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help for a PhD application (international student)


Federica

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Hi! I'm new to this forum... I'm an Italian student interested in doing a chemistry PhD in the US. I have 2 more years of college, we have 5 totally, and I'm currently studying chemistry, with an organic-polymer chemistry specialization (our system is completely different from yours).

I would like to have some suggestions on what to do for the application.

I know I have to take a general GRE and chemistry one too, but was wondering how to do with the recommendation letters and the lab experience.

I only have Italian professors, will their recommendation letters be accepted?

I had a 2 and a half months of lab research experience within my University and I'm writing a thesis on that right now. I will take part in a one-year-research program (still in a University lab) next year and will write a thesis on that work too. I read that a research experience is needed to get accepted, do you think mine will be suitable? Do you think I should look for a stage in a lab/industry in the US, maybe during the summer? Can you suggest me where to look, like which web site?

Thank you very much for your help!

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I don't think your current research plan is insufficient as to disqualify you from consideration, but more is always better. I'd say the best thing you'd get out of doing research in America is a solid recommendation letter which can really help.

As for your Italian professors I'd say you will have to have them write them in Italian and get them translated by someone into English. I'm not sure how you'd go about this. I know schools will want literal translations of your transcripts but I'm not sure if there's more room for elaboration in recommendation translations. Best to check with the particular schools.

As far as how to find a research position in America I'd talk to your advisor, if you get some good references do some good research at your institution and are a little lucky you might be able to land an internship with a company. Check out the sites of pharmacuetical companies, petroleum refineries, even textile manufacturers. Your advisor or professors may also know of research programs where you could do research in an academic lab for the summer.

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