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2017 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results


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Undergrad Institution: UCSD
Major(s): Cognitive Science, Specialization in Machine Learning
Minor(s): -
GPA in Major: 3.9+
Overall GPA: 3.4+ ( Will be 3.5+ when I apply)
Position in Class: ?
Type of Student: International Asian

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Will take soon. Projected score is based on practice tests.
Q: -(Will be 168+)
V: -(Will be 155+)
W: - ...
B: -

Research Interests: Neural basis of decision making. Computational modelling of decision making


Research Experience:

1+ year in Systems neuroscience lab. Lots of rodent training on behavioral task and neuron recordings. 

6 months in Language cognition lab. Learned experimental design and running experiments on human subjects.

Research intern over the summer at Yale. Data analysis and behavioral training on rhesus monkeys.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Dean's list (multiple times)

Frontiers of innovation Scholar's Program - small award with some amount of scholarship. 


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Will IA for a neuro-anatomy class in upcoming fall

Multiple TA experience in institutions for high-school students in South Korea


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

Steep increase in GPA after 2 years of Army duty.

2.6-(ARMY)-3.9-3.7-?(most likely 3.7+)

Strong interest in philosophy.


Special Bonus Points: 

Very strong recommendation letters from my PIs and humanity/philosophy professor

Veteran of ROK army (received highest honors in squad leader training from Regiment commander)


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

Low overall GPA - Although I am confident that I will be 3.6+ by the time I graduate, it is still quite low.

4 Ws. - 2 are from my freshmen year(1 music and 1 aerospace class), and 2 are from my junior year.(1 math and 1 major class)

Planning on retaking those classes that I withdrew in junior year.



Applying to Where:

I have not made a full list, but here is a list of schools where I will most likely apply;

(All neuro/cognitive science programs)

Yale(BBS)

Harvard

NYU

Mount Sinai

Duke

University of Washington

University of Chicago

UC Irvine

UT Austin

UIUC

University of Minnesota

Boston University

 

Question: Am I aiming too high?

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Red flag - lol - go focus on some research please.

Wow. Thanks for the info. I never knew!! Nor did I set down this path with any better info than an internet forum poster could give me. I did not solicit advice.

Just got a call from an unknown San Diego number and with absurd enthusiasm ran out of the library (#finals) to answer. It was a telemarketer. Hang in there, pals. 

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On 6/27/2016 at 11:19 PM, tottenham said:

Hi everyone, first time posting here!

I will be applying this coming fall to matriculate in the fall of 2017. I am currently trying to determine which graduate programs I should consider applying to. Let me know if you can suggest any programs I should look into that I may have a chance of getting admitted into.

Undergrad Institution: Small liberal arts college
Major(s): Molecular Biology
Minor(s): None
GPA in Major: 3.86
Overall GPA: 3.89
Position in Class: No idea (probably near top)
Type of Student: International male

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

Haven't taken it yet! Will take it this upcoming fall.

TOEFL Total: 111

Research Experience: I have spent this past year performing cancer research. I am currently in an REU summer program at my home college continuing the research project I had worked on during the last academic year. After the summer, I will further continue the same research project during my summer year as a Departmental Honors project. What is great about my research experience so far is the fact that I really have done most of the work in regards to designing the project, performing the procedures and obtaining results. My PI has helped quite a bit with guiding me in the design of my experiments and analysis of results.

Unfortunately, however, I do not have a huge amount of research experience and also do not have a variety of experience either. I have focused my attention in one project and will have worked on it for 2 years now after my senior year. I am unsure if this is something that will go against me in my application, particularly as I will only have 1 PI recommendation letter.

No publications and no presentations outside of my home college as of yet.


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

Nothing major.

  1. Recipient of home college research scholarship (nothing major but only a few students at my college get it).
  2. Dean's List for the last 6 semesters.

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

  1. Lecture TA for upper-class Biochemistry course, Lab TA in a Biology and Organic Chemistry lab
  2. AP Biology/Chemistry tutor for international high school students

Not sure how pertinent these are to research per say but I invested a significant amount of time into them:

  1. Resident Assistant for 2 years (will be continuing next year). This experience really helped me to collaborate and cooperate with others on my staff, which I know is invaluable in a lab setting and in academic research as a whole.
  2. Club president for our college's International Student Association (have been involved for 1 year already and will be president next year).


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

I will be going on a short-term medical missions trip this summer and thus had the chance of fundraising for the first time to be fully supported. I may mention it somewhere in my application.

Which programs interest you? Show that you have researched schools that you think will be a good fit. 

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On 2016/6/1 at 6:23 PM, Bioenchilada said:

What have you done to make your profile different from last year? Did you conduct research of some sort? How will you explain your interest in computational neuroscience in your SOP? How has your research experience prepared you to pursue a degree in computational neuroscience? Why are you only applying to top schools? 

Hey! I am also a foreign student interested in computational neuroscience! I major in bio and minor in computer science. I might apply to some of the programs in your list as well! I would appreciate it if you could share some experience from last year. Good luck! :)

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Hi All! I'm looking for advice if my list of school is doable or is aiming too high. I'm applying to Neuroscience PhD programs for fall 2017.

Undergrad Institution: top 100 US public research university
Major(s): Neuroscience and English Literature
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.3
Overall GPA: 3.3
Position in Class: Not ranked
Type of Student: White female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 159
V: 154
W: 5.0
B: N/A

Research Experience: 

-4.5 years at NIH, 1 year in a molecular neuroscience lab, 3.5 years in the lab of the director of the institute I worked at, high profile PI. 1 first author pub submitted, 1 in prep at time of application, 1 mid author pub in press (neuron). 4 international conferences, including a talk in a Nanosymposium at SfN last year. Wrote/defended honors thesis. 

-1 summer at Stanford Med School doing neuroscience research

-1 summer at Harvard Med School doing neuroscience research, high profile PI 
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: On a partial academic scholarship, HHMI Fellowship 2 years to support research I did at NIH.
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Mentored high school students in the lab
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: graduating a year early from undergrad (3 years instead of 4) with a dual degree (BA/BS)
Special Bonus Points: All three recommenders very enthusiastic. 
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 
Applying to Where: (all neuroscience programs)

-Stanford

-UCSF

-UC Berkeley

-UCSD

-UCLA

-Harvard

-Duke University

-University of Colorado Denver

-Johns Hopkins

-NYU
 

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Hey everybody, here's mine!

Undergrad Institution: Canadian top 3 school
Major(s): Biochemistry (Honours)
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: Not given, though it'd be higher than my overall GPA
Overall GPA: 3.50
Position in Class: Not given
Type of Student: Canadian, male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 160
V: 160
W: Have yet to receive - just took the test last week 
B: Have yet to take


Research Experience: 

4 months of research at an organismal biology lab working with electric fish (not at all related to current research interests)

1 year researching long non-coding RNA at current school - summer project and honours project


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

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

-Executive position on biochemistry student's society for 2 years 

-Volunteer at a hospital 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: N/A
Special Bonus Points: N/A

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

Applying to Where:

This list is likely to change a lot as I narrow down my options

University of Toronto - Biochemistry
UBC - Biochemistry 
McGill - Biochemistry - With current PI

Columbia - CMBS

NYU - Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

University of Melbourne - biomedical sciences 

Karolinska Institutet - biomedicine masters 

Imperial College London - MRES biomedical research 

Thoughts on additional places to apply? I am not too familiar with American schools

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Undergrad Institution: Small private liberal arts college, not very well known for biology
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Position in Class: 
Type of Student: Female, first generation college student

GRE Scores (revised/old version):

I have not yet taken the test (scheduled Aug 12)

Practice scores:
Q: ~50th percentile
V: ~85th percentile
W:
B:

I am very concerned about my quant score, and have been studying with Magoosh and the Manhattan 5 pound book for about 20-30 hrs/week for the past 2 weeks, but so far am not seeing much improvement.



Research Experience: 

At the time of my application submission, 3 years in my current lab (mol bio).  Gave a talk at our undergrad research symposium, poster at national conference (but did not go, my PI presented), paper to be submitted this fall (second author).  Have my own research project in which I design and carry out research myself, will likely have a first author paper for it but will not be submitted at time of grad application.

Prior to my current lab, 2 semesters in a microbio lab, resulted in a coauthored review article.  Was employed by the university (R1 branch campus, was not a student there) for prepping teaching labs, and volunteered time for research.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Travel award to a national conference, deans list all semesters, 2 institutional research grants

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Worked as a tutor at a community college for 3.5 years, and at my current university for 1 year



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

 I am older than most applicants (early 30s) and think that will help to show that I've given a lot of thought into my decision to apply.

Applying to Where:

I'm not sure, especially in light of my GRE practice scores.  Interested in molecular and cellular bio programs, and am specifically interested in regulation of  gene expression and/or protein localization and modification in response to environmental conditions.

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Alright people. I know this is a long-shot for me but I'm going for it despite my impressively low uGPA. 

 

Undergrad Institution: UCSD (2011)
Major(s): Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Minor(s): Psychology
uGPA in Major: probably around 2.6
uOverall GPA: 2.60 (that's right, people. I'm trying to overcome a 2.6.)
Position in Class: N/A 
Type of Student: Female

Post-Bacc Coursework: Took a bunch of upper div bioscience classes at UC Berkeley Extension. Got the certificate in "Advanced Biosciences." Concentrated on microbio/immuno courses.

Post-Bacc GPA: 3.9

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 163
V: 165
W: 5.5 



Research Experience: 

6 month in a well-known Alzheimer's lab at a prestigious research institution

1 year working with next-gen sequencing and various molecular bio techniques at a biotech start-up

3.5 years working with infectious diseases, one publication. This is a position in biotech industry, but I'm in the research department. I also split my time in the microbiology department.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Won an exceptional performance award at my job. Not sure if anyone cares though.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

-Philanthropy Chair in organization in college. Member of UCSD Chamber orchestra. 



Special Bonus Points: I don't want to give away my identity with specifics, but I made significant contributions to my current lab. I oversaw a clinical collaboration study. My recommendation letters are all from prominent researchers in the field of microbiology who can attest to my research potential, my intellect, and my enthusiasm for science. I'm a little older than most applicants - 28 years old. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am applying to grad school despite my abysmal uGPA because I love studying micro-organisms. I am driven by my genuine interest in science I hope to reflect that in my SOP. 

Applying to Where:

This is where I kind of need some advice. I have no idea if my uGPA will bar me from any decent program. I am hoping my post-bacc coursework, strong GRE scores, and the rest of my app will mitigate it, but I'm really not sure. I ultimately want a PhD but that ain't happening. 

So far I am interested in:

-SDSU Microbiology (masters)

-Loyola microbiology and immunology (masters)

-U Illinois Chicago bio sci (masters)

-NYU general biology (masters) 

-Middle Tennessee University bio sci (masters)

-SUNY Stony brook biosci (masters)

Favorite research topic: The human microbiome, particularly the dynamics between micros that result in infectious diseases. I'm especially fascinated by opportunistic infections.  

 

What do you guys think? Thank you in advance for any feedback and best of luck to those applying! 
 

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Hey guys! This is my first time posting here :) It seems like y'all have a lot of awesome advice so I just had some questions to see how I can improve my applications for this round. Thank you for reading~

Undergrad Institution: Duke University
Major(s): Neuroscience B.S., Religion A.B.
Minor(s): Russian Language
GPA in Major: 3.0, 3.8 (in the order of majors listed)
Overall GPA: 3.49
Position in Class: Duke stopped ranking so I don't know
Type of Student: Domestic Female Minority, First Generation

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 155
V: 157
W: 4.5
B: Deciding if I want to do this.. It sounds like it would be helpful but I'm not sure. If I took it, it would be in October. Or I'd just retake the GRE.


Research Experience: I started doing behavioral research my senior year with zebrafish in a pretty prestigious neurotoxicology lab and I have been working the past year in a developmental neurotoxicology lab at UNC Chapel Hill. By the time I interview for grad school (hopefully) it will be almost 2 years. No pubs yet, but I am the first author on a poster that I'm hoping we can finish up the publication for before I officially send my applications in.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I was a TA for an online class called the Brain and Space taught by Jennifer Groh when she was first introducing the class in 2013/2014. I helped with some volunteering at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences during Brain Awareness week. We did a demonstration to help kids learn about traumatic brain injury and I'll probably help with it again next year. I went to Russia in the summer of 2013 and also tutored Russian for a while and helped run a Russian poetry club but I'm not sure that's necessarily pertinent to Neuroscience.  

Special Bonus Points: Two of my recommenders are pretty big in their fields. Also took a few grad level classes and did well in them. I am native American and Hispanic... I'm not sure how much that actually helps but maybe worth noting?

Applying to Where:

At this point, I'm only interested in PhD programs! These are a few that I love but I would be open to other suggestions. Also, I did want to apply abroad but it seems like you need a masters to do that so I gave up on that lol

Vanderbilt NGP or IGP

MUSC Neuroscience

UCSD Neuroscience

UCSF Neuroscience

UNC Chapel Hill (I think I have a great chance here because I've been working here but who knows)

Washington University in St. Louis Neuroscience

UCLA Neuroscience

 

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Hey, 2017 cycle peeps! 

I thought that I would make a general post here to just lay out some of my thoughts on applying to grad programs (to be clear PhD programs - not masters). I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other people on this website, and in retrospect, it didn't really do much good. However, here are some points that I picked up along the way that I think are worth sharing: 

  • GRE: try to get both the verbal and the quant section ~80th percentile for any school. Some highly competitive programs look for better, but I think this is a good rule of thumb. I had to take the test twice to get those scores. If you are below the 70th in either of these areas, I would seriously consider retaking the test. If you can't get that score don't be discouraged. People have been accepted to great programs with lower general GRE scores. To be clear, I think that this test is total bullshit - it is truly a measure of your test taking abilities and not really how 'smart' you are. But it is a major weed out point. Scores are an easy metric to toss applications in the first round of reviews. Don't get yourself tossed. On the flip side, a good/great general GRE score is not going to ensure your admission to any top program. Unless you are trying to be competitive at the ridiculously selective programs (MIT, UCSF, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc...), there is no reason to take the subject test. If you do want to get into those schools, a good subject GRE score will certainly boost your application. Be aware, the biochem subject test is the most ridiculous thing I have ever laid eyes on. Focus on getting a good general GRE score. 
  • Grades: This isn't medical school - you don't need a 3.95 to be competitive at top programs. My cumulative GPA was 3.45. However, my last 3 years were a 3.82 (you can do the math on my freshman year :P). The point is that professors on the admission committee want to see that you can achieve in upper division classes, where the advanced material is. In general, any GPA over a 3.4 is competitive. If you are over a 3.6 you are golden. Less than a 3.3 can really start to hurt your application, especially if your grades are on a downward trend. If you have to explain bad grades in your SOP spin it in a positive way and don't dwell on it. Acknowledge it and move on. The SOP is your time to shine. 
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP):  You may want to use up the entire two-page limit that you are given - don't. PI's are busy people and don't want to read your fluffy soliloquy. Make each SOP tailored to the specific school. Most of its content you will not need to change, but let them know you have done your research and your application is not just a shot in the dark! Furthermore, start it NOW. Have your PI edit it. Have other PI's edit it. Have your parents, friends, edit it. Read it to your dog. You should be so sick of reading and editing that page and a half before you send it off. I was told by multiple PI's that they were impressed by my (ahem, all the people I had edit) writing skills. Here is a great general way to structure it:
    • P1: How has your college academic and research experience led you to choose to apply to graduate school? Why that specific program? What broad area are you interested in. Show that you are flexible and open to learning new things. 
    • P2: Describe your research experience in general terms, explain its significance, what you gained from it, and how that will benefit you as a graduate student in their program.
    • P3: Talk about presenting at a conference, or communicating your work somehow, and what insight you gained from that process
    • P4: Name 3 PI's that you are interested in working for and an area of their work that most interests you.
    • P5: Concluding paragraph, aspirations, future jobs, etc... 
    • Notice that I didn't talk about my grandmother having cancer and wanting to attend a graduate program to cure it.... or wanting to be a scientist since I was 4 years old and collecting bugs in my back yard. Or anything about high school. You are applying to go to school for a doctoral degree - PI's don't care about these things. Your job is to convince them that you would be a great independent scientist. Keep it to what you have done in your time at college. Unless you published a paper in high school. If that is the case you can go away.
  • Contacting professors: Out of all the schools that I corresponded with potential PI's from, I got interviews and acceptances (except Yale, meh). If you want to contact them, do it early. Don't make it look like a desperate afterthought. I think the best time is before applications are due, but not so early that they forget about you. October/November are good months to consider this. Write them a short email with (1) who you are and who's lab you work in at what university. (2) a brief bit about your research experience. (3) what you are interested in about THEIR WORK SPECIFICALLY. Generic emails are obvious and not tolerated. Spend some time researching!!! (4) let them know that you are applying to their program and are wondering if they are taking students for rotations or mentoring. This can be incredibly helpful. One professor even offered to have a skype chat with me. It was a great experience. Networking is important - even in science. 

I know that this post was long, but I feel like I owe it to you guys. If you disagree with anything that I said, I am probably wrong and feel free to ignore me. I also want to just say that I don't have the magic recipe for getting into grad programs. It really is about how well you fit into their vision. For example, I can't explain why I got into UW and U Michigan and not even an interview at Colorado or Northwestern. Most single things will not make or break an application. You don't need a first author publication - or any publications for that matter. But it looks good to go above and beyond (conferences, posters, talks, honors theses, etc...). Applying to grad school was one of the most terrifying, exciting, and rewarding experiences of my academic career. Interviews were SO much fun. If you have any questions for me please feel free to shoot me a message. I would love to help! 

       

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On 7/20/2016 at 5:39 PM, LoveMysterious said:

Alright people. I know this is a long-shot for me but I'm going for it despite my impressively low uGPA. 

 

Undergrad Institution: UCSD (2011)
Major(s): Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Minor(s): Psychology
uGPA in Major: probably around 2.6
uOverall GPA: 2.60 (that's right, people. I'm trying to overcome a 2.6.)
Position in Class: N/A 
Type of Student: Female

Post-Bacc Coursework: Took a bunch of upper div bioscience classes at UC Berkeley Extension. Got the certificate in "Advanced Biosciences." Concentrated on microbio/immuno courses.

Post-Bacc GPA: 3.9

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 163
V: 165
W: 5.5 



Research Experience: 

6 month in a well-known Alzheimer's lab at a prestigious research institution

1 year working with next-gen sequencing and various molecular bio techniques at a biotech start-up

3.5 years working with infectious diseases, one publication. This is a position in biotech industry, but I'm in the research department. I also split my time in the microbiology department.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Won an exceptional performance award at my job. Not sure if anyone cares though.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

-Philanthropy Chair in organization in college. Member of UCSD Chamber orchestra. 



Special Bonus Points: I don't want to give away my identity with specifics, but I made significant contributions to my current lab. I oversaw a clinical collaboration study. My recommendation letters are all from prominent researchers in the field of microbiology who can attest to my research potential, my intellect, and my enthusiasm for science. I'm a little older than most applicants - 28 years old. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am applying to grad school despite my abysmal uGPA because I love studying micro-organisms. I am driven by my genuine interest in science I hope to reflect that in my SOP. 

Applying to Where:

This is where I kind of need some advice. I have no idea if my uGPA will bar me from any decent program. I am hoping my post-bacc coursework, strong GRE scores, and the rest of my app will mitigate it, but I'm really not sure. I ultimately want a PhD but that ain't happening. 

So far I am interested in:

-SDSU Microbiology (masters)

-Loyola microbiology and immunology (masters)

-U Illinois Chicago bio sci (masters)

-NYU general biology (masters) 

-Middle Tennessee University bio sci (masters)

-SUNY Stony brook biosci (masters)

Favorite research topic: The human microbiome, particularly the dynamics between micros that result in infectious diseases. I'm especially fascinated by opportunistic infections.  

 

What do you guys think? Thank you in advance for any feedback and best of luck to those applying! 
 

 

As far as I can tell the uGPA is the only thing lacking. How many post bacc classes contribute to that impressive 3.9? Great GRE score... you are also a little out of college and have good research experience. I would suggest throwing in some PhD programs, if that is what you want to do/end up. The uGPA may hold you back, but you never know...

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Hi guys,

I am applying for Fall 2016 or maybe Spring 2017. Let me know what are my chances and your opinions! I am interested in applying for Masters in Biotechnology with a business emphasis. Here are my info: 

Undergrad Institution: Penn State
Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Minor(s): Engineering Leadership Development 
GPA in Major: 3.3 
Overall GPA: 3.48 (Yeah i know its low. But I did well in my Ochem, Chem and Math classes [As/Bs])
Position in Class: Not sure. 
Type of Student: International, Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Gonna take it this year. Right now Im taking Magoosh and my estimated scores are Q155 and V150 (Super low I know, but Im gonna try to study as hard as I can to reach at least 160 for both) is that even possible? haha.
Q:
V:
W:
B:


Research Experience: 1 year at a Stem Cells Research lab. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list for two semester, 5K Scholarship recipient from my fraternity

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

Special Bonus Points:  


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

Applying to Where:

1) University of San Francisco - Professional Science Masters in Biotechnology 

2) UPenn - Professional Master's Biotechnology (more academic)

3) NYU Tandon School of Engineering - MS in Biotech +/- Enterprenuership

4) Columbia University - MA in Biotechnology or Biomedical Engineering

5) UC Berkley/UC San Diego - MS in Biomedical Engineering

6) Duke - MS in Biomedical Engineering

Any advice on good grad school in the city?

 

Am I shooting too high? I have a feeling most of the schools are hard to get into. I wanna have a good and balanced mix of low/med/high tier schools. Also, what do you think I can improve on right now before applying for the schools? Is there any other schools I should consider for safety nets? Thanks so much!

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Hey guys! I Would really appreciate tips on where to apply or even just how to figure out where to apply. I have some vague interests in a couple of schools but I'm not really sure how to move forward at this juncture. I am interested in Neuroscience programs - my current lab focuses on learning and adaptation in the cerebellum following brain injury, however I am interested in a wide variety of topics - recovery of motor function following injury like my current research, addiction (particularly alcohol addiction!), and emerging applications of CRISPR/Cas9 (my thesis topic!) to name a few.

Undergrad Institution: top 100 US public research university
Major(s): Biology (Neurobiology specialty) and Liberal Arts Honors
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.9+
Overall GPA: 3.9+
Position in Class: Top 4% 
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 170 
V: 170 
W: 5.0
B: Not yet taken 

Research Experience: 

2 years in current lab, publication (2nd author) upcoming

3 additional summers researching in a handful of different labs at BCM and MD Anderson, one additional publication possibly upcoming (contributing author)


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Various college scholarships, college research fellowship, Deans lists, Phi Beta Kappa (as a junior)
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Research peer leader (like a faculty-directed independent study group)

Undergraduate journal clubs, interest groups and stuff like that
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

 Editor of school paper
Special Bonus Points: I do terrible stand up
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 

A couple of presentations I gave at the end of my summers, but just to the center and not at a conference - unsure whether to include those or not. A poster at an undergraduate research forum.
Applying to Where: 

Baylor college of medicine (BCM)

UCSD

UCSF

Columbia

Stanford

Those are the reach schools which are obviously easier to come up with. I'd love some tips for more realistic schools that might have programs that would be good for my interests specifically. Thank you for the help!

 

 

Edited by Janiejoneswoah
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6 hours ago, Janiejoneswoah said:

Hey guys! I Would really appreciate tips on where to apply or even just how to figure out where to apply. I have some vague interests in a couple of schools but I'm not really sure how to move forward at this juncture. I am interested in Neuroscience programs - my current lab focuses on learning and adaptation in the cerebellum following brain injury, however I am interested in a wide variety of topics - recovery of motor function following injury like my current research, addiction (particularly alcohol addiction!), and emerging applications of CRISPR/Cas9 (my thesis topic!) to name a few.

Undergrad Institution: top 100 US public research university
Major(s): Biology (Neurobiology specialty) and Liberal Arts Honors
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.9+
Overall GPA: 3.9+
Position in Class: Top 4% 
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 170 
V: 170 
W: 5.0
B: Not yet taken 

Research Experience: 

2 years in current lab, publication (2nd author) upcoming

3 additional summers researching in a handful of different labs at BCM and MD Anderson, one additional publication possibly upcoming (contributing author)


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Various college scholarships, college research fellowship, Deans lists, Phi Beta Kappa (as a junior)
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Research peer leader (like a faculty-directed independent study group)

Undergraduate journal clubs, interest groups and stuff like that
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

 Editor of school paper
Special Bonus Points: I do terrible stand up
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 

A couple of presentations I gave at the end of my summers, but just to the center and not at a conference - unsure whether to include those or not. A poster at an undergraduate research forum.
Applying to Where: 

Baylor college of medicine (BCM)

UCSD

UCSF

Columbia

Stanford

Those are the reach schools which are obviously easier to come up with. I'd love some tips for more realistic schools that might have programs that would be good for my interests specifically. Thank you for the help!

 

 

apply anywhere you want. apart from being a blatant racist you'll get in. 

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On 7/26/2016 at 2:33 PM, Janiejoneswoah said:

Hey guys! I Would really appreciate tips on where to apply or even just how to figure out where to apply. I have some vague interests in a couple of schools but I'm not really sure how to move forward at this juncture. I am interested in Neuroscience programs - my current lab focuses on learning and adaptation in the cerebellum following brain injury, however I am interested in a wide variety of topics - recovery of motor function following injury like my current research, addiction (particularly alcohol addiction!), and emerging applications of CRISPR/Cas9 (my thesis topic!) to name a few.

Undergrad Institution: top 100 US public research university
Major(s): Biology (Neurobiology specialty) and Liberal Arts Honors
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.9+
Overall GPA: 3.9+
Position in Class: Top 4% 
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 170 
V: 170 
W: 5.0
B: Not yet taken 

Research Experience: 

2 years in current lab, publication (2nd author) upcoming

3 additional summers researching in a handful of different labs at BCM and MD Anderson, one additional publication possibly upcoming (contributing author)


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Various college scholarships, college research fellowship, Deans lists, Phi Beta Kappa (as a junior)
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Research peer leader (like a faculty-directed independent study group)

Undergraduate journal clubs, interest groups and stuff like that
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

 Editor of school paper
Special Bonus Points: I do terrible stand up
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 

A couple of presentations I gave at the end of my summers, but just to the center and not at a conference - unsure whether to include those or not. A poster at an undergraduate research forum.
Applying to Where: 

Baylor college of medicine (BCM)

UCSD

UCSF

Columbia

Stanford

Those are the reach schools which are obviously easier to come up with. I'd love some tips for more realistic schools that might have programs that would be good for my interests specifically. Thank you for the help!

 

 

Unless you are a total asshole in person, you should have your pick of schools. Your profile makes me incredibly jealous!

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On 7/17/2016 at 6:29 PM, nihchick2017 said:

Hi All! I'm looking for advice if my list of school is doable or is aiming too high. I'm applying to Neuroscience PhD programs for fall 2017.

Undergrad Institution: top 100 US public research university
Major(s): Neuroscience and English Literature
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.3
Overall GPA: 3.3
Position in Class: Not ranked
Type of Student: White female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 159
V: 154
W: 5.0
B: N/A

Research Experience: 

-4.5 years at NIH, 1 year in a molecular neuroscience lab, 3.5 years in the lab of the director of the institute I worked at, high profile PI. 1 first author pub submitted, 1 in prep at time of application, 1 mid author pub in press (neuron). 4 international conferences, including a talk in a Nanosymposium at SfN last year. Wrote/defended honors thesis. 

-1 summer at Stanford Med School doing neuroscience research

-1 summer at Harvard Med School doing neuroscience research, high profile PI 
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: On a partial academic scholarship, HHMI Fellowship 2 years to support research I did at NIH.
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Mentored high school students in the lab
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: graduating a year early from undergrad (3 years instead of 4) with a dual degree (BA/BS)
Special Bonus Points: All three recommenders very enthusiastic. 
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 
Applying to Where: (all neuroscience programs)

-Stanford

-UCSF

-UC Berkeley

-UCSD

-UCLA

-Harvard

-Duke University

-University of Colorado Denver

-Johns Hopkins

-NYU
 

I think you have a pretty good chance at getting interviews at more than half of the schools on your list. Your GPA is slightly low for the more competitive programs, and your verbal score for the GRE could come up a bit. I think if you are really enthusiastic about your research and goals in your personal statement, you will be a great candidate. It's also hard to tell what you mean by 4.5 years of research... is that full time? Did you take time off after undergrad? This gives a better idea of how involved you were in the work.

If I were you, I would really consider if these are all schools with at least 4-5 labs you would be interested in working in. I can't tell what type of work interests you, but it is a good idea to make a list of labs you would be interested in at all the schools you apply for. If you can't honestly come up with more than 4, I wouldn't apply there. 10 schools sounds great initially, but it is a lot of work to apply and attend more than 5 interviews. Good luck!

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On 7/26/2016 at 2:33 PM, Janiejoneswoah said:

Hey guys! I Would really appreciate tips on where to apply or even just how to figure out where to apply. I have some vague interests in a couple of schools but I'm not really sure how to move forward at this juncture. I am interested in Neuroscience programs - my current lab focuses on learning and adaptation in the cerebellum following brain injury, however I am interested in a wide variety of topics - recovery of motor function following injury like my current research, addiction (particularly alcohol addiction!), and emerging applications of CRISPR/Cas9 (my thesis topic!) to name a few.

Undergrad Institution: top 100 US public research university
Major(s): Biology (Neurobiology specialty) and Liberal Arts Honors
Minor(s): N/A
GPA in Major: 3.9+
Overall GPA: 3.9+
Position in Class: Top 4% 
Type of Student: Domestic male

GRE Scores (revised):
Q: 170 
V: 170 
W: 5.0
B: Not yet taken 

Research Experience: 

2 years in current lab, publication (2nd author) upcoming

3 additional summers researching in a handful of different labs at BCM and MD Anderson, one additional publication possibly upcoming (contributing author)


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Various college scholarships, college research fellowship, Deans lists, Phi Beta Kappa (as a junior)
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Research peer leader (like a faculty-directed independent study group)

Undergraduate journal clubs, interest groups and stuff like that
Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

 Editor of school paper
Special Bonus Points: I do terrible stand up
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 

A couple of presentations I gave at the end of my summers, but just to the center and not at a conference - unsure whether to include those or not. A poster at an undergraduate research forum.
Applying to Where: 

Baylor college of medicine (BCM)

UCSD

UCSF

Columbia

Stanford

Those are the reach schools which are obviously easier to come up with. I'd love some tips for more realistic schools that might have programs that would be good for my interests specifically. Thank you for the help!

 

 

I think you stand a good chance at getting interviews at most, if not all of those places. Just make sure you write a good personal statement - adcoms place a lot more on that than I think people realize. (GPA and GRE scores matter, and you clearly have those in the bag... but a bad personal statement will definitely count against you. So plan to spend a lot of time on it!!).

If you want to figure out what other schools to apply, there are a couple of great things you can do:

1) Ask your PIs (current and former) about programs they would recommend. This proved extremely valuable when I was applying.
2) Equally important - what kind of research are you interested in? What labs spark your interest and what programs are they in? If you are just applying to a school for the name but you can't find more than 3 labs that you can see yourself in, don't waste your time applying. If you are a strong candidate, which based on what you have written... it seems like you are, you will get multiple interviews. So prioritize early which programs you would want to attend. Making a ranking is helpful.
3) Less important, but still valid to consider, is where do you want to live? Does it matter if you have to move across the country?
Good luck!

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On 7/9/2016 at 7:58 PM, jhp038 said:

Undergrad Institution: UCSD
Major(s): Cognitive Science, Specialization in Machine Learning
Minor(s): -
GPA in Major: 3.9+
Overall GPA: 3.4+ ( Will be 3.5+ when I apply)
Position in Class: ?
Type of Student: International Asian

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Will take soon. Projected score is based on practice tests.
Q: -(Will be 168+)
V: -(Will be 155+)
W: - ...
B: -

Research Interests: Neural basis of decision making. Computational modelling of decision making


Research Experience:

1+ year in Systems neuroscience lab. Lots of rodent training on behavioral task and neuron recordings. 

6 months in Language cognition lab. Learned experimental design and running experiments on human subjects.

Research intern over the summer at Yale. Data analysis and behavioral training on rhesus monkeys.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Dean's list (multiple times)

Frontiers of innovation Scholar's Program - small award with some amount of scholarship. 


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

Will IA for a neuro-anatomy class in upcoming fall

Multiple TA experience in institutions for high-school students in South Korea


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

Steep increase in GPA after 2 years of Army duty.

2.6-(ARMY)-3.9-3.7-?(most likely 3.7+)

Strong interest in philosophy.


Special Bonus Points: 

Very strong recommendation letters from my PIs and humanity/philosophy professor

Veteran of ROK army (received highest honors in squad leader training from Regiment commander)


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

Low overall GPA - Although I am confident that I will be 3.6+ by the time I graduate, it is still quite low.

4 Ws. - 2 are from my freshmen year(1 music and 1 aerospace class), and 2 are from my junior year.(1 math and 1 major class)

Planning on retaking those classes that I withdrew in junior year.



Applying to Where:

I have not made a full list, but here is a list of schools where I will most likely apply;

(All neuro/cognitive science programs)

Yale(BBS)

Harvard

NYU

Mount Sinai

Duke

University of Washington

University of Chicago

UC Irvine

UT Austin

UIUC

University of Minnesota

Boston University

 

Question: Am I aiming too high?

I think the biggest issue could just be your lack of lab experience, specifically in terms of the amount of time spent in the lab. Unless you took off some time after graduating or really put in the hours while in school, spending 1+ year in a lab while being a student probably doesn't give you much time to get into a project. You will need to show in your personal statement that you have had 1) the opportunity to take charge of a project 2)ask your own research questions and 3) develop your own experiments to answer them all in a short amount of time.

Columbia is also putting a lot of money into building up their computational neuro labs, so I'd look into there too.

Good luck!

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On 5/16/2016 at 4:37 PM, somino42 said:

Undergrad Institution: Big 10 Public School - great reputation in research and bio
Major(s): Biology - Emphasis in Neuroscience
Minor(s): -
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA:3.21
Position in Class: -
Type of Student: Domestic White Female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 165
V: 168
W: 5
B: Above 85th percentile, should be fine?

Research Experience:

2 years in undergrad working in an epigenetics lab.  Lab wasn't very productive, but learned a lot of wet lab skills.  

(Main lab)1.5 years in undergrad + 3 years post-bacc working in a lab doing electrophysiology (tons of optogenetics) in mice.  3 papers, 2 second author (one at a very high impact journal), 1 first author, 2 posters at conferences

1.5 years in undergrad + 2 years post-bacc working part time in another lab doing TMS/EEG on human subjects.  1 paper, middle author

In sum, around 6 years of consistent research (3 years undergrad, 3 years post-grad)


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Made Dean's List final two semesters, although this probably doesn't amount to much

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Neuroscience outreach through graduate program on campus

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Huge turnover after a year being an RA in my big lab of all postdocs.  Ended up training most of the new postdocs in mouse surgeries and experimental procedures.  Basically functioned as a graduate student for my three years of being in the lab after graduating.  I won't mention this on my app, but I think it will give me an edge of confidence (without being cocky of course!) 

Special Bonus Points: Took grad level neuroscience courses through undergrad, and took two semesters of grad level intro neuroscience courses after graduating (got an A in both).  3 very strong LORs with extremely well connected PIs, one is an absolute top dog in the field I am in currently.  Very strong connections with 2/3 letter writers at UCSD especially, and at Harvard, and one LOR has a connection at UPenn. We have met/discussed a potential role for me in his lab.  

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: GPA is a hurdle that I attempted to get over by performing good research and getting some publications under my belt.  My GPA my first three years was terribly average (3.0 consistently every semester, yikes) but my senior year I achieved a 4.0 both semesters, and got As in my graduate level classes post-bacc that were relevant to my field.  I did so-so on my intro neuroscience courses in undergrad, so I thought that this would bolster my app.  I also did poorly in my intro bio classes, so I took the bio GRE to show that I am capable of mastering intro bio material.  I know this is the biggest knife in my application, but hopefully by achieving higher scores once I got my act together, I can show adcoms that I am a capable scientist who will have no problems balancing coursework and research.  If anyone has any suggestions of things I could work on before applying, they would be appreciated!

Applying to Where:
Still considering waiting another year.  My boyfriend is finishing up medical school and I'd like to wait to see where he matches next year.

List goes from HUGE REACH to potentially attainable.  I have a large amount of reaches on my list, but let's assume I have enough free time to apply and money to spend on each application.  Any suggestions on places *not* in the Midwest are greatly appreciated, as I am still doing research on places to apply:  

(All neuro programs)
Harvard
Stanford
UCSD
UPenn
UC Berkeley 
Duke
UNC-CH
UC Davis
UMass - Amherst
UC Boulder

I think you addressed your strengths and weaknesses already, and you have plenty of experience to apply and write a great SOP.
I'd look into adding Columbia - I thought they had a great program and they greatly subsidize the cost of housing. It's actually cheaper than in Boston.

I've done a lot of ephys work and applied to schools with this focus. If you want any advice, feel free to send me a message :)

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7 hours ago, kokobanana said:

I think you stand a good chance at getting interviews at most, if not all of those places. Just make sure you write a good personal statement - adcoms place a lot more on that than I think people realize. (GPA and GRE scores matter, and you clearly have those in the bag... but a bad personal statement will definitely count against you. So plan to spend a lot of time on it!!).

If you want to figure out what other schools to apply, there are a couple of great things you can do:

1) Ask your PIs (current and former) about programs they would recommend. This proved extremely valuable when I was applying.
2) Equally important - what kind of research are you interested in? What labs spark your interest and what programs are they in? If you are just applying to a school for the name but you can't find more than 3 labs that you can see yourself in, don't waste your time applying. If you are a strong candidate, which based on what you have written... it seems like you are, you will get multiple interviews. So prioritize early which programs you would want to attend. Making a ranking is helpful.
3) Less important, but still valid to consider, is where do you want to live? Does it matter if you have to move across the country?
Good luck!

Thank you for your kind words and advice!

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Hey guys! New to this website and getting excited to apply this fall to a graduate program in biochemistry! I have already taken the general GRE and was signed up to take the Biochemistry GRE in October! However, I recently recieved an email from ETS stating that it was cancelled for the whole testing year! I am assuming many other biochem majors are now in the same boat as me, not being able to take the subject test for this admissions cycle! Does anyone think this will hurt my applications to the more competitive programs?

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9 hours ago, jumbo1177 said:

Hey guys! New to this website and getting excited to apply this fall to a graduate program in biochemistry! I have already taken the general GRE and was signed up to take the Biochemistry GRE in October! However, I recently recieved an email from ETS stating that it was cancelled for the whole testing year! I am assuming many other biochem majors are now in the same boat as me, not being able to take the subject test for this admissions cycle! Does anyone think this will hurt my applications to the more competitive programs?

The Biochemistry GRE is not actually required unless you have a low GPA, or maybe if your school is not very well known. However, even under these circumstances, it is just recommended at most.

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On July 31, 2016 at 0:25 PM, jumbo1177 said:

Hey guys! New to this website and getting excited to apply this fall to a graduate program in biochemistry! I have already taken the general GRE and was signed up to take the Biochemistry GRE in October! However, I recently recieved an email from ETS stating that it was cancelled for the whole testing year! I am assuming many other biochem majors are now in the same boat as me, not being able to take the subject test for this admissions cycle! Does anyone think this will hurt my applications to the more competitive programs?

As long as your GPA is good and you have lab experience it shouldn't be an issue. If the test has been cancelled most adcoms will be aware of it

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