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Am I aiming way to high?

Emil Fischer

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HI all, 



I studies abroad at UC Davis last year and decided that I wanted to go back to the states for grad school (if possible). Its uncommon to do where I am from (Scandinavia) so Its hard to get advice from anybody here. 

I’ve read that most schools discriminate between international and domestics students due tuition costs etc. Therefore I am concerned that my stats are not good enough given that I am non-domestic. It not really normal to publish before starting your PhD over here (in fact I don’t think I know anybody who did so). Lack of publications is my main weakness as I see it.

Maybe some of you know whether I’m way too high?


Best, Emil


University: University of Copenhagen. Best in (a small) country. THE Rank #41 for life sciences. 

GPA for BSc Biotechnology: 3.96 for B.Sc. Biotechnology

GPA for MSc Biotechnology (current): 3.93 (26 units grad courses, 6 upper-div, 10 research) at UC Davis. 


GRE General: Will take it in 1 week. I think the verbal is very hard (being a non-native speaker). I guess I'll score V155, Q160. 

GRE Subject Biochem: Waiting for results. Got 83th percentile cold on the first prep test. I might have improved it by some 5% if I'm lucky.  

Research experience: I have a lot of experience in a molecular biology lab no publications though. I simply didn’t think about publications being important back then, so I engaged in high-risk fun projects instead. I’ve never just washed dishes or something like that. I always had a particular project that was mine. See list in the bottom. 


- The students’ representative various of councils at the university (4 positions). 

- A member of the committee for the students’ union one year. 

- A voluntary tutor for the freshmen in Math and Chemistry

- Went to summer school about nanoscience at University of Tokyo. 

Pubs: 0. One in writing (2-3rd author) but won’t be submitted before deadline day. We’re aiming at a peer-reviewed journal w. IF 4.2. 


Applying to: 


UC Berkeley - MCB

UCSD - Chem and Biochem

UW Seattle - Microbiology or Biochem

MIT - Microbiology


Research experience. 

- 1st year: did fluorescence spectroscopy in a 5-month project at Dept. of Chemistry. Still can’t believe they allowed us to be alone in the lab. My friend and I learned a whole lot but we didn’t find the new FRET pair the PI was looking for. 

- 2nd+3rd year: Was the chair man of the iGEM team at the university. Learned how to do all the basic molecular biology stuff by myself (cloning, expression, using kits, etc.) besides getting external funding for our project and acting as a team leader. Our project was generally a success but simply not worth publishing. 

- 3rd year: 35-40 h/week for 3 months. Undergraduate thesis. Got familiar with a bunch of advanced techniques for genome engineering of bacteria. Worked independently. The tool we were developing simply couldn’t outperform the current benchmark and thus wasn’t all that interesting. 

- 4th year (MSc):  40-50 h/week at UCD for 6 months. Was treated exactly like the grad students and worked independently with only strategic supervision from the PI. Did some pretty advanced enzymatic assays and a ton of GCMS/LCMS analyses. 

- 5th year (MSc, current): 40-50 h/week for 12 months working independently w. some pretty interesting pure scientific questions that requires a lot of abstraction to wrap one’s head around. We’re using a bunch of fancy techniques too ie. next-gen sequencing, library screening, FACS and genome sequencing. We’re writing a publication atm where I’ll be 2-3rd author. I’m payed by a prestigious scholarship for this year. 




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