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Great grades and assets, but lousy undergrad school


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I am studying molecular biology with a minor in chemistry at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and plan on pursuing a PhD in Chemistry. I have a 3.75 GPA that is steadily rising, and have been very involved in research on lanthanide MOFs, with a publication bearing my name well on the way. However, the school I currently attend is a thorn in my side. I am only here because my fiancée and I are not in a financial position to move anywhere yet. Apart from grades and publications, what can I be doing to make up for the lack of a sexy institution credential on my applications?

I really appreciate any advice you may have, and thanks.

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Where are you planning/hoping to attend graduate school? What school you came from is only a small part of what all they look at. Having relevant experience on your curriculum vitae seems to be a larger factor. A good GPA and test scores are also important, coupled with your actual application materials. Spend time writing a good statement of purpose and if you get an interview practice ahead of time. Take advantage of any opportunities to participate in research projects, giving presentations, and if you work while in school and can land a job/internship in or at least close to your field that helps.

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I'm confused, are you interested in grad school in chemistry or molecular biology? You say you want to pursue a PhD in chemistry, but your major is molecular biology. Also, what area of chemistry you want to go into will make a difference.

I got acceptances to top-10 schools in Chemistry from a Louisiana system school, so don't worry too much about that... But you'll have a much harder time getting into grad school in chemistry with just a minor, I would think.ULM may not be a sexy name, but there are good faculty there, and the program certainly isn't bad, by any stretch.

Edited by Eigen
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I don't go to a huge science and engineering school, but I had success with grad school applications. I met people on my visits who went to very small programs. If you know your shit, you'll get in a few places. Getting into gradschool is far from an exact science, but the best thing you can do is give them every reason to believe that you have what it takes to be a great scientist in ______.

So with that said, I agree with Eigen in that pursuing graduate studies in Chemistry with only a minor might be iffy. While the ULL brand isn't going to jump off the page to grad admissions officers, it's not going to be crippling like you seem to think.

Good luck!

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