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  • When did you apply to PhD programs?
    I applied during my last year of undergraduate studies.
  • How many programs did you apply to?
    11! BUT I had a scholarship (LSAMPS) that waived the majority of my application fees. I was also applying during the peak of the pandemic and was uncertain if programs would be accepting less students due to the impacts of COVID.
  • How many programs did you get accepted to?
    Transparency time! Interviews: 9 Acceptances: 7 Rejections/Waitlists after Interviews: 2 Rejections: 2
  • What types of programs did you apply to?
    I applied to a range of programs. These included chemistry, chemical biology, neuroscience, and pharmacology. In my personal experience, the degree program mostly dictates the coursework you will take, but in most cases, you can work with a range of professors across disciplines.
  • How did you decide which program to apply to at each institution?
    Since I was a multi-disciplinary student in undergrad, I looked at many programs within the same school (as reflected in my spreadsheet). Some institutions allow you to apply to multiple of their programs - I never did this personally. Sometimes the faculty you can work/rotate with will be restricted to the different programs. I kept this in mind. However, if programs had flexibility with the professors you could work with, I considred the type of courses I would take and whether I would like them.
  • What elements did you add to your graudate school statements?
    I wrote about my personal motivations to pursue a PhD. Often times, we get the advice "don't write about how your grandmother died from cancer, so I want to do cancer research." Well, I think this is poor advice. I personally do not think there's any reason to ignore your genuine introduction to a field. I wrote about losing someone close to me and how that spurred my motivation to research the molecular mechanisms of diseases. I don't think it hindered my application, but that is only my experience.
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