Marisano James and Dr. Shaffer at Quail Ridge during the Feb 16, 2008 Recruitment Weekend field trip.
How does the admission process work?
Admission to the Population Biology Graduate Group is basically a three-part process.
Part 1: In the first part of the admissions process, the Admissions Committee reviews all parts of the written application materials (transcripts, GRE scores, statement of purpose, personal history statement, and letters of recommendation) to identify a pool of candidates with outstanding academic credentials and research experience. The Admissions Committee creates a list of potentially admissible students. Thus, the major responsibility for the first part of the admission process lies with the PBGG program.
Part 2: The second part of the admissions process is no less critical than the first, and is different because the major responsibility for its execution lies with YOU, the prospective graduate student (although we will certainly try to be as helpful as we possibly can).
The second part of the admission process is to find ideal ‘matches’ between prospective students and PBGG faculty who can serve as their First Year Mentors (and often subsequently as their major professors). In some cases, students may choose to be co-advised by two faculty. Finding the right match involves first and foremost identifying faculty who share research interests with the prospective student, but also who have space in their laboratory group and can contribute to the financial support of the prospective student.
It is essential that prospective students contact faculty whose laboratories are conducting research in the areas that the student wishes to pursue to introduce themselves and inquire about faculty willingness to accept a new student. This process of communicating with potential faculty sponsors often begins well before the written application is completed. (There is little time between the application deadline of January 2 and the date when invitations go out for the recruitment visit; thus, it is helpful to correspond with potential faculty sponsors relatively early in the admissions ‘season’ -- students often correspond with faculty between September and December. Please see the descriptions of faculty research programs under the section "People...Faculty".)
Part 3: Having been deemed admissible by the Admissions Committee and successfully identified one or more potential faculty advisors (who have expressed to PBGG staff their serious interest in having the prospective student join their lab), the prospective student will be invited to campus during the recruitment weekend. This in-person visit is an essential final step in determining if the hoped-for match between prospective student and sponsoring faculty member (the First Year Mentor) exists. Offers of admission to the Population Biology Graduate Group are generally sent out approximately one week following the recruitment weekend visit.
We wish you every success.
Drs. Begun and Yang