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Can't believe I'm finally going to start all these

Undergrad Institution: No name State University in a foreign country of No name

Major(s): Biochemistry

Minor(s): Never heard about this. In my country you decide what you want to study even before applying.

GPA in Major: CGPA Rather 4.06/5.00

Overall GPA: No minor GPA, all courses from day one to your last count towards your CGPA

Position in Class: School don't give ranking, but I pretty well know where I rank. In my small department: top 10%, faculty: top 5%, graduands form all faculty top 2%. My Department(Major) was insanely competitive, it produced the best graduating student, and the only two graduands with highest honors, could've been more but our Faculties let us down with grade deflation.

Type of Student: International male with a foreign degree.

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Will give it by September. Started practice and am averaging 80-85% on both now, will towards above 90% on both.

Q:

V:

W:

B:

Research Experience: independent senior year honors research, working on the Antioxidants capacity of a plant. 6 months( first three months ~ 10hrs/week, final three months >20hrs/week).

3 months research internship a hospital Hematology/Chemical Pathology Lab. 35hrs/week

7 months as an Undergraduate Research assistant working on mechanisms of toxicity of bromate on rat cellular system. 5-10hrs/week

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Won several awards but nothing academic.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Had a one year fulltime teaching job during my National service.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Don't know if this really matters but I've always had to lead in every group I've joined. Be it Academic, at work and other extracurricular activities.

Special Bonus Points: Minority? Don't know if I'm one though I've not had it smooth, being the first in my family to navigate college.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I'm worried about my GPA. Reason is I don't know how Adcomm will compare it with US GPA. I've tried converting it and ended up with 3.6. Going by the stats of applicants here, this will be considered average, but in my country my GPA is really good and considered more than ok for top institutions and for all top jobs. A friend of mine now in US said I should never convert my GPA that oftentimes it is devalued which happened to him when he did his.

Please what do you suggested I do about this do I just leave it as is or just put 3.6. Am really confused about this.

Applying to Where:

MIT biology

Vanderbilt IGP

UTSouthwestern

Harvard BBS

Stanford Bioscience

UWash DBBS

Emory GDBBS

City of Hope

Baylor GIBBS

UPenn CMB

KAUST Bioscience

My choice of schools have been greatly influenced by ranking although I've done my fair share of research on each school on my list. Being an international I really have little or nothing to decide what school to choose other than the ranking and perceived international presence in the given schools, also my mentors know very little about US Grad School application.

I'm thus open to any advice concerning my school choices whether to add or remove, just anything.

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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.   

GPA in Major: CGPA Rather 4.06/5.00

 

...

Applying to Where:

MIT biology

Vanderbilt IGP

UTSouthwestern

Harvard BBS

Stanford Bioscience

UWash DBBS

Emory GDBBS

City of Hope

Baylor GIBBS

UPenn CMB

KAUST Bioscience

My choice of schools have been greatly influenced by ranking although I've done my fair share of research on each school on my list. Being an international I really have little or nothing to decide what school to choose other than the ranking and perceived international presence in the given schools, also my mentors know very little about US Grad School application.

I'm thus open to any advice concerning my school choices whether to add or remove, just anything.

 

So if you decide to convert a 4.06/5 to an n out of 4, that equals a 3.24, actually, which is not a terribly competitive GPA without considerable research to back it up.  You have quite a bit of research experience in your favor.

 

Out of MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Wash U (is that the one in St. Louis?), I suggest you pick two and replace two with more realistic schools.

 

The fact that your choice of schools was greatly influenced by ranking is a bad sign.  You need to pick based on the people doing what you want at each school.  They will not accept you if you are not a good fit.

 

Avoid Saudi Arabia like the plague.

Edited by acetylcholine
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How does research experience effect the application process? Say an undergrad with the 6 - 12 mos. of thesis research vs. a Recent grad with 3 years of full time research (on top of undergrad work)? 

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So if you decide to convert a 4.06/5 to an n out of 4, that equals a 3.24, actually, which is not a terribly competitive GPA without considerable research to back it up. You have quite a bit of research experience in your favor.

That's the problem, I have been warned never to convert my GPA in that fashion as it will devalue my GPA grossly. Was told that 4.0 is higher than 3.5 and even then that it is still not a fair representation. For example when i used the guide on wes website and recalculated my GPA i ended up with 3.62.

Out of MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Wash U (is that the one in St. Louis?), I suggest you pick two and replace two with more realistic schools.

ok, please can you suggest some program for me That is international student friendly.

The fact that your choice of schools was greatly influenced by ranking is a bad sign. You need to pick based on the people doing what you want at each school. They will not accept you if you are not a good fit.

when i say that i was influenced by ranking, I did not just pick the school because it was ranked high, it just that I got to know the schools because they where ranked. For each school I would then look up faculties whose research matches mine, for each school i set a bar of atleast 5 faculties. That is how I came up with the list.

Avoid Saudi Arabia like the plague.

Please any particular reason?

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So if you decide to convert a 4.06/5 to an n out of 4, that equals a 3.24, actually, which is not a terribly competitive GPA without considerable research to back it up. You have quite a bit of research experience in your favor.

That's the problem, I have been warned never to convert my GPA in that fashion as it will devalue my GPA grossly. Was told that 4.0 is higher than 3.5 and even then that it is still not a fair representation. For example when i used the guide on wes website and recalculated my GPA i ended up with 3.62.

Out of MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Wash U (is that the one in St. Louis?), I suggest you pick two and replace two with more realistic schools.

ok, please can you suggest some program for me That is international student friendly.

The fact that your choice of schools was greatly influenced by ranking is a bad sign. You need to pick based on the people doing what you want at each school. They will not accept you if you are not a good fit.

when i say that i was influenced by ranking, I did not just pick the school because it was ranked high, it just that I got to know the schools because they where ranked. For each school I would then look up faculties whose research matches mine, for each school i set a bar of atleast 5 faculties. That is how I came up with the list.

Avoid Saudi Arabia like the plague.

Please any particular reason?

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Undergrad Institution: decently ranked private liberal arts university

Major(s): Biology, Concentration: Cell and Molecular Biology
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.93
Overall GPA: 
3.84
Position in Class: Top 10%
Type of Student: Traditional/ domestic

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Have not taken. Currently around 75-80 percentile based on practice tests- 1 month till test date
Q:
V:
W:
B:


Research Experience: 2.5 years at home institution. During that time, I was involved in 3 projects aside from my own personal work which was a senior thesis project. 1 regional poster presentation + 1 national poster presentation
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's Award for Research at home institution, 2 $5K USDA student scholarships, 2 summer internships at home institution w/ USDA funding, 2 small student research grants 
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Plant Biology TA for 6 semesters; Currently working as post-bac researcher at home institution 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 
Second author on submitted manuscript, high university honors + biology departmental honors at graduation, Dean's list for 6 semesters 
Special Bonus Points: Not sure if this helps but about 95% of research experience falls within my research interests for grad school.

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

Applying to Where: 

Stanford Plant Bio

UC Riverside Plant Bio

UC Davis Plant Bio

Washington State University MPS**

WashU PMB**

Cold Spring Harbor**

Cornell Plant Bio**

UC Berkeley Plant Bio

Cal Tech Biology

 

 

**=top choices- not because I think the others aren't absolutely amazing, but these programs have PIs who I'm very interested in working with. If anyone has experience with these schools' admissions stats please enlighten me! Also open to any other suggestions! Thanks!!

Edited by plantgirlljl
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yayy other plant bio people!

Undergrad Institution: top 3 research in the US 

Major(s): Biochemistry
Minor(s): Statistics
GPA in Major: 3.5 or 3.6 i think
Overall GPA: 3.5 (grades increased progressively since my freshman year)
Position in Class: don't know
Type of Student: female domestic

GRE Scores (revised/old version): taking it next month but I scored around 80-85 percentile on a practice test.  I don't think I will take the subject test.
Q:
V:
W:
B:

Research Experience: 1 summer geology research at my university

2 quarters ecology research- worked on a grad student's thesis

1 year + 2 summers plant pathology research- working pretty independently on my own project +senior thesis

presented at a couple undergraduate poster symposiums.  no publications yet, but the work I'm doing now will hopefully become one...eventually. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: I won two summer fellowships from my school if that counts? honorable mention from American society of plant biology.  Other than that I'll be graduating with honors.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: tutor for two science programs for disadvantaged middle school students

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: 1 recommender is very well known in plant biology, another is pretty famous in in bioinformatics, and my PI is wonderful and super helpful, she also has a lot of connections at most of the schools I'm applying to.

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

Applying to Where:

Stanford- Biology 
Cornell- Plant breeding and genetics 
Cal - Plant Bio

Yale-plant bio

UC Davis- plant Bio

Minnesota-plant bio

UCSF-Tetrad

MIT-Biochem

I should probably have some safety schools, but I'm still looking into that.  If anyone has any recommendations I would appreciate it!  I have no idea if I am at all competitive for these programs.

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@plantgirlljl (or any other WashU applicants). I know some current first/second years in the plant bio program (and several other programs) and could give you their contact info if you have any questions before/during the application process. 

 

One more cautionary note: I see a lot of people saying "University of Washington in St. Louis" and it's "Washington University in St. Louis" I do not take offense and it's not a problem...until you write it incorrectly on an application or say the wrong thing in an interview >< Just a heads up!

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Undergrad Institution: Community College transfer to Large University
Major(s): Molecular Biology
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major (undergrad): ~2.8 (struggled when transferring from a small community college) 

GPA in Major (Masters): 3.7 (Biotech MS at a small state university)

Overall GPA: ~3.0 (unsure how community college fits into this) 

Position in Class: Average
Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 167
V: 155
W: not yet available
B: 

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.
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 
Special Bonus Points: 
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: First in family to attend college. 
Applying to Where:

University of California, SF - DSCB 

University of Washington - M3D (part of Pathology)
Cornell University - BBS

University of California, LA - ACCESS

University of Reno - Molecular Biosciences
University of California, Merced, BEST

I know most of the schools on my list are huge reaches, but thought I'd give them a shot. Planning to take the Subject GREs in September.

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Undergrad Institution: Community College transfer to Large University

Major(s): Molecular Biology

Minor(s): N/A

GPA in Major (undergrad): ~2.8 (struggled when transferring from a small community college) 

GPA in Major (Masters): 3.7 (Biotech MS at a small state university)

Overall GPA: ~3.0 (unsure how community college fits into this) 

Position in Class: Average

Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised version):

Q: 167

V: 155

W: not yet available

B: 

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.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

Special Bonus Points: 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: First in family to attend college. 

Applying to Where:

University of California, SF - DSCB 

University of Washington - M3D (part of Pathology)

Cornell University - BBS

University of California, LA - ACCESS

University of Reno - Molecular Biosciences

University of California, Merced, BEST

I know most of the schools on my list are huge reaches, but thought I'd give them a shot. Planning to take the Subject GREs in September.

 

You're doing the same thing I did last time, and that didn't get me in anywhere and I have a better GPA.

 

Pick two reach schools and throw out the others.  Repopulate your list with more realistic schools.  Apply to 10.

Edited by acetylcholine
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You're doing the same thing I did last time, and that didn't get me in anywhere and I have a better GPA.

 

Pick two reach schools and throw out the others.  Repopulate your list with more realistic schools.  Apply to 10.

 

Thank you for the advise! I am definitely going to add more to my list. I may still apply to those 4 (HUGE) reach schools just to see what happens (fingers crossed).

I hope your re-applying this time; I'll be rooting for you!! :) 

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Thank you for the advise! I am definitely going to add more to my list. I may still apply to those 4 (HUGE) reach schools just to see what happens (fingers crossed).

I hope your re-applying this time; I'll be rooting for you!! :)

The huge reach schools cost more than $100 a piece to apply to.  I'd reconsider that.

 

I'm re-applying; this time only ONE of the schools costs more than $100 to apply to.

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On 7/28/2014 at 8:36 PM, acetylcholine said:

Would it be useful for the forum in general to collect a list of biosciences programs which have no application fee?  (There are GRE and transcript fees, of course, but no application fee is good)

The only one I can think of off hand is Washington University in St. Louis.

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The only one I can think of off hand is Washington University in St Louis.

 

Baylor College of Medicine is free, as is University of Utah (they have cool epigenetics people).

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You're doing the same thing I did last time, and that didn't get me in anywhere and I have a better GPA.

 

Pick two reach schools and throw out the others.  Repopulate your list with more realistic schools.  Apply to 10.

 

I would heed against this advice, consider the following: Octopus could have things in his statement that resonate with the adcomm. He might even be a better writer than you! Hardly the same application. Another thing are letters, which everyone has immaculate, but again something could resonate.  

 

Perhaps Octopus would only be happy at these schools, why not apply? You shouldn't be trying to get into graduate school, you should be trying to get into the right graduate school. Furthermore, he is a post masters student. I don't know much about biology applications, but having a masters degree tends to ease the minds of many adcoms in general. 

 

Who are we to tell people how they should spend their money, or how they want to go to grad school. A graduate education is singular, no two degrees the same from student to student let alone from department to department.  In my opinion, no school should be crossed off unless you do not meet the minimum requirements and you can afford the application fee. Too many people pick the wrong department, advisor, program: GPA is never the reason. 

 

(yes its monday night, im bored, and responding to a thread I don't know much about).

Edited by GeoDUDE!
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I would heed against this advice, consider the following: Octopus could have things in his statement that resonate with the adcomm. He might even be a better writer than you! Hardly the same application. Another thing are letters, which everyone has immaculate, but again something could resonate.  

 

Perhaps Octopus would only be happy at these schools, why not apply? You shouldn't be trying to get into graduate school, you should be trying to get into the right graduate school. Furthermore, he is a post masters student. I don't know much about biology applications, but having a masters degree tends to ease the minds of many adcoms in general. 

 

Who are we to tell people how they should spend their money, or how they want to go to grad school. A graduate education is singular, no two degrees the same from student to student let alone from department to department.  In my opinion, no school should be crossed off unless you do not meet the minimum requirements and you can afford the application fee. Too many people pick the wrong department, advisor, program: GPA is never the reason. 

 

(yes its monday night, im bored, and responding to a thread I don't know much about).

I agree with this. When it comes down to the final round of applicants, it is no longer a numbers game. It's about research fit, SOPs and LORs.

I also agree that it isn't about getting into a graduate school, it's about getting into the graduate school that will make you happy for the next 5-6 years. And it really shows which schools you are enthusiastic about and which schools you aren't.

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Would it be useful for the forum in general to collect a list of biosciences programs which have no application fee?  (There are GRE and transcript fees, of course, but no application fee is good)

Vandy

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I would heed against this advice, consider the following: Octopus could have things in his statement that resonate with the adcomm. He might even be a better writer than you! Hardly the same application. Another thing are letters, which everyone has immaculate, but again something could resonate.  

 

Perhaps Octopus would only be happy at these schools, why not apply? You shouldn't be trying to get into graduate school, you should be trying to get into the right graduate school. Furthermore, he is a post masters student. I don't know much about biology applications, but having a masters degree tends to ease the minds of many adcoms in general. 

 

Who are we to tell people how they should spend their money, or how they want to go to grad school. A graduate education is singular, no two degrees the same from student to student let alone from department to department.  In my opinion, no school should be crossed off unless you do not meet the minimum requirements and you can afford the application fee. Too many people pick the wrong department, advisor, program: GPA is never the reason. 

 

(yes its monday night, im bored, and responding to a thread I don't know much about).

 

 

I agree with this. When it comes down to the final round of applicants, it is no longer a numbers game. It's about research fit, SOPs and LORs.

I also agree that it isn't about getting into a graduate school, it's about getting into the graduate school that will make you happy for the next 5-6 years. And it really shows which schools you are enthusiastic about and which schools you aren't.

 

Thanks to both of you two! I'm still on the fence of what I should do, but I'll definitely take everyone's advice into consideration!

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I would heed against this advice, consider the following: Octopus could have things in his statement that resonate with the adcomm. He might even be a better writer than you! Hardly the same application. Another thing are letters, which everyone has immaculate, but again something could resonate.  

 

Perhaps Octopus would only be happy at these schools, why not apply? You shouldn't be trying to get into graduate school, you should be trying to get into the right graduate school. Furthermore, he is a post masters student. I don't know much about biology applications, but having a masters degree tends to ease the minds of many adcoms in general. 

 

Who are we to tell people how they should spend their money, or how they want to go to grad school. A graduate education is singular, no two degrees the same from student to student let alone from department to department.  In my opinion, no school should be crossed off unless you do not meet the minimum requirements and you can afford the application fee. Too many people pick the wrong department, advisor, program: GPA is never the reason. 

 

(yes its monday night, im bored, and responding to a thread I don't know much about).

 

Color me cynical, but you got in the first round you tried; I didn't.  GPA is frequently used as a first-round cut.

 

I prefer to help people hedge their bets.  When I got 'go as long as you want!' advice, I came out with nowhere to go this fall, and as I said, Octopus28 does have very good research experience, but Octo's MS GPA is barely better than my undergrad GPA.

 

Let's revisit Octopus28's GPA and GREs, shall we?

 

  • GPA in Major (undergrad): ~2.8 (struggled when transferring from a small community college) 
  • GPA in Major (Masters): 3.7 (Biotech MS at a small state university)
  • Overall GPA: ~3.0 (unsure how community college fits into this) 
  • Position in Class: Average
  • Type of Student: Domestic Male
  •  
  • GRE Scores (revised version):
  • Q: 167
  • V: 155
  • W: not yet available
  • B:

Does this look like someone who's going to get admitted to UCSF, University of Washington, Cornell, or UCLA?  Does it?  The answer is no, the 2.8-3.0 undergrad GPA, even though the MS GPA is 3.7, and the low verbal score will work against Octopus28.

Edited by acetylcholine
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I think it is important to understand that top schools DO have cutoffs - GRE, GPA, years of research.  If your scores are not competitive it is unlikely your SOP will be read.  Sorry but that is what I have seen.  To determine if you are competitive score-wise I would take a close look at the Results page.  You will quickly see a pattern of those accepted/rejected.   

 

You can certianly apply if you really want to go there, however, if your scores are not in line with who they interviewed and accepted last year, it would be wise to include some safer schools, numbers-wise.

 

Yes, in the final round, post interview, it does come down to fit, but I would not recommend discounting a first round numbers cut.

 

Just my observation.

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