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2016 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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The 2016 application period is right around the corner. So use the following templates to enter your information, before and after you obtain your results, and remember to submit your results at the end of the cycle for posterity and to help the next cohort of applicants HERE.

You can find the  and threads by clicking on the year.

 

Undergrad Institution: (School or type of school, such as big state, lib arts, ivy, technical, foreign (what country?)... Overall Reputation in Biology?)
Major(s):
Minor(s):
GPA in Major:
Overall GPA:
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?)
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?)

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:
V:
W:
B:


TOEFL Total: (if applicable, otherwise delete this)

Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

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

Applying to Where:

School - Department - Research Interest
School - Department - Research Interest
School - Department - Research Interest

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Undergrad Institution: Mid-tier state school
Major(s): Neuroscience
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 3.7
Overall GPA:  3.6
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 85%
V: 79%
W: 80%

Research Experience: 3 separate research experiences as an undergrad. One clinical, one in cognitive neuroscience, and one in computational vision science with a well known PI.  Since then, I'm in my second year as an RA in a famous computational vision science lab and have a co-first authored paper submitted to a top journal, a middle author paper being prepared, and middle author on an SfN poster.  I'll have great recommendations from all four PIs.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list most semesters, awarded a fellowship in integrative neuroscience

Special Bonus Points: Obviously well connected in my current home university (a top choice).  My current PI is one of the most influential people in my field.  Not sure if this counts for bonus points, but I've pretty much narrowed down my interests to computational vision science, and I'm already very familiar with the field.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:  My undergrad program did not focus on anything quantitative, so my formal background in math is unimpressive even though it's one of my strengths.

Applying to Where:

Neuroscience/neurobiology programs for the schools below, roughly in order of preference:

 

Columbia

MIT

NYU - CNS

Stanford

University of Washington

UT Austin

UCSD

Princeton

Duke

University of Chicago

Harvard

UC Berkeley

U Penn

 

I have no idea how competitive of an applicant I am or whether I stand a chance of getting into the top tier : /

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@gs1992: your profile looks solid thus far. Make sure you write a strong SoP and get strong LoRs and you should be able to get a few admissions this cycle. 

 

Also just to let any applicants know - I'll hang around this thread to help answer any questions or concerns. Feel free to PM me if you have any burning questions  :) . Good luck to all the 2016 applicants!

Edited by eteshoe

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AHHHHHHHH IT BEGINSSSSSSS!

 

Also chiming in to say I'll poke in here pretty regularly to offer any insight I can. PMs are more than welcome, it's great chatting with passionate new students.

 

 

 

 

About me:

 

Going into my second year, studying how epigenetic disruption can improve current cancer therapeutics, including immunotherapy. I'm what you would call a "non-traditional" student in that I worked for 4 years post-undergrad and come from a low SES background. I applied twice to grad school and got in my second try. You can look in my past posts for my stats and schools I applied to, and I'm especially interested in advising folks whom are investigating non-academic career options. Best of luck to everyone!

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Undergrad Institution: Top 3 Big Ivy
Major(s): Biochemistry
Minor(s): 
GPA in Major: 3.6
Overall GPA: 3.55
Position in Class: Around average in my major 
Type of Student: Domestic Asian male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 170
V: 168
W: 5
B: not taken yet

Research Experience: 1 year in high school (started early, was Intel STS semifinalist)

1 summer at immunology center in Japan

3 semesters and 2 summers at Harvard Medical School in 2 different labs

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: not stellar in college due to competition at my home institution, a couple of summer research fellowships

1st author poster presentation at national undergraduate research conference

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Tutor/course assistant for general chemistry (1 semester)

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Took challenging computational and quantitative classes in college
 

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)
Letter of recommendation co-signed by famous PI in immunology, but I mostly worked with a post-doc in the lab during my time there so I had limited interactions with my PI. Got a poster presentation from my project here. 

Working on a senior thesis for honors degree in my current lab, I work directly with my PI and hope to do well for a strong recommendation.

Another recommendation from my academic advisor who was also my Cell Biology prof, I took his advanced undergraduate class as a freshman but got a B in it. We meet and discuss interesting papers and topics in biology literature several times each semester, so I think he can comment on my ability to understand graduate level material.

 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
I am a violinist in the school symphony orchestra and am actively involved in chamber music on campus...It's not related to my potential to conduct research well but perhaps I am bringing some diversity?

 

Applying to Where:
Harvard Immunology

MIT Biology

UCSF BMS

Yale BBS

Stanford

Berkeley MCB

Sloan-Kettering

UPenn 

NIH OxCam

 

Not sure if I'm shooting too high, given my lack of publications. It's also hard for me to know where I stand because most of my classmates in my major are going to medical school. I am pretty certain on what I want to study in graduate school: immunology, specifically cancer immunology.

 

EDIT: formatting

Edited by jaesango

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Undergrad Institution: Iowa State University
Major(s):  Biochemistry
Minor(s):  Microbiology; Genetics
GPA in Major:  3.91
Overall GPA:  3.74
Position in Class: Unknown (top 25%???)
Type of Student: Domestic, white female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:  Practice exam --> 95%
V:  Practice exam --> 97%
W:  Unknown
B:  Not going to take due to graduate coursework

Research Experience:

Iowa State University: January 2014 - present, fruit fly obesity related to heterochromatin organization; I am responsible for the project as if I were a grad student (pilot project for the lab), poster, 5 oral presentations

 

NSF REU in Microbiology: Summer 2014;  Lactobacillus diversity in murine gut microbiome effect on resistance to malaria; 1 poster, 1 presentation; 1 publication under review

 

Harvard Amgen Program: Summer 2015;  Effects of TNF-alpha signaling in hematopoietic niche in bone marrow in the context of chemotherapy/adhesive and migratory behaviors of HSPCs after inflammatory stimulation; 1 poster, 1 oral presentation

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

 

National Merit Scholar

NSF REU Fellow

Amgen Scholar

Linder Fellow (research fellowship at my school)

Department of Biochemistry Scholar

Weber Family Scholarship

Marian LeFevre Scholarship

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Scholarship

University Honors Member

Univesity Dean's List (2012-present)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

 

Biochemistry Undergraduate Club

Stupka Symposium Committee (Planning our undergraduate research symposium at ISU)
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Special Bonus Points: 

 

Female

Recommender from Harvard is a famous pioneer in the HSC niche/immunology, REU recommender is a top researcher in microbial ecology, home recommender is national authority on JIL-1 kinase

Connections due to Amgen Scholar status

Graduate Classes:

  • Comprehensive Biochemistry I
  • Comprehensive Biochemistry II
  • Virology
  • Molecular Signaling
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Advanced Developmental Biology
  • Pathogenic Organisms
  • Bacterial Molecular Genetics
  • Microbial Physiology and Phylogenetics

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

Applying to Where: 

 

Harvard University (Immunology)

Rockefeller University (David Rockefeller Graduate Program)

Princeton University (Molecular Biology)

Stanford University (Immunology track of Biosciences)

UCSF (Tetrad)

University of Washington (Immunology)

Vanderbilt University (IGP)

University of Tennessee (Microbiology)

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Undergrad Institution: Big Ten, top public

Graduate School: Mid-Tier College
Major(s): Molecular and Cellular Biology
Minor(s): Political Science
GPA in Major: 2.75 (thanks Physics) 
Overall GPA: 3.05 (3.3 last 60 credits)

Grad GPA: 4.0 (only 6 credits, will be 12 by interviews)
Position in Class: average
Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 158
V: 160
W: 4.0
B:
(strongly considering retaking)

Research Experience: 2 years in undergrad, 3 month internship in HIV research, 9 months working in a diagnostics lab with lots of pathogens, 3 months developing a drug for a pharmaceutical company in an international internship in Germany, and already 1 year working on vaccine research and development with various Tier-1 organisms in a BSL-3 lab.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List senior year

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Director for a retreat program at school.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Been working full time for 2 years now with a wide range of experience.

Special Bonus Points: Currently in a Master's program, only just enrolled. It made me want to get a PhD program. The only reason I enrolled is because I was forced to declare or else my classes would no longer count. 

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

Applying to Where:

Notre Dame

Iowa State

University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign MCB

Northwestern- Haven't decided

University of Chicago- Microbiology

Maryland?

Georgetown?

Kansas?

St. Louis University?

 

So this is kind of my last hurrah. I've applied before to graduate school, and I think my low GPA always kept me out of the running. I've taken graduate classes, and am working towards my Master's right now, but I just really want to go into a PhD program. I didn't apply last year, and just focused on my work. I have worked in many different fields, mostly Microbiology, and I have extensive Micro experience. I am hoping that I can raise my GRE scores, since the cost of sending my old ones to new schools would basically equal the cost of taking the exam in the first place, so I might as well. I also hope that my master's classes will show that although I was a bad student my first 2 years, I've turned it around, and that I have perseverance. I'm still looking at schools. I have some highly ranked schools on there, but I would only actually apply to those if I got positive feedback from Professor's who also do work on some of the organisms I am familiar with. Very much open to suggestions. I'm definitely applying to schools a tier or two below most people on here, but that is just how it is with a GPA like mine. 

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As usual, just gonna put a little note in this thread. I'm finishing up my 3rd year at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics PhD program.

 

Please feel free to message me with questions about WashU/genetics programs/PhD programs/St. Louis/any of the schools in my signature/questions about making decisions. I really do enjoy helping prospective students make the most out of their application season :)

 

Best of luck!

~glow

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I will chime in on this thread too. I am starting grad school (PhD) this fall, so I cannot comment on what grad school is like, but I was a low GPA applicant and can offer insight into applying with a low GPA. I have worked in a lab post-undergrad for 3 years doing cancer genetics and can also answer questions about working before graduate school. I am planning to attend my top choice graduate school this fall and couldn't be more excited!

 

This website is great for tips and advice. There are a lot of wonderful people on this site more than willing to help.

 

Feel free to message me with questions!

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Undergrad Institution: Top 10, Ivy
Major(s): Neuroscience
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.83
Overall GPA: 3.66
Position in Class: Unknown
Type of Student: Domestic, white/Hispanic male 

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 78%
V: 95%
W: 5.5
Not sure if I should retake; have gotten mixed signals about the quantitative portion.

Research Experience: 

Summer 2011 & 2012: State University summer research programs funded by the NIH. Neurosurgery related. Two poster presentations, one middle-author publication.

Fall 2011 - Present: Undergraduate research at my university, completed 3 senior's theses. Neuroscience related. One poster presentation, one national conference (ABRCMS). Unfortunately no papers to date as my results were either negative, or might be part of a future manuscript. I am also currently serving as the Lab Manager, and the laboratory moved to another state so it took about half a year to get everything up and running. 

In summary: three summers (40-50h/week for 8-12 weeks), 5/6 semesters of undergraduate research (20h/week for 14 weeks). 

One of my classes involved a clinical research project, but I'm not sure how to include that.

I also have previous summers where I volunteered/interned in a psychology and a aquaculture laboratory, but I don't think that's pertinent for graduate school.

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Dean's list multiple semesters (but not every semester)

Magna Cum Laude

Senior Award for positive impact on the community

Two summer research funding opportunities

Psychology & Neuroscience honor societies

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Bioethics Journal assistant editor

Neuroscience honor society

Health-related LGBTQA empowerment club

The other's aren't as relevant, but I was president of my fraternity and a campus organization I helped found, and an elected student government representative. Hopefully that shows some initiative on my part.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

The context of my Lab Manager position is being framed in a positive light by my PI, helping to explain beneficial skills that I learned, and my productivity, in the face of no publications and the fact that I had to move and re-establish the lab in another location. I.E. I'm ready for graduate school.

Special Bonus Points:

Took a graduate level Stem Cell biology course while working; did it Pass/Fail but technically got an A+.

My LoR writers are recommending me to their colleagues at some schools, mostly to look out for my application and bestow some additional consideration (on paper I might not look that good due to transferring schools, some withdrawn classes due to medical hardship, etc.)

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

I transferred colleges, so I'm only reporting my degree-granting institution's grades because it's going to be a nightmare to calculate it myself, converting between different credit hours, for each school I apply to (as they have their own means of calculating these things).

Also unsure whether minority and low-SES status matters.

Applying to Where:

I'm applying to a few departments where that is allowed. But, specifically, I'm aiming at Stem Cell Biology/Regenerative Medicine programs, otherwise Cell and Molecular biology where applicable, and Neuroscience programs.

I'm trying to refrain from adding more schools, but the list thus far is as follows:

Baylor College of Medicine 
Duke 
Harvard

MIT 

Rockerfeller

Stanford

UC Berkeley

UC San Francisco

University of Michigan

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Yale

 

 

P.S. If anybody wants to trade SOPs for critique and editing, shoot me a message :)

Edited by Infinito

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Undergrad Institution: Top-tier state school, good reputation in biomedical sciences
Major(s): Biology/Psychology
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA: 3.52
Position in Class: Unknown, probably top 25%
Type of Student: domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 83%
V: 87%
W: 
B:



Research Experience: 2.5 years undergraduate neuroscience/neuroimaging research, 1 year post-bac fellowship in neuroscience research at top-tier private school

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list 6 semesters, Psychology honors society, graduated with distinction

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Research assistant 2.5 years, research fellow 1 year

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: first-authored publication in preparation

Special Bonus Points: Took graduate translational neuroscience class, had independent research project as an undergrad

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

Applying to Where:

Still finalizing my list at this point. Any advice on additional schools or my prospects for these would be greatly appreciated!

 

All are neuroscience programs

 

Medical University of South Carolina
Emory University

Washington University in St. Louis

University of Maryland Baltimore

Georgetown University

Northwestern?

Wake Forest?

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Applying to Where:

Still finalizing my list at this point. Any advice on additional schools or my prospects for these would be greatly appreciated!

 

All are neuroscience programs

 

Medical University of South Carolina

Emory University

Washington University in St. Louis

University of Maryland Baltimore

Georgetown University

Northwestern?

Wake Forest?

What do you want to study in neuroscience? Neuroscience is a very broad field, we can't help with schools  unless you narrow it down. Do you want to stay on the east coast? 

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I think this is the correct subforum for nutritional biochem, public health seemed too MPH oriented.

Undergrad Institution: Queen's University, Kingston (Ontario, Canada)
Major(s): Biochemistry (Specialization)
Minor(s): none
GPA in Major: 3.9/4.3 (about 3.8/4)
Overall GPA: 3.8/4.3
Position in Class: No idea, at least top 20% judging on grade distribution charts
Type of Student: Male, white, Canadian applying to mostly american schools

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 161
V: 163
W: 3.5
B: none


Research Experience: 

Have three strong references:

1. Volunteered full time 5 months in a Plant Biochemistry lab

2. 8 month co-op (internship) in Cancer Biology at SUNY Albany

3. 4 month Undergrad. research project followed by 4+ months full time work in Nutritional Biochemistry lab

Have my name on a couple conference posters from 2 and another from 3, and eventually a paper from 3 but likely won't be published before applications

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Level 2011 (not sure if I'm going to continue to list this)

Dean's List every year

Principal's scholarship first and second year

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Peer tutoring various first and second year courses

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Nothing that I can think of

Special Bonus Points: PI is well known and has a number of connections in nutritional biochemistry, although they are mostly in the biochem depts and not the nutrition ones so situationally useful.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: Nothing that I can think of

Applying to Where:

I'm hoping to study molecular/biochemical nutrition/nutritional biochemistry/metabolic biology, all of which seem to be used to describe similar programs at various universities. In Canada PhD programs require that you complete a master's first, so I'm hoping to get into a school in the states which will be direct to PhD to save some time if nothing else. From what I've read here and elsewhere, as a Canadian (international) student applying to US universities I will have issues with many of the public schools, especially UCs as they won't receive as much funding for non-domestic students. I'm still working on this list before I actually submit applications so I'd appreciate any thoughts.

 

- UNC Gillings - Dept of Nutrition - PhD in Nutrition

- Boston University - Dept of Medicine - PhD Nutrition Metabolism

- Harvard T.H. Chan - Dept of Public Health - PhD Biological Sciences in Public Health (Nutritional Biochem)

- Case Western Reserve - Dept of Nutrition - PhD Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism

- Wisconsin-Madison - Dept of Nutritional Sciences - PhD Nutrition (Biochemical Nutrition track)

- Berkeley - Dept of Nutritional Science and Toxicology - PhD Metabolic Biology

- Texas at Austin -  College of Human Ecology - PhD Nutritional Sciences

- Cornell - Division of Nutritional Sciences - PhD Molecular Nutrition

 

Then I'm also looking at a backup canadian MS or two, haven't checked too deeply into them:

- U of Manitoba MS Nutrition

- Guelph U MS Nutrition

- Memorial U MS Nutrition

 

 

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Undergrad Institution: Valparaiso University-small liberal arts college in Indiana
Major(s): Chemistry, Psychology, Biology
Minor(s): Mathematics, Applied Statistics 
GPA in Major: 3.658 (chemistry), 4.000 (psychology), and 3.789 (biology)
Overall GPA: 3.799
Position in Class: Near-top
Type of Student: Domestic, caucasian male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: Taking August 20th
V: Taking August 20th
W: Taking August 20th
B: Taking August 20th



Research Experience: 

  • A neurophysiology project over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, looking at the effect of emotional cues on memory recall and electrophysiological response. We hook people up to an EEG machine and administer a memory test with facial cues and look for a statistically significant difference in electric potential between when the stimulus is presented and the time immediately prior to the response. I will be presenting this research at the 2015 APA national convention.
  • A chemistry project over the 2015 summer at Valparaiso University that involves host-guest chemistry. I am looking at the kinetic and thermodynamic stability of the complexation of inserting a dye molecule into a cyclodextrin molecule with different substituents. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Psychology national honor society, social science honor society, and chemistry national honor society. I was also awarded the 2015 ACS award in analytical chemistry.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for psychology statistics for four semesters, TA for engineering chemistry for two semesters, tutor for ordinary differential equations for one semester, and TA for laboratory in general experimental psychology and human neuropsychology for one semester each. 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I was the tournament director for Valparaiso University's third annual Science Olympiad Invitational in January 2015 and the president for Valparaiso University's club tennis team for the 2014-2015 school year. I was also a supervisor for a Science Olympiad event at the state competition in March of 2015.


Applying to Where:

  • Vanderbilt University (IGP neuroscience track)
  • Emory University (neuroscience)
  • University of Tennessee (neuroscience)
  • Berkeley University (neuroscience)
  • A few other places that I am still looking into

 

 

I would appreciate the feedback on my application and any other stuff I should try to improve on! Also, any other recommendations for neuroscience Ph.D. programs I should apply to are definitely welcome!

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What do you want to study in neuroscience? Neuroscience is a very broad field, we can't help with schools  unless you narrow it down. Do you want to stay on the east coast? 

 

Thanks for the reply! I don't have a preference as to location. I am interested in neuroimaging of clinical populations (humans). In particular, I find Parkinson's, stroke, and OCD interesting, but I am open to other populations as well. My interests are not quite finalized, but I do know at least that. I'm planning on applying to programs where I can do rotations in different labs to find the perfect fit.

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Undergrad Institution: small private liberal arts college
Major(s): Cell and Molecular Biology
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: n/a (I'll have to go back and calcualte it)
Overall GPA: 3.72
Position in Class: n/a (as in I don't know)
Type of Student: domestic, white, female

GRE Scores (revised version):
Q: 157 (74th percentile)
V: 156 (64th percentile)
W: 5 (93rd percentile)


Research Experience: 

Currently I have worked in a cell biology lab for one year, will be a year and half when the PI moves in December (can't go with him for personal and financial reasons)

Undergrad summer research program 

                                   
Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Frank G. Brooks scholarship (a professor from my school who founded Tri-Beta back in 1922)

Dean's and President's Honor rolls consistently through undergrad

Graduated cum honore


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Like stated above, currently working in a research lab

Applying to Where:

 

I'm interested in Microbiology and Immunology, and am going to apply to a mix of MS and PhD programs. These are probably my final six, and I'm still deciding whether I want to apply for the MS, PhD, or both (if able) at each school

 

- SUNY Buffalo

- University of Rochester

- Albany Medical College

- University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

- Drexel University

- Temple University

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Thanks for the reply! I don't have a preference as to location. I am interested in neuroimaging of clinical populations (humans). In particular, I find Parkinson's, stroke, and OCD interesting, but I am open to other populations as well. My interests are not quite finalized, but I do know at least that. I'm planning on applying to programs where I can do rotations in different labs to find the perfect fit.

 

Look into some of the programs offering biomedical science umbrella PhD programs.

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Undergrad Institution: Big Ten, top public

Graduate School: Mid-Tier College

Major(s): Molecular and Cellular Biology

Minor(s): Political Science

GPA in Major: 2.75 (thanks Physics) 

Overall GPA: 3.05 (3.3 last 60 credits)

Grad GPA: 4.0 (only 6 credits, will be 12 by interviews)

Position in Class: average

Type of Student: Domestic Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):

Q: 158

V: 160

W: 4.0

B:

(strongly considering retaking)

Research Experience: 2 years in undergrad, 3 month internship in HIV research, 9 months working in a diagnostics lab with lots of pathogens, 3 months developing a drug for a pharmaceutical company in an international internship in Germany, and already 1 year working on vaccine research and development with various Tier-1 organisms in a BSL-3 lab.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List senior year

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Director for a retreat program at school.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Been working full time for 2 years now with a wide range of experience.

Special Bonus Points: Currently in a Master's program, only just enrolled. It made me want to get a PhD program. The only reason I enrolled is because I was forced to declare or else my classes would no longer count. 

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

Applying to Where:

Notre Dame

Iowa State

University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign MCB

Northwestern- Haven't decided

University of Chicago- Microbiology

Maryland?

Georgetown?

Kansas?

St. Louis University?

 

So this is kind of my last hurrah. I've applied before to graduate school, and I think my low GPA always kept me out of the running. I've taken graduate classes, and am working towards my Master's right now, but I just really want to go into a PhD program. I didn't apply last year, and just focused on my work. I have worked in many different fields, mostly Microbiology, and I have extensive Micro experience. I am hoping that I can raise my GRE scores, since the cost of sending my old ones to new schools would basically equal the cost of taking the exam in the first place, so I might as well. I also hope that my master's classes will show that although I was a bad student my first 2 years, I've turned it around, and that I have perseverance. I'm still looking at schools. I have some highly ranked schools on there, but I would only actually apply to those if I got positive feedback from Professor's who also do work on some of the organisms I am familiar with. Very much open to suggestions. I'm definitely applying to schools a tier or two below most people on here, but that is just how it is with a GPA like mine. 

 

 

I mean to ask. Do people think I should retake the GRE, or are my scores satisfactory? I took the exam in 2012.

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Undergrad Institution: Tier 1 Public Research University
Major(s): Natural Resource Conservation and Management
Minor(s): Biology
GPA in Major: 3.2
Overall GPA: 3.0
Position in Class: average
Type of Student: Domestic, white male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 165
V: 157
W: 3.0
B: Not going to take unless told to do so (to save money)


Research Experience:

1 summer and semester working as a research assistant looking at the breeding ecology of turtles in an ex-situ environment.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Deans List a semester, several scholarships

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Worked a couple years for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Hawaii and Mississippi performing invasive ant management and endangered species management.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Published GIS-created maps for official Federal Government documents.

Special Bonus Points:

Currently working as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I can never count that out. Two well-known recommenders (at least in the South).

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

Come from an underrepresented area in the states, known for being one of the poorest places in the country (if they look at where I come from).

Applying to Where:

UC Berkeley - ESPM (Range Management)

UC Davis - Ecology GG

San Diego State U - Ecology

Humboldt State - Wildlife Biology

U Georgia - Forestry and Natural Resources

Colorado State U - Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Mississippi State U - Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture

U Michigan - Natural Resources

 

Note: at this point, I'm looking at MS or MFS programs as I'm not sure I want to do a Ph.D.

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I mean to ask. Do people think I should retake the GRE, or are my scores satisfactory? I took the exam in 2012.

Do you have the time/$$ to retake the exam? If so then I would do it. IF not than its not the end of the world. You have a good amount of research experience. 

 Are you applying to a program at KU or KUMC? The quality of programs is night and day. KUMC has the better program. NYU Sackler has a good micro program. Its a very competitive program but grades and GRE are not the most important thing for them. They care more about your SOP/LoR. 

I would personally look at large umbrella programs. They are going to be more forgiving with regards to your GPA than traditional Microbio programs. I would also look at places where the app is free. Vanderbildt doesn't charge an app fee if you submit the application early enough. 

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Wow guys, your stats are putting me to shame  :)
I don't think I'm ready for a PhD, but I've included a few potential schools for that down the line, as well as possibilities for the interim. An MS would be financially feasible, and while I appreciate that it may not be the most wise decision, I'm thinking I may at least cast a net before looking for post-bacc jobs. My to blame, and any advice would be much appreciated!

Undergrad Institution: Medium-smallish, research-heavy private university. Well-respected in life sciences.

Transferred from: Small, private, liberal arts college. Well-respected but not in life sciences.

Major(s): Biology (BS), Neuroscience (BS)
Overall GPA: 3.77 (Total), 3.85 (Current school)

(I'm not sure which of these is going to count as my official GPA upon graduation)

GPA in Major: 3.84 (Neuroscience), 3.73 (Biology)
Position in Class: Not a clue
Type of Student: Domestic female, caucasian

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 167 (94%)
V: 168 (98%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
B: Possibly taking in September/October??? 


Research Experience: 
1 year (so far) in EEG neuropsychology lab - research assistant

We study the neural underpinnings of social interaction and motor control/planning/learning. I'll be doing my senior thesis in joint complementary action, cognitive load, and mu-suppression in the coming year, and almost definitely getting a first-author publication out of it. There's also the possibility for a second mid-author publication if a different study collects more data, but I'm not counting on it. This will be a very strong LOR.

1 summer in developmental visual neurobiology lab - research assistant

I'm working on a PhD student's project into the development of directional selectivity in V1 cells: assisting surgeries, running visual training sessions, doing general animal husbandry, and learning to build microelectrodes. This will also be a good LOR.

1 semester + 1 summer in genetics lab - lab tech, work study

Mostly animal care and cleaning, some miniprep/PCR and growth culture preparation. I don't think I should seek a LOR from here, though, since I don't feel like I left a great impression.

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 
Dean's List every semester
Will be getting departmental honors on my neuro degree
At least magna cum laude (this depends on which GPA they use at graduation)
Scholarships at both schools
 
Special Bonus Points: 
Learning MatLab and R

My thesis won't be published before the application process, but it'll be preregistered, if that helps.
And if "grad classes" just means courses at the graduate-student level, then I'll have taken a bunch of those (principles of neuroscience, neurogenetics, evolution & development, developmental neurobiology).

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
I started out at a small liberal arts school with no neuro program and the tiniest bio program, and transferred out after my freshman year.

Applying to Where: This is list very much subject to change. It's based almost purely off of which schools host my favorite potential PIs, but there's obviously more to take into account and more research to be done on my part.

 

Domestic:

Cornell - (MS, Evolutionary Biology, or PhD, Neurobiology & Behavior)

University of Cincinnati - (MS, Biology)

University of Hawaii - (MS, Biology)

Georgia State University - (MS, Biology)

BU - (MA, Biology)

UCLA - (MS, Integrative Biology)

University of Texas, Austin - (PhD, Neuroscience or EEB)

UNC Chapel Hill - (PhD, Biology)

WUSTL - (PhD, DBBS)

 

International:

University of Queensland, Australia  - (MPhil, Biology)

University of Western Australia - (MS, Biology)

Lund University, Sweden - (MS, Biology)

University of Auckland, New Zealand - (MSc, Biological Sciences)

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Wow guys, your stats are putting me to shame  :)

 

 

 

Lol, what are you talking about? Your stats are amazing, and you're in the 95th+ percentile! You got this, especially with your experience! 

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Lol, what are you talking about? Your stats are amazing, and you're in the 95th+ percentile! You got this, especially with your experience!

Hehe thanks, I promise I wasn't being overly serious :)

I just can't imagine doing research AND TAing, AND being active in societies/other programs/directing stuff/volunteering/etc etc like some of y'all. Have time turners been invented without my knowledge, what is this madness???

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Welcome to the application season, future class of 2016! I wish you serenity, patience, and good fortune throughout the application process.

 

I am a soon-to-be second year PhD student in the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I will be monitoring this topic throughout the year for posts with questions/concerns that I may be able to answer/address. If you have questions about any of the programs I applied to (especially my current program), my field, graduate school in general, or anything you think I may know about, please feel free to get in touch with me. A copy of my stats as they appeared in my applications can be found on my profile. Finally, in case I decide to change my signature at some point in the future, a copy of it can be found below:

 

Attending: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Biophysics and Quantitative Biology (1/10, email; 3/20-3/22) (1/10, email) (4/10, website)

Applied (8/8) - Interview/Visit Offered/Attended (7/8) - Rejected (5/8) - Accepted (3/8) - Admitted (1/8)

 

Carnegie Mellon University-University of Pittsburgh - Computational Biology (1/22, email; 2/20-2/22) (2/28, unofficial email; 3/18, official email)
Johns Hopkins University - Molecular Biophysics (4/11, email)
Princeton University - Quantitative and Computational Biology (12/30, email; 2/6-2/8) (3/11, email)
Rutgers University - Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics (2/18, email; 3/26-3/27) (2/18, email)

University of California, San Francisco - Biophysics (1/13, email; 2/13-2/15) (3/3, website)

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center - Molecular Biophysics (1/2, email; 1/9-1/11) (1/13, email)

Washington University in St. Louis - Computational and Molecular Biophysics (12/19, phone, email; 1/30-2/1) (3/12, email)

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Do you have the time/$$ to retake the exam? If so then I would do it. IF not than its not the end of the world. You have a good amount of research experience.

Are you applying to a program at KU or KUMC? The quality of programs is night and day. KUMC has the better program. NYU Sackler has a good micro program. Its a very competitive program but grades and GRE are not the most important thing for them. They care more about your SOP/LoR.

I would personally look at large umbrella programs. They are going to be more forgiving with regards to your GPA than traditional Microbio programs. I would also look at places where the app is free. Vanderbildt doesn't charge an app fee if you submit the application early enough.

I didn't know that about Vanderbilt thank you. I have the money, I work full time now, so I'm not a student. I also am applying to new schools, and so each one will cost me $35 or whatever to send my score to. If I retake it, I get to send it to 6 schools for free(since I'm applying to my old school as well, they send them one). So that's a $175 value right then and there. I'll probably retake it, but if I got get a higher score, it's a waste of money. Q:158 and V:160 isn't terrible though. It's the writing score that kills me.

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