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How valuable are a JAMA + Statistics in Medicine papers

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Hello experts, 

I'm graduating with an MS in Biostat from a top 10 school and have published a research letter in JAMA (2nd author) and potentially 1st author paper in Statistics in Medicine (from my MS thesis). I also have a peer-reviewed conference paper in NeuRIPS. MS courseworks include casella berger. With these under my belt, where do you think I stand a good/decent chance at?

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That's a very good publication record for a Masters student, but publications aren't the only metric used for PhD admissions. You'll need to provide more information to get a decent read on your chances.

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Hey, thanks for commenting. Some more information: 

I'm international student doing my undergrads and grads studies in the US. 

Undergrad: BA, Top 30 LAC (Statistics) near Boston -- taken real analysis, math stat, linear algebra, proof-based discrete, linear, computer science

Grad: MS, Top 10 Biostatistics, Ivy League  

Research/work experience up to the point (in chronological order): 

1. Research on constructing hierarchical copula models with school professor

2. Summer research in Biostat at a well-known/prestigious cancer research hospital studying applications of joint model for survival and longitudinal data. One LOR from my supervisor, a junior-ish researcher who published in JASA, Biometrika, Biometrics, Statistics in Medicine, etc.  Our interaction was not few, due to covid, but I can potentially ask for a LOR from the program director, who is now my best friend/go to person. 

3. Summer research in Applied Maths (program funded by NSF) doing deep learning and neural networks (1 conference paper NeuRIPS)

4. Summer internship at a well-established pharma company. One LOR from my supervisor, who left his professorship at a Top 1 Biostat Uni. 2 months before my internship.

5. Research with my current advisor, a premier expert (that's what people call him) in survival analysis with whom I published the JAMA and potentially Stat Med papers with. One strong letter from him (he's incredibly supportive and has always had my back)

I'm confident that my LOR's will be strong. However, at the end of the day, I'm still international and not eligible for NIH fundings or training grants. This fact hit me hard when I applied for biostat PhD 2 years ago. I received fully funded PhD offers in statistics elsewhere at that time, but decided to go with my gut and ended up where i am now. MS courseworks shared with PhD students, doing CB. Perfect GPA but due to grad school grade inflation, don't know if people really care. 

My questions:

1. Where do you think I'll get a good/decent shot? I aimed too high last time so I want to be careful this time. 

2. Will I still be grouped in intl students applicant pool? Competing with folks who did their undergrads abroad and basically took measure theory in their sophomore year... 

3. Given this application, do you think working as a full-time research assistant/biostatistician at a research university for 1 or 2 years with more applied papers can boost up my chances by a lot and is it worth it?


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