FSU Biology - Application Tips
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Biological Science - Graduate Studies

Florida State University

Application Tips

Tips for a successful application:
  1. Communicate with prospective faculty mentors prior to and after applying to the program.

    First-year CMB students typically arrange for and participate in three lab rotations as a prerequisite for final selection of their lab and major professor. Even though prospective students do NOT need a prospective faculty mentor to sponsor their candidacy prior to application, we strongly encouraged you to reach out to faculty members whose research you are interested in as early as possible. Early communication achieves multiple objectives. 1) You can verify that faculty members are interested in accepting students, 2) You can identify whether faculty that you may be interested in are a potentially good match and can support your aspirations, and 3) You will increase the probability that your application packets will be strongly considered.

  2. Clearly demonstrate in your application and essay:
    • who you are as a person (your background, unique experiences, strengths and weaknesses)

      Assessing prospective students’ potential to acclimate to and thrive in the graduate school environment requires an evaluation of their academic qualifications as well as their non-academic attributes. Attributes considered important for success in graduate school include conscientiousness, self-control, growth mindset, the ability to multitask, the ability to collaborate, critical thinking and problem solving skills, independence, emotional maturity, persistence, creativity and flexibility. A well-developed personal statement provides a good opportunity to clearly describe who you are as a person, and discuss your unique experiences, strengths, weaknesses, challenges you may have faced and overcome. This information will allow a better-informed assessment of you as a prospective graduate student.

    • how your background has prepared you for success and how your presence can enrich the community

      Successful graduate students come from all backgrounds. Some students have extensive prior research experience, some come from other professional fields, and others bring non-traditional experiences. Your application should clearly demonstrate how your experiences have prepared you for the challenges of graduate school and how your qualities and background can help enrich both our department and the field to which you hope to contribute.

    • why you want to attend graduate school

      You should explain why you have chosen to attend graduate school and demonstrate commitment to your professional and intellectual development over the course of a multi-year program. In doing so, you should show that you understand pursuit of a graduate education presents significant challenges and sacrifices

    • what makes you excited about our graduate program and how can it help you reach your long-term goals

      Our goal is to train graduate students and help them reach their aspirations. You should carefully research, consider, and explain how faculty in Cell and Molecular Biology, the Department of Biological Science, and Florida State University in general can help you in your development and in pursuit of your goals.