cindyboop

PhD Fall 2018 Applicants

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Anyone else already freaking out about applying to PhD programs Fall 2018? I thought I might start a thread for us all to due a little venting and give each other advice.  

Let's all start by introducing ourselves!

Program of interest: Behavioral Neuroscience

Schools you have looked at: I feel like I've looked at almost every school that has a behavioral neuroscience program. I'm interested in programs in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Massachusetts

Number one worry about applying: My GPA was on the low side after finishing my undergrad and I had a lack of research experience. I've been trying to make up for that by working as a research assistant and getting my masters but I'm worried that won't be enough...

Edited by cindyboop

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SAME thanks for posting this!

Program of Interest: Neurobiology 

Schools you have looked at: Weill Cornell, Columbia (basically anything in NYC) 

Number one worry: *Can I really only pick one?* My GPA in my science classes is nothing special, and I also have to take the GRE and am seriously concerned that I won't do well (standardized testing really isn't my thing) 

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I recommend studying like crazy for the GRE and if you can afford it, to take a prep course. I spent an entire summer studying and I did pretty well. Unfortunately, I have to retake them because it will have been 5 years by the time I apply to PhD programs. So I'm back in the same boat you are! 

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Hi! Fellow applicant for Fall 2018! :)

 

I'm just starting my search into programs but I do have some worries!

I'm considering re-taking the GRE to better my score (I've only taken it once and in a panic because I thought my institution where I'm at now for my Master's degree required it). I'm also worried that my current research project won't be as successful as my undergraduate research experience! I hope that does not reflect badly on my part...

 

I'm looking forward to braving this application cycle with you all!

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I applied this session of admissions and noticed several of you are discussing the general GRE. For what it's worth, I used Magoosh online because I could work on it whenever I felt like it and there were little videos about the questions/problems showing you how to arrive at the answer, which was helpful. I primarily focused on the verbals as I had been told that's all that English departments really care about. Magoosh has down to a T the general test as to the style ETS uses in the real test. Once you are comfortable with the way a test is given, you do much better. Practicing put me at ease and I finished the test fairly quickly (2.5 hours), scoring high (93%) on verbals and well enough in the math to put my total score somewhat over 300. The other thing I will state about the test, is that it's all algebra and finite math. If you're like me, we used the TI 83 or TI 84 to compute the problems. I believe we could use those in the test, but it would be good to check so that if not allowed, you will have time to learn how to do them the long way. Good luck.

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4 hours ago, cowgirlsdontcry said:

I applied this session of admissions and noticed several of you are discussing the general GRE. For what it's worth, I used Magoosh online because I could work on it whenever I felt like it and there were little videos about the questions/problems showing you how to arrive at the answer, which was helpful. I primarily focused on the verbals as I had been told that's all that English departments really care about. Magoosh has down to a T the general test as to the style ETS uses in the real test. Once you are comfortable with the way a test is given, you do much better. Practicing put me at ease and I finished the test fairly quickly (2.5 hours), scoring high (93%) on verbals and well enough in the math to put my total score somewhat over 300. The other thing I will state about the test, is that it's all algebra and finite math. If you're like me, we used the TI 83 or TI 84 to compute the problems. I believe we could use those in the test, but it would be good to check so that if not allowed, you will have time to learn how to do them the long way. Good luck.

You can only use a simple on-screen calculator. And if you're decent at mental math (I'm not) you're probably better off limiting calculator use as it really eats up time.

Second your recommendation of Magoosh. It's by far the best GRE study aid out there.

Edited by metalpsychperson

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19 hours ago, cowgirlsdontcry said:

It's also inexpensive compared to Princeton, etc.

How much does it cost?

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1 minute ago, cindyboop said:

How much does it cost?

I bought Magoosh in summer of 2014. It was $99 and I had use of it for six months. It prepared me for the way the test is made. A lot of the questions on the verbal portion of the test are somewhat tricky in that you think there could be more than one answer. Magoosh shows you why only one answer is correct and how to reason that answer out. I worked on it randomly and could pick up any time where I left off.

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I personally didn't like Magoosh that much. Felt way too simplistic. I used Gruber for math and then just bought the Manhattan 5lb book of GRE practice problems. Just grind problems until you understand the structure and types of problems you'll likely see.

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On 4/14/2017 at 11:21 PM, mutualist007 said:

Joining in partially because I have to for another year, and to vent -- maybe rethink my life.

My interests are falling back to cultural and social neuroscience and biopsychology

What schools are you looking at for biopsych?

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On 4/17/2017 at 2:19 PM, dancedementia said:

I personally didn't like Magoosh that much. Felt way too simplistic. I used Gruber for math and then just bought the Manhattan 5lb book of GRE practice problems. Just grind problems until you understand the structure and types of problems you'll likely see.

Really? I found the Magoosh problems much harder than the ones on the actual test, and a bit harder than the manhattan 5 lb book. I scored significantly lower on magoosh practice tests than I did on the actual tests or the ETS practice tests. 

This might be the first time I've ever heard of someone who disliked Magoosh. I don't think I would have scored nearly as high as I did without it. It helped me way more than the Manhattan book. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Lol at the guy downvoting anyone who recommends Magoosh. We're just relaying our experiences in case they help someone else. Nobody is saying you have to like it.

Edited by metalpsychperson

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20 hours ago, mutualist007 said:

I'm reevaluating a lot of things now, so at this time none yet. Yourself?

Gotcha. Have you applied in the past?

I'm looking at SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Binghamton, OSHU, Washington State, Colorado State, UMass Amherst, BU, BC, Dartmouth (possibly), University of British Columbia, UC Davis, and a few others. I have to really narrow down my list, especially since there is no way I can afford to apply to all of these..

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11 hours ago, metalpsychperson said:

Really? I found the Magoosh problems much harder than the ones on the actual test, and a bit harder than the manhattan 5 lb book. I scored significantly lower on magoosh practice tests than I did on the actual tests or the ETS practice tests. 

This might be the first time I've ever heard of someone who disliked Magoosh. I don't think I would have scored nearly as high as I did without it. It helped me way more than the Manhattan book. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Lol at the guy downvoting anyone who recommends Magoosh. We're just relaying our experiences in case they help someone else. Nobody is saying you have to like it.

Did you try or have you heard anything about the online Kaplan courses? I'm in-between Magoosh and Kaplan. 

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2 hours ago, Becks_Psych said:

Did you try or have you heard anything about the online Kaplan courses? I'm in-between Magoosh and Kaplan. 

I never tried Kaplan because it's waaay too expensive IMO. No idea how good it is.

Edited by metalpsychperson

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5 minutes ago, metalpsychperson said:

I never tried Kaplan because it's waaay too expensive IMO. No idea how good it is.

Yeah that's what keeps me from using Kaplan.....Can't imagine putting that much money into this test. 

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Thank you for posting this! :) I am also hoping to enter a neuroscience PhD program fall of 2018. 

I have already started to freak out about the application process, but remember: everything you have done has led you up to this!

Have you had a chance to talk to your research mentor(s) regarding your graduate school plans, and whether or not they'd be open to writing you a strong and favorable letter of recommendation? While it can be hard to kick the feeling of poor grades, try to focus on the things you can change on your application. In your case, I'd say you have strengthened your application by working as a research assistant and by obtaining your Master's. Oftentimes, less than stellar grades can be outweighed by stronger GRE scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, and your personal statement. I hope this helps! :) 

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8 hours ago, Becks_Psych said:

Did you try or have you heard anything about the online Kaplan courses? I'm in-between Magoosh and Kaplan. 

Hi. I actually used Magoosh and did love certain aspects (like the verbal flash card app) of it but I could not gain the confidence I needed in the quant sections. I ended up doing the in-class Kaplan course at my local college and I do not regret the money spent. It boosted my Q 9 points, V 3, and AWA .5. If you are confident in self-teaching then Magoosh is the best but if you're like me and need to have someone there watching your mistakes, Kaplan is a great option. Just my two cents :)

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1 hour ago, ellieotter said:

Hi. I actually used Magoosh and did love certain aspects (like the verbal flash card app) of it but I could not gain the confidence I needed in the quant sections. I ended up doing the in-class Kaplan course at my local college and I do not regret the money spent. It boosted my Q 9 points, V 3, and AWA .5. If you are confident in self-teaching then Magoosh is the best but if you're like me and need to have someone there watching your mistakes, Kaplan is a great option. Just my two cents :)

Thanks for the input! 

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On 4/19/2017 at 2:27 PM, NeuroImmunoNerd said:

Thank you for posting this! :) I am also hoping to enter a neuroscience PhD program fall of 2018. 

I have already started to freak out about the application process, but remember: everything you have done has led you up to this!

Have you had a chance to talk to your research mentor(s) regarding your graduate school plans, and whether or not they'd be open to writing you a strong and favorable letter of recommendation? While it can be hard to kick the feeling of poor grades, try to focus on the things you can change on your application. In your case, I'd say you have strengthened your application by working as a research assistant and by obtaining your Master's. Oftentimes, less than stellar grades can be outweighed by stronger GRE scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, and your personal statement. I hope this helps! :) 

Thanks for your response! Thank was nice of you! My bosses all know I am applying to PhD programs in the fall so I will most likely be leaving my position. I believe they will be open to writing me letter of recommendations, at least I hope. One of them did for my Masters program but that is in state and close enough so I can still work full time (well mostly). 

What programs have you looked into so far?

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On 4/19/2017 at 9:32 PM, Adelaide9216 said:

Hello,

so you would apply in Fall 2018 in order to start the program in Fall 2019? 

Apply 2017 to start Fall 2018

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