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Khearts

Fall 2013 Chemistry and Biochemistry

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I'm probably jumping the gun a bit for starting one in late August, but there's always many of us who want to do things very early on.

Anyway, likes previous threads including the Fall 2012 Chemistry thread (), I would like to hear everyone's preparation for the 2013 application season! This time I would like to include Chemistry and Biochemistry since I consider them sister majors.

Who's ready?

(So far) I'm applying to UCLA, Berkeley, UCSD, and Arizona.

Optionally, you can also include your stats (years of research experience, GRE scores, etc...)

Edited by Khearts

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So far I'm applying to:

UChicago

Northwetern

UI-Urbana- Champaign

Washington State

University of Boston

University of Michigan

I'm probably going try to apply to a few "safety" ones just need to do some searching to find one I would be happy at.

Stats

GPA: 3.2/3.3 for Major/Cumulative :( really worried about this

GRE General and Subject- Taking them September 4 and October 14 respectively

Experience- 2 summers and an academic year

1 publication to a fairly high ranked journal which I was first author(pending acceptance)

1 poster presentation

1 talk(pending acceptance)

Also I was TA for a gen chem lab and worked in the chemistry stock room for a summer

2 solid LoR and 1 alright one

I'm getting my SoP prepared and am going to try to email all the professors I want to work by the end of next week. I'm just trying to read up on their recent papers so I can sound some what informed in the email haha.

BTW how do I add the schools I'm applying to in the area below my post?

Edited by tyther

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Computational Chemistry.

Stats:

GPA: 3.9/3.9 (Small state school)

GRE: end of Sept (Gen) and Nov (Chem)

Experience: 1 1/2 yr in a computational lab and a semester in a polymer lab.

One small publication.

2 posters + 1 speaking presentations.

3 solid LoRs.

Im applying to: UT, Rice, Upenn, Carnegie, UCSD. Possibly WashU.

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Hello all,

FIrst and foremost good luck to everyone applying this season! Heres a little about me

GPA -

3.2 transfer institution

3.2 chemistry/science

3.36 cum

GREs

Taking the General in a week and the Subject in October. I've been hovering around the 160s on practice tests though

Experience

6 semesters of research at my undergrad institution. 1 REU. A few papers just getting finalized and submitted now. But as slow as the review process is, thats not going to help me.

3 very good LORs

Applying to

UC Irvine, UC San Diego, USC (California), UC Santa Barbara, Colorado, The Ohio State University, Florida University, University of Maryland - College Park.

Maybe a few others.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on my application chances etc?

Btw I'm applying physical with a handful of theoretical.

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A few papers just getting finalized and submitted now. But as slow as the review process is, thats not going to help me.

From my understanding, if you just cite the paper as submitted, it's just as good as having a published paper.

Edited by tyther

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Tyther,

I was told by a department chair that "submitted" papers are not regarded as publications, or even looked on that favorably for that matter. He told me that because of the numbers of papers getting rejected from journals that a simple submitted wouldn't count for much.

But I guess that can be subjective and people should just write submitted. Can't hurt huh?

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Hi everyone,

Just getting in the swing of things with apps. For those of you doing biochem, how did you decide between programs in chemistry depts. and those biochemistry/biology/molecular biology depts? I'm struggling with narrowing down where to apply. It seems like, in many cases, there is significant overlap in what labs participate in each program.

I've been chatting with my undergrad research advisor about it, but I've been out of school (in pharma research) for nearly five years, so I don't have a lot of peers in the same situation.

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Hi everyone,

Just getting in the swing of things with apps. For those of you doing biochem, how did you decide between programs in chemistry depts. and those biochemistry/biology/molecular biology depts? I'm struggling with narrowing down where to apply. It seems like, in many cases, there is significant overlap in what labs participate in each program.

I've been chatting with my undergrad research advisor about it, but I've been out of school (in pharma research) for nearly five years, so I don't have a lot of peers in the same situation.

Is your interest in experimental or theoretical/computational biochemistry? If it is in experimental biochemistry, then is it more physical biochemistry, or more organic/biological based stuff? Is it at the cell level, system level, molecular cluster or single molecule level?

If you're doing computational or physical biochemistry then I think chemistry is more suitable.

Edited by SymmetryOfImperfection

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Looking at synthetic organic chemistry, but my undergrad research has been in biochemistry so I also have a lot of interest there as well.

Thus far I am planning on applying to: University of Maryland-College Park, University of Pennsylvania, UC Irvine, Indiana University, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and University of Utah.

You can never bet on any "safety schools

I had set aside some of the "Top 10" schools doing things I would be interested in (like that's hard to do) but I am still up in the air about applying to any those.

I attend a small private catholic liberal arts university and will be graduating with a double major in Chemistry/Biochemistry.

Overall/Major GPA: 3.7/3.8

GRE: took it once late spring without preparing and did not do very well (although not horribly), will update when I take again next week.

Experience: I've been working in a Biochem/Molecular Bio lab since fall semester of my sophomore year more or less working towards my senior honors thesis. I worked in that lab the summer between So/Jr years, and this past summer I did an undergraduate research fellowship at NIST working in gas metrology. I was working on a pretty important project involving gas standards for them but by nature it wasn't exactly a publishable project. I've been a lab TA and SI (attend lecture, hold review sessions) for a bunch of class/lab section since sophomore year (Gen Chem and Organic) and this year I am "head organic lab TA" (not as important as it sounds) so I have to help with the preparation and setup for all labs.

I would like to think I will have 3 very good LORs, one from my mentor at NIST, one from my undergrad advisor whose lab I worked in for the past 2+ years, and another from the Organic Professor who I have worked under in various capacities for 2 years.

I think it will be interesting to see how I stack up in this process. I undoubtedly have lots of experience working in a lab on many levels and teaching students but I don't exactly have any experience in working in a synthetic organic chemistry lab. My mentor at NIST said he was very impressed with my ability to work well independently so that should help.

Edited by Faraday

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your GPA is low but if you are good about communicating your research experience in your apps you should have some nice options to choose from. good luck!

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Graduated with a Chemistry BS degree and minor in Medicinal Chemistry.

Stats:

GPA: 3.52

GRE: 156Q, 153V

Research: One academic year of undergraduate research in a med chem lab in my school. Successfully synthesized an inhibitor that was needed for future study in that group. Research advisor mentioned about including me in the paper that they are going to publish some time in the future, but the last time I asked, they are still working on it and it wouldn't be out before the application deadline.

LORs: A fairly strong one from my research advisor, and the other two I would have to ask from professors that I took classes with, advanced organic and advanced med chem, they are both considered as graduate level classes and I did extremely well and got A in both of them. I have only worked under one advisor in my undergraduate so unfortunately that is the only thing I could do for my LORs.

Applying to: UC Davis, UNC Chapel Hill, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, Univeristy of Utah, University of Rochester, maybe still considering some other schools like University of Illinois at Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, etc. (any suggestions is welcomed!)

I would think my GPA is well enough for these schools and I wouldn't be too concerned with my GRE scores although they are just average, but since GRE is not that essential overall. What I am worried is my one academic year of undergraduate research (short period of time compared to others?) and my LORs (only one of them is going to be decent and from research advisor, who has an idea of my research skill in a research-based lab).

By the way, I am getting started with my SOP and I am having a hard time. Is it rude to ask for anyone's SOP as a reference? I do not mean to duplicate your essay but I just feel that it would be great to see someone's SOP, to get an idea of what it's like? Is anyone here comfortable or willing to show me their SOP? Doesn't matter be it a crude draft or final draft. Any help is very much appreciated!

Edited by zs3889

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your recommenders will likely be willing to read over your SOP and offer suggestions. ask them sooner rather than later. either way, you should have somebody proofread your essays to make sure you communicate your motivation well. i don't mean to offend, but it sounds like english might not be your first language. if that's the case, it's OK, you just should pay particular attention to showing that you will be able to communicate science, etc.

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Hey guys -

Getting ready to start my applications (can't wait...).

I could use some help figuring out some safety schools, most online rankings don't go beyond the top 20 and I'd love to know for sure that I'm going to grad school next year.

I'm planning on going into Organic Chemsitry - looking for a professor with a good mix of methodology and total synthesis.

Education:

Top 25 Private University - Honors Chemistry Program

GPA Major/Cumulative: 3.4/3.5

Research Experience:

Five semesters and One Summer in University Research Lab

One summer of Pharmaceutical Research

Extended Part-Time Research Position at Pharmaceutical Company

Second Author of Accepted JACS Publication

Second Author of Manuscript in Preparation (Doesn't count for much - I know)

GRE's: 164 Q, 159 V, 5.0 W

Universities:

Reaches - Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, CalTech

In Betweens - UC Irvine, UChicago

"Safeties" - UT Austin, UNC Chapel Hill (Is there really a such thing as a safety school?)

I'd love some recommendations for safety schools. Best of luck to everyone!

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Hey guys -

Getting ready to start my applications (can't wait...).

I could use some help figuring out some safety schools, most online rankings don't go beyond the top 20 and I'd love to know for sure that I'm going to grad school next year.

I'm planning on going into Organic Chemsitry - looking for a professor with a good mix of methodology and total synthesis.

Education:

Top 25 Private University - Honors Chemistry Program

GPA Major/Cumulative: 3.4/3.5

Research Experience:

Five semesters and One Summer in University Research Lab

One summer of Pharmaceutical Research

Extended Part-Time Research Position at Pharmaceutical Company

Second Author of Accepted JACS Publication

Second Author of Manuscript in Preparation (Doesn't count for much - I know)

GRE's: 164 Q, 159 V, 5.0 W

Universities:

Reaches - Harvard, UC Berkeley, Stanford, CalTech

In Betweens - UC Irvine, UChicago

"Safeties" - UT Austin, UNC Chapel Hill (Is there really a such thing as a safety school?)

I'd love some recommendations for safety schools. Best of luck to everyone!

There really is no such thing as a safety school. You can go back and look at past years in the sciences here or on college confidential and see plenty of people who got into top-5 schools but were then rejected from other "lesser" schools. The closest thing would be a school whose chemistry department contacted you through the GRE search service. Presumably your stats are good enough and with good SOPs/LORs you would be able to get in.

You know Harvard, Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, and UC Irvine require the Subject test, right? I Can't speak for the others as I have not looked at those.

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there definitely aren't safety schools, but you might want to look at colorado state - they have a few groups whose stuff you might like. also check out UIUC

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There really is no such thing as a safety school. You can go back and look at past years in the sciences here or on college confidential and see plenty of people who got into top-5 schools but were then rejected from other "lesser" schools. The closest thing would be a school whose chemistry department contacted you through the GRE search service. Presumably your stats are good enough and with good SOPs/LORs you would be able to get in.

You know Harvard, Berkeley, Caltech, Stanford, and UC Irvine require the Subject test, right? I Can't speak for the others as I have not looked at those.

I just took the Chemistry GRE's last week, I'll find out in November how i did. I know they aren't too significant though.

I added UCLA to the list. I'm hoping that safety-in-numbers will play a role - If i apply to enough schools someone's bound to take me right? I'm hoping to narrow down eventually, I'm going to have to get another job to pay for the application fee's...

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you should check out the results page and search "MIT Chemistry," etc. and look at the GRE scores of those accepted. that'll give you a ballpark, but the scores tend to vary more than one might expect. if you get a 4.0 or better on AW, then my guess is your scores will not hurt you. i think the GRE tests are for more of a red flag in the event that a score is quite poor. i wouldn't worry too much about your GREs

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you should check out the results page and search "MIT Chemistry," etc. and look at the GRE scores of those accepted. that'll give you a ballpark, but the scores tend to vary more than one might expect. if you get a 4.0 or better on AW, then my guess is your scores will not hurt you. i think the GRE tests are for more of a red flag in the event that a score is quite poor. i wouldn't worry too much about your GREs

I have looked at the results page, but the problem is that most people just say accepted/rejected and rarely show stats like gpa, gre, research experience, etc., making it difficult to gauge where I stand.

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People often post their stats when they are at your stage, asking for their chances. I bet if you go back to the beginning of the general application threads (not just the results) you can find the stats you're looking for.

Edited by luce373

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i know that not everyone does it, but generally there are enough to get an idea. you missed my main point, however, which is that your scores are good enough for those schools and if you don't get accepted somewhere it's not for lack of competitive GRE score.

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i would think a perfect Q score would be helpful for a pchemist. i'm in organic and i had slightly better GRE scores than you and got rejected by a few places. the GRE is one of the least important factors. sorry for the double post.

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Yes, I do know that the general GRE is one of the least important factors for admissions, but how important do you think the chem GRE score is? And what would be the minimum score I should be shooting for to be competitive at a top 10 program, e.g.? Or if there isn't a score I should be shooting for, what kind of score would be too low that they wouldn't look at me?

Thanks for the help.

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I have heard that the subject gre is ranked below the general gre in terms of importance. I have also heard that a score in the 75th plus percentile will help domestic students and anything above the 50th percentile wont hurt you. Its my own personal opinion that you need to not do glaringly bad on your gres. What I mean by that is that its not what score you get, its what score is bad enough to make an adcom think twice. But thats just my own opinion. Remember, your application is a package. Its research, lors, grades.... etc. Adcoms want good scientists. Not who can outscore everyone else on the gres. Do as best as you can and don't stress about it.

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