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Pre-PhDTraining: NIH IRTA or other

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 5:11 pm
by Aaron
Thanks to all those in the forum who have been so honest about their experiences; this forum is a valuable resource. My situation: Before applying to a PhD program, I want to gain more experience in research to counter a weak UGrad GPA (2.96; I kept forgetting to go to class...). Option 1 would be to pursue an RA job in Boston and hope to get a spot under a PI that will let me pursue some independent research. Option 2 is to go for a pre-graduate research training through NIH's IRTA (only such program I have found so far; if any of you have heard of another, let me know). This program is structured so that by the end, participants are expected to apply for graduate programs, and they are presumably more competitive by the end of the training.

I would probably make more money at a Boston job, but the IRTA seems like it might boost my graduate application b/c it seems more academically oriented. I am wondering if any of you have any suggestions about which would be better. I understand that my chances at a good PhD program will largely depend on the individual lab that I end up in and the work I accomplish. Should this be my main consideration? I suspect that the IRTA program might allow me to learn techniques that I might not have the chance to learn as a technician; would this boost my application? If you are familiar with the IRTA program, do you know if grad programs like to see it on an application (as opposed to general technician training)? Any tips will be appreciated. Thanks, Aaron