Early GPA was low due to exceptional hardship, can I still get in somewhere?

<p>I am graduating in May with a B.S. in biology. I'm really worried about my chances of getting into a PhD program with my GPA. This is my 6th year at university. My first few years of undergrad I was the caregiver and financial supporter for my mentally ill, disabled mother. I'd pretty much been her parent since I was 16, caring for her on my own, but when I entered college the abuse and level of care she required skyrocketed. I suffered from a tremendous amount of stress (frequent panic attacks) and my grades were really erratic because of it.</p>

<p>I've always taken harder, sometimes even non required classes, and my transcript has mostly A's and B's, but some C's, D's, and (4) F's are majorly bringing it down. In fall 2006 the stress I was under reached a pinnacle and I failed two classes, both in biology. I realized something had to change and I separated myself from my mom so I could focus on school. Since then I've had almost a 4.0 every semester, but until this fall semester is over, I'll still have that semester with 2 f's in my last 60 hours GPA. I've retaken 3 of the classes I received f's in and got A's the second time around.</p>

<p>Here are my stats:</p>

<p>Cumulative GPA: 2.90
Cumulative GPA after fall grades: 2.98
Last 60 hours as of now: 3.1
Last 60 hours after fall grades: 3.5
General GRE: 98th percentile
Biology GRE: (haven't taken it yet, but by practice tests I think I will do really well)</p>

<p>Research experience: 1 year and continuing in a very hands on, independent project, I also work as the lab's tech</p>

<p>I expect to have very good, and probably at least one extremely good recommendation</p>

<p>I want to get into a genetics PhD program (with the intent of a career in research), because of my shaky grades I'm probably going to apply to 8-10, including some long shots - here are some I'm considering:</p>

<p>U of Wisconsin, WashU, U of Michigan, UNC, U of Washington, Virginia Commonwealth U, U of Chicago, Indiana U, U of Maryland</p>

<p>Anyone have any advice on my chances of getting in somewhere good? Any school recommendations? Insight on my circumstances? Should I shoot for masters programs instead of PhD programs (something I really would like to avoid).</p>

<p>My life is stable now, the stress of being a caretaker/student/employee/full-time abusee from my parent I think far outweighs the stress I would ever encounter in graduate school, and I know I would excel at it. I just don't know if anyone will recognize that.</p>

<p>I don't rlly have any advice cuz I'm also an undergrad. I just wanted to wish you the BEST OF LUCK.</p>

<p>1yr isn't very much research experience. 2yrs is something. Those GREs may help to prove you are as competent as you claim and that your GPA does not reflect your capacity as a student.</p>