Undergrad with lots of ?s

Linda Kingsbury lab_sakano at maillink.berkeley.edu
Sat Jan 13 18:51:18 EST 1996

In article <DKzx0s.H90 at murdoch.acc.Virginia.EDU>,
lfl2k at darwin.clas.Virginia.EDU (Luciana) wrote:

> I'm a third year biology and political and social thought major
> at UVa.  While I love biology, particularly genetics, I got a
> late start in my studies (I had originially intended to major
> in government and economics, no science).  As a result, I
> sometimes feel as if I am behind in the biology program.  At
> the moment, my plans are to go on to a PhD and hopefully work
> in research.  In the meantime, I was wondering if someone out
> in Netland could help with some of my concerns.
> 1.  What exactly is the grad chool competition like?  I have a
> 3.59, a list of extracurriculars, and several recommendations
> --but I will be taking my first lab beyond intro only this
> semester.  I plan to take independent study next year, but that
> idea has not yet been fleshed out.  Am I being realistic to
> hope to get into a decent grad school, or should I simply apply
> to everywhere on earth and hope someone takes me?

I wouldn't worry about which year you take the lab classes.  The main
thing is to get some *real* lab experience (not a class, but independent
work, preferably at least half-time).  This will help you to know whether
you really want to go to grad school, which is all benchwork, nothing like
taking classes (even lab classes).  Also, knowing some lab techniques well
will help when you get there.  I suggest you read the thread about how
soon to go to grad school; people are right that taking a year or two
after your bachelor's to get some real life experience and maturity will
help tremendously.  A 3.6 GPA should be OK (unless your biolgy grades are
much lower) if your test scores are OK.  Good recommendations help a lot. 
But mostly schools are looking for experience and motivation.  If you
don't get in right away, do some benchwork for a year or two and apply
again.  This is probably a better strategy than "applying everywhere on
earth" as it will not only help you get into grad school, but help make
sure you can survive it when you get there.  Good luck!

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