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2nd time applying to Neuroscience PhDs - F2021- Profile Eval?


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Hi everyone!

I'm reapplying to Neuro PhD programs after an unsuccessful round in senior year of undergrad (F2019). I only applied to Pitt, Vanderbilt (waitlisted for interview slot), Columbia, and Johns Hopkins. 2 years later, I now have some more research experience and focus on what I want to do as I'm in my 2nd year in an NIH IRTA postbac. I'm interested in behavioral neuroscience, neuroendocrinology and psychiatry.

Any help in judging my stats against the schools I'm applying to would be seriously appreciated!


  • Undergrad: Dual B.S. degrees in Psychology and Cog & Behavioral Neuroscience with a 3.62 overall GPA (In major 3.92 for Psych and 3.52 for Neuro) at an R1 Mid-Atlantic university. I had Bs and Cs in gen chem and gen bio and never took physics. I took a semester of OChem senior year and got a B-.

  • GRE: 156 Q, 156 V, 5.0 AW (most likely will omit in applications where it's not required)

  • Research: 

    • I have completed 2 years of undergraduate research in a drug addiction/behavioral pharmacology lab, including one summer of full time work through a fellowship.

    • By matriculation I will also have 2 years of full time work in a drug addiction/neural circuits laboratory at NIH.

    • I will have one manuscript submitted before applications (2nd author) and have presented 3 posters/conference presentations.

  • White female, US citizen

  • Rec letters:  one from my current PI, one from my undergraduate PI, and one from a well known PI/director of my current branch

  • Other relevant info: I have some connections to PIs at a few of these schools and plan to reach out to them after I submit my applications.

Schools I'm planning to apply to, in no particular order, all for Neuro PhDs:

Yale, UCSD, NYU, WashU, Stanford, Harvard, Icahn/Mt. Sinai, Ohio State, Pitt, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, and Brown (13 total)

At each of these schools, I've identified PIs who have research closely aligning with my interests.

School's I'm still considering applying to:

Cornell, CU Boulder, Duke, UVA, UPenn, and MIT (5 total)

I don't see putting out more than 15 quality applications and contacting an appropriate amount of PIs (~1-3) at each school feasible. I'm open to any other schools you might think I should consider!

Thanks again!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Seems like you have a great deal of experience! Do try to keep in mind that this year's cycle is tight on funding so some schools and programs may not being accepting any students. Please make sure to double check with the program websites or potential PI's for that! Sometimes if the department isn't funding a student, the PI may be able to fund you based on their recent and incoming grants....so that may be worth checking as well. It also can depend on your research interests and fit in the lab. It looks like you're reaching high for prestigious names but don't discount schools like CUNY that have excellent researchers studying your topic of choice. (I have a friend there in the drug addiction area).

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On 10/8/2020 at 1:05 PM, RelationCertain said:

I have some connections to PIs at a few of these schools and plan to reach out to them after I submit my applications.

Why are you waiting? You should definitely be making contact with potential PIs well before submitting an application. Even if you already know them in passing, waiting til you submit an application is just asking to be shoved to the bottom of the consideration pile

Also as NeuroMorgan said- that's a lot of top tier schools.  Your resume sounds ok, you have a good beginning amount of experience.  Think about adding some programs that may be less of a stretch.  There are oodles of great schools doing work in addiction (University of Missouri comes to mind immediately, their entire psych program has a strong addiction focus). 

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