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2015 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results


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I'm getting too anxious to wait for someone to create this thread..!

We've made it this far, everyone! Now for the hard part...

 

Undergrad Institution: (School or type of school, such as big state, lib arts, ivy, technical, foreign (what country?)... Overall Reputation in Biology?)
Major(s):
Minor(s):
GPA in Major:
Overall GPA:
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?)
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?)

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:
V:
W:
B:


TOEFL Total: (if applicable, otherwise delete this)

Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

School - Department - Research Interest
School - Department - Research Interest
School - Department - Research Interest

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eteshoe, at least turn down SOME of those acceptances.  It's not polite to hold onto so many when others might want in.

YES!! Got my first official offer today! Happens to be from the same school that rejected me two years ago.   

I'll start.

 

Undergrad Institution: Liberal Arts University that isn't very well known nationally.
Major(s): Psychology
Minor(s): Biology
GPA in Major: Not sure, we usually don't have that calculated.
Overall GPA: 3.51
Position in Class: I got inducted into Psi Chi last semester so at least top 35%
Type of Student: Female US citizen applying to mostly Canadian schools

GRE Scores (revised/old version): (Taking in August)
Q:
V:
W:
B:


Research Experience: Oh, boy. This one is always tricky because the university doesn't have "labs" that I can join.

I did an independent biology research project that lasted about 7 months. Preparing a manuscript (1st author out of three). Did two conference talks on this project (single author; one was a regional conference and the other was a university-wise conference)

Was an undergraduate research assistant for a probability learning project, but we only got preliminary results. We're going to hopefully present a poster at a state-wide conference (2nd author out of four).

Presenting a poster at a Canadian national conference on a research course project (single author). I plan to continue the project this fall and hopefully will get a manuscript in next spring (I'm thinking 1st author out of two).

I am a research volunteer/intern at University of Toronto for the summer. I doubt I will get into any manuscripts.

There are a few research opportunities for me this fall (behavioral ecology project, research seminar for psychology students)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Tri-Beta member, Psi Chi member, Dean's list, received a Tri-Beta research grant based on my proposal for my independent biology project

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Biology lab assistant at my university

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I can't think of anything else...

Special Bonus Points: The PI that I'm volunteering for this summer is my POI for my top choice school.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I had a poor first year due to adjustment problems. However, my grades shot up in second year and third year.

Applying to Where:

See signature--I imagine that it is subject to change.

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Oh man, I cant believe its already time for this!

 

 

Undergrad Institution:

Undergrad: Big state school, good reputation

Masters: Unknown state school but strong department for my field and well known advisor

Major(s):

Undergrad: BS in Applied Mathematics

Masters: MS in bioinformatics

Minor(s):

spanish

GPA in Major:

Undergrad: 3.1ish... not good at all!

Masters: 4.0

Overall GPA:

Undergrad: 3.3

Masters: 4.0

Position in Class: average for undergrad, I am the top student for my MS
Type of Student: domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 168
V: 162
W: 4

Research Experience:

Masters:

-- 1.5 years in biophysical modeling lab (by the time I apply... only 1 year at the moment) at my MS institution. From this research, I have 2 middle author papers and 1 first author paper (We are writing the papers at the moment so they will hopefully be published by the time I apply) and a few small posters. This research is very similar to what I want to do for my PhD.

 

Undergrad:

-- 1.5 years in a biomathematics lab - mathematical modeling research, physiology related. From this, I have 1 conference paper and 1 poster at a school symposium.

-- REU at top 20 school for applied math. The research was also in mathematical modeling, applied to biology.

-- 1 year in a bioengineering lab. This was freshman year of undergrad so just typical lab slave stuff.

-- 5 years (undergrad + high school) part time job in an aminal facility. I helped care for the animals, order chemicals, etc

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Masters:

merit based tuition scholarship

Not sure if it helps but I was the only MS student in the department who was offered a departmental research assistantship

 

Undergrad:

Excellence in research award - only 5 people at my huge state school are awarded this each year

Study abroad scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Undergrad: I was a TA for 3 semseters for math classes

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: I have already read a couple of my LORs and they are fabulous, they basically say that I am one of the top few students they have ever taught. I am a female in a male dominated area but I doubt that helps much.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

 

I am a strong programmer which is a major asset for the subfield I am interested in. I also have direct experience with the exact software that many of the professors who I want to work with use.

Applying to Where:
 

Rice: Systems, Synthetic, And Physical Biology

Stony Brook: Laufer Center PhD in Physical & Quantitative Biology

Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburg: Joint PhD Program in Computational Biology

University of Washington: Biological Physics, Structure, and Design

University of Maryland: Biophysics Program

Johns Hopkins: Program in Molecular Biophysics

UNC: BBSP

Stanford: Biophysics Program

University of Chicago: Ph.D. in Biophysical Sciences

UCSF: Biophysics Graduate Program (BP)

Washington University in St. Louis: Computational and Molecular Biophysics

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Oh man, I remember last year how excited I was when the profiles/results page. I could finally talk to other people about grad schools and writing essays and what not. And the most surreal part was the thought that I was about 9 months away from knowing where I'd be for the next 6 years or so. Ahh, good times. Interviews were the best! I really wish i could relive those, although I suppose I will when you guys come visit Yale!

 

Anyways, I'm starting graduate school at Yale in the BBS program there. If anyone has any questions about graduate school, applications, interviews, Yale, whatever, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to ask here or message me or whatever. Seriously, my summer consists of counting down the days until I move to Connecticut.

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Oh man, I remember last year how excited I was when the profiles/results page. I could finally talk to other people about grad schools and writing essays and what not. And the most surreal part was the thought that I was about 9 months away from knowing where I'd be for the next 6 years or so. Ahh, good times. Interviews were the best! I really wish i could relive those, although I suppose I will when you guys come visit Yale!

 

Anyways, I'm starting graduate school at Yale in the BBS program there. If anyone has any questions about graduate school, applications, interviews, Yale, whatever, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to ask here or message me or whatever. Seriously, my summer consists of counting down the days until I move to Connecticut.

 

The same goes for me; I'm currently done with my first year (and all of my coursework!!!!) and am prepping for my qual proposal and defense. In short, I'm having a ton of fun (and no, that isn't sarcasm) and am loving my projects and being a graduate student.

 

I have a couple of blog posts I made for students going to interviews; you can get to them through my profile. If there seems to be enough interest by mid-September, I may generate new blog posts about applications. You'd be surprised at the stuff you don't think to prepare for!

 

Obviously I need a periodic break from studying and writing, so I figure a good way to take a break is to help/talk to you guys! I'll lurk here, or you can message me. :)

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I remember last year how much I would freak out about grad school aps and spend countless of nights thinking of possible scenarios, haha! Everything will work out in the end but best of luck to everyone! I will be starting in Stanford's Biology program in September if anybody has any questions about this specific program or anything related to grad school interviews coming from an international student's point of view.

Best of luck!

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If anyone has ecology specific questions, I can definitely help there. Ecology tends to be in a weird class of its own for biology admissions.

 

Recently admitted to a dual Forestry/Ecology PhD and currently working over summer as a research assistant before courses start.

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I'll be the umpteenth person to say: post/PM me with any questions!

I did this whole process TWICE and am finally starting at a program I'm excited for in August. For any older/non-traditional applicants, holla at me, I'm your guy! Also had a colorful academic record, so if you can sympathize, you know where to find me. :)

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Same here. We already have a student panel here! Wow haha. Please feel free to PM me for all questions. With almost nobody around me applying to grad school, this forum was the one place that I could come and "meet" and talk to my fellow applicants. Even with the application process complete, I find myself frequenting this site, simply out of habit.

 

I am also an international student, and I know very well that the application game is often much more fierce for us. So my best of luck for international students out there! Ask me specific questions for it as well. And oh, my program is MIT Biology, FYI.

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I will also be around to answer any questions about any of the programs to which I applied and especially about the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Later on, when you're deciding where to go (or maybe now, if you're deciding where to apply), I can also answer general questions about the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (though probably none that pertain to any biological graduate programs) and about the Twin Cities in general.

 

In case I decide to change my signature at some point in the future, here is a copy of it:

 

Attending: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Biophysics and Computational Biology (1/10, email; 3/20-3/22) (1/10, email) (4/10, website)

Applied (8/8) - Interview/Visit Offered/Attended (7/8) - Rejected (5/8) - Accepted (3/8) - Admitted (1/8)

 

Carnegie Mellon University-University of Pittsburgh - Computational Biology (1/22, email; 2/20-2/22) (2/28, unofficial email; 3/18, official email)
Johns Hopkins University - Molecular Biophysics (4/11, email)
Princeton University - Quantitative and Computational Biology (12/30, email; 2/6-2/8) (3/11, email)
Rutgers University - Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics (2/18, email; 3/26-3/27) (2/18, email)

University of California, San Francisco - Biophysics (1/13, email; 2/13-2/15) (3/3, website)

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center - Molecular Biophysics (1/2, email; 1/9-1/11) (1/13, email)

Washington University in St. Louis - Computational and Molecular Biophysics (12/19, phone, email; 1/30-2/1) (3/12, email)
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Jumping on the band wagon, offering support and advice for future students. I chose my thesis lab today and I am over the moon excited and eager to get to work. I remember my excitement and nervousness on this forum in 2013. This forum drives you crazy but it also keeps you sane at the same time. It's crazy.

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Undergrad Institution: Top 20 Private Research Institution
Major(s): Neurobiology
Minor(s): Theology
GPA in Major: 3.917
Overall GPA: 3.900
Position in Class: Near the top
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 163 (86 percentile)
V: 168 (98 percentile)
W: 5.0 (93 percentile)
B: 820 (89 percentile)

Research Experience: In the same lab for 3 years, running my own project on stem cell based cancer and cellular reprogramming. Work full time in the summer and 30+ hours a week during the school year. 2nd author paper in review, 1st author paper in progress along with R01 grant. Present yearly at program symposia, data featured on several posters (2 AACR posters).

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 2014 Goldwater scholarship

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Head TA for biology (3 years), private biology tutor, research assistant

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:  Member of Sigma Xi and Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honor Society)

Special Bonus Points: Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded research for undergrad, and my LORs are strong (I won a couple things with them already, so I assume they must be pretty okay)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Questionable?

Applying to Where:

Columbia: Stem Cell Training Program

Duke: Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine

Emory: Stem Cell Research 

Harvard: SCRB

MIT: Stem Cells and Epigenetics (Biology Dept.)

NYU: Stem Cell Biology

Stanford: Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

UCSF: Developmental and Stem Cell biology

Wash U: Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology 

Weill-Cornell: Cell and Developmental Biology

Edited by swaye15
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I'm about 99.999999999999999999999999% positive I'll get in this year.  If not, there is something wronger than wrong with me.  This is round 2 for me.

 

Undergrad Institution: State school.  Not a Uni of State.  I'm not convinced this isn't a factor, second time around.  I've already graduated, too.
Major(s): Biology
GPA in Major: I can never get a definite answer on how this is actually calculated.  My GPA in all of my science courses is 3.71.
Overall GPA: 3.69
Position in Class: Top 15%
Type of Student: Female, citizen

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 163
V: 167
W: 4.0
B: Should I take this?

Research Experience: 2 summers at Big Shot Research Institutions, 1 semester at my undergrad institution, a second-author publication which got covered several times in household name popular media outlets because it was pretty important

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I graduated with honors in the major and joined Golden Key.  Phi Beta Kappa was elusive, alas.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I tutor some while I try to find a job to occupy me between undergrad and grad school.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am 26.  There is a class that shows up on my transcript from my first stab at college when I was 17 and young and had some hard stuff to deal with.  I have explained this away as 'I was young and had some stuff to deal with back then BUT LOOK HOW GOOD I AM NOW'.

Applying to Where:

 

The list as of right now is pretty long and I need to hack it in half.  Bolded programs are being applied to.

 

UVA Neuro

Stanford Bio (ordinarily would not apply but I have an in there)

UC Davis Neuro

Carnegie Mellon Bio

Pittsburgh Neuro

Florida IBP (Neuro)

Emory Neuro

UC Irvine Neuro

UNC Chapel Hill Neuro

Duke Neuro

UT Houston Genes/Devo (I also have an in here)

Michigan Neuro

Michigan PIBS

UT Southwestern Neuro

NIH/JHU (long shot but eh maybe)

University of Washington Neuro

USC Neuro

Case Western Neuro

King's College London Neuro

Cambridge Phys/Dev/Neuro

King's College London Institute of Psychiatry Neuro

Oxford Neuro

NIH OxCam (long shot but I'll allow it)

 

Things I learned last year:  Don't apply to top 10 programs unless your GPA is 3.8+ or 3.6+ from the Ivies, you have several first-author pubs, and you've cured cancer, and APPLY TO AS MANY PROGRAMS AS YOU CAN AFFORD.  I applied to Harvard BBS, Columbia, UCSD, Arizona, and Baylor College of Medicine Neuro, and Vanderbilt Bio, got interviews at the latter three, and got admitted to none.  Arizona has a habit of admitting mostly Arizona grads, Baylor is having a shit time with regards to money and apparently I would have gotten in if they hadn't admitted half the students they usually do, and Vanderbilt was my Everybody Gets Rejected From At Least One Program program.

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Yes, but what were their other stats?

 

Also of note may be the fact that I spent my first two years at a community college, which something tells me Yalevard Institute of Stanfordogy doesn't like even if you have competitive stats.

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Yes, but what were their other stats?

 

Also of note may be the fact that I spent my first two years at a community college, which something tells me Yalevard Institute of Stanfordogy doesn't like even if you have competitive stats.

 

Eh, I doubt that - my SO did 2 years of community college before going to a UC school and ended up at Harvard bio PhD without any pubs. FYI.

 

Don't lose hope! :)

Edited by Gvh
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Things I learned last year:  Don't apply to top 10 programs unless your GPA is 3.8+ or 3.6+ from the Ivies, you have several first-author pubs, and you've cured cancer, and APPLY TO AS MANY PROGRAMS AS YOU CAN AFFORD.  I applied to Harvard BBS, Columbia, UCSD, Arizona, and Baylor College of Medicine Neuro, and Vanderbilt Bio, got interviews at the latter three, and got admitted to none.  Arizona has a habit of admitting mostly Arizona grads, Baylor is having a shit time with regards to money and apparently I would have gotten in if they hadn't admitted half the students they usually do, and Vanderbilt was my Everybody Gets Rejected From At Least One Program program.

 

Which program did you apply to at BCM? Did you consider re-applying under one of the interdisciplinary programs? IMBS students still get access to most of the neuro faculty as well as many neuro people who aren't in that neuro department. I would say lots of departments are having money issues right now, but I don't think Baylor is (at least not the three departments I'm familiar with).

 

Also, you're better off applying to only places you really want to go (but don't apply only to reach schools). Applying to a ton of places is not only risking overwhelming yourself, but also school look at where you've applied. Sometimes that can hurt you, especially when they think a school is higher ranked, even if they have the top PI in your field. I know the idea of having to turn down interviews feels unlikely for you guys, but don't apply to like 20 places. Limit yourself to a max of 10 with about 2 reach schools, 6 schools you absolutely want to go to, and a couple schools that are safeties that you'll know you'll be happy attending. You'll be able to put more effort in to personalize the application and you'll be less stressed in the end. I only applied to 6 places, myself, and at that time I had no in-field publications, but I did have my MS thesis drafted.

 

What matters more than anything for your application is your research track record, a GPA that shows you can handle your coursework (doesn't have to be 3.8+), letters of rec, and a strong SoP and research statement. Think of your adcomm as a bunch of monkeys. If you don't pull them in with the first few sentences of your SoP, you application isn't going to be thoroughly reviewed. You really want to throw yourself out there.

Edited by biotechie
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I was accepted at an ivy coming from a state school that no one had heard of or could pronounce the name of, with a 3.5 GPA, and no pubs, but my research fit perfectly matched up with the department. Applying for the sake of applying and casting a wide net is physically, mentally, and financially exhausting. Make sure that the schools you apply to are those that actually have faculty that you are interested in working with and schools that you can see yourself attending. You don't want to go through the whole application process only to have one acceptance to the university of wtf and you feel you have to take it because there is nothing else.

Bottom line, try to forget about numbers and stats. Apply to places that appear to be a good fit for you. You have absolutely no idea what the adcoms are looking for. I wouldn't have even thought of applying to the ivy if I hadn't been pushed by my mentor because I thought my stats weren't good enough. No one questioned the strength of my mystery state school, no one questioned my poor freshman year performance. They just looked at my research experience and interests and the recommendations from my mentors and made a decision. Please applicants, do not let the stats intimidate you.

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Which program did you apply to at BCM? Did you consider re-applying under one of the interdisciplinary programs? IMBS students still get access to most of the neuro faculty as well as many neuro people who aren't in that neuro department. I would say lots of departments are having money issues right now, but I don't think Baylor is (at least not the three departments I'm familiar with).

 

Their neuroscience PhD program.  I MIGHT consider reapplying, but actual faculty members told me one reason why I probably didn't get in was money (they said they were actually pretty shocked I wasn't accepted), and I was told after all the admissions were handed out that they only admitted half the people they did the year before.

 

Pity, because I had a damn good time there.

Edited by acetylcholine
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It would probably have helped if I didn't spend half of the Baylor interview violently sick to my stomach due to the utter delight that is having IBS that manifests primarily in high-stress situations.  Part of their interview is taking students to the Rush Record Neuroscience Forum they hold every year, and I spent almost the entire first day running in and out of the bathroom, which might have been interpreted as inadequate enthusiasm.

 

I really have no idea what adcoms think when interviewees get sick, and I think it's a worthwhile thing to consider at least somewhere in the big Grad School Applicant Discussion because it definitely happens, and it can happen when you don't even expect it.  Maybe you don't have a chronic condition like I do, but what if you get some kind of bug or the food doesn't agree with you...

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Things I learned last year:  Don't apply to top 10 programs unless your GPA is 3.8+ or 3.6+ from the Ivies, you have several first-author pubs, and you've cured cancer, and APPLY TO AS MANY PROGRAMS AS YOU CAN AFFORD.  I applied to Harvard BBS, Columbia, UCSD, Arizona, and Baylor College of Medicine Neuro, and Vanderbilt Bio, got interviews at the latter three, and got admitted to none.  Arizona has a habit of admitting mostly Arizona grads, Baylor is having a shit time with regards to money and apparently I would have gotten in if they hadn't admitted half the students they usually do, and Vanderbilt was my Everybody Gets Rejected From At Least One Program program.

I'd question applying to University of Washington Neuro. I applied there last year, didn't get in. I was told that U of Washington received 360+ applications, and accepted 6 people. No doubt its a great program, but I personally don't think its worth applying to a place where the odds are so low...unless you have a personal "in" there. 

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Their neuroscience PhD program.  I MIGHT consider reapplying, but actual faculty members told me one reason why I probably didn't get in was money (they said they were actually pretty shocked I wasn't accepted), and I was told after all the admissions were handed out that they only admitted half the people they did the year before.

 

Pity, because I had a damn good time there.

 

Definitely apply again; besides, the application is free (I think it still is). I would consider applying under IMBS as your primary instead of Neuroscience, or maybe even TBMM if you're interested in the clinical side. The interdepartmental/interdisciplinary programs have access to the faculty from most of the departments, and if they're not listed, it isn't supposed to be hard to get them added. :)

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I'll also be one of the many people who are offering to take in questions for this coming application cycle!  Please feel free to PM me with any questions you may have regarding graduate programs in immunology, statement of purpose, research statements, or any other related questions.  I've been through applying for schools twice, so I've done my fair share of applying to graduate schools.  Good luck to all, and I'll be happy to help those who would like to ask me anything!

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