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Neuroscience PhD- my chances?(not a zomg i'm screw'd thread)


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Hello all,

I'm a masters student at UC San Diego and I would like an evaluation of my chances at neuroscience programs I am applying to.

I am applying to the following neuroscience PhD programs:

1. Harvard (neuro + other choices listed)

2. Stanford (neuro + other choices listed)

3. UCSF (neuro)

4. Caltech (biology)

5. Janelia Farm (applying to neuro lab heads)

6. Rockefeller (neuro)

7. Columbia (brain...)

8. Berkeley (neuro)

9. MIT (biology)

10. MIT (brain and cog sci)

11. Princeton

(Yes, this is a very long list, and it is costing me an incredible sum of money but I just wanted as many acceptances as possible for me to mull over or increase my chances for just one in worst case scenario).

These are my experiences:

-2+ years working on cancer immunology: 3rd author publication in a journal (J. Immunol.) with general impact factor of 6.3. In addition, I have my own project still ongoing (projected to be published in a journal w/ general impact factor ~9 according to my optimistic estimation).

-6 months in organic chemistry research lab working on synthesis of anti-HIV therapeutic compound (no cigar, obviously and not even a publication)

-2+ years on-and-off with cancer outreach (education) program: 1 2nd author publication on a low impact factor journal, another 2nd author publication pending

-3 months working on human embryonic stem cells

These are my numbers:

-verbal GRE: 670, 95th

-quant GRE: 800, 94th

-writing: 5.5, 90th

-subject (biochemistry) GRE: 710, 97th

-GPA: 3.53 with 3.99 in last 2 years; a molecular biology major (really really really terrible first 2 years- actually 3 but too few classes to count as 3)

Other information:

-nearly 2 years of experience as a teaching assistant in biology and chemistry classes at UCSD

-health volunteer experience

-recommendation letters from my lab's PI, 2 neuroscientists (reputable, full professor titles), 1 renowned cancer biologist (full professor at Salk), 1 microbiologist (reputable, full professor title).


-older (25 years old)

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There wasn't that much data on there as far as I saw...

For many of the schools I looked at, the scores of those rejected were higher than those accepted, which told me after a point, other factors matter more.

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