This is an off-topic post but it’s such a big part of my life that I have to blog about it at least once. (If you follow me elsewhere on the web, you may already know about this, so apologies for repeating myself!)
Starting this fall, I will be attending Stanford University (School of Medicine) to pursue a PhD degree in Immunology!!
Graduate school application is a long and tedious process here in the States. Let me briefly summarize the events that lead to this. (I was, of course, very bad at planning and procrastinated a lot so the entire process was stressful.)
- September 2010 – Took the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) which is an annoying standardized test that everyone has to take to get into an American graduate school.
- October 2010 – Wrote my personal statement, which was basically an essay about my current research and how that ties into why I want to pursue Immunology in graduate school. (Immunology = study of the immune system). As a microbiologist, I’ve always been interested in host response to bacteria so I thought this would be a great field to pursue.
- November 2010 – Asked 3 professors to write my letters of recommendation. Started the online application.
- Early December 2010 – Finished my applications for 6 universities (Duke, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Stanford, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Brown)
- Mid-December 2010 – Received interview invitations from ALL the universities I applied too! Duke and Harvard were my first interview invites (within 10 days of submitting my application) and Stanford my last.
- End-of-January to Early March 2011 – INTERVIEWS & ACCEPTANCES! My first interview was at Harvard at the end of January and my last interview was the first week of March at Stanford. Interview weekends were so much fun! They lasted 3 to 5 days total. Usually we had faculty interviews for 1-2 days with different professors. I interviewed with just 3 professors at Harvard (fewest) but with 8 professors at Duke (most). The rest of the time was spent exploring the city we were in, going out for dinner with faculty members, going on housing tours, and going to bars with the current students! It was so much fun and I made some great friends along the way. I was accepted at 4 schools and waitlisted at 2! (I was very grateful and lucky to not be rejected anywhere).
- March 2011-April 15, 2011 – After hearing back from all of the schools, it was time to decide. April 15 is pretty much the standard deadline to inform most U.S. graduate schools about whether you’re attending or not. Basically, you have to decide among your acceptances where you want to attend.
- April 15, 2011 – I decided to attend Stanford! I can’t wait to move to beautiful California.
One of my professors swore that it was the most beautiful campus in the U.S. I think I’ll have to agree.