During the past
eight years I have been either thinking about studying in US,
applying to graduate schools, or attending graduate school in US, so in
one way or another I was constantly involved in either my application
process, my friend's application process or somebody else's application
process (it hard to believe in that even for myself :-). Well, the major
reason is definitely that I am an alumni of FOPF another reason is that
it is very hard to choose something that you will enjoy doing for the
rest of your life.
The first time I applied to US was in 1996, at this time I knew very
little about the whole process of application and what awaits me in US.
It was like a game, my friends did it and I also wanted to try. My
knowledge of English was quite good (TOEFL 600) but my knowledge of
Physics left much to be desired (GRE Physics 770), GRE General went well
(800/760/380). I did know much about importance of statement and
recommendations and I did not know what universities want to read in
them, but I was persisted and I had a really strong desire to get
admitted (I corresponded with secretaries and professors quite a lot).
As a result I got admitted to Univ. of Rochester, Univ. of Minnesota,
SUNY Stony Brook. I have chosen Minnesota because I have already been
there when I was in High School and had American friends there.
When I was leaving I said that I will never ever return. Well there is a
saying "Never say never". That's true. The circumstances that put me
into thinking about going to study in US were very personal and
unexpected. I have studied biophysics at MIPT for a year and was really
happy with my new field. At the end of this year my boyfriend (now
husband) went to study at Berkeley. So... I decided to apply to Biology
Department at the top universities. This time I was much more
experienced in the whole process. I got good books on writing essays, my
American friends did proofreading and gave good ideas and feedback, my
test scores were high (TOEFL 647, GRE (800/780/370), GRE Math 890), I
spent winter in US and could keep track of my application process. So
this time everything went much better than the first time, except... I
did not get admitted to any universities in the Berkeley area, including
Berkeley itself. Still I got admitted to MIT, Princeton, Caltech and
this gave me a good reason to be happy. I have chosen Caltech (although
out of all the cities I would have chosen Boston without thinking). I
received MS in Biology from Caltech in 2001 (a year after admission) and
decided to stop there for now. Being a scientist is not easy and is not
for everyone, but I think that studying at American university is a
great experience in itself and is worth the efforts.
Good luck to you all in fulfilling your goals!
My Statement of Purpose (01/1997)
My Statement of Purpose (01/2000)
explore the links on the left. I hope you will find the information I
presented there useful. I am always happy to receive your comments,
suggestions or questions.