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Profile Evaluation (Chemistry PhD Fall 2023)


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Hi all,

What do you guys think I'm being realistic in applying to the following programs based on my stats.  I plan on studying in the areas of catalysis/method development and organic synthesis.

I'm planning on applying to PhD programs at Scripps, UC Irvine, UCLA, Cal Tech, UIUC, MIT, Princeton, BU, UChicago, UT Austin, and Yale. 


In 2021, I graduated from a prominent state school in the north east with a decent chemistry department. Since graduating in May of 2021, I have been working as a research associate at a small-mid sized biotech company (~200 employees).


GPA: 3.93/4 (4.0 chemistry GPA)

GRE: Haven't taken them. It seems like most if not all of these schools have gotten rid of GRE requirements after COVID, but if they change their policies then I will take them.


During undergrad, I spent 2 years in synthetic organic/medicinal chemistry lab (more like 1.5 due to COVID keeping me home for one semester). I have no publications and did not give presentations at any conferences due to Covid (I did make and share a poster within the department, but I don't think that matters). It's also worth noting that my PI was not a faculty member at my university. He's a researcher at a connected medical research center, so he's not well connected outside of my university.

I was supposed to do a REU/SURF at Scripps after my junior year, but it was cancelled due to Covid.

Since graduating, I've spent a little over a year doing research on bioconjugations. Specifically, my work is mostly concerned with conjugating oligonucleotides and small molecules to mAbs and exploring new linkers both commercially available and novel (which I have synthesized).

Letters of Rec:

My undergrad PI will provide a strong letter (he told me I was one of the best students he's gotten to work with and we still communicate).

Current supervisor will also provide a strong letter

Final letter is from my ochem professor who served as my unofficial academic advisor while I was in school. He connected me with my PI and I still communicate with him as well. This will be my weakest letter as he can't speak to my research directly , but I still think it will be relatively strong.


ACS Award in Physical Chemistry

I was awarded two separate scholarships from the department for merit

I had one other scholarship from the School my department was in (i.e the School of Arts and Sciences)


I worked an on campus job prior to covid (in addition to my research)

Was the treasurer of my fraternity for a year

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Universities have deliberately come up with the idea that they no longer require GRE scores. All this is done in order to achieve more applications from students, which means a large amount of money in the form of an application fee. Instead of paying $205 and $150 for the GRE general and subject tests, universities want that money to be spent by you in the form of application fees. They deliberately came up with such a lure to get more money from students.


Every student has research experience and everyone can write a beautiful statement of purpose. From about 500 applications, will select only 30-40. Each professor at the university can take on average only 1 student to his research group. Therefore, the selection committee will select students on the principle of a lottery. And they don't care about you if you don't get in and wait a whole year again.

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