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My Experience

 

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.

After a year at the University of Minnesota, I returned to Russia and got MS in Biophysics. Later, I decided to apply to Biology program 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. I got admitted to MIT, Princeton and Caltech. I have chosen Caltech for personal reasons, otherwise Boston is defientely a better place to be. I received MS in Biology from Caltech in 2001 and decided to stop there and pursue other dreams. 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)


Please 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.