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Should I take a gap year or apply to PhD?

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Hey everyone,

So my future plans changed and I want to peruse PhD in biology or genetics. But I am not sure if I should wait a year to expend my resume or just try and apply this upcoming cycle. My stats as follow:

1. Major in bio ( 3.75ish gpa)

2. Multiple years on dean's list,  some honors award

3. Peer TA for 1.5 years 

4. Have different interesting activities ( open non profit after high school, work in interesting jobs, currently have a business, etc)

5. Research: Year and 3 months in biomedical lab, 2 years in computational/genetics lab,  3 month internship in top 20 doing annotations, summer in top 20 in genetic lab, one year clinical research ( not sure if it counts). I  graduated this year, I have two offers with two year commitment- both really great options (at very established universities). 

6. Presentations - about 6 , national and regionals 

7. Pubs: 1 first co-author, 1 third author (review paper), 1 in the middle somewhere but in Nature.

I am very interested in computational or genetic program, so want to apply to MIT and Stanford ( among others) but I feel like the application not as strong for those places. 


Should I take a year off, work for 2 years to gain more experience or should I apply? Do I even stand a chance given my a bit lower GPA for these schools? 



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You absolutely stand a chance! I think the important thing is not whether you can get in, but whether you’re willing to commit to 4-7 years of full-time research right now. If you feel ready/willing to do that (and confident that you enjoyed your prior research experiences enough that you’ll enjoy a PhD), then go ahead and apply.


^ This was basically the advice that I got when I was in a similar situation last year. I was planning on taking a few years off after my MS, but one of my advisors convinced me to go ahead and apply to just a few programs in the city where I live—and, if I didn’t get in, I would apply for jobs. Can’t hurt to apply, as long as you can afford the application fees! :)

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