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12 minutes ago, eevee said:

Today I got a call with an admissions offer from one of my top choices (yay!) -- I really don't want to go to my final interview, which is two weeks from now, since I know I wouldn't go to that school over the one I just got accepted to and also am feeling really sick/burned out after traveling a lot over the past month. However, this last interview is at the university and department where I'm currently finishing up my undergrad, so will it look really bad/ungrateful for me to tell them that I won't be interviewing? On the one hand, there are no flights or accommodations they need to cancel, but on the other hand, I live here and still have to finish out my bachelor's in this department. What's the best way to phrase this email so I don't piss anyone off?

Are you 100% decided that you aren't going? If there's no travel involved for you, it'll be another opportunity to network, discuss science, and learn more about graduate school in general from new people! If you really want to cancel, you could say you've received (and accepted/will accept) another offer and do not want to possibly take away an offer from someone who would be able to utilize it. Ask to remove yourself from consideration in order to not take away from other candidates. However, my advice would be to still go through the interviewand then, if you are to get an offer, decline it right away so someone can move off the wait list possibly.

Edited by catsareme

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Hi everyone! I officially committed to my top-choice program yesterday. However, now I have to turn down the other offers I have.

Can I just go in to the app portal and decline the offer, or should I send an email? Is it rude to decline without notifying the admissions committee or something? Help lol. 

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18 minutes ago, synapticcat said:

Hi everyone! I officially committed to my top-choice program yesterday. However, now I have to turn down the other offers I have.

Can I just go in to the app portal and decline the offer, or should I send an email? Is it rude to decline without notifying the admissions committee or something? Help lol. 

Instead of emailing a faculty member on the admissions committee, could you speak with the non-faculty program administrator or coordinator instead?  I know who that is for Case Western, but I'm not sure for Vermont.  I know this doesn't avoid emailing a person about it, but I would try to do so anyway.  I'm going to do this for the first time later this month, but I'm sure they are used to admitted applicants rejecting them as we are being rejected from some of the schools we applied to!

Edited by StemCellFan

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I received an acceptance email from one of my programs, and I was wondering what the etiquette was for responding? I have several more interviews and the last one will be towards the beginning of March. Should I respond and let them know that I'll be waiting to decide until my last interview, or is it better to respond when I know whether I'm accepting/rejecting the offer? Thanks!!

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Hello guys!

I will be applying to US phd programs next year (2019) and I'm currently in the process of selecting programs for myself. I don't quite understand the scheme of funding for many of these programs though, can you possibly help me with that? I was thinking about doing the phd in California (UCLA, Stanford, Caltech, etc), but as I understood universities there don't provide the stipend for phd students and I need to search for external funding anyway?

Another question about that external funding: how easy is it to get the funding for non-U.S. citizen? How common is it to get accepted to the program but not for funding opportunity? Is it common to get the funding only for the first year and then drop out because you don't have money? 

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On 3/5/2018 at 12:40 AM, spillintheT said:

Hello guys!

I will be applying to US phd programs next year (2019) and I'm currently in the process of selecting programs for myself. I don't quite understand the scheme of funding for many of these programs though, can you possibly help me with that? I was thinking about doing the phd in California (UCLA, Stanford, Caltech, etc), but as I understood universities there don't provide the stipend for phd students and I need to search for external funding anyway?

Another question about that external funding: how easy is it to get the funding for non-U.S. citizen? How common is it to get accepted to the program but not for funding opportunity? Is it common to get the funding only for the first year and then drop out because you don't have money? 

Funding can be different for international applicants, especially at public universities where you might not be eligible for certain types of government funding (as is the case with some external funding opportunities as well). Generally, stipend support for PhDs are guaranteed by the department or graduate school as long as you remain in good standing and can require additional responsibilities such as a TA or RA-ship. Research funding is more likely dependent on the lab you join. 

Since the policies can differ so drastically from school to school and even from department to department, it is probably in your best interest to contact the programs you are interested in to get the specific details. 

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I need some advice on buffering my application. Sorry for the big block of text!

I have no publications, but I have worked in 2 different labs for about 2 years (16 months in undergrad, 7 months in a new lab after graduating). I'm planning to have a 2nd author manuscript completed by the end of this summer, but I have no idea if I'll actually have anything published by the time I apply for PhD programs (probably not!)... Otherwise, I think my application is strong. High uGPA, very high GRE scores, and solid recs despite some very trying circumstances that I will highlight in my app. I will have completed my Master's degree by next summer, hopefully with a 4.0. I am aiming for many top schools, including Ivy's, although I would be very happy even if I had no choice but to attend one of my safety schools (but my ego makes me want to reach higher).

So... should I defer my applications for another year to ensure a publication? Or is there another way I could possibly publish something? I had to do a few literature reviews for some of my grad classes, and I was wondering if there is any way I could try to publish those. I am very unfamiliar with the process, especially when they're review papers and the like.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, DaddyBenzene said:

I need some advice on buffering my application. Sorry for the big block of text!

I have no publications, but I have worked in 2 different labs for about 2 years (16 months in undergrad, 7 months in a new lab after graduating). I'm planning to have a 2nd author manuscript completed by the end of this summer, but I have no idea if I'll actually have anything published by the time I apply for PhD programs (probably not!)... Otherwise, I think my application is strong. High uGPA, very high GRE scores, and solid recs despite some very trying circumstances that I will highlight in my app. I will have completed my Master's degree by next summer, hopefully with a 4.0. I am aiming for many top schools, including Ivy's, although I would be very happy even if I had no choice but to attend one of my safety schools (but my ego makes me want to reach higher).

So... should I defer my applications for another year to ensure a publication? Or is there another way I could possibly publish something? I had to do a few literature reviews for some of my grad classes, and I was wondering if there is any way I could try to publish those. I am very unfamiliar with the process, especially when they're review papers and the like.

 

 

From what I've heard, publications are not the end all be all when it comes to graduate admissions.  Have you at least presented your research at a conference in a poster or oral format?  If you feel you are ready to apply next Fall (and it sounds like you have a bit of research experience under your belt), I think you have a shot.  I have a couple first author pubs in preparation right now, and I just mentioned it in my personal statement, and during my interviews, my interviewers seemed impressed when I talked about it.  So even if the paper isn't actually published, you can still mention it as in preparation, in submission, in review, etc.

For lit reviews, I haven't done one of those, so I'm not sure what that all entails.  But I imagine getting anything published in a reputable journal would be difficult without a PI backing you up.

Edited by StemCellFan

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32 minutes ago, StemCellFan said:

From what I've heard, publications are not the end all be all when it comes to graduate admissions.  Have you at least presented your research at a conference in a poster or oral format?  If you feel you are ready to apply next Fall (and it sounds like you have a bit of research experience under your belt), I think you have a shot.  I have a couple first author pubs in preparation right now, and I just mentioned it in my personal statement, and during my interviews, my interviewers seemed impressed when I talked about it.  So even if the paper isn't actually published, you can still mention it as in preparation, in submission, in review, etc.

For lit reviews, I haven't done one of those, so I'm not sure what that all entails.  But I imagine getting anything published in a reputable journal would be difficult without a PI backing you up.

 

Hey, thanks for the reply.

I have not presented anything at a conference, and that is another thing that I am insecure about. I have presented my work during lab meetings as powerpoints (only 3 45 min presentations) and at an informal poster session for a lab class. I doubt those count, but I will be putting them on my CV anyway if I am unable to bolster my application. The thing is, financial difficulty, work obligations and the fact that my undergrad did not provide aid for conference travel prevented me from attending any conferences. I also wasn't able to do a thesis and present it at our school's research conference either because I had to decide to graduate a year early last minute (due to huge problems in my personal life).

With my new position, things can be different. There's an ABCRMS conference I want to visit, although it is out of state and will cut into my work week. Hopefully I can gather enough good data to present by the abstract deadline.

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9 hours ago, DaddyBenzene said:

I need some advice on buffering my application. Sorry for the big block of text!

I have no publications, but I have worked in 2 different labs for about 2 years (16 months in undergrad, 7 months in a new lab after graduating). I'm planning to have a 2nd author manuscript completed by the end of this summer, but I have no idea if I'll actually have anything published by the time I apply for PhD programs (probably not!)... Otherwise, I think my application is strong. High uGPA, very high GRE scores, and solid recs despite some very trying circumstances that I will highlight in my app. I will have completed my Master's degree by next summer, hopefully with a 4.0. I am aiming for many top schools, including Ivy's, although I would be very happy even if I had no choice but to attend one of my safety schools (but my ego makes me want to reach higher).

So... should I defer my applications for another year to ensure a publication? Or is there another way I could possibly publish something? I had to do a few literature reviews for some of my grad classes, and I was wondering if there is any way I could try to publish those. I am very unfamiliar with the process, especially when they're review papers and the like.

 

 

Hey there! I got the opportunity to help with recruitment a couple of years ago; we didn't really look for publications. Instead we looked to see that people had worked in labs. Often people have papers as a consequence of experience, but I'd say only about 1/4 of applicants actually had them. I didn't, and my papers from the M.S. STILL aren't published. What seems to be most important is that you understand the research process and that your letters reflect this as much as the dates on your CV. 16 months of solid lab experience looks better to the AdComm than a summer REU at a prestigious university because that means you were in a lab long enough to really learn science. The fact that you will have a M.S. (assuming it is a research-based, science masters) also gives you a leg up.

Long story short: Don't worry about papers. Don't defer your application. Just make sure you're a good scientist.

Finally, and most importantly, don't view Ivy's as the "best" schools; you may feel happier and more at home at one of the ones you're calling a safety, and you should go where you feel best. If you're interested in a niche field, there are large amounts of people studying things you're interested in at a smaller school, such as UTSW for me in the lipid field. Choose your schools for the program and the PIs (early to mid-career are best) that you want to work under and then aim for Ivy's or big-name PIs for your postdoc when you need less guidance. I'm telling you this from my own positive experience with a brand new PI and from watching my peers struggle in big labs where they get little attention from their mentor. I'm about to graduate with multiple first-author papers and several co-authors, so I'm set up well to get a good postdoc (or industry job).

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12 hours ago, biotechie said:

Hey there! I got the opportunity to help with recruitment a couple of years ago; we didn't really look for publications. Instead we looked to see that people had worked in labs. Often people have papers as a consequence of experience, but I'd say only about 1/4 of applicants actually had them. I didn't, and my papers from the M.S. STILL aren't published. What seems to be most important is that you understand the research process and that your letters reflect this as much as the dates on your CV. 16 months of solid lab experience looks better to the AdComm than a summer REU at a prestigious university because that means you were in a lab long enough to really learn science. The fact that you will have a M.S. (assuming it is a research-based, science masters) also gives you a leg up.

Long story short: Don't worry about papers. Don't defer your application. Just make sure you're a good scientist.

Finally, and most importantly, don't view Ivy's as the "best" schools; you may feel happier and more at home at one of the ones you're calling a safety, and you should go where you feel best. If you're interested in a niche field, there are large amounts of people studying things you're interested in at a smaller school, such as UTSW for me in the lipid field. Choose your schools for the program and the PIs (early to mid-career are best) that you want to work under and then aim for Ivy's or big-name PIs for your postdoc when you need less guidance. I'm telling you this from my own positive experience with a brand new PI and from watching my peers struggle in big labs where they get little attention from their mentor. I'm about to graduate with multiple first-author papers and several co-authors, so I'm set up well to get a good postdoc (or industry job).

That's very solid advice, thank you. From reading all of the other gradcafe posts, I was under the impression that the majority of applicants had some sort of publication already. Lots had posters and conference presentations, too, as well as TAships and other relevant credentials. People here generally have very impressive profiles. Having especially esoteric research interests, I was convinced that I may have been disadvantaged.

Congrats with your graduation, it sounds like you've had a very prolific student career. I want to be like you lol

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1 hour ago, DaddyBenzene said:

That's very solid advice, thank you. From reading all of the other gradcafe posts, I was under the impression that the majority of applicants had some sort of publication already. Lots had posters and conference presentations, too, as well as TAships and other relevant credentials. People here generally have very impressive profiles. Having especially esoteric research interests, I was convinced that I may have been disadvantaged.

Congrats with your graduation, it sounds like you've had a very prolific student career. I want to be like you lol

Lol just keep in mind that the people who post on gradcafe are a self selected population and definitely not representative of the whole.

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6 hours ago, DaddyBenzene said:

That's very solid advice, thank you. From reading all of the other gradcafe posts, I was under the impression that the majority of applicants had some sort of publication already. Lots had posters and conference presentations, too, as well as TAships and other relevant credentials. People here generally have very impressive profiles. Having especially esoteric research interests, I was convinced that I may have been disadvantaged.

Congrats with your graduation, it sounds like you've had a very prolific student career. I want to be like you lol

You're welcome!

The stats you see here represent a very small proportion of the applicant field, and honestly, after seeing the stats here, many people choose not to share theirs because they think they don't "measure up." Based on what you've said here, unless you have some weird black mark on your record, you should definitely be able to get into a graduate program somewhere. If you limit yourself to schools that have strict cutoffs for GRE and GPA, you might have less luck, but I think that sort of system is a poor measure of a scientist because the GRE and GPA only measure your ability to take tests, not be a scientist. That's a big reason I regretted one of my applications as I found out later that they were using that cutoff. Programs I applied to that don't:
Baylor College of Medicine (Interdisciplinary, but they are restructuring the grad programs starting 2019 admits)
University of Florida (Interdisciplinary)
University of Utah (Good epigenetics)
University of California at San Diego (Lots of good stuff)

Feel free to DM me if you have specific questions you don't want to ask here.

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On 3/10/2018 at 8:17 AM, DaddyBenzene said:

That's very solid advice, thank you. From reading all of the other gradcafe posts, I was under the impression that the majority of applicants had some sort of publication already. Lots had posters and conference presentations, too, as well as TAships and other relevant credentials. People here generally have very impressive profiles. Having especially esoteric research interests, I was convinced that I may have been disadvantaged.

Congrats with your graduation, it sounds like you've had a very prolific student career. I want to be like you lol

Hey there @DaddyBenzene, just here to offer my $0.02 - I would agree with everything biotechie said, and especially reiterate that depending on what field you're in, the ivy league may not actually be the best. For example, in my applications process, a number of public research universities like UC's, University of Washington, UNC Chapel Hill, etc. are much better for the type of research I'm interested in than a lot of the ivy league. Definitely consider program and research fit over name brand or perceived prestige. 

Secondly, I applied this year as a senior in undergrad, and while I'd say it's definitely doable, it is not the norm. At all the interview visits I went to, I'd estimate a solid 90% of the interviewees had taken at least one "gap year" between undergrad and grad school to gain experience or just to make sure that a Ph.D. was the route they wanted to take. However, just speaking from my personal experience, as long as you curate your application list well (i.e. do your homework and make sure the places you're applying to are places you really really want to go to and where you see your interests matching really well with ideally at least 3 faculty members per program), I think there's no harm in applying. Even if the worst happens, you can always take a year to boost your CV and reapply the next year. 

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48 minutes ago, eevee said:

Hey there @DaddyBenzene, just here to offer my $0.02 - I would agree with everything biotechie said, and especially reiterate that depending on what field you're in, the ivy league may not actually be the best. For example, in my applications process, a number of public research universities like UC's, University of Washington, UNC Chapel Hill, etc. are much better for the type of research I'm interested in than a lot of the ivy league. Definitely consider program and research fit over name brand or perceived prestige. 

Secondly, I applied this year as a senior in undergrad, and while I'd say it's definitely doable, it is not the norm. At all the interview visits I went to, I'd estimate a solid 90% of the interviewees had taken at least one "gap year" between undergrad and grad school to gain experience or just to make sure that a Ph.D. was the route they wanted to take. However, just speaking from my personal experience, as long as you curate your application list well (i.e. do your homework and make sure the places you're applying to are places you really really want to go to and where you see your interests matching really well with ideally at least 3 faculty members per program), I think there's no harm in applying. Even if the worst happens, you can always take a year to boost your CV and reapply the next year. 

Seconding eevee - I got in direct from undergrad with no publications or conference presentations so it's definitely possible. And at my interviews I'd say somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 of applicants were direct from undergrad depending on the school and a lot of current grad students said their cohort was about half and half direct vs gap year(s). 

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Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next. I applied to 8 PhD programs and thus far I believe I have been rejected to all of them (some with no reply and some with actual rejections). I even interviewed at 2, but no luck. I'm feeling down and not sure where I should go from here. Should I do a post bacc and reapply after, try and get a job in industry or as a lab tech, apply for masters instead? I'm just not sure what the best options are. I just graduated undergrad a semester early in December, my GPA was very high, great LORs, I have 3 years of research experience with a written thesis and summer fellowship, and am still working as a lab tech in my same lab. I will hopefully be on a publication in a few months but nothing regarding publications was on my application. Thanks for any advice.

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19 hours ago, happy-cat said:

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next. I applied to 8 PhD programs and thus far I believe I have been rejected to all of them (some with no reply and some with actual rejections). I even interviewed at 2, but no luck. I'm feeling down and not sure where I should go from here. Should I do a post bacc and reapply after, try and get a job in industry or as a lab tech, apply for masters instead? I'm just not sure what the best options are. I just graduated undergrad a semester early in December, my GPA was very high, great LORs, I have 3 years of research experience with a written thesis and summer fellowship, and am still working as a lab tech in my same lab. I will hopefully be on a publication in a few months but nothing regarding publications was on my application. Thanks for any advice.

I was in your situation last year, sorry to that you have to go through it :(

I ended up working as a technician for the year and then reapplying for the next year. Which in the long term I think was a good call, I learned a lot through being a technician that I think will help me in grad school. Also, I had more time to apply when I was working a normal job then I did in undergrad and I knew how the whole process worked already, so I knew to start research labs early. Once things have calmed down a little bit, think about what you learned through this cycle and see what you can do better. In my case, I spent a lot more time on my statement of purpose and researching programs.

Also, a lot of this is luck. Sometimes the schools you applied for could only take a very small number of people this year. Make sure to take care of yourself mentally because it's tough. 

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19 hours ago, happy-cat said:

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next. I applied to 8 PhD programs and thus far I believe I have been rejected to all of them (some with no reply and some with actual rejections). I even interviewed at 2, but no luck. I'm feeling down and not sure where I should go from here. Should I do a post bacc and reapply after, try and get a job in industry or as a lab tech, apply for masters instead? I'm just not sure what the best options are. I just graduated undergrad a semester early in December, my GPA was very high, great LORs, I have 3 years of research experience with a written thesis and summer fellowship, and am still working as a lab tech in my same lab. I will hopefully be on a publication in a few months but nothing regarding publications was on my application. Thanks for any advice.

I've been in this situation before.  I worked as a research tech for a few years after applying and not getting in anywhere.  I think it helped me to A) bolster my overall research experience and publication/presentation record, letters of rec, etc.  and B ) help me define my research interests so I could find the graduate schools in which I felt I would be a good research fit.  Research fit is so important, so this helped me tremendously when I tailored my SoP for the programs I applied to.  I noticed during my interviews that an overwhelming number of fellow interviewees were either in a post-bacc program (NIH IRTA, PREP, etc) or in their first or second year working as a research tech.  There were some straight from undergrad, but not many.  I definitely would look at research tech positions where you can work on a project as independently as possible (not doing routine labor or bench work) or look into post-bacc programs that give you this experience, and then re-apply next year or the year after when you're ready.  If your goal is a PhD, I don't think a masters is necessary in your case.

I noticed you are working in your same lab.  Maybe consider looking into other labs to work in if you need an additional letter of rec from someone who can vouch for your ability to do research and succeed in graduate school.  All of my letter writers were individuals I worked with in a research capacity and they spoke highly of me.

Get some more experience under your belt, really research the schools you want to go to, make connections, and if necessary, retake the GRE.  I think you'll have better luck the next time around!

Edited by StemCellFan

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On 3/20/2018 at 3:32 PM, happy-cat said:

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next. I applied to 8 PhD programs and thus far I believe I have been rejected to all of them (some with no reply and some with actual rejections). I even interviewed at 2, but no luck. I'm feeling down and not sure where I should go from here. Should I do a post bacc and reapply after, try and get a job in industry or as a lab tech, apply for masters instead? I'm just not sure what the best options are. I just graduated undergrad a semester early in December, my GPA was very high, great LORs, I have 3 years of research experience with a written thesis and summer fellowship, and am still working as a lab tech in my same lab. I will hopefully be on a publication in a few months but nothing regarding publications was on my application. Thanks for any advice.

Taking some time to work in your field of interest is ALWAYS a good idea. Programs will be much more impressed with someone who has proven that they know what full time work in a lab for an extended period of time is like. Not too long, of course, but I was a lab tech for a year after graduating before I applied to grad school (meaning it'll have been almost 2 years by the time I'm in grad school), and my most significant scientific experiences have been during that time. Undergrad research experience is experience, of course, but it isn't very representative of full time lab life. My past year and a half or so has been completely different from the part time experience I had in undergrad, and even the full time summer work I did.

I recommend being a lab tech for at least a full year, so you have something to show for it, or maybe considering a post-bacc program, such as the IRTA at the NIH (I don't think one is necessarily much more beneficial than the other). And, wherever you go, emphasize to your PI from the start that you are interested in pursuing a PhD and are serious about completing your own projects, getting on publications, and presenting at conferences. Those are the things that will prove to graduate programs that you're ready to take on 5+ years of research.

Good luck! 

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Post Bac courses vs focusing on research:

I am hoping to get some advice from the community, as I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Post graduation, I will be working full time as a lab tech in a cancer research lab at a big public research university. This will continue 2 years of research as an undergrad. I am debating on enrolling in science courses as a post bac student. The motivation in doing so would be to continue a positive trend in my science grades as well as make up for lack of pre-reqs (have not taken Calc or physics). 

Here's my question: would taking several more math and science courses (and doing well) have a tangible effect on my application? From what I have explored on this site, as well as speaking with my PIs, it seems that research experience (and one's ability to articulate that experience) is far more important. I would love to leave coursework behind and get into the lab full time, but it seems that enrolling in some courses might not be a bad idea. 

Thanks for any input!

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6 hours ago, ctubbs750 said:

Post Bac courses vs focusing on research:

I am hoping to get some advice from the community, as I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Post graduation, I will be working full time as a lab tech in a cancer research lab at a big public research university. This will continue 2 years of research as an undergrad. I am debating on enrolling in science courses as a post bac student. The motivation in doing so would be to continue a positive trend in my science grades as well as make up for lack of pre-reqs (have not taken Calc or physics). 

Here's my question: would taking several more math and science courses (and doing well) have a tangible effect on my application? From what I have explored on this site, as well as speaking with my PIs, it seems that research experience (and one's ability to articulate that experience) is far more important. I would love to leave coursework behind and get into the lab full time, but it seems that enrolling in some courses might not be a bad idea. 

Thanks for any input!

I think the only reasons to enroll in courses would be if you didn't do very well in undergrad, or if you've been out of school for a while and need to prove you can still do academics.

Not sure how to having completed prereqs comes into play, but research experience is absolutely more valuable. 

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8 hours ago, ctubbs750 said:

Post Bac courses vs focusing on research:

I am hoping to get some advice from the community, as I'm at a bit of a crossroads. Post graduation, I will be working full time as a lab tech in a cancer research lab at a big public research university. This will continue 2 years of research as an undergrad. I am debating on enrolling in science courses as a post bac student. The motivation in doing so would be to continue a positive trend in my science grades as well as make up for lack of pre-reqs (have not taken Calc or physics). 

Here's my question: would taking several more math and science courses (and doing well) have a tangible effect on my application? From what I have explored on this site, as well as speaking with my PIs, it seems that research experience (and one's ability to articulate that experience) is far more important. I would love to leave coursework behind and get into the lab full time, but it seems that enrolling in some courses might not be a bad idea. 

Thanks for any input!

I’d agree with the previous post, research experience is more important.

However, there are reasons outside of getting into graduate school to do the math courses. All scientists need to use quantitative techniques, and calculus is the backbone of many important statistics used in biology. If the goal is to be an independent scientist, you should certainly expose yourself to calculus at some point and I don’t see why doing it before grad school would be a negative. Im sure you see that the trend of the field is to incorporate more computation, and I think the jobs are in that direction as well. I’m genuinely surprised there are stem majors that allow you to avoid calculus, personally I find that it (and even some higher level math) is fundamentally important in biology. 

A quick example in the field of my interest. Differential topology and geometry have become fundamental in understanding neural data from the cellular level and the systems level. 

I studied CS and neuroscience myself and am pursuing more computational work, so I admit I am biased. 

 

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6 hours ago, Baller123 said:

I’d agree with the previous post, research experience is more important.

However, there are reasons outside of getting into graduate school to do the math courses. All scientists need to use quantitative techniques, and calculus is the backbone of many important statistics used in biology. If the goal is to be an independent scientist, you should certainly expose yourself to calculus at some point and I don’t see why doing it before grad school would be a negative. Im sure you see that the trend of the field is to incorporate more computation, and I think the jobs are in that direction as well. I’m genuinely surprised there are stem majors that allow you to avoid calculus, personally I find that it (and even some higher level math) is fundamentally important in biology. 

A quick example in the field of my interest. Differential topology and geometry have become fundamental in understanding neural data from the cellular level and the systems level. 

I studied CS and neuroscience myself and am pursuing more computational work, so I admit I am biased. 

 

Thanks for the response, I couldn't agree more with how biology and mathematics are intertwined. I agree that quantitative literacy is essential for any scientist. I guess I feel that there are ample resources (MOOCs particularly) that are free or cheaper than tuition, and I am comfortable learning that skillset on my own (which I imagine is an important skill to have for a Phd student). This leaves me wondering if formal coursework is necessary, from an admissions point of view. 

Regardless, I really appreciate the input!

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Hi all,

I am in the process of drafting personal statements for graduate school, and I was wondering how open I should be about pursuing a non-academic career after completing the degree. If I do decide to mention it, will it hurt my application?

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28 minutes ago, facelessbeauty said:

Hi all,

I am in the process of drafting personal statements for graduate school, and I was wondering how open I should be about pursuing a non-academic career after completing the degree. If I do decide to mention it, will it hurt my application?

I explicitly stated I was interested in industry, and I had no trouble getting interviews. I interviewed at Stanford, Caltech, UCSD and Berkeley. I declined interviews at UW and CMU. 

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