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Allowed to give up NSERC after you accepted it in the first place?


ysk1

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I've been awarded the NSERC and I officially accepted it, but then I'm realizing that the PI and the lab I'm going to work in are not that great and it would be better to just enroll in the summer semester.

Is it possible to cancel my previous decision to take the NSERC?

If it's possible and I give up the award, will the PI and lab members be annoyed?

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I would guess they would be a little pissed off, but if you told them that you really needed to take those courses (which I assume you do if you are doing them in the summer), I'm sure they would understand. That being said, are you really sure you want to drop your NSERC award? What makes these people so bad? :(

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In my faculty, quite a few people give up their NSERCs.

I was talking about it with the lady who is in charge with the paperwork concerning the awards, and, apparently, it's not such a big deal.

So, if you're going to spend the whole summer hating your job, might as well come up with a good excuse, thank the supervisor, and quit before you start.

Quitting halfway through would be really bad.

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My concern is not that I'm going to hate doing NSERC over the summer, but rather that I might be assigned to a post-doc and as a result my NSERC experience will not be as worthwhile. Even if I get to do it with my PI, I can't be sure that he'll be a great mentor. There's also a very small chance of being included as a coauthor for a publication in my chosen lab. So I might as well do NSERC in third or fourth year when I find a better PI and lab.

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I think your concerns are valid, and I am sure you can still decline your NSERC award at this time. Or... have you considered switching PIs even at this stage? If you can pinpoint a specific aspect of your project that you do not like, I think NSERC allows your to switch PIs and work under another prof in the same university and department. I've done NSERC before and I believe you can switch PIs even after you begin your placement.

 

Also, keep in mind that co-authoring on a paper isn't always a guarantee. There are some PIs who make you work your tail off and give you absolutely no recognition. I would say you'd have to be lucky to find a PI who will let you co-author on a piece of work.

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assigned to a post-doc and as a result my NSERC experience will not be as worthwhile. Even if I get to do it with my PI, I can't be sure that he'll be a great mentor.

 

 

Also, I believe being assigned to a post-doc /phD student is the norm. It's great to work with the actual PI, of course, but this is rare. I know maybe ~20 people who have done research over the summer, but I would say around 3 of them actually worked with the PI (and these PIs tended to be younger and less established).

 

For my projects I worked directly with the phD or post-doc, and reported to my PI maybe like... once a month? I didn't find my project compromised at all - I felt pretty happy that I got to work with my mentors side by side and ask pretty much any question at any time. So don't worry if you get assigned to a post-doc!

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I have had interviews at Mac, Ottawa & UoT. I am quite confident of getting in at UoT & Mac. UoT obviously will be my first choice. If I get in UoT, I will not do NSERC in summer. I know prof will not like it, but need a summer to recuperate before med school. I am sure prof will understand.

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I have had interviews at Mac, Ottawa & UoT. I am quite confident of getting in at UoT & Mac. UoT obviously will be my first choice.

 

Hey there,

 

I also interviewed at Mac, Ottawa and U of T. I am wondering what your reasons are behind picking U of T over Ottawa. Currently it's my first choice too (if I get in), but I feel that it's a close call between U of T and Ottawa... so I'm just wondering about your opinions.

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Hey there,

 

I also interviewed at Mac, Ottawa and U of T. I am wondering what your reasons are behind picking U of T over Ottawa. Currently it's my first choice too (if I get in), but I feel that it's a close call between U of T and Ottawa... so I'm just wondering about your opinions.

 

I messed up in Ottawa, so that is not an option for me. So I am left with UoT only (if I get in). I am not particularly interested in Mac.

 

UoT is a great school, ranked quite high in North America. I also understand that UoT MDs do well in licensing exams. Ottawa too is good in that respect. Mac program, I understand does not prepare you well for licensing exam and then getting desired specialty becomes difficult. Mac is okay if you just want to be a family physician. This is based on what I have heard from various people.

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I have had interviews at Mac, Ottawa & UoT. I am quite confident of getting in at UoT & Mac. UoT obviously will be my first choice. If I get in UoT, I will not do NSERC in summer. I know prof will not like it, but need a summer to recuperate before med school. I am sure prof will understand.

 

I was wondering, since NSERC starts in early May and you hear back from schools after that, is it possible to leave NSERC after starting it?

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In response to underdog,

 

In my opinion, NSERC isn't THAT prestigious. It's not that hard to get since not many people are necessarily interested in doing research over the summer as opposed to traveling or whatever.

 

I would say the hard part of NSERC is finding a supervisor who agrees to have you in their lab...Once you have that, with a decent GPA, your chances are great.

 

I used to think it was quite prestigious and then learned that someone with a 3.2 got one, so ya, not so much too high up on the prestige scale.

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In my opinion, NSERC isn't THAT prestigious. It's not that hard to get since not many people are necessarily interested in doing research over the summer as opposed to traveling or whatever.

I think how prestigious NSERC is depends on the lab and/or department of interest. Previously I saw a guy with a GPA of 3.8 getting rejected. He applied to do NSERC in a famous lab at a cancer agency. He said the number of applicants exceeded the number of available awards greatly, and most applicants had a GPA of 3.7+. So the decision-makers also looked at other factors like previous research experience and EC's. He was in second year then and most applicants were in third or fourth year. So he lacked much of those other factors compared to other applicants in the same applicantion cycle, and he ended up not getting it.

 

I used to think it was quite prestigious and then learned that someone with a 3.2 got one, so ya, not so much too high up on the prestige scale.

NSERC requires you to have a minimum GPA of B, if I recall correctly. If you have at least that GPA, and if no one in the same application cycle has a GPA higher than yours, then you'll get one. It all depends on how many people and what kinds of people apply at a given year for a given department and lab and how many NSERC awards are available for distribution.

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How prestigous is it to get a NSERC award? I mean it's not like you get a ton of money or anything. But is it a highly recognized award?

 

It's a double whammy of (usually) recognizing good marks, and offering a well-known way of getting research experience. Both are reasons it looks good on a med application. I'm doing my third NSERC USRA this summer, but I love the lab I work in and I have been fortunate in that I've been able to work on my own project all this time.

 

I'm more torn over what to do next year if I don't get into med school. I've been awarded an NSERC CGS-M, but my research experience hasn't left me very enthusiastic about doing a Master's. It's really rare to be able to do a Master's in one year in the biosciences, and I don't want to have to wait 2 years until my next application cycle :(

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I messed up in Ottawa, so that is not an option for me. So I am left with UoT only (if I get in). I am not particularly interested in Mac.

 

UoT is a great school, ranked quite high in North America. I also understand that UoT MDs do well in licensing exams. Ottawa too is good in that respect. Mac program, I understand does not prepare you well for licensing exam and then getting desired specialty becomes difficult. Mac is okay if you just want to be a family physician. This is based on what I have heard from various people.

 

Mmm, that sounds good. Good luck with everything - maybe we'll see each other at U of T next year! :)

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Wow NSERC must be really competitive out there. I have an NSERC and I am only in first year. There wasn't even an interview!

 

that's weird...I always thought it was a requirement for you to be in second year to get a NSERC USRA.

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that's weird...I always thought it was a requirement for you to be in second year to get a NSERC USRA.

 

The requirement is that you should've completed at least most or all of your first-year courses. You can be in first year and still have completed all of your first-year courses. How? By having taken AP or IB courses in high school.

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depends which university you got it at, some are more competitive than others. try getting one at u of t =p

 

I think it's more competitive than you think and, of course, it varies from school to school and department to department. Some schools have more awards than others and some advertise the awards better than others.

 

I applied at Western and Windsor -- I go to Western, but live in Windsor, so would prefer to be at home during the summer.

 

I received news that I received the award at Western in early February, but Windsor did not make the final decisions until late March. I had to get an extension on the deadline to accept at Western because my supervisor at Windsor could not guarantee that I would receive the award at Windsor -- and this was with a 4.0 GPA. Windsor's GPA cutoffs are different than Western's so if I had the marks I do at Western at Windsor, I wouldn't have exactly a 4.0, but it would be close.

 

Each school has slightly different criteria (i.e., GPA, year of study, school you attend) that are also weighted differently. In general, the higher the GPA, the better your chances.

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The way I understand it is each department in each school has a certain number of USRA's they can award and the criterion for awarding them is mainly (or solely) GPA. The GPA that will secure an award varies by year, school, and department. For example, a friend of mine this year applied for an NSERC USRA in Neuroscience at Dal with a 4.16/4.30 GPA (a little higher than an 85% average) and didn't receive an award whereas another friend who applied last year through Biology with a 3.70/4.30 got one.

 

I think the biggest benefit that the award brings to your CV is the research experience. A USRA is probably the easiest way of getting into a paid position in a lab provided you have supervisor in mind and have a high enough GPA (which most competetive pre-meds should). Of course, some med schools value research experience more than others and it is by no means a requirement at any school.

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