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20 minutes ago, Bioenchilada said:

Are you only applying to those four schools? Also, you have two Master's? 

I don't think your stats are bad, but they're also not stellar. Your GRE could be a bit better, but I don't think that'll really matter in the grander scheme. Do you only have two years of research experience though? As in, did you get that from your Master's? Like, if you've spent a significant amount of time in school and academia and only have two years of experience, it might raise some eyebrows. Do you only have one letter that is coming from a PI? I feel like having someone that knows you but hasn't really supervised your research can't really provide much accurate information about YOUR skills as a scientist. 

The fact that you did Master's level research might help you, especially if it was full time, since it obviously shows your commitment to science, which is excellent. However, if you've only been in one lab, that might come back to bite you when writing your SOP and with your LORs. I don't think it's impossible for you to get into the schools you're applying to, but those are very little options and very competitive programs. 

Yeah, these stats raise so many questions! 

@BioCat02 Why are you applying to those schools in particular? 

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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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19 hours ago, lmb123 said:

This thread has been very helpful, thanks everyone who gives feedback!  I am mostly wondering if I need to diversify my schools?  Also I have a few questions about how/when to list publications that aren't yet accepted (below)

Undergrad Institution: Top liberal arts college
Major(s):  Biology
Minor(s): Environmental Studies
GPA in Major: 3.8
Overall GPA: 3.6
Position in Class: No idea
Type of Student: Domestic white female

GRE Scores :
Q: 163 (85%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 4.0 (59%)
B: not taking

Research Experience: 

Will have complete a 2 year post-bac at NIH in a virology/cancer bio lab: one mid-author publication in top journal, one second author pub in review at Cell (hopefully will be accepted - if not, is it taboo to list the journal where it is under review before it is accepted?), also a first author paper that may or may not be done (should I list papers "in preparation"? I've seen conflicting advice, but perhaps because we're very early in our careers?) [PI will write letter]

One summer and then a senior thesis in a virology/immunology lab [PI will write letter, another prof I took several classes with will write the other]

One summer doing field work/GIS mapping related to climate change/flooding
 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

High Honors in my department

A few poster presentations/awards, but all local 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

TA in intro bio lab, currently do some relevant volunteer work (tutoring through an non-profit, STEM in high schools), Varsity athlete (not sure how to work this in, or if I should bring this up)

Any other info: Not sure how relevant it will be, but my GPA has trended up.  Freshman GPA was ~3.3, and I ended up with a 3.9+ my senior year 
Applying to Where: my current list, but still updating

Harvard: BBS and Virology

Stanford

Rockefeller

Penn

U Washington: Micro and Mol/Cell Bio

UCSF

Yale: BBS

Wash U: DBBS

Columbia

 

Any suggestions for schools I might look into, especially ones I can feel more confident about being accepted into?  Thanks in advance!

I wouldn't list in preparation, but if they have been submitted, list them.  Or at least, I did and no one said anything bad about it lol.  Other than that, I think you have a good list.  Because I'm a worrier, I would include 1 backup school (I know, I know.  Everybody says there should be no safeties.  But I like to have one to make myself feel better.)  But if you feel confident without it, it won't matter anyway.  You'll likely get interviews at some of the schools at the very least.

Also, if you're interested in virology, Emory has a pretty great emphasis on it.  Just in case you want to add one more to your list. :P

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Undergrad Institution: Big 10
Major(s): Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
GPA in Major: probably ~3.5-3.6
Overall GPA: 3.48
Position in Class: not posted
Type of Student: Domestic white male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 166 (91%)
V: 163 (92%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
B: not taking (not offered this year for some reason)

Research Experience: 1 semester as a freshman in a biochemistry lab studying host-pathogen interactions

2.5 years in a biology/entomology lab studying bumblebee pigmentation: 1 pub, 2nd author in review. and another 2nd author pub in prep (should I include this on app?)

2 summers in a biochemistry/biophysics government lab studying marine adhesion mechanisms

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list past 4 semesters (embarrassing freshman performance). Research award from home university(came with a few thousand dollars to fund my research)

Special Bonus Points: None that come to mind :(

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I worry that my research in biology is pretty far removed from what I plan to study in grad school. I'm planning to spin it and emphasize in my SOP the molecular work I've done, but there are limits.

Applying to Where: at the advice of my advisor I am mostly applying to umbrella/interdisciplinary programs as my research interests are not well defined and I am (kind of) switching fields from biology research to biochemistry research. 

UPenn: BGS

Cornell: BMCB

Duke: CMB

Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: MCB

Wisconsin-Madison: IPIB

UVA: Biomedical Sciences

UMD: Biochemistry

Michigan Ann Arbor: PIBS

Johns Hopkins: BCMB

Do you guys think I am shooting for the right programs given my stats? Too high/low? Any schools you think I should look into?

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Ok. My turn. Would really appreciate feedback. To be honest I set the bar really high just because I don't want to just do PhD on any random topic or with any random professor. I am applying to UK as well and hoping to have better prospects here. Also, I honestly prefer to do 1/2 years of research assistant rather than work on something I am not really passionate about. So I a not sure whether it's just a massive waste of money or I have some chances. 

I know I am international student so that is a disadvantage. Also, I know my verbal and essay are not perfect... (didn't have so much time to prepare as I didn't initially think I would apply. 

I am also going to research some more to find professors which work interests me. 

 

Undergrad Institution: University of Edinburgh (honestly not sure how known it is in US but it's one of the best in UK). 
Major(s): Immunology Bsc Hons 
Minor(s): We don't have such things - just single degree in Immunology
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA:  It's A (so called First Class Honors) - around 75%; not sure what is it after conversion (around 3.9 from what I see). 
Position in Class: Probably up 5%
Type of Student: International Female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 167 (93 percentile)
V: 161  (88 percentile) 
W: 4.5 (82 percentile) 
B:



Research Experience: 

Couple of small projects funded by associations at our school.

  • After high school I went for 1 month to Germany - Univ of Heidelberg; did chemistry there; mostly assisted with organic synthesis, etc. 
  • Summer Internship at the University of Tokyo (biology/analytical chemistry) - 2 MONTHS. 
  • Summer Internship at the University of Edinburgh - micrRNAs; mostly validated mouse model that the lab created; - 3 MONTHS
  • Continued in the same lab for another 3/4 months - we started a completely new project; the work is ongoing; I couldn't stay for longer because of too much work for the degree. Also I was not allowed to continue my final honour thesis in the lab (it's not fair and our school does not allow it); 
  • Summer Internship at Rockefeller - worked on immunology/chemical biology. - 2 MONTHS; 
  • In December/January I am starting my final thesis project - working on the role of lipids in inflammation (autoimmunity, etc) = will be 4/5 moths. 

Unfortunately no publication as most of the work was either negative results (UoT) or the work is ongoing.

Will have SOPs from Rockefeller and UoE (research PIs) and from my tutor at the University. 


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 2nd Year Chemistry Laboratory Prize 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Student Champion for an organization that is concerned with equality in STEM; President of the UoE Science Media Society; 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:


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

Applying to Where:

Harvard Immunology

Scripps California 

UCSF (PIBS most likely though considering BMS)

Stanford

MSKCC

 

I would mostly like to do autoimmunity, immune tolerance, regulatory processes, etc. So if anyone has any suggestions about other universities, I would appreciate it. 

 

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Hi all,

 

I have applied for several Ph.D. programs in bioinformatics last year, received no offer....sad... I am planning to apply again.

 

Undergrad Institution: Peking University (anybody know it in US?). 
Major(s): Biology (Aim for bioinformatics with a focus on human genetics)
Minor(s): 
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA:  3.63 
Position in Class: 15%? not sure...
Type of Student: International Female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 170 
V: 154 
W: 3.0 (I know it is really low... tried my best...) 
B:



Research Experience: 

Eight months at a molecular wet lab, cooperating with a graduate student;

1.5 years at a bioinformatics lab, submitted a paper as the first author;

six months at a biostat lab at Yale, didn't do an independent project... sad..., co-authored a submitted paper (too many authors listed in this paper, don't think this work would matter for my application)

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Honors at our department 

Invited Presentations at a graduate symposium at Berkeley

Special Bonus Points: NA

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I didn't take many courses in Maths or CS and I am aimed for Bioinfo and Human Genetics program

Applying to Where: Some top picks are listed here.   Does anybody have some suggestions for my safe bioinformatics programs, it would be better if have some emphasis on human genetics?

CMU Biology

Umich PIBS

Uchicago Human genetics

Duke CBB(computational biology and bioinformatics)

UCSD Bioinformatics

UPenn GCB 

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1 hour ago, StupidVivian said:

Hi all,

 

I have applied for several Ph.D. programs in bioinformatics last year, received no offer....sad... I am planning to apply again.

 

Undergrad Institution: Peking University (anybody know it in US?). 
Major(s): Biology (Aim for bioinformatics with a focus on human genetics)
Minor(s): 
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA:  3.63 
Position in Class: 15%? not sure...
Type of Student: International Female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 170 
V: 154 
W: 3.0 (I know it is really low... tried my best...) 
B:



Research Experience: 

Eight months at a molecular wet lab, cooperating with a graduate student;

1.5 years at a bioinformatics lab, submitted a paper as the first author;

six months at a biostat lab at Yale, didn't do an independent project... sad..., co-authored a submitted paper (too many authors listed in this paper, don't think this work would matter for my application)

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Honors at our department 

Invited Presentations at a graduate symposium at Berkeley

Special Bonus Points: NA

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I didn't take many courses in Maths or CS and I am aimed for Bioinfo and Human Genetics program

Applying to Where: Some top picks are listed here.   Does anybody have some suggestions for my safe bioinformatics programs, it would be better if have some emphasis on human genetics?

CMU Biology

Umich PIBS

Uchicago Human genetics

Duke CBB(computational biology and bioinformatics)

UCSD Bioinformatics

UPenn GCB 

Hey Vivian, I also plan to applt to bioinfo/compbio programs. What was the reason that you got no offer last year?

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41 minutes ago, Luptior said:

Hey Vivian, I also plan to applt to bioinfo/compbio programs. What was the reason that you got no offer last year?

I don't know. I guess it's because one of my recommenders wrote something bad about me... I didn't get quite well with her...

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2 hours ago, StupidVivian said:

I don't know. I guess it's because one of my recommenders wrote something bad about me... I didn't get quite well with her...

How many math and CS courses u've taken in college? Chinese universities have a great number of mandatory math courses for all science majors so math should be fine but lacking in programming experience could be a problem imo.

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I would greatly appreciate feedback on my application! 

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 research university 
Major(s): Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Minor(s): Bioinformatics
GPA in Major: 3.377 (including pre-reqs), 3.764 (upper div only)
Overall GPA:  3.435 (upward trend - last year averaged 3.8) 
Position in Class: not sure...
Type of Student: Domestic Female (minority)

GRE Scores:
Q: 160 (76%) 
V: 159 (82%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
B:


Research Experience: 

- 2 years in bioinformatics lab: independent project throughout last year, no publications

- past summer research at UCSD, independent project, no publications

Presented at SACNAS (national conference), 2 regional conferences, and a few local conferences

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

UC LEADS, MSD, CAMP fellowships

Dean's Honor list (3x+), Honors College 

Special Bonus Points: PI is director of bioinformatics dept.. big name?

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

Applying to Where: 

UCSD Bioinformatics (fee waived)

UCLA Bioinformatics (fee waived)

Yale BBS (fee waived)

MIT Biology - Bioinformatics

Harvard Bioinformatics and Integrative genomics

Stanford Biomedical Informatics (fee waived)

U Washington Biomedical and Health informatics

UCSF Bioinformatics  (fee waived)

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6 hours ago, abc12321 said:

I would greatly appreciate feedback on my application! 

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 research university 
Major(s): Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Minor(s): Bioinformatics
GPA in Major: 3.377 (including pre-reqs), 3.764 (upper div only)
Overall GPA:  3.435 (upward trend - last year averaged 3.8) 
Position in Class: not sure...
Type of Student: Domestic Female (minority)

GRE Scores:
Q: 160 (76%) 
V: 159 (82%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
B:


Research Experience: 

- 2 years in bioinformatics lab: independent project throughout last year, no publications

- past summer research at UCSD, independent project, no publications

Presented at SACNAS (national conference), 2 regional conferences, and a few local conferences

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

UC LEADS, MSD, CAMP fellowships

Dean's Honor list (3x+), Honors College 

Special Bonus Points: PI is director of bioinformatics dept.. big name?

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

Applying to Where: 

UCSD Bioinformatics (fee waived)

UCLA Bioinformatics (fee waived)

Yale BBS (fee waived)

MIT Biology - Bioinformatics

Harvard Bioinformatics and Integrative genomics

Stanford Biomedical Informatics (fee waived)

U Washington Biomedical and Health informatics

UCSF Bioinformatics  (fee waived)

 Though I don't think your credentials are particularly bad, you sure are applying to insanely competitive schools. Your GPA is also on the low-side, though an upward trend always helps. Do you think that the quality of your letters will be great? Also, what was your basis for choosing those programs? 

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11 hours ago, Luptior said:

How many math and CS courses u've taken in college? Chinese universities have a great number of mandatory math courses for all science majors so math should be fine but lacking in programming experience could be a problem imo.

 

I have taken three CS courses, C, Java Programming, Data Structure and Algorithm, I think maybe it's not enough...My second research experience is developing a tool in Java, maybe it kind of make up for this?

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14 hours ago, Luptior said:

How many math and CS courses u've taken in college? Chinese universities have a great number of mandatory math courses for all science majors so math should be fine but lacking in programming experience could be a problem imo.

Universities don't tend to disclose the reason why they rejected you in the first place, so it's hard for the applicant to know what actually went wrong. Also, a lot of schools don't reject a student simply for not having one course on two, given that there's been a strong push for students conducting interdisciplinary work. Based on @StupidVivian's school-choice, I'd say that their problem was MOST LIKELY not course-related, at all. 

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Posting again because I have some changes and hoping for some feedback since applications are closer D:

 

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: Not doing this, but retaking GRE in a couple days


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. Thinking I can put publication in preparation?

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

Tulane 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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8 hours ago, Bioenchilada said:

Universities don't tend to disclose the reason why they rejected you in the first place, so it's hard for the applicant to know what actually went wrong. Also, a lot of schools don't reject a student simply for not having one course on two, given that there's been a strong push for students conducting interdisciplinary work. Based on @StupidVivian's school-choice, I'd say that their problem was MOST LIKELY not course-related, at all. 

 
 

 

I totally agree. What's weird is that a director of my applied program called one of my referrers and asked why my referrer thought I am a great candidate and I seemed to be just fine based on my other application material:rolleyes:.   Besides, do you have any advice for my safety picks this year? Thank you so much.:D

 

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31 minutes ago, StupidVivian said:

 

I totally agree. What's weird is that a director of my applied program called one of my referrers and asked why my referrer thought I am a great candidate and I seemed to be just fine based on my other application material:rolleyes:.   Besides, do you have any advice for my safety picks this year? Thank you so much.:D

 

How is your application different this year than it was before? How did you pick your schools? Why did you do so? A safety is relative based on your own perception of your chances, and you should still be interested in attending that school. I don't think any of your schools are safeties particularly, if that's what you were asking. 

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Undergrad Institution: University of Miami
Major(s): Neuroscience B.S.
Minor(s): Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Spanish
GPA in Major: 3.6
Overall GPA: 3.7
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: Domestic Male LGBTQ Hispanic

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 162 (82%)
V: 160 (80%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
B: N/A

Research Experience: 

Research in a Neuroscience lab my spring of 1st year and a summer internship at my university in that lab.

2 years in a behavioral neuroscience lab.

Summer internship at University of Michigan and University of California San Francisco, both in cell biology/biochemistry focused labs.

One manuscript in preparation for an epidemiology journal, presented my work at 3 conferences. 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I've worked as a Peer Advisor in the Dept of Psychology for 3 years, where I've also been a TA for 5 semesters. I work in the first year dorms as a Academic Fellow for a boys' and girls' floor, 2nd year doing the job now. I'm also in my 2nd year as president of the Neuroscience Honor Society.


Special Bonus Points: My U of M recommender is the director of one of the programs in the PIBS program, my UCSF recommender is a world recognized name in cell biology, and one of my home institution recommenders is at the forefront of his field in neuroscience. I'm also Hispanic and Queer.


Applying to Where:

Univ of Michigan PIBS – Cellular and Molecular Biology

Univ of Miami PIBS – Biochemistry

MIT – Biology

Rockefeller University – Cell Biology

Columbia University – Biological Sciences

UCSF – Tetrad

UC Berkeley – Molecular and Cell Biology

Stanford University – Biosciences

 

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Reposting due to updates:

 

 

Undergrad Institution: Small private liberal arts college
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Type of Student: Female, first generation college student

 

 

GRE Scores (revised/old version):

 

I have not yet taken the test (scheduled Nov 5)

 

Practice scores:

Q: ~50th percentile

V: ~85th percentile

B:  880/97th percentile

 

 

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 in preparation (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, 1 endowed cholarship

 

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:

Ohio State University (OSU)

Michigan- Ann Arbor

Yale

Cornell

Washington University in St. Louis (NYU)

University of Oregon (maybe)

Lerner Institute

New York Medical College (maybe)

University of Colorado- Boulder (maybe)

 

I may trim this list down.  I’m interested in molecular/cellular programs, I feel like I’m aiming too high, but am having trouble finding programs that aren’t as competitive, that also have several labs I’m interested in.

The ‘maybes’ are programs I just started looking at and need to research further before I make a definite decision about applying.

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On 10/19/2016 at 10:21 AM, Eppendork said:

Reposting due to updates:

 

 

Undergrad Institution: Small private liberal arts college
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 4.0
Overall GPA: 4.0
Type of Student: Female, first generation college student

 

 

GRE Scores (revised/old version):

 

I have not yet taken the test (scheduled Nov 5)

 

Practice scores:

Q: ~50th percentile

V: ~85th percentile

B:  880/97th percentile

 

 

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 in preparation (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, 1 endowed cholarship

 

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:

Ohio State University (OSU)

Michigan- Ann Arbor

Yale

Cornell

Washington University in St. Louis (NYU)

University of Oregon (maybe)

Lerner Institute

New York Medical College (maybe)

University of Colorado- Boulder (maybe)

 

I may trim this list down.  I’m interested in molecular/cellular programs, I feel like I’m aiming too high, but am having trouble finding programs that aren’t as competitive, that also have several labs I’m interested in.

The ‘maybes’ are programs I just started looking at and need to research further before I make a definite decision about applying.

Which part of cell and molecular biology are you interested in? Regardless, I think you are competitive for most of the programs you applied to. Your performance on the GRE might enhance or weaken your application depending on your math score, but your biology subject test score is stellar. Who will be writing your LORs?

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42 minutes ago, Bioenchilada said:

Which part of cell and molecular biology are you interested in? Regardless, I think you are competitive for most of the programs you applied to. Your performance on the GRE might enhance or weaken your application depending on your math score, but your biology subject test score is stellar. Who will be writing your LORs?

Thanks for your input!

Broadly speaking, I'm interested in both gene regulation, and how cellular components localize in response to stimuli.  I'm not specifically uninterested in these topics in microbes, so a microbiology program could potentially be a good fit for me as well.

My current PI will write a letter, and I know it will be very positive.  I'm waiting to hear back from the microbio PI I mentioned.  It's been awhile since I worked in his lab so I may need to ask someone else. 

For other letter(s), I'm considering my Quantitative Analysis professor, as she could speak to my ability to do laboratory calculations and that may help mitigate my (expected, but almost certain) low GRE quant score, and a former professor who is the chair of the bio program at the community college I attended prior to earning my bachelors, who I know fairly well.

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24 minutes ago, Eppendork said:

Thanks for your input!

Broadly speaking, I'm interested in both gene regulation, and how cellular components localize in response to stimuli.  I'm not specifically uninterested in these topics in microbes, so a microbiology program could potentially be a good fit for me as well.

My current PI will write a letter, and I know it will be very positive.  I'm waiting to hear back from the microbio PI I mentioned.  It's been awhile since I worked in his lab so I may need to ask someone else. 

For other letter(s), I'm considering my Quantitative Analysis professor, as she could speak to my ability to do laboratory calculations and that may help mitigate my (expected, but almost certain) low GRE quant score, and a former professor who is the chair of the bio program at the community college I attended prior to earning my bachelors, who I know fairly well.

I'd try to see if your former PI is still willing to write a letter for you. Ideally, your letters should come from people you have worked for in a research setting since your ability to do research is primarily what the adcom is looking for. I had missed the last part of your post. How long ago did you graduate from undergrad? 

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32 minutes ago, Bioenchilada said:

I'd try to see if your former PI is still willing to write a letter for you. Ideally, your letters should come from people you have worked for in a research setting since your ability to do research is primarily what the adcom is looking for. I had missed the last part of your post. How long ago did you graduate from undergrad? 

I am still attending, will graduate in the spring.

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reposting because didn't get any feedback last time...looking for thoughts on my school list/suggestions for some others, because I'm worried it's aiming too high. 

Undergrad Institution: Top 20 Public, well known for research
Major(s): Neuroscience, History & Philosophy of Science
Minor(s): Chemistry, Computer Science
GPA in Major: 3.82
Overall GPA: 3.82
Position in Class: no idea
Type of Student: Domestic, hispanic male (spain), current senior

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 164
V: 167
W: 5.5
B: n/a

Research Experience:

3.5 years thesis project in neuroscience lab, developing computational analysis approaches in a non-computational lab. Will get a different type of bachelor's degree for completing this after thesis defense. Also writing a paper (I will be first author or co-first author, but probably won't be submitted until Dec.)

1 Summer at Univ of CT, wrote a first author paper about pine tree genomics, but it is still in review.

1 Summer at prestigious REU, wrote a first author paper, developed software package, presented two posters relating to it at major genomics conference

1 Summer at Yale working in very well known bioinformatics group. 

~2 years - job at undergrad institution (10hr/week) as a bioinformatics analyst, not necessarily research but definitely relevant experience as I design pipelines, computational experiements etc, might eventually get on a paper. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Dean's List, 3 research grants from undergrad institution, 2 travel grants for a conference, honorable mention in Goldwater Scholarship last year.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

2 years as bioinformatics analyst

Working with local public school system to develop and implement a bioinformatics supplement to high school biology classes (my proposal, I'm teaching and designing these lessons, and will eventually publish them under an open source license)


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

President of campus organization relating to public health, lots of volunteering, a handful of outreach things. Biggest outreach activity is the open-source teaching project mentioned above. 

Bilingual (english/spanish)

Special Bonus Points:

PI at REU and PI at Yale both are very well known in bioinformatics/genomics, and both are writing me a recommendation. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
4 letters...2 from summer mentors, 1 from thesis advisor/prof, 1 from supervisor at bioinformatics job

Most CS experience is practical, I did pick up a CS minor, but I have only a few classes completed/on my transcript at the moment (Advanced Programming, Data Structures, Theoretical Structures, Linear Algebra...taking Algorithm Implementation and Machine Learning in the Spring term).
Applying to Where:
MIT Computational and Systems Biology

Columbia Computational 

UCSD Bioinformatics

Berkeley Comp Bio

Stanford Biomedical Informatics

Harvard BIG and BBS

Yale BBS

Cornell Tri-I CBM

U of Washington Genome Science

NYU Sackler

Johns Hopkins (not sure which department to apply to)

Edited by eagb
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1 hour ago, Eppendork said:

I am still attending, will graduate in the spring.

Ah ok, I don't know what impact your age will have relative to your research experience, but only 1 LOR from a PI is kind of risky. Also, SOP writing might turn out to be more difficult as well. 

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Just now, Bioenchilada said:

Ah ok, I don't know what impact your age will have relative to your research experience, but only 1 LOR from a PI is kind of risky. Also, SOP writing might turn out to be more difficult as well. 

I feel like I've turned my age into a strength in my SOPs, or at least, tried to spin it in a positive way :) .  I've had the time to really think about whether or not I want to earn a PhD, and understanding the importance of research experience early on led me to get into a lab as soon as possible.  I didn't take an especially long time to earn my undergrad  degree, I just started late.

The juries still out on microbio PI, I only emailed him yesterday morning so a letter from him is very possible.  I think it would be positive, I only stopped working in his lab because he moved form the branch to the main campus, and prior to that he expressed interest in writing another paper with me.

I probably should have done an summer REU for an additional PI letter, but have been invested in the work I've been doing in my current lab and didn't want to leave/slow down progress.  It's been mostly just me in the lab for the majority of the time I've been here.

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37 minutes ago, Eppendork said:

I feel like I've turned my age into a strength in my SOPs, or at least, tried to spin it in a positive way :) .  I've had the time to really think about whether or not I want to earn a PhD, and understanding the importance of research experience early on led me to get into a lab as soon as possible.  I didn't take an especially long time to earn my undergrad  degree, I just started late.

The juries still out on microbio PI, I only emailed him yesterday morning so a letter from him is very possible.  I think it would be positive, I only stopped working in his lab because he moved form the branch to the main campus, and prior to that he expressed interest in writing another paper with me.

I probably should have done an summer REU for an additional PI letter, but have been invested in the work I've been doing in my current lab and didn't want to leave/slow down progress.  It's been mostly just me in the lab for the majority of the time I've been here.

That's good then! Hopefully that additional PI letter is very positive and helps you get plenty of interviews :) 

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