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Biomedical Science PhD Applicants (Fall 2021)


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I got accepted to NYU Vilcek!!!! It was the only school that gave me an interview and literally all other schools rejected me but I don't care anymore because I am getting my PhD!!!!

Does anyone know how competitive interviews will be this year? I've received 10 invites so far, but decided to decline three offers because I'm still waiting to hear back from a few other program

Hi guys, I hope you don't mind if I rant a bit. I guess this entire cycle has just been really hard. I received my waitlist from BU (where I currently work, got my undergrad and masters degree from AN

Hi everyone,

I interviewed for USC's Molecular Biology Program on January 29th and haven't heard back with a decision yet. Has anyone heard back? I emailed my POIs but they said none of them are on the admissions board and that I should hear back early March...

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Curious if anyone here has insights into the reputation of Albert Einstein's PhD program and if students generally like it? It was not originally one of my top choices but based on the rejections I have already received it is looking like that might end up being where I go. I really enjoyed their interview process and the students I talked to were nice as well as every PI I talked to had good things to say about the program but I know they tend to be very biased. Would also love to talk to anyone who has decided to attend there as well! 

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This is more of a rant post for my fellow applicants looking to start school in Texas, but I was super excited with my acceptances and the prospect of starting school in a not only a new city, but a new part of the country. But with the mask mandate being lifted now I just feel scared, unsafe, doubting whether I should go to school in such an area, and honestly... just robbed of what should have been a positive experience?

I'm sure the schools will still take the pandemic seriously, but who knows not only how the city will handle it but also the residents as well. Idk, am I alone in my frustrations and worries?

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18 hours ago, refreshingemailswhilecryin said:

When are you all anticipating committing to a school? 

probably as late as possible lol, I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. If anyone has advice on choosing one program out of others that they love/ see themselves at, I'm all ears!

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2 minutes ago, StemCells4Lyfe said:

This is more of a rant post for my fellow applicants looking to start school in Texas, but I was super excited with my acceptances and the prospect of starting school in a not only a new city, but a new part of the country. But with the mask mandate being lifted now I just feel scared, unsafe, doubting whether I should go to school in such an area, and honestly... just robbed of what should have been a positive experience?

I'm sure the schools will still take the pandemic seriously, but who knows not only how the city will handle it but also the residents as well. Idk, am I alone in my frustrations and worries?

I was thinking about the same thing!! The school will probably have a different attitude compared to the city. I'd recommend reaching out to current students or people you know in the area and asking about how it is there since they're living through that experience now. 

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4 minutes ago, sciencegal8 said:

I was thinking about the same thing!! The school will probably have a different attitude compared to the city. I'd recommend reaching out to current students or people you know in the area and asking about how it is there since they're living through that experience now. 

Makes sense. I also have a trip planned to visit both cities to look at apartments and see the area (planned before learning about the change in mask requirements), so I'll get a feel for it myself first-hand pretty soon. But I'm still so angry and frustrated about the whole situation. 

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4 hours ago, StemCells4Lyfe said:

This is more of a rant post for my fellow applicants looking to start school in Texas, but I was super excited with my acceptances and the prospect of starting school in a not only a new city, but a new part of the country. But with the mask mandate being lifted now I just feel scared, unsafe, doubting whether I should go to school in such an area, and honestly... just robbed of what should have been a positive experience?

I'm sure the schools will still take the pandemic seriously, but who knows not only how the city will handle it but also the residents as well. Idk, am I alone in my frustrations and worries?

Hey! I was thinking about this too, as I also got accepted to UTSW and BCM! Based on the interview experiences, everyone seemed to take it a lot more seriously than the government of Texas, but it is a frightening thought. I also was feeling this when Texas had the failure of their power grid during the winter storm (would be hard and dangerous to be in that situation, especially as someone from out-of-state without a social network). But I also live in a very liberal big city currently, Philadelphia, and manyy people do not wear masks or take social distancing seriously here either. Even with the shutdowns, many of the apartments around my school are hosting rather large parties with students going about without masks. The city response here also leaves a lot to be desired, and enforcement of the existing regulations is lacking. So the unfortunate thing is that in pretty much any big city, there will be those that take the pandemic seriously and those that don't, and either way it is hard to avoid those that do not.

 

Also, are you leaning towards either UTSW or Baylor? I am having a difficult time deciding between their programs (BBS and I&M). Ultimately, I think I am more likely to pick Baylor because of its access to the Texas Medical Center, but I am interested in what others with similar decisions are thinking and why.

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6 hours ago, StemCells4Lyfe said:

This is more of a rant post for my fellow applicants looking to start school in Texas, but I was super excited with my acceptances and the prospect of starting school in a not only a new city, but a new part of the country. But with the mask mandate being lifted now I just feel scared, unsafe, doubting whether I should go to school in such an area, and honestly... just robbed of what should have been a positive experience?

I'm sure the schools will still take the pandemic seriously, but who knows not only how the city will handle it but also the residents as well. Idk, am I alone in my frustrations and worries?

I know the city of Houston (especially the TMC) is taking it extremely seriously. I've looked at social media from my school and they're being vocal about their support of masks.

Edit: wanted to add that despite Greg Abbott's ridiculous call, it is still the right of all private businesses to require masks. I have a friend in Houston who said that since the mandate was lifted, he's seen just as many people continuing to wear them and that all businesses he's encountered still have their mask reqs in place.

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1 hour ago, dymatthew said:

Hey! I was thinking about this too, as I also got accepted to UTSW and BCM! Based on the interview experiences, everyone seemed to take it a lot more seriously than the government of Texas, but it is a frightening thought. I also was feeling this when Texas had the failure of their power grid during the winter storm (would be hard and dangerous to be in that situation, especially as someone from out-of-state without a social network). But I also live in a very liberal big city currently, Philadelphia, and manyy people do not wear masks or take social distancing seriously here either. Even with the shutdowns, many of the apartments around my school are hosting rather large parties with students going about without masks. The city response here also leaves a lot to be desired, and enforcement of the existing regulations is lacking. So the unfortunate thing is that in pretty much any big city, there will be those that take the pandemic seriously and those that don't, and either way it is hard to avoid those that do not.

 

Also, are you leaning towards either UTSW or Baylor? I am having a difficult time deciding between their programs (BBS and I&M). Ultimately, I think I am more likely to pick Baylor because of its access to the Texas Medical Center, but I am interested in what others with similar decisions are thinking and why.

Hey! I will most likely be joining BCM (I&M) and moving to TX from CA makes me a little nervous although I have heard good things about Houston in general (I haven't ever visited myself). I am waiting to hear from another program but like you said, the opportunity for translational research in the Texas Medical Center is quite important for me. I don't have an offer from UTSW but they do have access to the medical center as well so definitely hard to pick out of the 2.  Ping me if you decide to join BCM :)

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12 hours ago, xanthan gum said:

Has anyone heard back from Tufts immunology yet, after the interview?

I'm also interviewing at BU for the PiBS program next week, I got in off the waitlist. Not sure what to expect.

I haven't heard anything. Guessing at this point they already sent out their first round of offers 😕

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4 hours ago, email refresher said:

I haven't heard anything. Guessing at this point they already sent out their first round of offers 😕

Yeah, I figured the same thing. I interviewed with Tufts CMDB last Friday and they said do rolling admissions and about 1/3 of us would get offers (3 spots to fill out of 25/30 interviewees). I'm not sure if Immunology is similarly competitive or not.

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On 3/4/2021 at 2:15 PM, Quiteña said:

Hi guys, looking for some advice! I pretty much decided on a grad school, but another one of my options has offered me additional fellowships with a significantly increased stipend (11.5k increase by my third year). Does anyone know if it's possible to contact my first choice school and say something along the lines of "are there any additional financial opportunities I can pursue?" I don't want to come across as haggling or demanding them to match the stipend, but my S/O is attending medical school at the same time and it's quite expensive, so anything helps. Can programs even offer more than the stipend they declare? I don't really know how to go about this, and would appreciate any insight/advice. Thanks so much!

Hey, have you heard any additional information on this or found out more from your preferred choice? I'm actually in a really similar boat and would love your insight.

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45 minutes ago, icsyr said:

Hey, have you heard any additional information on this or found out more from your preferred choice? I'm actually in a really similar boat and would love your insight.

I actually did reach out to my top choice (UPenn PGG). Taking advice from my professors, I wrote an email that let them know the options I was considering (UPenn, Duke (with said stipend fellowships), and Rockefeller), expressed my preference for their program, and politely inquired if there were additional fellowships I could pursue due to my additional financial responsibilities. I concluded saying I was looking forward to the additional events being hosted this month. I addressed the email to the chair of the PGG admissions committee and CC'ed the chair of the department, and the chair was actually the one who replied to me. She was very kind, and to summarize, she basically said that unfortunately, unlike schools primarily in the South, they do not have additional funding to offer their recruits. However, they are working on additional financial perks for students entering this fall, and she would collect relevant information and contact me to schedule a call in the next week to discuss any questions I might have. She completely understands the financial constraints of being a graduate student and wants to help any way she can. 

So even though they weren't able to offer me a higher stipend, I am still very glad I reached out and can get some guidance from the chair. I don't think there is any harm in trying (especially if your top choice is located more in the south!). Let me know if you have any additional questions!

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3 hours ago, PhDBound123 said:

Have anyone heard back from Stanford Bioscience?

Based on the results section of Grad Cafe, there have already been some acceptances to the Biosciences program (M&I and Immunology home programs, although I think they all make their decisions at pretty much the same time). At the interview, I was told that for my program (M&I) they would make offers for the exact number of spots they had available (6) and then if anyone refused their offer they would make additional acceptances so they ended up with exactly 6 students. I haven't heard anything yet, so I'm assuming I was not among their initial 6 acceptances.

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19 hours ago, xanthan gum said:

Yeah, I figured the same thing. I interviewed with Tufts CMDB last Friday and they said do rolling admissions and about 1/3 of us would get offers (3 spots to fill out of 25/30 interviewees). I'm not sure if Immunology is similarly competitive or not.

Did you interview for Immunology as well? I know they also do rolling admission and it seems like in the past they had 3-5 spots/year, but I'm not sure how many they have this year. They did say they interviewed more people than they usually do, but I think that was probably just because it was over Zoom so they didn't have to cover more travel expenses and not because they have more spots this year. 

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3 minutes ago, email refresher said:

Did you interview for Immunology as well? I know they also do rolling admission and it seems like in the past they had 3-5 spots/year, but I'm not sure how many they have this year. They did say they interviewed more people than they usually do, but I think that was probably just because it was over Zoom so they didn't have to cover more travel expenses and not because they have more spots this year. 

Yeah, I interviewed for both programs. Still nothing. Best of luck to you!

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15 hours ago, Quiteña said:

I actually did reach out to my top choice (UPenn PGG). Taking advice from my professors, I wrote an email that let them know the options I was considering (UPenn, Duke (with said stipend fellowships), and Rockefeller), expressed my preference for their program, and politely inquired if there were additional fellowships I could pursue due to my additional financial responsibilities. I concluded saying I was looking forward to the additional events being hosted this month. I addressed the email to the chair of the PGG admissions committee and CC'ed the chair of the department, and the chair was actually the one who replied to me. She was very kind, and to summarize, she basically said that unfortunately, unlike schools primarily in the South, they do not have additional funding to offer their recruits. However, they are working on additional financial perks for students entering this fall, and she would collect relevant information and contact me to schedule a call in the next week to discuss any questions I might have. She completely understands the financial constraints of being a graduate student and wants to help any way she can. 

So even though they weren't able to offer me a higher stipend, I am still very glad I reached out and can get some guidance from the chair. I don't think there is any harm in trying (especially if your top choice is located more in the south!). Let me know if you have any additional questions!

Wow! Thank you for all the info! This was exceptionally helpful. 

I'm in a really similar boat with Penn being my top program but another school offering me an additional fellowship for at least the first year. I think I'll send an email the chair of the committee and the department with similar inquiries; and maybe I'll ask about it at the additional Q&A session coming up this month.

Are you leaning towards Penn over Duke? (I also interviewed at Duke [Immunology] but I did not have a good time -- no real connection with the faculty or the students.)

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7 minutes ago, icsyr said:

Wow! Thank you for all the info! This was exceptionally helpful. 

I'm in a really similar boat with Penn being my top program but another school offering me an additional fellowship for at least the first year. I think I'll send an email the chair of the committee and the department with similar inquiries; and maybe I'll ask about it at the additional Q&A session coming up this month.

Are you leaning towards Penn over Duke? (I also interviewed at Duke [Immunology] but I did not have a good time -- no real connection with the faculty or the students.)

Duke (for pharmacology) was actually my favorite for a while, especially after the interview. My student host was really nice and was willing to set up a Zoom call to talk about the program, the faculty were easy to talk to and had research interests similar to mine, and their career development program seems fantastic. A faculty member who I didn't even interview with reached out to say congrats, that he also went to undergrad where I did and was happy I did well there, and to reach out if I had any questions. Overall, they made me feel really welcome.

Penn is similar in the sense that I am very interested in the research there, my student host was amazing, and I actually enjoyed the interviews. I think both would be really good fits for me, but because my boyfriend got into a medical school in Philly, and none in North Carolina, Penn ultimately has the edge. I totally understand not feeling a connection with a program though - everyone keeps saying to trust your "gut feeling" on schools, and there were some interviews that were just more tiring than exciting. It's harder to get a feel through Zoom, but I think those initial intuitions are still valid and very important.

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On 3/7/2021 at 6:33 PM, refreshingemailswhilecryin said:

When are you all anticipating committing to a school? 

I had interviewed at 4 places and preferred 2 as my top choices so as soon as I heard back from them, I just emailed a few professors, made my choice and already took my preferred offer. I didnt see the point of delaying since I would have made the same choice even in a few weeks. If I had more choices, it might have taken longer. 

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On 3/8/2021 at 8:47 PM, neurokenzie said:

I know the city of Houston (especially the TMC) is taking it extremely seriously. I've looked at social media from my school and they're being vocal about their support of masks.

Edit: wanted to add that despite Greg Abbott's ridiculous call, it is still the right of all private businesses to require masks. I have a friend in Houston who said that since the mandate was lifted, he's seen just as many people continuing to wear them and that all businesses he's encountered still have their mask reqs in place.

That's reassuring. I'm leaning more towards Dallas, so I hope it's the same there. I also found a list of restaurants that will still require masks, so I'll really just be patroning those while visiting and once moving there. 

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1 hour ago, Blood Type C8H10N4O2 said:

I had interviewed at 4 places and preferred 2 as my top choices so as soon as I heard back from them, I just emailed a few professors, made my choice and already took my preferred offer. I didnt see the point of delaying since I would have made the same choice even in a few weeks. If I had more choices, it might have taken longer. 

Did you end up choosing UMass? Just asking because I might go there as well.. 

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