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NIH PostBacc IRTA Application Process

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by POA AFLAT POG, 09.19.14.

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  1. POA AFLAT POG

    POA AFLAT POG 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    07.02.13
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    If any past/current/recently accepted IRTAs can chime in, I would deeply appreciate it.

    I'm very interested in joining this program, however, it is taking a very long time and I was wondering if this is normal. I've completed the online application and submitted all 3 of my LORs. I've been emailing PIs since the end of August, but none have responded. I'm fully aware that these are very busy people. I would just like a glimmer of hope and some reassurance that all this work is not for nil.

    Anyways, my questions are:
    • How long is the application process? They've stated to apply 3-6 months before you want to start, but do PI even bother to look at a 6 month old application, let alone check to see if that applicant has emailed them?
    • How many PI did you have to contact before you were offered a position?
    • What time did you begin?

    this silence is deafening

    Many Thanks!
     
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  3. areserine

    areserine 2+ Year Member

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    Basically everyone starts May-September since one or two years will then line up with ending college and starting med/grad school. It's also the end of the fiscal year right now. Basically, it's not a good time. Just keep emailing and maybe you'll get lucky. I contacted about 40 in Feb-April to begin in June.
     
  4. womanofscience

    womanofscience 2+ Year Member

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    I contacted about 40 and managed to get six responses (a lot of labs wanted two years so no interview), two interviews and one offer. My application was complete April, interviewed in May and started late June. However, my cycle was complete luck.

    The IRTAs that were accepted in the labs I was heavily interested in started their emails in December and January. A lot of the process is timing and luck!

    Good luck!
     
  5. baltimoreman

    baltimoreman 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    You have to just keep emailing til you get a response. I bet you could find a position starting in the fall or winter if that's what you want. There's no way to know who's hiring. You have to keep trying. I'm a previous IRTA.
     
  6. Summerlands

    Summerlands 2+ Year Member

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    I also am planning on applying for a one-year position starting in ~June 2015 (I wish I could do two years, but my MCAT will expire). Do you feel like the vast majority of postbacs you've met are committed for two years, or are there a sizable number of one year postbacs too?
     
  7. womanofscience

    womanofscience 2+ Year Member

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    I think there is a large pool of one-year postbacs, but these spots will probably be a bit more competitive! Just be prepared to send out a lot of emails! (and read the PI's research and mention key points that interested you just to show that you are serious about joining their lab!)

    PS: NCI Postbacs get a slightly higher stipend allegedly
     
  8. lumpyduster

    lumpyduster 2+ Year Member

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    So I'm planning on doing just one gap year, since my MCAT will no longer be accepted at my state school after the next cycle, but I'm considering taking two gap years if I do well enough on the MCAT to be competitive at other schools. Just wondering if you sign a one-year contract and renew or if it's a one or two-year contract, depending on what you and your PI agree to. Hope that makes sense!
     
  9. VlLLVGE

    VlLLVGE

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    I began e-mailing labs in August of 2013. I contacted about 51 labs until I received an interview invite. Luckily I only needed one opportunity - started in August 2014. Managed to postbac in my undergrad lab from May 2013 (after graduation) - April 2014. My best advice if you're struggling with finding a lab is to change keyword searches for each of the institutes. I thought I had found all of the PIs doing what I wanted to do, but constantly got rejected due to lack of space or funding, which meant I had to keep trying to find someone doing some sort of research that interested me. My advice: don't be afraid to send out e-mails to multiple investigators and, if you get denied to a lab, ask them for suggestions on similar labs to pursue.
     
  10. lumpyduster

    lumpyduster 2+ Year Member

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    Wow you started really early! Did you already have your application in the system then too?
     
  11. VlLLVGE

    VlLLVGE

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    I initially designated I planned to stay for 1 year, however my PI asked me about how long I wanted to stay at my interview, so I think it's ultimately up to them. I didn't count out the possibility of staying for two years, though I'm applying for 2015 matriculation consideration.
     
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  12. VlLLVGE

    VlLLVGE

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    Think of it as starting late, actually. I graduated in May 2013, and did a postbac at my undergrad university UNTIL I had something else to go to (NIH trumps my undergrad by far). So really, it was about a half a year and some change after I had expected to be in a lab at NIH that I actually received an interview invite.
     
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  13. VlLLVGE

    VlLLVGE

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    The starting date was very flexible, however... so in-between postbacs I had a nice window to study for the MCAT which really helped me get the score I needed. The process of getting into NIH is brutal but the actual work atmosphere is unparalleled and very accommodating.
     
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  14. areserine

    areserine 2+ Year Member

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    Not just alleged, totally true. They are technically CRTAs and the stipend amount is publicly available, and a few thousand higher than IRTA.

    One or two years will vary. In my experience, almost every single PI I talked to required two years. I have friends doing one year, but things are super rushed for them. For example, if you start in July, you're doing secondaries right off the bat while trying to learn a new lab. Then by the time you get the hang of things, you're leaving for interviews. My PI had one years before me and straight out refused one years in the future. Extending should be pretty easy once you're in. I know of two people who were one years and ended up reapplying to med school and just stayed at their lab. I also know of one with a one year position who transferred to another lab that was a better fit. It's much easier to do once you're in.

    Also, for thought, I was dead set one only one year. Taking two (aka getting a job vs not getting a job) ended up being the best possible decision. By taking two years, I can now apply with a LOR from my PI, multiple publications from my first year, and some serious research experience to discuss in my PS, activities, and interviews. If I had just started, I wouldn't have any or at least most of that. I also was able to set up a life for myself here in the DC area. I met people, I learned how to live on my own, cook for one person on a budget without eating the same thing for every meal, etc. I've joined local groups for volunteering and fun etc. My friends that were here for one year had a much harder time doing these things since they were trying to balance a new place on their own plus a new job plus applying.
     
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  15. womanofscience

    womanofscience 2+ Year Member

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    areserine is completely right! I am currently experiencing the time crunch of experiments coming up + trying to manage scheduling interviews and maintaining a life outside of lab!
     

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