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NIH PREP 2020-2021 Applicants unite


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Called Mayo today. I was told that they have been sending invitations for the early applicants, and they hope to wrap up their last appointments by next week. I was told that is highly unlikely to get an invitation now if we haven't heard from them already. Maybe time to cross that one out?? 

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Got an interview for Yale ESI Prep!

Nothing new to report. My list was finalized a couple of weeks ago. Just wanted to remind you of how cool you all are for staying strong all the way through May. Aside from having a freaking pandemic

Just got accepted to Harvard PREP!

On 3/3/2020 at 3:38 PM, Madistrong said:

Just wanted to pass along encouragement to the next round of PREP students! As a current PREP and someone with grad acceptances this season, I'm a testament to how good a PREP program can be for you. I'm of course willing to answer any questions or give advice, feel free to reach out! 

 

(Applied to Genetics and Toxicology Ph.D programs, interest in Reproductive Biology and Environmental Medicine)

Agreed. As a current PREP, I can say my experience as an scholar has helped me a lot to grow as a scientist and get ready for grad school. I wouldn't change it for the world. 

About to start grad school this upcoming fall 2020. I am also willing to answer any questions about PREP in general and grad school applications. 

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Would doing a PREP program at at more prestigious university (i.e. John Hopkins, etc) benefit me more in the long run/allow me to get accepted in better schools? UGA just gave me an acceptance and even though the cost of living is lower I feel like it might benefit me more to wait it out for better options? How are you guys gonna end up choosing which university you'll attend???

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23 minutes ago, GolgiGirl_ said:

Would doing a PREP program at at more prestigious university (i.e. John Hopkins, etc) benefit me more in the long run/allow me to get accepted in better schools? UGA just gave me an acceptance and even though the cost of living is lower I feel like it might benefit me more to wait it out for better options? How are you guys gonna end up choosing which university you'll attend???

Hi Friend.

You should know that these PREP program are NIH funded and the caliber of research they provide is for sure the same as everyone else. Having to attend a well known university does not necessarily mean that you will be benefited greatly in the long run, because PhD programs will not evaluate your knowledge and skills for graduate school based on the name on the university you attended for undergrad or institution you did your PREP on. What matters most for them is your enthusiasm for research, and that is reflected upon your research experiences regardless of where you gain those experiences. Because just like the GRE, where you did your PREP is not representative of your ability to excel on your graduate studies. So even if UGA is not a well known school, but they have a really great research faculties that can help you mature as a scientist, then definitely go to UGA. Choosing the right PREP institution should not depend on whether that institution is well known or not, you should based your decision whether the faculty that they have offers the research you want and if the program also offers other things aside from exceptional research experience that will help you grow as a scientist.

Also if you are not sure yet and would like to hear from other program, do not hesitate to ask for extension. 

At the end of the day, it is your decision to make. Just make sure that when you decide, you have carefully thought about it and that your decision is what is best for you in the long run.  

Goodluck.

Edited by O'ahu
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12 minutes ago, O'ahu said:

Hi Friend.

You should know that these PREP program are NIH funded and the caliber of research they provide is for sure the same as everyone else. Having to attend a well known university does not necessarily mean that you will be benefited greatly in the long run, because PhD programs will not evaluate your knowledge and skills for graduate school based on the name on the university you attended for undergrad or institution you did your PREP on. What matters most for them is your enthusiasm for research, and that is reflected upon your research experiences regardless of where you gain those experiences. Because just like the GRE, where you did your PREP is not representative of your ability to excel on your graduate studies. So even if UGA is not a well known school, but they have a really great research faculties that can help you mature as a scientist, then definitely go to UGA. Choosing the right PREP institution should not depend on whether that institution is well known or not, you should based your decision whether the faculty that they have offers the research you want and if the program also offers other things aside from exceptional research experience that will help you grow as a scientist.

Also if you are not sure yet and would like to hear from other program, do not hesitate to ask for extension. 

At the end of the day, it is your decision to make. Just make sure that when you decide, you have carefully thought about it and that your decision is what is best for you in the long run.  

Goodluck.

@GolgiGirl_ Congrats on your acceptance!!

I agree with the response above! I recently spoke to a professor who is on the graduate acceptance committee at UCSD about what PhD programs look for. Relevant research experience is always the first thing. She said it's not so much about how prestigious the university is you got that research experience but rather who you worked with. So if you work under a great scientist who knows how to best mentor/equip you for your own project, you'll produce novel, meaningful research and any university is going to weigh your application heavier. So I definitely would base it mostly on who you will be working under. I've even been advised to message some of the graduate students who work in that lab and ask about their experiences there. 

 

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On 3/9/2020 at 11:10 AM, MarxistHegelian said:

Thank you so much for keeping an eye on us! I would prefer a 2-year program over a 1-year experience. I am holding on to the spot until I hear back from someone else, I can maybe get a lab-tech position to fill the second year. I hope to hear back from other people to know when schools begin sending out interview offers.

Any advice for holding onto a spot until hearing back from another school?  :) I have a deadline to respond and still waiting to hear back from another program.

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15 hours ago, GolgiGirl_ said:

Would doing a PREP program at at more prestigious university (i.e. John Hopkins, etc) benefit me more in the long run/allow me to get accepted in better schools? UGA just gave me an acceptance and even though the cost of living is lower I feel like it might benefit me more to wait it out for better options? How are you guys gonna end up choosing which university you'll attend???

I agree with the previous answers to this question. To add relevant information—I know several UGA PREP alumni that are now at “more prestigious”, like U Chicago and peer institutions. 

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21 hours ago, O'ahu said:

Hi Friend.

You should know that these PREP program are NIH funded and the caliber of research they provide is for sure the same as everyone else. Having to attend a well known university does not necessarily mean that you will be benefited greatly in the long run, because PhD programs will not evaluate your knowledge and skills for graduate school based on the name on the university you attended for undergrad or institution you did your PREP on. What matters most for them is your enthusiasm for research, and that is reflected upon your research experiences regardless of where you gain those experiences. Because just like the GRE, where you did your PREP is not representative of your ability to excel on your graduate studies. So even if UGA is not a well known school, but they have a really great research faculties that can help you mature as a scientist, then definitely go to UGA. Choosing the right PREP institution should not depend on whether that institution is well known or not, you should based your decision whether the faculty that they have offers the research you want and if the program also offers other things aside from exceptional research experience that will help you grow as a scientist.

Also if you are not sure yet and would like to hear from other program, do not hesitate to ask for extension. 

At the end of the day, it is your decision to make. Just make sure that when you decide, you have carefully thought about it and that your decision is what is best for you in the long run.  

Goodluck.

Thank you so much for the information. I completely understand where you are coming from and completely agree when thinking about it. I want to go into infectious disease and this program is infectious disease focused which is exciting! Yet, the potential labs listed aren't as intriguing as other programs... maybe I should ask if theres more potential mentors beyond that list and possibly ask for an extension too. Is asking for an extension rude??? I don't want to blow my chances. 

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14 hours ago, ThisUserNameIsAlreadyTaken said:

Any advice for holding onto a spot until hearing back from another school?  :) I have a deadline to respond and still waiting to hear back from another program.

 

1 hour ago, GolgiGirl_ said:

Thank you so much for the information. I completely understand where you are coming from and completely agree when thinking about it. I want to go into infectious disease and this program is infectious disease focused which is exciting! Yet, the potential labs listed aren't as intriguing as other programs... maybe I should ask if theres more potential mentors beyond that list and possibly ask for an extension too. Is asking for an extension rude??? I don't want to blow my chances. 

Something similar happened to me, maybe you won't agree with my approach: I was offered a spot at UChicago, then Northwestern, while still waiting to hear back from other schools. I stretched the waiting period to the very last day of the two-week turnaround. I didn't want to run out of luck if I turned down both schools, so I went ahead and said yes to UChicago and no to Northwestern.  Northwestern offers on-site visits and meetings with potential mentors in April,  so I thought it was rude to say yes,  get a ticket, and then decline. I accepted UChicago (They run admissions until the end of the month), and might decline if I hear back from my top schools (MIT and Hopkins). As my friend says,"It is much easier sending emails asking for for apologies rather than favors". You want to play it safe, and hold on to what you can. If you turn them down, or run out of time, you might be facing the possibility of not hearing back from anybody else. It is not your fault that this happens! NIH should have deadlines for these programs to distribute their awards. It would not be the first time that your program will have to deal with somebody who declines after accepting. This is just the byproduct of having such a decentralized award model. 

Keep us updated! 

Edited by MarxistHegelian
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7 hours ago, MarxistHegelian said:

 

Something similar happened to me, maybe you won't agree with my approach: I was offered a spot at UChicago, then Northwestern, while still waiting to hear back from other schools. I stretched the waiting period to the very last day of the two-week turnaround. I didn't want to run out of luck if I turned down both schools, so I went ahead and said yes to UChicago and no to Northwestern.  Northwestern offers on-site visits and meetings with potential mentors in April,  so I thought it was rude to say yes,  get a ticket, and then decline. I accepted UChicago (They run admissions until the end of the month), and might decline if I hear back from my top schools (MIT and Hopkins). As my friend says,"It is much easier sending emails asking for for apologies rather than favors". You want to play it safe, and hold on to what you can. If you turn them down, or run out of time, you might be facing the possibility of not hearing back from anybody else. It is not your fault that this happens! NIH should have deadlines for these programs to distribute their awards. It would not be the first time that your program will have to deal with somebody who declines after accepting. This is just the byproduct of having such a decentralized award model. 

Keep us updated! 

I completely agree with your decision. I think it's valid approach. :) Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge!

Will send updates if I hear back from anywhere else!

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9 hours ago, GolgiGirl_ said:

Thank you so much for the information. I completely understand where you are coming from and completely agree when thinking about it. I want to go into infectious disease and this program is infectious disease focused which is exciting! Yet, the potential labs listed aren't as intriguing as other programs... maybe I should ask if theres more potential mentors beyond that list and possibly ask for an extension too. Is asking for an extension rude??? I don't want to blow my chances. 

Hey!! I want to pursue MD/PhD in Immunology/Virology and focus on infectious diseases, so it's nice to hear that you want to go to the same field. 

I understand that sometimes PREP institution may offer only a few selections for potential lab placement. So yes! definitely confirm if you are only limited to the list of mentors/labs they have listed or if you can choose the lab you want at any graduate program close to what you want to pursue. Because there are times that the potential lab/mentors they list is not the whole list and perhaps these are just labs that recently hosted a PREP student. So definitely ask the program if you can choose whoever you want to work with.

As for your question whether asking for extension is rude, I don't think it is. These programs for sure know that you applied to other programs and that you are considering your options. I was offered a position at the NIAID at NIH and they gave me a week to respond, but I have not heard back from other programs that I wanted to go as well, so I asked for an extension citing that I need more time to talk about it with my family because the position is guaranteed two years, which is fine with me, and they were very understanding and they gave me another week. This is a big decision to make, dedicating 1-2 years of working as a researcher so definitely ask for an extension if you can't make up your mind right away. 

Edited by O'ahu
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Hi everyone! Just found out there was a 2020-2021 version of this forum. All this time I’ve been using last year’s forum for reference on timing and all that...

I applied to: UWashington, UPenn, UChicago, Sinai, Hopkins, and Harvard.

 

I was offered at UWashington and have ‘till this friday to accept. Haven’t heard anything from the rest.

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On 3/14/2020 at 2:41 PM, MarxistHegelian said:

 

Something similar happened to me, maybe you won't agree with my approach: I was offered a spot at UChicago, then Northwestern, while still waiting to hear back from other schools. I stretched the waiting period to the very last day of the two-week turnaround. I didn't want to run out of luck if I turned down both schools, so I went ahead and said yes to UChicago and no to Northwestern.  Northwestern offers on-site visits and meetings with potential mentors in April,  so I thought it was rude to say yes,  get a ticket, and then decline. I accepted UChicago (They run admissions until the end of the month), and might decline if I hear back from my top schools (MIT and Hopkins). As my friend says,"It is much easier sending emails asking for for apologies rather than favors". You want to play it safe, and hold on to what you can. If you turn them down, or run out of time, you might be facing the possibility of not hearing back from anybody else. It is not your fault that this happens! NIH should have deadlines for these programs to distribute their awards. It would not be the first time that your program will have to deal with somebody who declines after accepting. This is just the byproduct of having such a decentralized award model. 

Keep us updated! 

Interesting! I didn't realize people could accept into a program and then back out later?

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15 minutes ago, GolgiGirl_ said:

Interesting! I didn't realize people could accept into a program and then back out later?

It is definitively a last option resource!. I know someone who did that for graduate admissions. The school was not "thrilled" to have someone accept their offer and then back out of it. But it definitively benefited my friend to get into his top choice school, while opening up the spot for someone else to take the opportunity in the other program. Schools foresee this as a possibility, so they have large waitlists to make up for declining applicants. 

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On 3/16/2020 at 4:27 PM, misterbob19 said:

Hi everyone once again!

I was just offered an interview at UPenn, but have the Washington offer that I have to respond to by friday. Should I request an extension at UW? Any suggestions?

Congratulations on your acceptance and interview invitation!

If you are considering on attending UPenn for PREP, then definitely ask for an extension from Washington for at least another week to give you a time to finish the interview with UPenn and perhaps a decision from them. If you want to go to UPenn more than Washington then use the extension as a stepping stone for offers. What I mean by that is when UPenn offers you a spot, decline Washington because you have an offer from UPenn standing already so regardless of declining Washington, you know you are going somewhere, somewhere that you want more than Washington. But make sure  you don't accept the offer from UPenn right away if you want to hear from other programs that you want to go more than UPenn. If you are waiting to hear from another program that you like more than UPenn, the I would suggest to put a hold on your decision for UPenn by asking for extension so that when the other program that you want to go more than UPenn invite you for interview, you have the extension from UPenn to do the interview with the other program and possibly getting an offer from them just before your extension deadline. I don't know if that make sense but yah :).

But if you want to go to UPenn more than Washington then definitely ask for an extension. It doesn't hurt to ask because you are just trying to make an informed decision whether you want to go to their program or not. 

Anyways, congratulations again and best of luck my friend.

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Thank you so much! Yeah, this perfectly makes sense. 

So yeah, UPenn is my top option and Washington was my second top option. So I was right about to accept UW and was only willing to change UW for UPenn, so that is what I will do, ask for a few more days at UW. As soon as UPenn sends me an offer, I will decline UW to facilitate the process for others who are awaiting response. 

Best of luck everyone!

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52 minutes ago, renj22 said:

Hey everyone! I got an interview request today from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). I’m still waiting to hear from Johns Hopkins, Yale and UofSC. 

Congrats on your interview offer! 

Yeah, I haven’t heard anything from Hopkins either. Their application receipt email says that they notify before March 20th tho, but with this coronavirus situation we never know the delays each institution is dealing with. 

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