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2021 Biology PhD Admissions Results


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9 hours ago, sb248 said:

 

Academics:

GPA: 3.51 University of Washington Seattle (No particular trends in GPA, graduated August 2019) 

GRE: 157 V/ 167 Q/ 5 AW
 
Undergraduate Research: 
1 year as a student research volunteer with Seattle Children’s research studying concussion prevention. Presented research at undergraduate research symposium at the University of Washington. Assisted with a paper but don’t know if it will be published. 
 
Post Graduation Research: 
8 months as a clinical trial assistant with a contract research organization (CRO). I helped organize sites for clinical trials in the start up phase through close out. I also helped manage IRB submissions, subject tracking, and site personnel. 
 
2 months (will continue this position until the start of my graduate programs) 
Clinical research coordinator assisting with orthopedic research at a large institution 
 
Extracurricular:
Team Manager for University’s Sports Team: traveled with the team, helped with practices and games, learned about conditioning, nutrition, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. 
 
LORs: 
1 anatomy professor 
1 undergraduate PI/supervising coordinator 
1 current PI 
 
Schools I’m Looking At: 
University of Washington Biology 
UCSF Biomedical Sciences 
Stanford Biosciences 
University of Oregon Human Physiology 
USC Biokinesiology 
UCLA Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology 
UC Davis Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology 
UC San Diego Primary (Cellular, Molecular, Genetics) 
 
 
I know my research experiences aren’t for extended periods of time, but I’m hoping that along with my extracurricular they help reinforce my interest in sports medicine centered research. 
 
Based on my academics, is my list a little too top heavy? I’m worried I’m not applying to a variety of programs in terms of difficulty. I feel most of these schools are “reach programs” so I would appreciate any advice you may have on more schools or my current list. Thank you so much for all of your help! 

 

Your list doesn't seem top heavy (I see a lot of pretty good target schools). However, I would suggest adding more schools to your list. I attended the NIH Graduate School Fair today and the program directors from Harvard, UT Southwestern, Augusta, etc all recommended that we apply to more schools this cycle (~12-15) due to covid affecting everything

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Anyone else spiraling into checking their email, the results page and forums every 10minutes? 🤡

That's a terrible way to apply to graduate school.

What counts as middle and low tier?😅 Go big or go home I guess haha, I just picked good schools whose program I liked and would be happy attending 

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21 hours ago, Molec157 said:

Your list doesn't seem top heavy (I see a lot of pretty good target schools). However, I would suggest adding more schools to your list. I attended the NIH Graduate School Fair today and the program directors from Harvard, UT Southwestern, Augusta, etc all recommended that we apply to more schools this cycle (~12-15) due to covid affecting everything

Thank you so much, I’ll definitely add more to my list. 

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12-15 seems like overkill to me, and a lot of people don't have that much money or time to drop on applications. Heck, I didn't even apply to that many schools for undergrad. I'm not stressing about trying to add more, especially when my academic advisor recommended against it. I guess it comes down to personal preference and the ability to actually pay for that many applications.

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On 8/6/2020 at 3:36 PM, queerorpheus said:

12-15 seems like overkill to me, and a lot of people don't have that much money or time to drop on applications. Heck, I didn't even apply to that many schools for undergrad. I'm not stressing about trying to add more, especially when my academic advisor recommended against it. I guess it comes down to personal preference and the ability to actually pay for that many applications.

It's def overwhelming given the pandemic. The main message from PhD program directors (biosciences) at the virtual NIH grad fair was: 1) gre requirements being dropped by multiple programs that previously required them but haven't updated their webpages (e.g. Miami, UT Health at San Antonio, etc), 2) interviews likely being virtual depending on state/city (sad), and 3) apply to more schools than usual bc of covid (fee waivers are available). 

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32 minutes ago, Molec157 said:

It's def overwhelming given the pandemic. The main message from PhD program directors (biosciences) at the virtual NIH grad fair was: 1) gre requirements being dropped by multiple programs that previously required them but haven't updated their webpages (e.g. Miami, UT Health at San Antonio, etc), 2) interviews likely being virtual depending on state/city (sad), and 3) apply to more schools than usual bc of covid (fee waivers are available). 

Did they say more fee waivers will be available than usual, or they didn’t specify that?

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12 hours ago, stem_ness said:

Did they say more fee waivers will be available than usual, or they didn’t specify that?

That's a good question. I know one of the programs I'm applying to doesn't have a fee for domestic applicants but I'm mostly paying out of pocket for applications and I really can't afford 12-15 schools. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know what are my chances and I'm low key freaking out. If anybody can give me advice? Or help on my SOP that'll be great. 

Type of student: International, female, Vietnamese 

Academic: 

GPA: 3.7 Major: 3.6 Biochemistry from UCLA 

Research: 

3 and 1/2 years at a virology lab in UCLA- my PI is a well known professor in the field I'm pretty close to him so finger cross this rec should be good

- I presented at 2 conferences local ones 

- No publications yet

- Part of 3 research projects one is NIH funded for COVID-19 research  

3 months at Massachusetts general Hospital part of the Harvard stem cell institute internship program - Young PI but I'm also pretty close to him hoping this rec should be good too. I'm hoping I can come back to work for him in Ph.D but I need to get into Harvard BBS first. 

1 letter of rec from a professor in my grad class (I'm an undergrad but I took a grad class for fun and I got really close to her) 

GRE: Honestly biology program have made it all optional. I'm in a shitty living situation right now so I don't have the "at home" conditions to take it. I don't think I will 

Awards: 

- Harvard Stem cell institute fellowship

- UCLA chem and biochem award for outstanding achievement in research 

-Dean's Honors list? Idk if this count 

- Graduating with honors 

Other things:

- Leadership in UCLA ACS chapter for like 3 1/2 years 

- Undergrad TA 

-I’ve emailed a few prof I’m interested in. Mostly kinda thank you for emailing replies. One was really nice and offered to zoom with me and talked about his research (idk if that’ll do anything). Another one knew my current PI and she also offered to talk with me over zoom next week. 

 I'm looking into applying to:

Stanford 

NYU

UC Irvine

UCLA

UCSB  

Harvard BBS 

Columbia 

University of Washington 

Scripps 

Boston University 

UCSD

Caltech 

UCSF 

UMass amherst 

MIT 

USC 

Am I aiming too high? Any suggestions for maybe less competitive schools? 

 

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18 hours ago, puccakute said:

I don't know what are my chances and I'm low key freaking out. If anybody can give me advice? Or help on my SOP that'll be great. 

Type of student: International, female, Vietnamese 

Academic: 

GPA: 3.7 Major: 3.6 Biochemistry from UCLA 

Research: 

3 and 1/2 years at a virology lab in UCLA- my PI is a well known professor in the field I'm pretty close to him so finger cross this rec should be good

- I presented at 2 conferences local ones 

- No publications yet

- Part of 3 research projects one is NIH funded for COVID-19 research  

3 months at Massachusetts general Hospital part of the Harvard stem cell institute internship program - Young PI but I'm also pretty close to him hoping this rec should be good too. I'm hoping I can come back to work for him in Ph.D but I need to get into Harvard BBS first. 

1 letter of rec from a professor in my grad class (I'm an undergrad but I took a grad class for fun and I got really close to her) 

GRE: Honestly biology program have made it all optional. I'm in a shitty living situation right now so I don't have the "at home" conditions to take it. I don't think I will 

Awards: 

- Harvard Stem cell institute fellowship

- UCLA chem and biochem award for outstanding achievement in research 

-Dean's Honors list? Idk if this count 

- Graduating with honors 

Other things:

- Leadership in UCLA ACS chapter for like 3 1/2 years 

- Undergrad TA 

-I’ve emailed a few prof I’m interested in. Mostly kinda thank you for emailing replies. One was really nice and offered to zoom with me and talked about his research (idk if that’ll do anything). Another one knew my current PI and she also offered to talk with me over zoom next week. 

 I'm looking into applying to:

Stanford 

NYU

UC Irvine

UCLA

UCSB  

Harvard BBS 

Columbia 

University of Washington 

Scripps 

Boston University 

UCSD

Caltech 

UCSF 

UMass amherst 

MIT 

USC 

Am I aiming too high? Any suggestions for maybe less competitive schools? 

 

There are a lot of "reach" schools in there, but I think you have enough more reasonable ones in there that it's fine. It's a long list, but if you can afford it I think it's fine. 

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Undergrad Institution: Wellesley College 
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Africana Studies 
GPA in Major: 3.1 
Overall GPA: 2.9 

(It's low but there is a significant upward trend. Had a very bad semester early on due to family issues but took some classes after undergrad to help bring it up.) 
Type of Student: black female 

GRE: Haven't taken but planning on it to boost my chances. Will be taking in late September and again in late October if I need to. 

Research Experience: Wellesley College Biochem Bootcamp (worked with Harvard BBS grad students for 3 weeks),

Wellesley College Science Summer ( worked in a fish lab studying muscle movements in fish for 8 weeks),

MIT Biology (worked in developmental biology for two years, completed an honors thesis in undergrad and worked there afterwards as a research technician. Started working on a co first author paper with a graduate student using all my data but got laid off in May due to grant issues so that won't happen)

Boston College Biology (Dev bio again. Started in July as a tech and working to hopefully to get my name on a paper before I leave. Will definitely not be first author) 

Presented thesis research in a poster at the national Drosophila annual meeting 

Gave two talks about my thesis research at local meetings 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: McNair Scholar, Sigma Xi , OIST-CEDA participant (didn't get to attend in March due to covid but will be attending in spring 2021) 

Recs: MIT PI (he's very excited about helping since he feels bad for having to let me go, known him for a while) 

BC PI ( He hasn't known me as long but I can expect a good rec)

Wellesley Professor ( he was my on campus advisor during my thesis. He also had me in class and his class one of the main reasons I decided to do a pHD. Another good rec) 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:  have volunteered for a year + as part of the Big Sister Little Sister program, Clinical Intern in Germany working with dialysis data, Black Student Union President for one year. 


Applying to Where: (applying to a lot because of my low gpa stats and I'm a McNair scholar so the application fees are free) (focusing on stem cell and Developmental Biology program)

Rockefeller

UPenn- Biology

UPenn (BGS)

Stonybrook 

Emory 

U Mass Amherst 

UVA- Biology 

Mount Sinai 

NYU- Biology (haven't decided which nyu program yet) 

NYU Sackler 

Duke 

Columbia

Tufts Med- Genetics 

Morehouse Med. 

Northwestern- Chicago campus 

Sloan Kettering 

U of Houston 

Weill Cornell 

UNC Chapel Hill 

Stowers Institute

Albert Einstein 

U of Maryland

(Planning to email two faculty per school to chat. If there's any program suggestions you have, they would be greatly appreciated. If there are any completely out of my reach, let me know as well! I feel like I might have too many but this admissions cycle is gonna be rough especially with my stats. And since i'm not worried about app costs, the more the merrier? Also please let me know if I even have a chance. Was thinking about a PREP program but I have a lot of research experience so I'm not sure how that would help.) 

 
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On 8/20/2020 at 5:44 PM, JDevStem said:

Undergrad Institution: Wellesley College 
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Africana Studies 
GPA in Major: 3.1 
Overall GPA: 2.9 

(It's low but there is a significant upward trend. Had a very bad semester early on due to family issues but took some classes after undergrad to help bring it up.) 
Type of Student: black female 

GRE: Haven't taken but planning on it to boost my chances. Will be taking in late September and again in late October if I need to. 

Research Experience: Wellesley College Biochem Bootcamp (worked with Harvard BBS grad students for 3 weeks),

Wellesley College Science Summer ( worked in a fish lab studying muscle movements in fish for 8 weeks),

MIT Biology (worked in developmental biology for two years, completed an honors thesis in undergrad and worked there afterwards as a research technician. Started working on a co first author paper with a graduate student using all my data but got laid off in May due to grant issues so that won't happen)

Boston College Biology (Dev bio again. Started in July as a tech and working to hopefully to get my name on a paper before I leave. Will definitely not be first author) 

Presented thesis research in a poster at the national Drosophila annual meeting 

Gave two talks about my thesis research at local meetings 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: McNair Scholar, Sigma Xi , OIST-CEDA participant (didn't get to attend in March due to covid but will be attending in spring 2021) 

Recs: MIT PI (he's very excited about helping since he feels bad for having to let me go, known him for a while) 

BC PI ( He hasn't known me as long but I can expect a good rec)

Wellesley Professor ( he was my on campus advisor during my thesis. He also had me in class and his class one of the main reasons I decided to do a pHD. Another good rec) 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:  have volunteered for a year + as part of the Big Sister Little Sister program, Clinical Intern in Germany working with dialysis data, Black Student Union President for one year. 


Applying to Where: (applying to a lot because of my low gpa stats and I'm a McNair scholar so the application fees are free) (focusing on stem cell and Developmental Biology program)

Rockefeller

UPenn- Biology

UPenn (BGS)

Stonybrook 

Emory 

U Mass Amherst 

UVA- Biology 

Mount Sinai 

NYU- Biology (haven't decided which nyu program yet) 

NYU Sackler 

Duke 

Columbia

Tufts Med- Genetics 

Morehouse Med. 

Northwestern- Chicago campus 

Sloan Kettering 

U of Houston 

Weill Cornell 

UNC Chapel Hill 

Stowers Institute

Albert Einstein 

U of Maryland

(Planning to email two faculty per school to chat. If there's any program suggestions you have, they would be greatly appreciated. If there are any completely out of my reach, let me know as well! I feel like I might have too many but this admissions cycle is gonna be rough especially with my stats. And since i'm not worried about app costs, the more the merrier? Also please let me know if I even have a chance. Was thinking about a PREP program but I have a lot of research experience so I'm not sure how that would help.) 

 

You have great research experience! I think it is important to find schools that really match your past experience and your future goals. I would perhaps suggest focusing more on demonstrating to 1 professor per program that you are really interested in their work and can bring valuable skills and perspective to a lab. I totally understand wanting to apply to as many programs as possible to bolster your chances of admission, but I'm not sure casting the broadest net possible is the best approach for PhD programs. 

I would suggest narrowing your list down so you can really focus on the work of a handful of PIs. Read their papers and write an insightful email about ideas that their work has inspired. Of course, if you are motivated and have the time to do this for all your programs, by all means, go for it. If not, I believe that 10 really personalized, specific interactions and applications are more valuable than 20 broader applications. 

Good luck!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi!

Are any people who have already gone through the application process/been accepted willing to look over Personal Statements and SOPs?

I have only one contact who has gone through the grad school process (all my friends went to med school) to look my essays over, and they're busy with classes atm so it's taking them a month at a time a while to respond with edits. Plus I'd really like more than one set of eyes looks stuff over.

Thanks in advance!

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Undergrad Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Major(s): Microbiology

Overall GPA: 3.23

Major GPA: 3.5

 

GRE Scores: didn't take yet

 

Research Experience: I spent 3 years in undergrad at a research lab. They hired me full-time and have been working in the lab for about 2.5 years now. So far I only have 2 publications that I am a co-author on. I was hoping I would have a first-author publication before applying, but COVID-19 shut down our lab for a couple months. I also have been working part-time in another lab for about 2 years. 

Will have 3 strong LORs from PIs in the department I work for. 

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

 

One year as volunteer chair in a pre-health science clu

 

Applying to Where:

I'm looking at applying to infectious disease and/or microbiology programs. The list of schools that I have now are: 

University of Colorado Denver

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Pitt Public Health Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Loyola University Chicago

Michigan State

UNC Chapel Hill

Penn State

Ohio State

 

If anybody has suggestion of program to shoot for, I know I don't have the best GPA, but hoping that my research experience make up for it. Any advice or suggestions is very much appreciated! 🤗

 

Thanks!

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On 6/26/2020 at 11:29 AM, hopefulimmunologist said:

I'm looking at Immunology PhD programs (or umbrella programs with the intention of going into the immunology track). So far, thinking of applying to Harvard, UCSD, Yale, Cornell, and NYU for sure, also considering Columbia, UCSF, UChicago, University of Washington, University of Michigan, WashU, and UPenn. Worried about how covid will affect admissions this year (with likely a higher proportion of people applying but a lower amount of funding/positions available) ://

Wow! What a small world; I currently go to UCSD for undergrad. And I'm also applying to PhD programs in microbio and immunology or other related umbrella programs. 

As of now, I've decided to apply to UCSD, UCLA, UCSF, UCB, and Stanford for schools in CA. For out-of-state, I'm applying to UPenn, UW-Seattle, Yale, and Duke. 

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On 8/20/2020 at 2:44 PM, JDevStem said:

Undergrad Institution: Wellesley College 
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Africana Studies 
GPA in Major: 3.1 
Overall GPA: 2.9 

(It's low but there is a significant upward trend. Had a very bad semester early on due to family issues but took some classes after undergrad to help bring it up.) 
Type of Student: black female 

GRE: Haven't taken but planning on it to boost my chances. Will be taking in late September and again in late October if I need to. 

Research Experience: Wellesley College Biochem Bootcamp (worked with Harvard BBS grad students for 3 weeks),

Wellesley College Science Summer ( worked in a fish lab studying muscle movements in fish for 8 weeks),

MIT Biology (worked in developmental biology for two years, completed an honors thesis in undergrad and worked there afterwards as a research technician. Started working on a co first author paper with a graduate student using all my data but got laid off in May due to grant issues so that won't happen)

Boston College Biology (Dev bio again. Started in July as a tech and working to hopefully to get my name on a paper before I leave. Will definitely not be first author) 

Presented thesis research in a poster at the national Drosophila annual meeting 

Gave two talks about my thesis research at local meetings 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: McNair Scholar, Sigma Xi , OIST-CEDA participant (didn't get to attend in March due to covid but will be attending in spring 2021) 

Recs: MIT PI (he's very excited about helping since he feels bad for having to let me go, known him for a while) 

BC PI ( He hasn't known me as long but I can expect a good rec)

Wellesley Professor ( he was my on campus advisor during my thesis. He also had me in class and his class one of the main reasons I decided to do a pHD. Another good rec) 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:  have volunteered for a year + as part of the Big Sister Little Sister program, Clinical Intern in Germany working with dialysis data, Black Student Union President for one year. 


Applying to Where: (applying to a lot because of my low gpa stats and I'm a McNair scholar so the application fees are free) (focusing on stem cell and Developmental Biology program)

Rockefeller

UPenn- Biology

UPenn (BGS)

Stonybrook 

Emory 

U Mass Amherst 

UVA- Biology 

Mount Sinai 

NYU- Biology (haven't decided which nyu program yet) 

NYU Sackler 

Duke 

Columbia

Tufts Med- Genetics 

Morehouse Med. 

Northwestern- Chicago campus 

Sloan Kettering 

U of Houston 

Weill Cornell 

UNC Chapel Hill 

Stowers Institute

Albert Einstein 

U of Maryland

(Planning to email two faculty per school to chat. If there's any program suggestions you have, they would be greatly appreciated. If there are any completely out of my reach, let me know as well! I feel like I might have too many but this admissions cycle is gonna be rough especially with my stats. And since i'm not worried about app costs, the more the merrier? Also please let me know if I even have a chance. Was thinking about a PREP program but I have a lot of research experience so I'm not sure how that would help.) 

 

Omg! Another McNair Scholar. We should connect and share experiences. 

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On 9/7/2020 at 4:16 PM, alexf15 said:

Undergrad Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Major(s): Microbiology

Overall GPA: 3.23

Major GPA: 3.5

 

GRE Scores: didn't take yet

 

Research Experience: I spent 3 years in undergrad at a research lab. They hired me full-time and have been working in the lab for about 2.5 years now. So far I only have 2 publications that I am a co-author on. I was hoping I would have a first-author publication before applying, but COVID-19 shut down our lab for a couple months. I also have been working part-time in another lab for about 2 years. 

Will have 3 strong LORs from PIs in the department I work for. 

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

 

One year as volunteer chair in a pre-health science clu

 

Applying to Where:

I'm looking at applying to infectious disease and/or microbiology programs. The list of schools that I have now are: 

University of Colorado Denver

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Pitt Public Health Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Loyola University Chicago

Michigan State

UNC Chapel Hill

Penn State

Ohio State

 

If anybody has suggestion of program to shoot for, I know I don't have the best GPA, but hoping that my research experience make up for it. Any advice or suggestions is very much appreciated! 🤗

 

Thanks!

I would add the University of Iowa to your list. They have a strong Microbiology and Immunology department with reputable faculty and good funding. 

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On 8/4/2020 at 10:30 AM, sb248 said:

 

Academics:

GPA: 3.51 University of Washington Seattle (No particular trends in GPA, graduated August 2019) 

GRE: 157 V/ 167 Q/ 5 AW
 
Undergraduate Research: 
1 year as a student research volunteer with Seattle Children’s research studying concussion prevention. Presented research at undergraduate research symposium at the University of Washington. Assisted with a paper but don’t know if it will be published. 
 
Post Graduation Research: 
8 months as a clinical trial assistant with a contract research organization (CRO). I helped organize sites for clinical trials in the start up phase through close out. I also helped manage IRB submissions, subject tracking, and site personnel. 
 
2 months (will continue this position until the start of my graduate programs) 
Clinical research coordinator assisting with orthopedic research at a large institution 
 
Extracurricular:
Team Manager for University’s Sports Team: traveled with the team, helped with practices and games, learned about conditioning, nutrition, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. 
 
LORs: 
1 anatomy professor 
1 undergraduate PI/supervising coordinator 
1 current PI 
 
Schools I’m Looking At: 
University of Washington Biology 
UCSF Biomedical Sciences 
Stanford Biosciences 
University of Oregon Human Physiology 
USC Biokinesiology 
UCLA Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology 
UC Davis Molecular Cellular and Integrative Physiology 
UC San Diego Primary (Cellular, Molecular, Genetics) 
 
 
I know my research experiences aren’t for extended periods of time, but I’m hoping that along with my extracurricular they help reinforce my interest in sports medicine centered research. 
 
Based on my academics, is my list a little too top heavy? I’m worried I’m not applying to a variety of programs in terms of difficulty. I feel most of these schools are “reach programs” so I would appreciate any advice you may have on more schools or my current list. Thank you so much for all of your help! 

 

Your GPA/GRE are very similar to mine & I also went to UW (go dawgs!)

Your main potential weakness is probably on the research experience front because they're shorter in duration. If you can talk clearly and compellingly about that research in conjunction with your extracurriculars in your personal statements you should still have a good shot at the programs on your list though. Alongside strong rec letters hopefully!

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I'm happy to give people feedback on application profiles as well as strategies I might suggest for how to strengthen weaknesses thereof.

Also can give perspectives on Stanford biosciences - I do molecular/cellular/developmental/genetics type stuff so I can particularly give advice in that realm.

I'm not the most active on here, so I'll be more responsive to direct messages!

 

I know things are super weird with COVID and all right now - hope you all are doing alright and not stressing out too much!!

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On 9/10/2020 at 10:11 PM, DevoLevo said:

I'm happy to give people feedback on application profiles as well as strategies I might suggest for how to strengthen weaknesses thereof.

Also can give perspectives on Stanford biosciences - I do molecular/cellular/developmental/genetics type stuff so I can particularly give advice in that realm.

I'm not the most active on here, so I'll be more responsive to direct messages!

 

I know things are super weird with COVID and all right now - hope you all are doing alright and not stressing out too much!!

I would love some advice/perhaps brutal honesty on my profile. I'm quote concerned about my chance of admission. 

UGGPA: 3.1 from a top liberal arts college -- double major if it matters
MS GPA: 3.8 from an average state university
GRE: 169V/164Q/5.0
Other: first-generation, domestic
2 first-author pubs
1 middle author pub
1 first author and 1 middle author in the works
3 years working in a research lab with well known PI
 

I've contacted PIs from each university I plan to apply to and have had Zoom meetings with each (~40mins). All said that they would love to have me in their lab or I would be a great addition. As silly as it may be, I feel like I am duping them though, since they don't yet know my less-than-stellar UG GPA.

I spent a long time finding PIs with very similar research experience to my own and (I think) have written a fairly specific statement-of-intent outlining my research questions and ideas. Any advice on anything else I can do to hopefully make-up for that 3.1? Also, I'm being realistic, so I'm planning to apply to mid-tier programs. 

Thanks! 

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Undergrad Institution: Big state school in the East
Major(s): Biotechnology
Minor(s): Microbiology
GPA in Major: 3.25
Overall GPA: 3.08
Upper Division GPA: 3.6
Type of Student: International, Female, Hispanic/Latina


GRE Scores: have not taken yet; most programs do not require yet, not sure what I will do yet.

Research Experience: 

3 years of biotechnology industry (industry leader in the technology it utilizes) experience testing the potency of drug candidates on cancerous cell lines. Subject matter expert in cell banking, a lot of experience with mammalian cells. Have developed various assays to test drug candidates. I have worked now on 2 FDA-approved cancer drugs. Presented 2 posters at the company-wide conference (1 first author, 1 fourth author).

3 summers as an intern for a dermatology clinic. Performed research on common dermatological conditions as well as assisted with the evaluation of legal drug candidates.

No publications.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list for 4 semesters. Company award for performance exceeding expectations of job.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Organic Chemistry Learning Assistant (undergrad "TA"): 1 year

Chemistry Proctor: 2 years

Unrelated research experience (brain plasticity in bilingual speakers): 1 year


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Part of the team responsible for 2 FDA-approved cancer drugs.

Special Bonus Points: fluent in 3 languages, international student orientation leader, VP of the international student association, selected as member of the student conduct board.

I should have very strong LORs (2 from industry supervisors, one from a biotechnology professor).


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

I was initially an engineering major, hence the low GPA. Very obvious upward trend in my grades/GPA once I switched to science. All As and Bs other than Chemistry and Calculus.

Obtained a C in Chemistry 1 and 2 in the first year of my undergrad. Obtained an A in Organic Chemistry and was selected as a Learning Assistant (undergrad "TA") in my last year of undergrad. Another comeback!

Applying to Where (will apply to 10-12, still narrowing it down):

UCLA - Bioscience/Molecular Pharmacology (reach)
USC - Pharmaceutical and Translational Sciences (reach)
UCSD - Biological Sciences (reach)

University of Miami - Biomedical Science (mid to reach?)
UCSB - Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (mid?)
UCI - Pharmacological Sciences/Pharmacology (mid?)
UC Riverside - Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology (mid?)
San Diego State - Molecular Biology (mid?)
Chapman University - Pharmaceutical Sciences (mid?)

Nova Southeastern - Pharmaceutical Science (safe?)
Florida International University - Biology or Biochemistry, still unsure (safety)
University of South Florida - Cell & Molecular Biology (safety)
Cal State LA - Biology M.S. (safety)
Cal State Long Beach - Biology M.S. (safety)

 

Could any of you chance me on the above schools or recommend me any programs that could be a good fit for me? I am interested in Molecular Biology and Pharmacology. Any program that would be a good basis to be an active participant in target identification, drug discovery, etc.

Also, please let me know if I have incorrectly identified any of the programs above as reach/mid/safety. 

TIA!

 
 
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On 9/12/2020 at 8:26 AM, heygirlhey said:

I would love some advice/perhaps brutal honesty on my profile. I'm quote concerned about my chance of admission. 

UGGPA: 3.1 from a top liberal arts college -- double major if it matters
MS GPA: 3.8 from an average state university
GRE: 169V/164Q/5.0
Other: first-generation, domestic
2 first-author pubs
1 middle author pub
1 first author and 1 middle author in the works
3 years working in a research lab with well known PI
 

I've contacted PIs from each university I plan to apply to and have had Zoom meetings with each (~40mins). All said that they would love to have me in their lab or I would be a great addition. As silly as it may be, I feel like I am duping them though, since they don't yet know my less-than-stellar UG GPA.

I spent a long time finding PIs with very similar research experience to my own and (I think) have written a fairly specific statement-of-intent outlining my research questions and ideas. Any advice on anything else I can do to hopefully make-up for that 3.1? Also, I'm being realistic, so I'm planning to apply to mid-tier programs. 

Thanks! 

Honestly, I wouldn't worry so much about the low UG GPA, particularly since your master's was great. Yes, its probably below average but with a good GPA in your masters you show that you have the capacity to do will in school and your research/publishing record shows you can do well in science. Definitely apply to some mid-tier programs you'd feel comfortable with, but apply to some reach ones as well. Multiple first author publications is nothing to scoff at - I still have a solid 0 pubs under my belt and managed to get into good schools with a 3.5 and a lot of time spent on my personal statements.

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6 hours ago, DevoLevo said:

Honestly, I wouldn't worry so much about the low UG GPA, particularly since your master's was great. Yes, its probably below average but with a good GPA in your masters you show that you have the capacity to do will in school and your research/publishing record shows you can do well in science. Definitely apply to some mid-tier programs you'd feel comfortable with, but apply to some reach ones as well. Multiple first author publications is nothing to scoff at - I still have a solid 0 pubs under my belt and managed to get into good schools with a 3.5 and a lot of time spent on my personal statements.

Thanks for your response. I graduated from UG 7 years ago and it is certainly time I stop beating myself up over not reaching my potential. I really appreciate you taking the time to both respond and offer some encouraging words. Best of luck as you continue your PhD and congrats of being accepted to such a strong Biosciences program!
 

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