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2016 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results


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2 minutes ago, biosci said:

Eek.  I hope that my 2 years is enough.  Now I'm even more worried...  I hate this wait!

Lol chill. I doubt that number's based on anything substantive. Quality of research is obviously more important than some arbitrary number of years. I mean there's probably a minimum threshold for time in which they consider significant work plausible (Some schools have minimum length requirements) but it's not like they're going to be like "Oh this guy had 2.5 years over this girl's 2 years. Sign him up."

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I got my first acceptance. This is my 3rd time applying. I've worked really hard to get myself into this position, and I'm really excited to finally have the opportunity. Oh man... 

I just have to share this with someone... Accepted at Vanderbilt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG so excited.  I love that they do rolling acceptances because now all the other schools are competing to wow

Dude.  You're speaking kinda out of your butt.  I think it's horrible to tell the people that they should go for a masters instead of a phd for something such as GPA.  I mean, I'll always encourage pe

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9 minutes ago, Azia said:

@biochemgirl67 I know! I obsessively check my email and phone, but not my actual application status. As someone else mentioned I think the applications status takes longer to be updated because it isn't always directly through the program.

I know.  It's just... it's like a compulsion.  I WANT TO KNOW.  At least everyone else here is obsessed.

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3 minutes ago, jaesango said:

I feel you

Me too :)  It's nice having people on here who get it, as I only know 1 other person at my school who is currently going through all this and my family isn't science-y or academia-y, so it is so great having all of you guys.  Thank you! 

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18 minutes ago, biosci said:

Eek.  I hope that my 2 years is enough.  Now I'm even more worried...  I hate this wait!

Sorry! I didn't mean to worry you. 2 years experience is pretty solid and it really depends on the level of research. I agree with @StrongTackleBacarySagna that it isn't the end all be all either. I was just trying to point out there are a lot of other factors that go in to the decision making and despite it being a stressful time for everyone, that you shouldn't beat yourself up comparing yourself to individuals on this forum. I've found the quality of applicants we see here is not representative of the entire application pool, everyone here has amazing stats with great grades/ awards/ research experience. 

The reality is we can all speculate about why some people get interviews and some don't, but none of us really know what entirely determines that. We all just know what we've heard from professors, other grad students, and the few times we have called up harassing the administrative assistants of these programs. Each admissions committee is slightly different.

You all are definitely qualified and I'm sure almost everyone on this forum will be starting a PhD program somewhere next fall.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Azia said:

Now many schools are looking for a significant commitment to research (more than just 2 years) and individuals that have had to overcome adversity to get where to where they are.

I'm not saying those top students aren't going to get in, but you have to realize adcoms are also interested in the personality and drive of those they admit. Often times individuals who have dealt with set backs and difficulties along the way are more likely to persevere in a doctoral program. You would be surprised to know how many people don't realize what they are getting themselves in to and end up mastering out because they can't hack it.

There are so many qualified candidates on this forum that come from "state schools" with average GPA's but who are likely to be amazing research scientist. Grades aren't even half the story.

Hi guys! 3rd year PhD student in Molecular Bio, here. I lurk this thread each year to add my 2 cents or help out when you guys get lost or are freaking out. :)

What Azia said is very true. I'm lucky to be in a place where there are several graduate institutions close together, so I get to see not only students that come into my own program, but also those that come into other programs. GPA and GRE are important, but only to a degree. The things that seem to be most important these days are your ability to show that you know what you're in for in a research PhD (aka, you've done real research for more than 6 months), that you're a good person, and that you have people who can vouch for all of this and that like you (letter writers are possibly the MOST important). There is rumor that some adcoms which remove the school names, and gender/other identifying information from applications before they submit to the committee, though I haven't seen evidence of that with my own eyes. I think it is a positive step for the future of science that they're focusing more on you rather than your numbers; some people don't test well, but you put them in the lab and they solve huge problems.

I've seen students, and actually interviewed with some of them, that had beautiful applications as far as the numbers go, but when they interviewed, the person in their personal statement didn't match with the person. They were not good fits as they essentially lied, and I wouldn't have wanted to be in a program with students like that. When I got here, they were not. Then there are applicants with mediocre scores who accidentally gave a muted version of themselves in their personal statement, but their letter writers gave them their due credit. Then when they interview, you see how amazing they really are, and they get in. They go on to do wonderful science.

I am an example of a student who came from a state school with a mediocre GPA and GRE scores, and I am doing well in my PhD studies. I won't comment on my application essays as I can't ever compare my own work to others. I'm biased. I passed my qual at the end of my first year and will soon have a paper out. I have no doubt that I will graduate. Yes, I came in with 6 years research experience because I worked in labs all of undergrad and MS, but that didn't teach me to survive in a PhD program. Why am I successful? I work hard, just like the other students in my program, which come from varying backgrounds from all types of different schools. Your previous experience may help you a little, but you all start on square one, no matter where you came from, and to me this makes it even more essential to pick a place where you feel comfortable. I did NOT choose my program based on rank. I chose programs to apply to that had research I was interested in and appeared to have an environment I wanted to be in. Some were top 25, some were ranked below 50. For me, rank doesn't matter. I also chose a mentor who doesn't only focus on the success of the research, but also focuses on my career development and my progress as a student. This is important; many a PhD student has gotten lost because their PI can't be there for them when they are needed.

Okay, end rant. Message me or reply to this if you have questions.

For those of you worried about interview notifications. In fall 2012, I got my first invitation and rejection on December 20. Then I didn't hear from anyone else until the second week of January. My last two schools didn't send invites until February. You've got time. Try to relax. :)

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3 hours ago, biotechie said:

I've seen students, and actually interviewed with some of them, that had beautiful applications as far as the numbers go, but when they interviewed, the person in their personal statement didn't match with the person. They were not good fits as they essentially lied, and I wouldn't have wanted to be in a program with students like that. When I got here, they were not. Then there are applicants with mediocre scores who accidentally gave a muted version of themselves in their personal statement, but their letter writers gave them their due credit. Then when they interview, you see how amazing they really are, and they get in. They go on to do wonderful science.

Hey, thanks for sharing your experience with application and also grad school :) I'm just curious about what do you mean when you said people were lying in their personal statement... What was the mismatch in person that was so serious that you do not wish they were in your program?

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13 minutes ago, Earl said:

Are you guys giving gifts to your letter writers?  Or do you think thank you notes suffice?

 

I'm going to see them over the break so I'm just buying a souvenir from my college. And in my culture it's polite to go the extra mile to give gifts so I'm not sure unless if your relationship is something that you would seem appropriate for gift giving. Writing an earnest thank you email should be ok though, I think. Also if they have kids, maybe some candy or something? I think that's what I'm doing.

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4 hours ago, mwgskol said:

Hey, thanks for sharing your experience with application and also grad school :) I'm just curious about what do you mean when you said people were lying in their personal statement... What was the mismatch in person that was so serious that you do not wish they were in your program?

Just in general, these are students who are just not nice to be around or who get caught in a lie at interview. Sometimes students make claims about their character or things that they've done that aren't true, and that's one reason we have interviews. I've never been in the room to see that happen. There are others that you meet that you know are there because of good scores or a good application even if you don't know what is in it, but they just don't play well with others, and they don't get in. (I realize that's a horrible run-on, but I'm too tired to fix it).

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10 hours ago, pandorse said:

Those lucky ducks who have already received interview offers- did you get an e-mail, or was it just listed online when you checked your application status?

I got a call from a PI and a follow up email. We talked about his research and mine for a couple minuted so prepare for that.

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1 minute ago, Bioenchilada said:

Most schools that I applied to will be sending out interview invites during my finals week.

Sorry :(.  Hopefully studying will serve as a good distraction from the app anxiety and not the other way around.  My finals are this week and then I need to find something to distract myself...

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