When it comes to preparing for and applying to grad school (at least in the sciences), I don’t have any magic insight, but basically, my advice boils down to:

  1. get as much research experience as you can as early as you can – this lets you make sure you really enjoy it and also shows the school that you really want to do research (at least for the time it takes to get a PhD – then you can do lots of stuff) and you know what it entails
  2. show the school that you know why you did what you did research-wise, how your work fits into the bigger picture, and what future directions of the work could be
  3. talk about how you were able to critical think/troubleshoot/optimize to make an experiment work
  4. show how you can think critically & creatively
  5. know *why* you are applying (and not just cuz you’ve been in school your whole life and don’t know what else to do, so grad school seems like the next logical step)

Best of luck to everyone! And remember that there is a LOT of luck that goes into acceptances. Like maybe the person reading your app was just having a bad day or something. So don’t feel bad if some place rejects you (not to mention how some people have a lot more privileges and access to the resources to get more experience, etc.). Remember that they can’t really know you from just a couple statements and grades and stuff. That stuff doesn’t define you. It doesn’t define your worth as a person and it doesn’t define your potential to become an amazing scientist! I hope that this post helps you at least give yourself the best shot possible to show them your awesomeness when you apply.

This is part 1 of me answering some of the questions you submitted through the IUBMB (International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). More to come…

lots more grad-school related content here: https://bit.ly/gradschoolposts

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