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What tier of schools am I competitive for? (Cognitive Neuroscience PhD)


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Hello GradCafe, I have not used this forum before so forgive me if I am doing something wrong. 

I am applying for cognitive neuroscience PhD programs this fall, and I am interested in many subtopics of cognitive neuroscience (dreaming, logical thinking, planning, goals etc) so there are many labs at most schools that I can see myself being a part of (I am also interested in doing both experimental and some theoretical research, although I may not be smart enough for that (bad at math)). This brings me to my question. What schools am I actually competitive for? I have the money to apply to many schools so here is my *incomplete list*. Please tell me if my stats are too weak for the schools I am thinking about. 

Gpa : 3.8 Neuroscience Major (5-6 CS and Math classes)

Gre: None

Research: 2.5 years of Psych Research in Developmental Lab (EEG)

LOR: 1 from PI, 1 from independent study, 1 from professor

Publications: None! 1 poster (5th coauthor) in progress (ready for publication), and 1 paper ready at start (2nd coauthor). COVID meddled with this and my undergrad is only 3 years long.

Schools so Far:

1) University of Oregon

2) ASU

3) University of Arizona

4) University of Pittsburgh

5) Carnegie Mellon

6) Harvard 

7) University of Rochester 

8 ) Washington University in St. Louis

9) Duke University

10) Princeton

11) UC riverside

12) Boston University

Unlike undergrad, its hard to tell what I can reasonably apply to. 

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Hi/Happy Friday!

Take my comment with a grain of salt. I am in microbiology, not neuro and also reapplying this year sooo...

Anyway, your stats are pretty similar to mine when I finished undergrad. My first round of apps, I applied to Emory, UVA, Vandy, UGA, UAB, Duke, UPenn, and UNC. I got rejected from all of them, but when I asked why, they pretty much all said my PS was trash, but the rest of my application was decent. I did get into a UC riverside master's programs with stats similar to yours. Honestly, if you've got the money, apply to as many as you can that has research your interested in and programs you like. I only applied to those 8 my first time, but personally, I feel that was too few, so I have around 20-25 on my list now. Write a really good statement and apply to as many as you can. You'll probably be fine! Good luck! ?

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I had a worse GPA but more publications, and I think the Duke, BU, WashU tier is about right (I got into BU, didn't apply to the others). It'll definitely depend on your statement of purpose and letters of rec, but you can include the paper that isn't published yet on your CV and say "manuscript in preparation" and it counts. 

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