort this cycle because they had so many people from last year defer to this year. It just sucks because I have been doing everything right throughout undergrad preparing to be a competitive applicant for grad school and bc of COVID most schools are only taking a fraction of the normal amount of students this cycle bc of all the deferrals from last year :(

Here's to hoping there's positive news from BU later this week!

 

Totally hear ya buddy... The large-scale deferment is such an annoyance. Moreover, due to all interviews being virtual, it is logistically and financially easier for schools to invite more candidates than necessary to interview. One of the programs I applied to selected 20+ candidates to interview with the intention of sending out only 6 offers, which is understandable since most candidates applied to more programs than usual this year, but still nonetheless induces more stress. Not to mention Zoom fatigue detracting from the interview experience on both ends. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to interview with such unique programs, but under normal circumstances, it would have been much less exhausting. (Apologies for the rant) My best wishes to all! 1 more month! 

Edited by sippinmytea
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1 hour ago, neurochurro99 said:

Just got the rejection from Columbia NBB. The only consolation is that the coordinator said they had to take a much smaller cohort this cycle because they had so many people from last year defer to this year. It just sucks because I have been doing everything right throughout undergrad preparing to be a competitive applicant for grad school and bc of COVID most schools are only taking a fraction of the normal amount of students this cycle bc of all the deferrals from last year :(

Here's to hoping there's positive news from BU later this week!

 

I really hope BU gets back to us sooner rather than later.... I know they said two weeks so it would be nice to hear back already!

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32 minutes ago, neuro2021herewego said:

I really hope BU gets back to us sooner rather than later.... I know they said two weeks so it would be nice to hear back already!

IKR! I'm trying not to read too much into one of the PI's I met with having said 'I hope to see you at BU!' in his reply to an interview followup/thank you email I sent. I don't want to get my hopes up but I'm cautiously optimistic!

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3 hours ago, neurochurro99 said:

Just got the rejection from Columbia NBB. The only consolation is that the coordinator said they had to take a much smaller cohort this cycle because they had so many people from last year defer to this year. It just sucks because I have been doing everything right throughout undergrad preparing to be a competitive applicant for grad school and bc of COVID most schools are only taking a fraction of the normal amount of students this cycle bc of all the deferrals from last year :(

Here's to hoping there's positive news from BU later this week!

 

Still havent even received rejection 😂

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On 3/16/2021 at 1:27 PM, neuro2021herewego said:

I really hope BU gets back to us sooner rather than later.... I know they said two weeks so it would be nice to hear back already!

 

On 3/16/2021 at 2:02 PM, neurochurro99 said:

IKR! I'm trying not to read too much into one of the PI's I met with having said 'I hope to see you at BU!' in his reply to an interview followup/thank you email I sent. I don't want to get my hopes up but I'm cautiously optimistic!

I know that BU has already sent out offers to some early last week. They seem to be rolling them out slowly.

Edited by ManifoldsAreMadeUp
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