The Impetus and Evolution of the Maps & Genes Blog

Interested in the details on how this blog got started?

Get the background scoop via this article from Perspectives in Genetic Counseling (page 8-9)

Perspectives m&g

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2 thoughts on “The Impetus and Evolution of the Maps & Genes Blog

  1. Chloe says:

    Hello–I just found this blog by accident and I could not be happier. What a cool idea that provides a much needed network for prospective students. I am embarking on the application journey this fall and was just about to start my first application when I came across maps and genes. I originally applied to 4 programs in 2015 and was not successful. I became disheartened as I knew my grades weren’t great (3.3 GPA) and I had just graduated from college unable to change them. My parents urged me to consider other options but I was stubborn, I knew genetic counseling was my calling. A year and a half later I am working as a research technician in a pharmaceutical biosciences lab, I moved back in and out again of my parent’s house, have been a sexual assault crisis response advocate for the last year and have met with almost a dozen GCs in the state of Washington. I also plan to attend the NSGC conference in a couple of weeks. Once I settled on the fact that I could not change my grades I decided the rest of my resume better shine. I am still worried about applying again even though I have expanded my list to about 14 programs and I am much more qualified two years later. I’m looking over some of the feedback from programs a couple years ago and one of the suggestions was to diversify my recommendations. I had 3 professors write on my behalf last time, so I agree it wasn’t the most well-rounded group of individuals. I know I want the volunteer coordinator for the crisis line to write a letter, and my Principle Investigator in the lab, but I am unsure for my third recommender.

    I was considering asking a GC I have been shadowing once a month for a consistent 5 months now, but I also know she is extremely busy as there is a current shortage of GC in my town and often works overtime. I know several other GC but have only met them once or twice so it may not be as personal. Would it be rude of me to ask her to write a recommendation knowing she is very busy? I’m wondering if you could share some information about who provided your letters and what might be a good place to search for a strong 3rd recommender…

    Thank you so much and thank you for such an awesome blog, keep it up!

    • Angelina says:

      Hi Chloe!

      First year GC student here (not affiliated with this blog). First off, I just wanted to say that your resume and experiences sound wonderful! Programs love to see that you have worked on your weaknesses and are re-applying as a stronger, wiser and more diversified candidate.

      I think the key here is to just ask! I am almost positive the GC would be more than happy to write you a reference letter. The worst you can hear is a no. In fact, in my experience most supervisors assumed that they would be writing me a reference letter at the end of my volunteer term (btw, my 3 references included 2 GCs that I had shadowed/volunteered with and the supervisor of my crisis line) Also, is there any way you would be able to increase your shadowing days leading up to when applications are due (ie. twice a month or once a week?) The more experience the better…and in this case, the more you get to know your referring GC, the better they can get to know you and write you an honest and accurate letter.

      Also, in order to alleviate the workload on their end, you definitely want to give them advance notice of due dates (2-3+ months at least) because you never know if they may be going on vacation, sick, etc. Also, reminder emails can help (in this case I think it’s OK to nag if time is cutting close and they still haven’t submitted them). Some references also asked me for a list of my accomplishments and things I learned while volunteering in the clinic to help them with writing their letter. While 14 references might seem like a lot, I got the impression that most program applications requested letters in a similar format, so it shouldn’t be hard for your reference to quickly tailor it to the specific school. In fact, I know several classmates who had their references write 10-14 recommendations for them…so not completely unheard of!

      Hope this helps & good luck with your applications 🙂

      Angelina

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