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masters for neuroscience, please help!

granitestater220granitestater220 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited November 2012 in Graduate School
I am seriously stressing out so if anyone could offer me any insight that would be GREATLY appreciated. In May I graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology with an integrated learning major of neuroscience. Unfortunately I graduated with a 2.9 and I am really worried.

I have a few semesters where I made the deans list and I have a year of research in two different neuroscience labs. One at Syracuse University and the other at SUNY Upstate Medical University. In my personal statement I explained that I have struggled with depression. I have fairly good letters of recommendations. During fall semester of my senior year I applied to PhD programs for neuroscience and was rejected from all of them. This time around I applied for the spring semester at the University of Hartford for the masters in neuroscience.

What are my chances of getting accepted?? PLEASE HELP! Thank you
Post edited by granitestater220 on

Replies to: masters for neuroscience, please help!

  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,441 Senior Member
    I have no idea your chances, but first off, you would be smart to pursue the master's to show that you now have whatever issues caused low grades under control. I would not write about having depression in detail as I would think that would leave Adcoms wondering if that is going to come back.

    A PI wants to see that you are stable and have life under control and that you know what you are getting into with a research PhD and that you will stick with it.

    If you do not get in now, find a nearby lab and volunteer, get that prof to recommend you for a master's provisional admission despite your GPA. Once in, be reliable and be dedicated. Make sure you get As in your classes and work hard to obtain strong LORs. You may be able to get into a PhD after that.
  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 Registered User Posts: 494 Member
    I think you should write specifically about your personal struggle with the mood disorder. Perhaps it's your primary motivating factor in pursuing a master's degree in neuroscience -- to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying major depressive episodes. If that's the case, then you should explore that fully in your personal statement. Don't try to hide it at all. Having a personal interest in the research that one does counts for a lot. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of.

    somemom's advice about working in a nearby lab as a volunteer or technician is a good one. That's the way to get your foot in the door at the university. Your PI/boss could then write a strong letter of recommendation and/or offer to take you on as a grad student.

    Best of luck on the admissions process!
  • granitestater220granitestater220 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks! I have looked into labs starting in this summer. I currently live in New Hampshire and have had difficulty finding any options that are within driving distance.

    Bartleby007: I mentioned my motivations in neuroscience in my personal statement and how my personal experiences how shaped who I am. Which may give me a unique perspective on the field and will hopefully help aid with any research I do.

    I am just worried this is not enough. I have had semesters where I have showed definite improvement and that I am capable of grasping a difficult subject, such as organic chemistry. I really hope this is enough. I know that admission statistics for graduate schools are not normally found on the internet which is why I am so worried. I am not sure what exactly the school is looking for an how I measure of to students they have admitted in the past.

    I guess for now I just have to sit and wait. If anyone has any good websites that may offer some more insight on the process and any statistics about admissions that would be great!
  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 Registered User Posts: 494 Member
    It's easy to predict what grad schools look for in applicants (high GPA, challenging course of study, evidence of generating quality research [some sort of publication record], high GRE scores, glowing letters of recommendation, etc.).

    Due to your subpar GPA, you need to bolster all of the other parts of your application. Your best bet is "through the backdoor." Start working as a technician in a university lab. "Prove" yourself by being a reliable, enthusiastic worker who understands the science behind the experiments. This means avoiding careless errors, putting in extra hours, being able to troubleshoot problems, and having the capacity to work independently. If you impress the PI, he/she will offer to take you on as a grad student. It happens all the time...
  • somemomsomemom Registered User Posts: 10,441 Senior Member
    Depression is nothing to be ashamed of.

    I did not mean to imply that it was a subject of which to be ashamed, but rather to point out that if you peruse the CC, SDN, and Chronicle forums, in short order you will see that everyone has an excuse. If a mood disorder is an excuse for bad grades, then don't mention it. Don't mention anything that comes across as an excuse.

    On the other hand, Bartleby brings up an excellent point, if that mood disorder is your motivation and if it is well-controlled (remember, your PI wants you to do research that advances his lab, he/she is not interested in your having distractions) then, yes, that could give the adcom & PI great insight into your passion.
  • granitestater220granitestater220 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    somemom: I have read on multiple websites that if you have dips in your grades during certain semesters you should explain as to why. Although my depression has been a downfall it can also be used as a motivator. I don't think that explaining my depression is an excuse. If it comes off that way then I am greatly worried. I have had an extreme passion for neuroscience since I was 12 years old and I wish I could do college all over again to improve. I know that I should not dwell and that a lot of people probably say the same thing. I just want to pursue a career in neuroscience and I'm hoping that the adcom can look past my apparent low GPA and see that I can be more than just an average student.

    I am understanding that me having depression can greatly work against me. I have been struggling with that on my own but I am hoping it does not get in the way of my goals. Does anyone have anymore advice? I really appreciate everyones feedback.
  • granitestater220granitestater220 Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    somemom, this website won't let me reply to your PM because I don't have 15 posts yet. I just wanted to thank you on here for your help. I appreciate it.
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