Following article about PhD in Life Science was submitted by Moen Sen, PhD Candidate from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
The demand for Biology is at an all-time high in India. But, the immense hard work required and the long, erratic hours make almost all students bid adieu to it after their under-graduation.
And then there are some who don’t mind all that. Because to them it’s not ‘work’. It’s what they love doing.
Sadly, many such students have to grudgingly change track because they cannot afford higher education and have no guidance. If that’s you.. read on!
1.It’s not easy
But then again, if it was, everyone would be doing it!
It takes methodical preparation. Decide soon whether you want to pursue a PhD in the U.S.
Once you make that decision, let nothing change it.
Focus and prepare. Build up your C.V.
Work on your GRE. Do well in college.
Think- why should the U.S. want you?
A PhD is a big commitment. [ Explain it to Me - What is PhD ]
You will most likely be paid for it.
Universities will never take a risk with a PhD candidate.
Your SOP should abate their worries. They should feel secure and confident taking you.
Be creative. Do all that you love doing.
Your SOP should scream ‘YOU’.
Do not do anything just to decorate your C.V. That’s not honest.
And learning to be honest to yourself is one of the primary requirements of a PhD candidate.
2.Do not let ‘agony aunts’ sway you
In India, everyone has an opinion.
But just because Ajay’s brother’s wife’s sister’s friend’s husband went to Stanford does not mean you have to listen to him.
(HSB – Good one.. best advise)
Identify your area of interest and narrow down.
Consult professionals like USIEF or hunt students down who are already in the U.S.
Remember, 95% of the people who do come to the U.S. come for their masters. [Which is better - MS or PhD]
A PhD is a totally different ball game.
3.Do not be blind to ranking systems
In a country where getting into IIT or IMA takes precedence over everything else- your childhood, and your subject of interest , this is almost impossible to believe.
But remember, most Universities are ranked for their Undergraduate courses.
Even the ones that do rank according to your area of interest, only take Universities into account.
The shocker is that some of the best Hospitals in the US have PhD programs that go unnoticed.
Since we are talking about life sciences, this is extremely important. Most of the research facilities affiliated with Hospitals have excellent, world renowned faculty and lots of funding.
Look into all the details of the University you have chosen.
Take into account the number of faculty doing research in your area of interest.
Remember, some of them may not be taking any students the year you join.
Find out about health insurance, cost of living and what the alumni is doing.
5.Listen to your heart
When it’s time to make a decision, listen to your heart.
Pick a program you ‘feel’ you will be happiest in.
The faculty may have seemed the friendliest.
The research probably excited you more.
Don’t let anyone influence your decision.
It takes 5-6 years to get a PhD. And the road is extremely tough.
Experiments may not work. Exams may not go well.
Your mice may just refuse to breed.
At times like that, Ajay’s brother’s wife’s sister’s friend’s husband who went to Stanford will not come to help you.
Choose a program that makes you happy.