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PhD Molecular Biology, selecting programs


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Hi, I am a college undergrad from Turkey and I am currently completing my junior year. My major is Molecular biology and Genetics. Next year I am willing to apply to different schools in USA that offer funded PhD programs. I have a decent CGPA of 3.95/4.0 and currently the top student in my class. I have been working in the lab of a professor here for two years and will be undertaking a graduation project next year from him. I have already taken the revised GRE and scored decent (Quant 167 Verbal 166 AWA 4.5). I am also preparing to take the subject GRE for Biochemistry in September.This summer I will be visiting Concordia University in Canada to work on a project with a professor there. I am hoping that I will be able to manage some decent LOR's from my professor and the Canadian professor. One thing I am concerned about is that I have no publication in any scientific journal.In Turkey, there are not a lot of opportunities available for an undergraduate to be able to publish research works independently.  Since applying to any grad school in US costs at least 70-100 $ I am thinking of applying to 5 schools at best. At this condition, considering my lack of journal publication, which schools should I apply to? Is it practical to go for top tier schools like UCLA or UCBerkeley? I have also heard good things about Johns Hopkins. It'd be great if you guys could enlighten me on how important the roles of journal publications are in candidate selection process by the Grad schools and possibly name some grad schools that I could apply with a higher chance of getting in with funding with my current profile. Thanks a lot

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Your background is fine. It's not expected for applicants coming from any undergrad to have publications, even from domestic U.S. students. A few students are able to publish - but it is not a requirement to get into a top ranked program. I had not publications and did not run into any real issues. Make sure you do well on your subject GRE, write a strong statement of purpose and get strong LORs and you should be able to do well.

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