Jump to content

When to strategically rotate in POI's lab?


Recommended Posts

Hi all. I'll be starting graduate school in Neuroscience next fall and will have a year to perform 3 lab rotations. I am fairly sure of the PI I want to work with, and am curious if any of you believe if it is strategically wiser to rotate in their lab earlier in the year versus later. Part of me wants to rotate with them right away to see if its a good fit. But the other part worries that if I rotate early on, and then some other student rotates after me, that they might be more likely to be selected to join the lab, if funding permits only one person.

 

Has anyone had this experience or have any advice? I'm hoping I am thinking too much and that none of these primary vs. recency effects matter in this case. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rotate with them right away. If you don't fit as well as you're hoping to, you need time to select other rotations. 

 

If you do click, and are sure you want to work there, sit down and talk to the PI before you end the rotation, and tell them you want to continue in their lab. 

 

Then use the other rotations to pick up skills that could benefit you and the PI and your future projects. 

 

I don't think order of rotations matters a great deal if there are multiple students competing for one spot. That said, a good PI won't take on additional rotating students if you get there and seal the deal first. If they really want to leave it open to competition, it will be the person that fits best and brings the most to the lab rather than order, I think. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes I've seen PIs give priority to the students that rotated first in the semester...but most of the time the order doesn't matter. 

 

Perhaps consider starting your first rotation during the summer in the group that you like the most. That will give you a bit more time to get settled in to the lab and make a good impression. You typically contact the PI directly to arrange a summer rotation. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely rotate earlier, because sometimes professors extend tentative offers to people who rotate earlier in the year, and then the later rotators don't have as good of a shot.

 

Also, a lot of professors will want you to continue your project after the rotation is over, so you'll have more projects to juggle later in the year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Go early, and if the lab is a good fit and has money, talk to them toward the end of your rotation.

 

Many professors, at least in my department, assume that you're not interested if you don't commit at the end of the rotation.  If you hadn't picked a spot by the end of the 2nd rotation, you were screwed.

Edited by Owlie
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll just chime in and say rotate earlier, I got an offer for my thesis lab in 2nd rotation, spot might not have been open if it was the third..

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

How early is too early to contact the PI you want to do your first rotation with? I already know who I want to rotate with first, and I don't know how many other incoming students will want to rotate with this PI. Will I seem like a weirdo if I email the PI this week and express interest?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.