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2017 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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4 hours ago, ImmunoB said:

I'm an international applicant too, and I heard back from MD Anderson before Christmas. I am interviewing with them next week. I am not sure if they are done sending interview offers! Why don't you send an e-mail to them? 

Good for you. I hope everything goes fine with your interview. well I have emailed them, but I didn't get any answer. By the way, can you tell me your application stats?

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15 hours ago, Epigenetics said:

Also like genuinely curious if anyone has had an interview so far that you genuinely thought would be useful to someone in deciding to admit you or not. Not one of my interviews so far has resembled anything remotely as useful to admitting me as my application did. I have trouble seeing how those could/would be used as a deciding factor in admissions decisions.

I 100% agree. The majority of programs don't do a lot of weeding out based on the interviews at all. I had one interviewer straight up tell me that my credentials were impressive but he worried that I wouldn't actually matriculate in his program because most people from California use their school as a "backup". There was no pretense in evaluating me at all. I also had one interview where I kept trying to bring up my research but my interviewer preferred to talk about hers lol. Even when questions were asked, there wasn't always an expectation that I would have the complete answer. That being said, I have heard that some schools do a lot more weeding out in the interview stage (eg Stanford) so its possible some interviews will be more challenging than others. 

 

15 hours ago, prospectivegrad1 said:

Once you get an interview invite, you've defeated 70% of the battle, and I think interviews fill in the remaining 30%. Your interview experience is highly dependent on your interviewer. I think the few people who don't get accepted post-interview are the ones who got unlucky and got interviewers who would continuously grill them. 

 

I think interviewers are looking for 3 things from you: knowledge of your own research project (based on your ability to answer the questions they ask you about your research), ability to communicate your research project, and enthusiasm/ability to ask good questions about their research. I've attended 5 interviews so far, and I think all my interviewers try their best to gauge these 3 variables. 

Schools know who their tough interviewers are though, and they definitely take this into account. At my last interview, the graduate students were telling us about how the program had to talk to certain faculty about their interviews to make them less harsh, and how if someone interviews 6 people and all of them get terrible evaluations, its pretty obvious that its not the quality of the students thats the issue. 

I think you're probably right in the second part, my PI basically trained me before my interviews to (a) explain my research clearly and succinctly and (b) look excited/enthusiastic because when I am nervous I can sometimes look blank/bored. That being said, some interviewers clearly were not trying to evaluate me in any way and just talked about their school or their research the whole time so that was a really easy experience...

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Two quick points to follow up on some of the conversations here.

 

1. If you are wait-listed, other people declining will rarely move you into the "admitted" zone. Every accepted individual has until April 15th to decline, which is when you also need to accept your acceptances to be safe. Because schools accept more people than they plan to have matriculate to get their desired class sizes, you need to consider that you might only be called off the wait-list only in some catastrophic circumstance, and most likely after April 15th. So if you're betting on this, think very carefully about your other options. Additionally, cajoling people into speeding up their thought processes in figuring out which school to attend is uncalled for; though, on the flip side, I did let go of schools after all my interviews were done if I couldn't see myself "going there," so people don't need to hoard schools that they know they ultimately won't go to.

 

2. Interviews are not only a test of fit for yourself, but also for the program honestly (as they'll be making close to half a million dollar investment in your education, at the minimum). Interviewers are coordinated by the best of the ability by a program's admin, so sometimes getting someone that you didn't want or ask for, or getting grilled, wasn't actually the intention by the admin - it just ended up that way. As stated above, the admins know which professors are known to grill. This is usually frowned down upon in the grand scheme of things. Students with overwhelmingly bad interviews get rejected, but out of each interview panel, there tends to be one professor with veto abilities (this can go for or against you). What people tend to forget is that the hosting students also have a say; while the right review from a PI is enough to get you in, an overwhelmingly negative response from a bunch of students will also likely get you rejected.  

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On 2/19/2017 at 0:16 AM, prospectivegrad1 said:

Once you get an interview invite, you've defeated 70% of the battle, and I think interviews fill in the remaining 30%. Your interview experience is highly dependent on your interviewer. I think the few people who don't get accepted post-interview are the ones who got unlucky and got interviewers who would continuously grill them. 

 

I think interviewers are looking for 3 things from you: knowledge of your own research project (based on your ability to answer the questions they ask you about your research), ability to communicate your research project, and enthusiasm/ability to ask good questions about their research. I've attended 5 interviews so far, and I think all my interviewers try their best to gauge these 3 variables. 

I 100% agree. My GPA was absolutely horrendous (sub 3.0). Though I explained this in my personal statement, the interview was essential in showing admissions that I was knowledgeable about my science and excited about research.

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I have had some interviews where I sat down and the entire time the professor grilled me on my research interests, future goals, and previous research. On the other hand, I've had interviewers that never even mentioned education, and just chatted with me about baseball and line dancing. (Seriously). 

The point of the interview is to give the school a chance to sit you down and see what you're like as a person. If you're there, they obviously like you on paper and they are interested- but do they like you as a person? You could be a genius, but a jerk. Likewise you can have a rough application, but be a hard-working, charming individual.

Honestly, the interview depends on who you get- it's totally up to chance. You can believe your interview went poorly and end up acing it, or vice versa. The best you can do (in my opinion) is to smile, answer honestly, and try your best. If they like you, they like you. If not, then that's their problem :P 

Edited by fitzgradschool

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What does it mean to be waitlisted before an interview? Will I be waiting until after April 15th to hear about my application? I was just wait listed without an interview and I am a bit unsure what that exactly means or how that process works? Anyone in this situation?

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On 2/19/2017 at 0:13 AM, Epigenetics said:

Oh that's not what I'm saying. The admissions committees meet again after the interview weekends, my point is that the interviews themselves don't provide significant new information aside from if people are insane

You've actually just put your finger on the entire point of the interview weekend.

Well, not entirely, but mostly. For smaller programs, interview weekend are pretty important in identifying students that will fit well within the program community (some of these programs even have student interviews to drive that process home). It really becomes a matter of asking whether we're right for you and you're right for us. As a program with a 67% admit rate, our interview weekend actually separates out a fair amount of people and a lot of that is based on how people are seen to fit within the program, as well as their conversations with faculty.

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I got transferred from my first choice of TBMM to second choice of IMBS for Baylor....what are my chances? Anyone know? :/

Edited by GreenResearch

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16 hours ago, immuno91 said:

As a program with a 67% admit rate, our interview weekend actually separates out a fair amount of people and a lot of that is based on how people are seen to fit within the program, as well as their conversations with faculty.

I think this is a key point. In one of my interviews, I think both sides realised that the fit thing was an issue. I'd be surprised if I get through there, although I was told multiple times that my statements and application were very strong.

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2 hours ago, britt2017 said:

Has anyone heard from Case Western BSTP? 

 

45 minutes ago, alpraz said:

Applied as well, have not heard a thing

Same here.  However, I applied on January 15th.  Honestly, I don't think it's too good that we've gone silent.  :/  Anyone want to be brave and email the program coordinator? :P

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2 hours ago, GreenResearch said:

I got transferred from my first choice of TBMM to second choice of IMBS for Baylor....what are my chances? Anyone know? :/

I've head that that's basically a rejection. 

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6 hours ago, GreenResearch said:

I got transferred from my first choice of TBMM to second choice of IMBS for Baylor....what are my chances? Anyone know? :/

 

4 hours ago, virionoftomorrow said:

I've head that that's basically a rejection. 

 

I think it really depends on a lot of factors and the school. My roommate got transferred from the program he originally applied to because the school thought he had a better fit with the other division.

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11 hours ago, mbarr1993 said:

Has someone heard from NYU Sackler PhD Program? I'm dying here 

I heard back from them on the 3rd.

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3 hours ago, GreenResearch said:

Heard from UChicago Biomedical Sciences Cluster anyone?

I applied to Cancer Biology and received an unofficial offer on Jan. 30. The official offer followed the next day. Other tracks might have different interview schedules, though. I know I heard back very quickly for cancer biology because that was the only interview weekend they offered.

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2 minutes ago, 6moreyears said:

I applied to Cancer Biology and received an unofficial offer on Jan. 30. The official offer followed the next day. Other tracks might have different interview schedules, though. I know I heard back very quickly for cancer biology because that was the only interview weekend they offered.

I haven't even gotten invited for an interview. :/ I saw that they send all admissions decisions in February, so unless they don't do interviews for Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition, I am not sure. Thank you for your response!

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