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2015 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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Thank you for your reply. These were some of the criteria that I used to narrow down to three schools. I met with multiple PIs of my interest in all three schools and they are accepting students for the upcoming year. The funding in each of the schools is quite good for the city/town they are in. The programs are very similar to each other and based on my visit, I found the places very compatible for me as a prospective grad student. And I do not want to decide on the school, based on US News rankings

I guess you have to go with your gut at this point. If all 3 of the schools have the PI's/Funding/environment that you want you can't go wrong with any of them. Did you like one of the campuses more than the other? Is one school closer to family (don't know if that's important for you)?

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Last decision is in! Thank goodness this process is finally over! I'm in a bit of shock that I will actually get a chance to choose what school I will be attending next fall. To anyone that has a low gpa ( mine was < 3.0), it is possible!

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Last decision is in! Thank goodness this process is finally over! I'm in a bit of shock that I will actually get a chance to choose what school I will be attending next fall. To anyone that has a low gpa ( mine was < 3.0), it is possible!

Where are you leaving towards?

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Where are you leaving towards?

 

Will likely be Cincy, I've been here for a while now and the future Mrs. has a good job here. On top of that they offer a hefty stipend. 

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Now that my application season is officially over, I figured it would be time to do one of these for future applicants. I did not do this earlier for fear of embarrassment.

 

Undergrad Institution: Top 25 Public Research Institution
Major(s): Biology, Chemistry

Minor(s): N/A

GPA in Major: No Idea to be honest, but my upper level gpa was ~3.3

Overall GPA: 2.9
Position in Class: No Idea, likely in the middle of the pack.
Type of Student: Domestic, Male  

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 159
V: 159
W: 4.0
B: N/A

Research Experience: 3 years as a fulltime research tech at a top hospital, focusing mostly on genomics and bioinformatics. 6 mos. As an undergraduate in a biochem lab (presented this work at a conference)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: A few semesters on Dean’s List

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Research Tech. See above

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Presented work at conference.

Special Bonus Points: Letter of Rec. from established prof. with > 200 pubs. , High marks in a few graduate courses that I took.

Applied to:
Case Western Systems Biology & Bioinformatics

Case Western BSTP

Vanderbilt Quantitative and Chemical Biology

University of Illinois Biophysics and Computational Biology

Ohio State Integrated Biomedical Sciences

University of Cincinnati Systems Biology and Physiology

 University of Tennessee Genome Sciences and Technology

University of Cincinnati Bioinformatics

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

Case Western BSTP

Vanderbilt Quantitative and Chemical Biology

University of Illinois Biophysics and Computational Biology

 

Interviews:

Ohio State Integrated Biomedical Sciences

University of Cincinnati Systems Biology and Physiology

University of Tennessee Genome Sciences and Technology

Case Western Systems Biology & Bioinformatics

 

Acceptances:

Ohio State Integrated Biomedical Sciences

University of Cincinnati Systems Biology and Physiology

University of Tennessee Genome Sciences and Technology

Edited by ballwera

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Well comrades, it's over. Or maybe I should say it's just beginning...
I've accepted an offer - Biological Physics, Structure, and Design at the University of Washington in Seattle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They rejected me (without interview) two years ago - but I'm back, baby. 

Have. Never. Been. More. Excited. About. Anything. In. My. Life. 

 

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Well comrades, it's over. Or maybe I should say it's just beginning...

I've accepted an offer - Biological Physics, Structure, and Design at the University of Washington in Seattle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They rejected me (without interview) two years ago - but I'm back, baby. 

Have. Never. Been. More. Excited. About. Anything. In. My. Life. 

 

Congrats!!! That's awesome. 

 Earlier in the thread you posted your story about getting rejected from grad schools and how it was the best thing that could have happened to you. Could you post that again after April 15th for all the posters who were not accepted into grad school this cycle. I think it would be good for people to see that if you don't get into your dream schools this time around its not the end of the world, there are other avenues you can take to get into you dream grad program.

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I figured I'd also chime in on my background for future applicants following @ballwera's example since I found this thread a bit late in the application season. I learned quite a lot from this tread and hope for future applicants to do the same. 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Undergrad Institution: Top 5 Private Engineering School
Major(s): Chemical Engineering, Chemistry 

Minor(s): Statistics, Biology 

GPA in Major: 3.82/4.00
Overall GPA: 3.68/4.00
Position in Class: No Idea, somewhere in the top 50 most likely
Type of Student: Immigrant (domestic applicant though), Underrepresented, Male  

 

Master's Institution: Top 5 Private Engineering School (same school)
Major(s): Analytical Chemistry 

Minor(s): N/A 

GPA in Major: 4.00/4.00
Overall GPA: 4.00/4.00
Position in Class: Top 3  
 

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 165/170
V: 167/170
W: 4.5/6.0

Research Experience: 4.5 years total working on various projects spanning from electrochemistry, process/control engineering, and inorganic biochemistry. Also spent 4 months working as an ChE intern in industry

Awards/Honors/Recognition: Dean’s List, ChE Honor Society, Bio Honor Society

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: President of AIChE chapter, Community Outreach & tutoring for underprivileged students

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Presented work at 2 conferences

Special Bonus Points: Letter of Rec. from a mentor who is a director at a fortune 500 pharmaceutical company and did his PhD and postdoc at 2 of the institutes I applied to.

 

Applied to:

UNC-Chapel Hill, Eshelmann School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics

Duke University, School of Medicine, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Baylor College of Medicine, Integrative Molecular Biomedical Sciences

Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Molecular Therapeutics Training Program

Purdue University, School of Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

Indiana University, School of Medicine, BioMedical Gateway Program

Ohio State University, School of Medicine, Integrated Biomedical Sciences

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

UNC-Chapel Hill, Eshelmann School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics

 

Interviews:

Purdue University, School of Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UNC-Chapel Hill, Eshelmann School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics

Ohio State University, School of Medicine, Integrated Biomedical Sciences

Indiana University, School of Medicine, BioMedical Gateway Program

Duke University, School of Medicine, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology

Baylor College of Medicine, Integrative Molecular Biomedical Sciences

Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Molecular Therapeutics Training Program

 

Acceptances:

Purdue University, School of Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

Ohio State University, School of Medicine, Integrated Biomedical Sciences

Duke University, School of Medicine, Pharmacology & Cancer Biology  <---- Attending

Baylor College of Medicine, Integrative Molecular Biomedical Sciences

Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Molecular Therapeutics Training Program

Indiana University, School of Medicine, BioMedical Gateway Program

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Hopefully this helps with any applicants who aren't coming from traditional bio-backgrounds going to bio heavy grad programs  :)

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Following suit, because I wish I had this sort of information going in to the process.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Undergrad Institution: State school
Major(s): Molecular biology

Minor(s): Pure mathematics (abandoned 2nd major -- 6 credits short of major)

GPA in Major: 3.88
Overall GPA: 3.85/4.00
Position in Class: Top 5% (the university provided this info, but a lot of schools don't)
Type of Student: Domestic female 

 

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 168, 95th %ile
V: 164, 93rd %ile
W: 6.0, 99th %ile

Research Experience: When I applied I had 1 year of experience, in one lab, and I was working 30-40 hours/week. I had a first-author pub at the time of application. The lab I'm in is not neuroscience-related and the only neuro background I had was a course in neurobiology (using Kandel's Principles of Neural Science). 

Awards/Honors/Recognition: 2 state-specific research fellowships and 1 outside grant (Sigma Xi GIAR). Nominated graduation speaker, nominated "top 10 scholar" for the graduating year of 2014. Various scholarships throughout my earlier years.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Until I started research, I worked part-time as a pharmacy tech in a hospital for 3.5 years. I compounded oral and IV drugs. I had to earn continuing education (CE) credits to maintain certification. I don't know if this actually counts for anything but I'm permanently crazy about aseptic technique now.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I'm an adjunct lecturer in the math dept at my undergrad institution and I had one semester of teaching "freshman algebra" at the time of application. Also TA'ed for 2nd semester organic chemistry, calc III (for 3 semesters), and calc II throughout my undergrad years.

Special Bonus Points: I finished all of my applications before November. This shouldn't technically matter unless a school has rolling admissions, but I was told by students at my first interview (Vanderbilt) that it "matters a lot", because applications are generally reviewed in some semblance of the order in which they were received.

 

Applied to: (all neuroscience)

University of Utah

University of Colorado AMC

Vanderbilt NGP

University of Pittsburgh CNUP

Brandeis University

Oregon Health & Science University

University of Washington

University of Iowa

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

None

 

Interviews:

All, but I declined invites to interview at UW, Brandeis, and Iowa.
I was invited to interview at UW's pharmacology program a couple weeks after I declined the neuro invite.
 

Acceptances:

Colorado, Vanderbilt, Utah, Pittsburgh, OHSU.

 

Other things I want to say to future applicants:

-OHSU has a reputation on gradcafe for only accepting people with "1 year of post-bacc research experience" (see the results search for examples of this). Their rejection letters do routinely claim this line, but some of the students I met (as well as myself) were accepted without a full year of post-bacc research. Don't let it stop you from applying if you're interested.

-Interviews aren't scary! Please don't be as anxious as I was. It's so much fun to meet people in the same boat.

-All of the GRE essay topics are on the GRE website (the issue & argument pools). There are hundreds of them, but there are common themes you can be prepared for.

-At one of my interviews, we were told that we were selected to interview because our SOPs described a time that we overcame a setback in the lab.

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So happy that this process is over and done with! I never expected it to be so stressful. I experienced all types of emotions throughout. I was already formulating a plan B at the end of December as I didn't receive my first interview invite until January. Phew, I'm so glad to have that stress behind me and to have been accepted to a couple of my top schools. I got so many great tips from this forum and it was always comforting knowing that I wasn't the only neurotic one going through this crazy process.

 

Duke, here I come!!! :D

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Not that it matters because I accepted my top choice school's offer already, but I'm wondering if GT forgot about me haha. They said all applicants would be notified by March 31, and since I officially accepted UNC's offer on March 27 I figured I'd just wait and see and decline immediately if I got an offer. Waitlist you think? Or rejected and haven't told me?

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I'm so excited to accept my offer at Nevada! Hopefully my stats will help someone in the future who is hesitant about applying because of low grades. 

 

Undergrad Institution: Community College transfer to State School
Major(s): Molecular Biology
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major (undergrad): 2.60/4.0

GPA in Graduate level courses: 3.70/4.0 (MS program at a small state university; will not finish degree)

Overall GPA: 3.30/4.0

Position in Class: Average
Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 167
V: 155
W: 3.0


Research Experience: ~2.5 years of research during undergrad in 2 different labs. 2 poster presentation by the time of application. 
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Best poster voted by attendees. 
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 3 years of work experience as a research associate for a small biotech company.

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

Cornell University - BBS

OHSU - PBMC

Tufts University - Biotechnology Engineering

Portland State University - Biology

 

Interviews:

City University of New York - Biology (waitlisted)
 

Acceptances:

University of Nevada, Reno - Molecular Biosciences

 

I knew coming out of undergrad it was a long shot at a PhD anywhere. I took the time off to work in industry as well as take a courses for a Masters in Biotech. I definitely could have worked more on bettering my GRE scores, because I took it on a whim. Regardless, I said it from the beginning and I still believe it; Nevada is the best fit for my research interested (regenerative medicine + immunology).

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Not that it matters because I accepted my top choice school's offer already, but I'm wondering if GT forgot about me haha. They said all applicants would be notified by March 31, and since I officially accepted UNC's offer on March 27 I figured I'd just wait and see and decline immediately if I got an offer. Waitlist you think? Or rejected and haven't told me?

I'd expect rejected and haven't told you.

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I hope my application profile might help future applicants! Good luck!

 

Undergrad Institution: Top 50 Private Research University
Major(s): Biology B.A.
Minor(s): Psychology, Political Science
GPA in Major (undergrad): 3.10 / 4.0

GPA in Graduate level courses: 3.85 / 4.0 (took a few grad level courses as an unmatriculated student)

Overall GPA: 3.48/4.0

Position in Class: Somewhere in the middle
Type of Student: Domestic

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 155
V: 166
W: 4.5

Research Experience: DAAD-RISE summer fellowship , one semester undergrad, 3 years post-grad.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: DAAD-RISE Fellowship, Merit Scholarships

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 3 years working as a lab tech after graduation

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

Yale

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Weill Cornell

Duke University

UNC

Boston University

 

Interviews:

NYU Sackler (wait listed)

U Mass Medical School

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Northwestern Driskill Graduate Program

UNC Charlotte (declined)

 

Acceptances:

U Mass Medical School

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Northwestern Driskill Graduate Program

 

Advice:

- I would definitely recommend working as a lab tech after undergrad. I approached my work as though I were already a graduate student, and I benefited tremendously from the effort.

- Develop a method for reading journal articles. Just reading the abstract is not enough!

 

- Go to as many research seminars as possible, especially if you're unfamiliar with the topic. Don't worry about feeling out of place, faculty and students will be glad you're interested. Knowing what kind of questions interest researchers in various fields helped me in making conversation during grad school interviews, and it will help your research!

- Don't waste too much time on the GRE. I recommend using Magoosh to prepare.

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I'd expect rejected and haven't told you.

Aha you are correct! It came in Friday. It's funny to me because I originally applied to Emory Duke UNC and GT, thinking GT was my backup and UNC would be my hardest to get in. Research matched up best at UNC but they have a history of not taking people from my university and program--only one before me ever from my program. Due to connections at Emory and Duke from my PI I figured they'd be easier and due to GT having biochem in the chem dept and my MS being chemistry coupled with a history of accepting people from our program, I assumed they'd be a shoo-in. After waitlisted for Emory interview and then rejected, and having not heard from anyone else, I quickly applied to UGA on the deadline and got in six days later.

So out of my originals, the one where I fit best and wanted most was where I got in and no where else accepted or interviewed me (though GT doesn't interview for this dept) even though I thought it was the longest long shot ever.

Fit really is most important. ☺️

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Oh man, I had this whole post typed up and then deleted it.... fhjdiasopugd*()A&$*#(

 

So, I come from a (weird) liberal arts undergrad background, and I had a pretty low quant GRE - thought my stats might be interesting for those in a similar position. (:

 

Undergrad Institution: liberal arts, private evangelical university with a really small biology presence
Major(s): Molecular Biology
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 3.93

Overall GPA: 3.92
Position in Class: not sure, but likely in top 5
Type of Student: domestic, female

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 154, 52%
V: 165, 95%
W: 4.5, 80%
Subject: n/a

Research Experience:

Three years as a full-time research/lab technician at a top 20s research university in a developmental/genetics lab. Presented posters at three major conferences, x2 papers in progress.

Three years as an undergrad in an epigenetics lab. Presented x2 posters, 1 paper published.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

x2 poster awards

x1 conference award for best paper

x1 university-wide outstanding senior honors thesis award 

 

Pertinent Activities/Jobs:

Besides my work as a lab tech... I TA'd for courses all through my undergrad: Genetics, Biochem I&II, Microbiologyy


Special Bonus Points: I write a pretty mean SOP.

 

Applied to: (Oh gosh, I applied to tons of places because I wasn't sure of my application, and my husband and I are also doing the whole two-body-job-hunt.)

Boston College

Duke (CMB)

Harvard (Immunology)

MIT (Biology)

Northeastern (Biology)

Northwestern (IBiS)

Stanford (Immunology)

UC Berkeley (CMB)

UC San Francisco (BMS)

UC Santa Cruz (PBSE)

University of Chicago (Immunology)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champagne (MCB)

University of Illinois Chicago (GEMS)

University of Massachusetts at Worcester (BBS)

University of Michigan (PIBS)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BBSP)

University of Wisconson-Madison (CMB)

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

Duke (CMB)

Harvard (Immunology)

MIT (Biology)

Stanford (Immunology)

UC Berkeley (CMB)

 

Interviews: 

Boston College

Northeastern (Biology)

Northwestern (IBiS)

UC San Francisco (BMS)

UC Santa Cruz (PBSE)

University of Chicago (Immunology)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champagne (MCB) declined

University of Illinois Chicago (GEMS) declined

University of Massachusetts at Worcester (BBS)

University of Michigan (PIBS)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BBSP)

University of Wisconson-Madison (CMB) declined

 

Acceptances:

Boston College

Northeastern (Biology)

Northwestern (IBiS)

UC San Francisco (BMS) <----------------------------- attending! :D :D :D :D

University of Massachusetts at Worcester (BBS)

University of Michigan (PIBS)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (BBSP)

 

Advice:

Anyone with the two-body problem? Find schools you like in university-dense areas. My schools were (mostly) centered around the Research Triangle in NC, the Bay Area, the Boston Area, and the Chicago Area. This will help my husband as he seeks a postdoc.

Coming from a tiny undergrad with a unknown bio program? Tech for a few years to gain experience.

Some schools definitely have a GRE cutoff, I don't care what they say. I'm 90% sure that's why I got a few of my outright rejections.

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Following suit, I suppose. I applied for computational biology and bioinformatics programs, as well as umbrella programs, straight from undergrad. But now I am unsure what my eventual mixture between comp. bio and experimental bio will be. This process has only decreased my certainty about what I want to study exactly (went in talking a lot about 'systems biology' with a more nebulous understanding than I should have). I am looking forward to beginning rotations and trying new things. I'll be doing an early rotation this summer before my program officially begins to get a head start on that. I am now considering neuroscience as a possible area of focus.

 

I was unsure of which programs to apply for exactly. I decided early on that I liked living in NYC, where I am currently, and so applied for many programs there. I added to the list Stanford (specifically because of my summer fellowship there) and UC San Diego, on recommendation of my mentor.

 

Undergrad Institution: Middle-of-the-road large state university
Major(s): Biology B.A., bioinformatics specialization
Minor(s): Computer science
GPA in Major (undergrad): 3.95/ 4.0

Overall GPA: 3.97/4.0

Position in Class: Not sure, presumably high
Type of Student: White domestic male

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 163
V: 168
W: 5.0

Research Experience: 2.5 years working with a home-institution comp. sci professor on computational biology projects, one summer National Cancer Institute fellowship at Stanford, presentations at home-institution undergraduate research conference, poster presentation at international bioinformatics conference (hosted at home institution). One review published (6th author, minor contributions), manuscript in preparation for 1st author work, another manuscript in preparation for summer fellowship work (will be 2nd author in Nature Protocols if it goes through).
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Honors college (full merit scholarship)
, nominated for Goldwater Scholarship by home institution (didn't win). I applied for the NSF GRFP at the same time as my grad school apps, and eventually got word of my Honorable Mention (but this obviously didn't play into my acceptances).

 

--Results --

 

Rejections :

Stanford (no interview)

Columbia Integrated Biology C2B2 (after interview. Very annoyed to only receive word in April after a February interview)

 

Interviews:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Weill Cornell BCMB and PBSB

UC San Diego BISB (had to do interviews over the phone due to weather, never saw the campus or spoke with representatives in person. Definitely contributed to my decline of the eventual offer.)

Columbia Integrated Biology C2B2

Rockefeller University

Tri-I CBM training program (Cornell, Weill Cornell, MSKCC)

 

Acceptances:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Weill Cornell BCMB and PBSB

UC San Diego BISB

Rockefeller University

 

Wait Listed:

Tri-I CBM training program (Cornell, Weill Cornell, MSKCC)

 

Attending:

Rockefeller University. Main factors in my decision: Location in NYC but still has a campus-feel, unlike Weill Cornell or Columbia medical school campus; flexibility of program in terms of course work and rotation schedules; great deal of attention, care, and opportunities provided to graduate students, and impressions of faculty as especially brilliant, interesting, and caring people who would serve as good mentors.

Edited by tanaxurato

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I am re-posting for future applicants. Good luck :)

~

Undergrad Institution: State School (Ranked ~150 in US News and World Report).
Majors: Biology, Psychology (Will graduate in May).
GPA in Major: Biology 3.94, Psychology 4.0.
Overall GPA: 3.85.
Position in Class: Top ~2%.
Type of Student: Domestic, female, hispanic.

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 155 (~60%).
V: 157 (~70%).
W: 4.5 (~80%).

Research Experience:

~3.5 years, 3 different labs. No pubs. 12 poster presentations/talks. #asked for a letter of rec. from each research advisor

- Virology research at my home institution. ~1.5 years. ~20 hrs/week

- Neuroscience research at top 10 institution. ~ 1 year. ~40 hrs/week

- RNA biology research at research institute. ~ 1 year. ~30 hrs/week.
 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
2 presentation awards.

13 scholarships.

5 honor societies.

3 research internships.
 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
TA'd for 1 semester in psychology.
Tutored informally throughout college.
#I don't really think this matters for the type of programs I applied to.

Special Bonus Points:
1 fairly well-known recommender.

Very broad research interests, but basic research for sure and fairly interested in chromatin/RNA/gene expression regulation.

Applied:
1. UT Southwestern - Genetics and Development Track (Submitted: Nov. 12)
2. NYU - Sackler: Genome Integrity (Submitted: Nov. 14)
3. UCLA - Biosciences: Gene Regulation Home Area (Submitted: Nov. 16)
4. Harvard - BBS (Submitted: Nov. 17)

5. Rockefeller (Submitted: Nov. 21)
6. UC Berkeley - MCB (Submitted: Nov. 23)

7. UCSF - Tetrad (Submitted: Nov. 24)
8. Stanford Biosciences - Biology Track (Submitted: Nov. 26)
9. MIT - Biology (Submitted: Nov. 27)
10. Harvard - MCO
(Submitted: Nov. 28)
11. UCSD - Biological Sciences with Salk (Submitted: Nov. 28)

12. UCI - CMB (Submitted: Nov. 29)
13. MIT - BCS (Submitted: Nov. 30)

 

~

Interview Invites:
1. UT Southwestern - Genetics and Development Track (Invited: Dec. 4)
2. UCLA - Biosciences: Gene Regulation Home Area (Invited: Dec. 6)
3. UCSF - Tetrad (Invited: Dec. 17)
4. Harvard - MCO (Invited: Dec. 19)
5. UCI - CMB (Invited: Dec. 19)

6. Harvard - BBS (Invited: Dec. 19)
7. UC Berkeley - MCB (Invited: Dec. 19)
8. MIT - BCS (Invited: Dec. 23)

9. NYU - Sackler: Genome Integrity (Invited: Dec. 24)
10. MIT - Biology (Invited: Jan. 9)

11. Stanford Biosciences - Biology Track (Invited: Jan. 9)
12. Rockefeller (Invited: Jan. 14)


Interviewed:

1. NYU - Sackler: Genome Integrity (Weekend: Jan 22-23)

2. UCSF - Tetrad (Weekend: Jan 29-31)

3. UC Berkeley - MCB (Weekend: Feb 1-3)

4. Harvard - MCO (Weekend: Feb 4-7)

5. MIT - Biology (Weekend: Feb 7-10)

6. Harvard - BBS (Weekend: Feb 12-15)

7. MIT - BCS (Weekend: Feb 26-27)

8. Rockefeller (Weekend: Mar 1-2) #not an official interview weekend, but they were really nice about working around my schedule

9. Stanford Biosciences - Biology Track (Weekend: Mar 4-7)

10. UT Southwestern - Genetics and Development Track (Weekend: Mar 12-14)

Accepted:

1. UCSF - Tetrad (Notified: Feb. 4)
2. UC Berkeley - MCB (Notified: Feb. 5)

3. NYU - Sackler: Genome Integrity (Notified: Feb. 6)

4. MIT - Biology (Notified: Feb. 12)

5. Harvard - MCO (Notified: Feb. 18)

6. Harvard - BBS (Notified: Feb. 24)

7. Rockefeller (Notified: Mar. 3)

8. MIT - BCS (Notified: Mar. 6)

9. Stanford Biosciences - Biology Track (Notified: Mar. 13)

10. UT Southwestern - Genetics and Development Track (Notified: Mar. 16)

 

Rejected:

1. UCSD - Biological Sciences with Salk (No Interview) #In retrospect, I think I should have applied to BMS, it's a larger program and they invite more people to interview, but oh well.

 

Attending:
MIT Biology. #I mentioned it in a previous post, but basically just everything I was looking for.
Reasons for attending: Students look happy, legitimately happy. Incoming class of ~30, just the right size (IMO). The faculty seem very supportive of students (>90% of students graduate, also you can defer if something comes up). Quality research. Excellent training. No rotations first semester, just classes. Nobel laureate teaches graduate level genetics (yup!). Short rotations (1 month). Funding guaranteed for as long as it takes for you to graduate. 35K stipend + health insurance + waived tuition. Boston is a great place to live.

Additional Info/ Tips:

- I did not contact any faculty beforehand. I think this is encouraged at Stanford (they ask you if you did as part of the application), but I don't think it's necessary elsewhere.

- It's good to check if programs received all application materials (I called the admissions office, and also tried to submit at least a few days before app deadline).

- Ask your recommenders at least 1 month in advance (that's polite and also great because your application will be complete as soon as you click the submit button).
- There are application fee-waivers available (if you don't have the money to apply, ask if you can get one before you give up).
- UT Southwestern does not charge you to apply (and also great program, I was very impressed).
- Apparently Texas has special Texas funding for science. This is good for internationals, and that's why Baylor and UT Southwestern can accept ~30% internationals.
- Don't be nervous, interviews are a lot of fun!
- Oh, and had I not gone to MIT Biology, I would have probably chosen Harvard MCO, Berkeley, Rockefeller, Stanford, and UT Southwestern in that order. Those were my favorites, in case you were wondering.

Edited by person5811

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Same thing from me.

 

I came to genetics/systems biology from chemistry via molecular biology. I am interested in any systems biology work that also has some evolutionary implications. Not sure where I will end up on the theoretical/modeling vs experimental spectrum.

(As an international student, all interviews were on skype)

 

 

Undergrad Institution: Indian university, quite famous but not for biology.
Major(s): Chemistry
Minor(s): Biosciences

Overall GPA: 8.61/10.0

Position in Class: Top 15%
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 170
V: 170
W: 4.0

Chemistry Subject: 860 (90%)

 

TOEFL: 115/120

 

Research Experience: 

3.5 years -- computational chemistry/molecular modeling (docking, virtual screening, molecular dynamics, etc.) 2nd author paper, 2 posters.

0.5 years -- wet-lab biology work (transfection, etc.)

1 summer at a US private university -- computational chemistry

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Institute Academic Prize (twice), a couple of standard scholarships.

 

Random: TA for freshman biology course

My program was an undergraduate program where I would finish in 5 years with a masters degree (no idea if this made any difference)

 

--Results --

 

Rejected outright :

UCSF TETRAD                                                                                                                                                                   (23rd Feb)
MIT Biology                                                                                                                                                                        (15th Jan)
U Wisconsin Madison Genetics                                                                                                                                           (7th April)

U Chicago Mol Biosciences (GGSB)                                                                                                                                  (13th Feb)

Harvard MCO                                                                                                                                                                   (6th March) 

Columbia Biological Sciences                                                                                                                                         (23rd March)

 

Interviews:

Duke Genetics and Genomics                                                                                                  (Invite:12th Dec, interview: 18th Dec)

UNC Chapel Hill                                                                                                                   (Invite: 14th Jan, interview: 10th March)

Cornell BMCB                                                                                                            (Invite: 25th Jan, interviews in Feb and March)

Stony Brook Genetics                                                                                                              (Invite: 12th Feb, interviews in March)

USC - Molecular and Computational Biology                                                                           (Invite: 12th Feb, interview: 17th Feb)

NYU Biology (Genomics and systems biology)                                                                        (Invite: 18th Feb, interview 23rd Feb)

 

Acceptances:

Duke Genetics and Genomics                                                                                                                                           (26th Feb)

Cornell BMCB                                                                                                       (Status changed on website, no email notification)

Stony Brook Genetics                                                                                                                                                     (11th March)

 

Wait Listed:

UNC Chapel Hill (no idea what happened eventually, I'm assuming I was rejected)

 

Attending:

Duke University: Mainly because of the sheer variety of professors doing stuff I'm interested in. The research fit was great and I heard nice things about the program and the labs I was interested in.

Stony Brook I felt I had a great research fit with 2 professors but not much beyond that, but it became a really hard choice by the end.

I ended up applying to the wrong field in Cornell (BMCB not GGDv) but anyway on email it didn't look like it would work out with the labs I was interested in working for in either program.

 

Random tips:

I made a pretty conventional reach/backup type list but as an international student that goes quite haywire. Most of the U California schools are very very selective for internationals, and there are even variations within the same university for different programs (Wisconsin Genetics vs Wisconsin Chemistry, as far as I know)

As a general rule, private is easier for international applicants.

 

(For skype interviews): not too hard at all and can be quite fun if they're one-on-one with a professor you're interested in. It majorly helps to be well-prepared and sure about your own research, and to have a few intelligent questions to ask them.

 

On the lab homepage of a Chicago professor, I saw that the program advises us to contact labs before the application process starts, and that without a faculty member 'sponsoring' you, admission in unlikely. I saw this in mid-Jan, long after the information was useful.

http://pondside.uchicago.edu/~feder/trainees.htm

I guess that it would be a prudent thing to do generally, not much harm can come from it and you might get a potential sponsor for your application. The worse that can happen (in general) is that the prof will tell you s/he isn't taking students next year but that would probably be the case regardless of whether you contact him/her or not.

 

 

Rants:

I was unofficially told by someone in Wisconsin that they were done reviewing applications by the end of Jan, but my official reject came only on 7th April. Similar thing from Chicago but a much smaller gap. 

Harvard is super-inaccessible while MIT replied quickly. 

USC has not got back to me (or, judging by the results page, anyone else) after the interview. No idea what happened there.

NYU I had a 10 minute skype talk with some professor from the committee where I felt I had answered all his questions decently, the talk ended abruptly and one week later I was rejected with no explanations given. Again, no idea what happened there.

Edited by berba9

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Wow, I wish I had this information before I applied.  My main issue was an excess of applications -- I had a very low acceptance rate when I applied for undergrad so I think I was overly cautious and applied to way too many grad schools.  I also wasn't sure if I was a highly competitive applicant, so I cast a wide net.

 

Undergrad Institution: Top 5 Public School
Major(s): Molecular Biology B.A., biochemistry specialization
GPA in Major: 3.65/4.0

Overall GPA: 3.7/4.0

Position in Class: Somewhere in the middle, but most students in my class were pre-med
Type of Student: Mixed race female w/ green card

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 166
V: 165
W: 5.0

Research Experience: 1 summer of chemistry research, 2.5 years of research with a well-known high-profile professor in biochemistry.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
Nominated for Goldwater Scholarship by home institution (didn't win), presented a poster at a national conference.

 

--Results --

 

Acceptances:

Harvard MCO

Yale BBS

MIT Biology

Stanford Biochemistry

Caltech Biochemistry

Oxford Biochemistry

Cambridge Biochemistry

NIH-OxCam

 

Attending: Harvard MCO

 

I was rejected from Scripps but later discovered it was because my application got returned to me in the mail.

 

Overall Impression: My PI told me before I started that I was insane to apply to 8 schools.  He said I would get into at least half of them, and probably all of them.  In retrospect I wish I had trusted him more and been more confident in my abilities, and I would only have applied to 3 or 4.  While I recognize that my GPA and GREs aren't mind-blowing, I have a very good track record in research and I have been told I am excellent in interviews, so that may have contributed.  I suggest that if you aren't sure if you are a competitive applicant, ask a well-established professor at your institution and trust their advice!

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I guess I'll post my stats here as well for the sake of posterity.

 

Undergrad Institution:  Top 10 Private

Major(s): Biological Sciences B.A., Specialization in Biochemistry, Minor in Cognitive Science

GPA in Major: 3.70/4.0

Overall GPA: 3.64/4.0

Position in Class: No idea...so not in the top 10%

Type of Student: Domestic white male

 

GRE Scores (revised version):

Q: 165

V: 167

W: 5.5

Research Experience: 1 year in virology lab in undergrad...but it didn't really work out.  So, after undergrad I became a research assistant at a Harvard-affiliated lab for 2.5 years studying evolution/virology.  Things went pretty well and I presented at three national society conferences in two different years (2 oral abstracts, 1 poster), and the work I've done with others has led to ~12 other conference abstracts.  In the past year, I've managed to crank out a first author review article published a medium impact journal and have a first author manuscript in review at a high impact journal.

 

Awards/Honors/Recognition: Couple of named scholarships from my undergrad institution, National Merit Scholar, see above for pubs/conference presentations

 

--Results--

 

Acceptances:

Harvard Systems Biology

MIT Biology

 

Attending:

Harvard Systems Biology as a Herchel Smith Graduate Fellow

 

Overall Impressions:

So, I guess I'm a little unusual in the sense that I only applied to two pretty competitive programs.  I'm local to the Boston area and because my partner is currently in the middle of their Ph.D, it limited my options a little bit.  I was going to apply to BU as well, but with the departure of Jim Collins from BU to MIT, I decided against it at the last minute.  I'm going to echo what motherofdragons said in her post and advise that applicants speak to senior faculty before they apply places.  I was lucky enough to get in the room with a program director at one of the institutes I applied to and the conversation I had with them really helped with the anxiety I had over the application process.  I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and I can barely wait to start my formal training as a scientist this fall  :D

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