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I've already chosen mine but I'm still terrified to give the official "yes" and "no" notifications, because what if something happens and for some completely unforseen reason I would need to go to a different institution? (complete paranoia, I know. probably just decision anxiety haha)

 

I know what you mean. I'm heavily leaning toward my top choice but I need to justify every little detail about why its the best choice. Ugh - I  wish I could glance into the future and ensure it's not the wrong choice. 

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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 felt the same way eteshoe!

I knew UChicago was the best overall choice for me but for some reason I couldn't hit the accept button! I had to talk with all of my friends/family about the pros/cons of every school and each one of them were like "well it sounds like your mind is made up..." but its hard taking that step. my family was fed up with me because i wouldn't stop talking about it haha.

i wasn't even that excited to accept the offer after a point because i felt like i was beating the horse to a pulp!

 

but man, can i tell you how nice it was right after hitting the send button. it was a whole new wave of excitement! within an hour after sending in my submission i had e-mails from the dean and most of the professors i spoke with e-mailing me how excited they were to have me! it was such a good feeling, especially to know what i will be doing for the next few years! 

so guys don't be afraid to make that leap. if your heart is set on it and your head tells you its the best choice, hitting send is a HUGE weight off of your shoulders!!!

 

 

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I felt the same way eteshoe!

I knew UChicago was the best overall choice for me but for some reason I couldn't hit the accept button! I had to talk with all of my friends/family about the pros/cons of every school and each one of them were like "well it sounds like your mind is made up..." but its hard taking that step. my family was fed up with me because i wouldn't stop talking about it haha.

i wasn't even that excited to accept the offer after a point because i felt like i was beating the horse to a pulp!

 

but man, can i tell you how nice it was right after hitting the send button. it was a whole new wave of excitement! within an hour after sending in my submission i had e-mails from the dean and most of the professors i spoke with e-mailing me how excited they were to have me! it was such a good feeling, especially to know what i will be doing for the next few years! 

so guys don't be afraid to make that leap. if your heart is set on it and your head tells you its the best choice, hitting send is a HUGE weight off of your shoulders!!!

 

LOL ^ I can relate to this. I kept whining about which program I should choose and everyone I talked to were like "it seems PRETTY obvious which one you're leaning more heavily towards, what's the hesitation?" They just don't understanddddddd

 

P.S. Congrats on committing!!! :)

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Things have gone a bit quiet around here. :) It feels like it's at the point where most of the first round acceptences have been sent, and everyone is either waiting on a school or is in the process of making/finalizing their decision.

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Speaking of making decisions... is it bad to accept pretty early? I have heard of people getting fellowship offers to convince people to accept their admissions. I don't know if this is true or not, but I really just want to accept my offer already! 

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Speaking of making decisions... is it bad to accept pretty early? I have heard of people getting fellowship offers to convince people to accept their admissions. I don't know if this is true or not, but I really just want to accept my offer already! 

Honestly, I don't think it is. There are very few people that get offered those special fellowships, and funding is funding. You can ask your top choices about fellowships and funding, but going to a lower choice just because they threw in some extra $$ seems a bit silly. Now, if you have a tie--you like multiple programs equally well--the one that gives you a special fellowship and shows more interest in you could be a valid way to break your decision.

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On 3/6/2015 at 9:42 AM, amertume said:

LOL ^ I can relate to this. I kept whining about which program I should choose and everyone I talked to were like "it seems PRETTY obvious which one you're leaning more heavily towards, what's the hesitation?" They just don't understanddddddd

 

P.S. Congrats on committing!!! :)

 

Haha I completely relate to this! I keep coming back to WUSTL as my top choice but my interest is mostly emotional... I loved the environment, clicked with professors and students... I want to go to this school really bad. I was excited when I received all of my offers but I was actually so happy that I cried when I got this one. I was way more excited when I got WashU's offer than when I got my first offer even...

 

It is a great research fit but others are even better research fits. The top "famous" professors in my field who I have always dreamed of working with at are a different school (and I was also accepted to that school - so I have the option of working with these guys). I clicked with professors and students at that school too but I don't feel emotionally attached to it like I do Wash U. I made a pro/con list and WashU came in 3rd. When this happened I found myself wanting to rearrange weightings so that they would come out on top.

 

What do you guys think? Do I let instints or logic win? Do I go to the school that would give me the best job opportunities (I dream of tenure track...) or the one that I really want to go to, even if I cant articulate exactly why?

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Speaking of making decisions... is it bad to accept pretty early? I have heard of people getting fellowship offers to convince people to accept their admissions. I don't know if this is true or not, but I really just want to accept my offer already!

I think its fine to accept early, if you qualify for certain fellowships, you normally would still get it after accepting. My sister got one after she accepted. The exception might be some recruiting fellowships some universities have but I'd expect they would let you know pretty early on and they are competitive

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Hello,

I am posting this on behalf of my girlfriend. She is an international applicant, and was interviewed at Weill Cornell. She has got waitlists at Weill and UMass MCB (with no interview). She got a reject from wustl after skype interview. 

At this point, all her other applications have been rejected, most profs citing no funding for international students. 

 

At this point, what are the chances for a wait list to get cleared at weill cornell? And UMass? I dont see any applicants to the UMass Amherst MCB program on this forum, whereas the program coordinator mentioned more than 200 applicants. 

 

I know a lot of applicants got into weill cornell from this thread - are you all accepting cornell? Or atleast some of you are choosing a different school? Any info regarding this would be great! 

 

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On 3/6/2015 at 3:47 PM, bsharpe269 said:

Haha I completely relate to this! I keep coming back to WUSTL as my top choice but my interest is mostly emotional... I loved the environment, clicked with professors and students... I want to go to this school really bad. I was excited when I received all of my offers but I was actually so happy that I cried when I got this one. I was way more excited when I got Wash U's offer than when I got my first offer even...

 

It is a great research fit but others are even better research fits. The top "famous" professors in my field who I have always dreamed of working with at are a different school (and I was also accepted to that school - so I have the option of working with these guys). I clicked with professors and students at that school too but I don't feel emotionally attached to it like I do Wash U. I made a pro/con list and Wash U came in 3rd. When this happened I found myself wanting to rearrange weightings so that they would come out on top.

 

What do you guys think? Do I let instints or logic win? Do I go to the school that would give me the best job opportunities (I dream of tenure track...) or the one that I really want to go to, even if I cant articulate exactly why?

Follow your instincts. If WashU feels right, go there. You want to be sure that you'll be able to perform at your best while in graduate school. Plus, quality of life matters.

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On 3/6/2015 at 3:47 PM, bsharpe269 said:

Haha I completely relate to this! I keep coming back to WUSTL as my top choice but my interest is mostly emotional... I loved the environment, clicked with professors and students... I want to go to this school really bad. I was excited when I received all of my offers but I was actually so happy that I cried when I got this one. I was way more excited when I got Wash U's offer than when I got my first offer even...

 

It is a great research fit but others are even better research fits. The top "famous" professors in my field who I have always dreamed of working with at are a different school (and I was also accepted to that school - so I have the option of working with these guys). I clicked with professors and students at that school too but I don't feel emotionally attached to it like I do Wash U. I made a pro/con list and Wash U came in 3rd. When this happened I found myself wanting to rearrange weightings so that they would come out on top.

 

What do you guys think? Do I let instints or logic win? Do I go to the school that would give me the best job opportunities (I dream of tenure track...) or the one that I really want to go to, even if I cant articulate exactly why?

I think you know which school you've got to go with. (Aka WUSTL)

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I had a similar thing with University of Washington. After the second set of interviews there my fiancee and parents told me i would not shut up about Seattle and the program. I went to another interview after that and when i was texting my fiancee at night about it he was like "yep. We're going to Seattle, I can tell"

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I was "enthusiastically accepted" to Johns Hopkins immunology and also wait listed (hopfully not enthusiastically) at UCLA.

I think now I'm torn between Seattle immunology and Johns Hopkins immunology. Both are excellent programs in immunology so this is going to be a tough decision.

Congrats! I grew up in Seattle so I'm biased, but you have two great choices. When did you hear from UCLA? 

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I was "enthusiastically accepted" to Johns Hopkins immunology and also wait listed (hopfully not enthusiastically) at UCLA.

I think now I'm torn between Seattle immunology and Johns Hopkins immunology. Both are excellent programs in immunology so this is going to be a tough decision.

Hopkins was amazing. Let me know what you decide.

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In my opinion, choice of advisor is so much more important than choice of university. Have you asked your POIs at each of your top universities if they think they will be accepting students into their labs in the fall? If not, this might make the decision easier (or harder, depending).

 

I also want to say that I think working for a "famous" professor as a graduate student might be overrated. Last semester, I did three lab rotations (one with a famous professor), and I had to choose which lab to join late last semester. I knew I wanted to join my current advisor's lab, but I felt I had to find out whether it would be significantly better for my career to join the famous professor's lab. After an extensive search, I could find no advice stating that it was advantageous to join a famous professor's lab as a grad student. All of the advice I found said that a grad student should join the lab with which he/she has the best fit. I think this advice is so common because, unless you're planning on winning an NIH Early Independence Award, the work that will get you your faculty position will most likely be the work you do as a post-doc. Grad school is a place to get the training you need to become an independent researcher, and as long as you're in a lab where you will have the opportunity to receive this training, make interesting discoveries, and publish frequently, I think you will have the opportunity to do the work needed to get the post-doc position you want. 

 

As far as I can tell, the main advantage of working with a famous professor is increased visibility of your work. This would certainly be advantageous for a post-doc, but I do not see it being as advantageous for a grad student. It may make it easier for you to ultimately get the post-doc you want, but I suspect it won't be nearly as much help by the time you are applying for faculty positions. There are also many disadvantages of working for a famous professor. For me, the most important one is that there are a lot of "extras" that come with being a student of a famous professor. For example, the students in the famous professor's lab in which I rotated have to constantly make slides for the numerous talks this professor gives. Again, this is nice for the visibility of your work, but, if that visibility isn't going to do much for you, I feel it ends up being a big time-suck. The famous professor hosts a seminar series each semester, and his/her grad students have to entertain the invited speaker for a day each week. On the one hand, this is a nice opportunity for networking, but, on the other hand, you have to take time out of your day to drive to the speaker's hotel to pick him/her up and to shuttle the speaker from meeting to meeting. That doesn't exactly help you get your research done. The group also produces a calender each year, each student has to volunteer to TA for a week each semester for the professor's classes, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Access can also be an issue with famous professors. Every productive professor is incredibly busy, but famous professors are that much busier. As I'm sure you can imagine, this can become problematic in a number of ways.

 

So, for what it's worth, I would not put "potential to work for a famous professor, which will help me achieve my career goals" anywhere on your pro/con list. Hope this helps!

 

 

Haha I completely relate to this! I keep coming back to Wash U as my top choice but my interest is mostly emotional... I loved the environment, clicked with professors and students... I want to go to this school really bad. I was excited when I received all of my offers but I was actually so happy that I cried when I got this one. I was way more excited when I got Wash U's offer than when I got my first offer even...

 

It is a great research fit but others are even better research fits. The top "famous" professors in my field who I have always dreamed of working with at are a different school (and I was also accepted to that school - so I have the option of working with these guys). I clicked with professors and students at that school too but I don't feel emotionally attached to it like I do Wash U. I made a pro/con list and Wash U came in 3rd. When this happened I found myself wanting to rearrange weightings so that they would come out on top.

 

What do you guys think? Do I let instints or logic win? Do I go to the school that would give me the best job opportunities (I dream of tenure track...) or the one that I really want to go to, even if I cant articulate exactly why?

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I also want to say that I think working for a "famous" professor as a graduate student might be overrated. Last semester, I did three lab rotations (one with a famous professor), and I had to choose which lab to join late last semester. I knew I wanted to join my current advisor's lab, but I felt I had to find out whether it would be significantly better for my career to join the famous professor's lab. After an extensive search, I could find no advice stating that it was advantageous to join a famous professor's lab as a grad student. All of the advice I found said that a grad student should join the lab with which he/she has the best fit. I think this advice is so common because, unless you're planning on winning an NIH Early Independence Award, the work that will get you your faculty position will most likely be the work you do as a post-doc. Grad school is a place to get the training you need to become an independent researcher, and as long as you're in a lab where you will have the opportunity to receive this training, make interesting discoveries, and publish frequently, I think you will have the opportunity to do the work needed to get the post-doc position you want. 

 

 

Thanks so much for this advice! This is exactly what I needed/wanted to hear. I know where I want to go to school and I get along with the profs there so well. I have a ton of respect for them, both in research and otherwise. They all seem like genuinely kind people who love science and want their students to succeed. ALL of the profs I am interested in are taking students! They seem just as enthusiastic about recruiting me as I am about the possibility of going there... mainly becaucause it is absolutely a terrific fit. I think I needed to hear that I wasn't going to be making a bad career move by turning down the possibility of working with the famous professors. It sounds like it might be better to pursue opportunities in those labs as a post doc.

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As far as I can tell, the main advantage of working with a famous professor is increased visibility of your work. This would certainly be advantageous for a post-doc, but I do not see it being as advantageous for a grad student. It may make it easier for you to ultimately get the post-doc you want, but I suspect it won't be nearly as much help by the time you are applying for faculty positions. There are also many disadvantages of working for a famous professor. For me, the most important one is that there are a lot of "extras" that come with being a student of a famous professor.

I would agree with this, PIs at my school tend to say a famous lab is much more important for a post-doc than a grad student

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For people who have already pretty much decided (congratulations!!!) or are already attending, did you revisit the schools you were deciding between? I'm currently torn between two amazing programs that I really felt clicked with me, and though making another trip would be a hassle, it would technically be possible. Do you recommend doing so? Or I guess any advice on how to decide when your "gut feeling" is pointing you in two different directions!

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For people who have already pretty much decided (congratulations!!!) or are already attending, did you revisit the schools you were deciding between? I'm currently torn between two amazing programs that I really felt clicked with me, and though making another trip would be a hassle, it would technically be possible. Do you recommend doing so? Or I guess any advice on how to decide when your "gut feeling" is pointing you in two different directions!

It might be more feasible to set up Skype interviews with more people at both of the schools. You could even just email and call them.

Figure out what's important to you -- things that might not have been mentioned during the interview -- and dig for the answers to those questions. 

Maybe like:

  • availability of travel grants/support?
  • for students who have left the program before graduating (voluntarily or involuntarily), why did this happen and what are they doing now?
  • ask students what they think about the health insurance. (I got some important information out of this one.)
  • you may have considered cost of living and if the stipend will adequately cover it, but have you thought about how taxes may affect your "net" stipend? I found out at one program that students owe ~$400/month in taxes on their stipend. It varies from place to place.
  • "Every program has its problems. What is this program actively trying to improve right now?"

I could think of more, but I suggest you ask the hard questions that you may have been hesitant to ask in the interview setting.

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For people who have already pretty much decided (congratulations!!!) or are already attending, did you revisit the schools you were deciding between? I'm currently torn between two amazing programs that I really felt clicked with me, and though making another trip would be a hassle, it would technically be possible. Do you recommend doing so? Or I guess any advice on how to decide when your "gut feeling" is pointing you in two different directions!

i revisted UChicago because I was in town. I just e-mailed the dean and within an hour she had me set up for a date and a few days later was meeting with about 6 faculty. it definitely solidified my decision, but for those that may be a bit far a skype interview with a POI might be good too. I know I met a girl at Columbia who said they flew her out there when she admitted she was torn between columbia and another school. I'd say go for it, if they are invested in you they will show it. the second meeting at UChicago eased all of my fears and made it that much easier to commit. 

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I'm fighting the urge to email my last school and ask when they anticipate sending out acceptances, I just want to know so I can decide and get it over with!

 

 

I bit the bullet and did it, but it had been a month post-interview. It was a rejection and it stung, but it was worth it to know. 

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