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Do US schools recognize research assistant experience in China?

The Psyche

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Hi everyone,

I am currently in my final year and would like to have one more year of experience before applying for PHD. I now have three choices: working as an RA at Chinese Academy of Science, or an RA at a local mental hospital (Hong Kong), or taking a master program.

While my first choice would be working at CAS because it provides the most relevant research experience, I am a little bit afraid that US schools might not weight an RA experience in China that much. The mental hospital choice would be less directly related to the field that I want (cognitive neuroscience), nevertheless it should provide a decent experience in working with patients. A master program would give me some advanced knowledge and technical advantage (in working with brain imaging perhaps) but might have the least research experience. What would you suggest? What other factors should I consider (except monetary and location)?

Thank you for your attention.

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In my field, I think the most important considerations when evaluating research experience are the quality of the work you did and how difficult it was to attain that position. For example, if you are in a country with very limited research opportunities and/or a rural US university with little research positions open, I think it would be weighed more since it was a lot more competitive to get. On the other hand, at my current school, almost all undergrads who want a research position are able to get one, so that is less impressive (however, the work they do is very impressive so it's not like they are disadvantaged!)

In my field, a good fraction of graduate students come from Chinese universities. I don't know anything about CAS though---most of my Chinese colleagues were at Shanghai University or Peking University.

Maybe someone in your field can help you decide between the three options, but in general, I think the two factors I said above are more important in evaluating research positions for graduate school applicants than simply the location of the country (of course, this is probably different if your field of study is specifically tied to a location!)

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