Offer Letters Go Out to Prospective Students
By Mika Ono
A select few budding young scientists recently ripped open
a FedEx package to find a letter that began:
"I am writing to inform you that the Admissions Committee
has met and carefully considered the content of your application
for admission to the Graduate Program at The Scripps Research
Institute (TSRI). I am delighted to inform you that, on the
basis of the review of your application and your visit to
our campus recently, we are prepared to offer you a position
in the Ph.D. Program."
The Office of Graduate Studies predicts that 30 to 35 of
these students will make up TSRI's fall 2002 entering class.
TSRI's admissions cycle generally begins the latter part
of the year, when the first applicationsconsisting of
the applicant's letters of recommendation, transcripts, GRE
scores, and statement of purposewere received by the
Office of Graduate Studies. At the January 1 deadline, 258
domestic applications and 172 international applications were
ready for review.
The application packets were sent to one of two admissions
committees. This year, the Macromolecular and Cellular Structure
and Chemistry (MCSC) Program Admissions Committee is composed
of: Jaimie Williamson (chair), Charlie Brooks, Ben Cravatt,
Nick Gascoigne, Libby Getzoff, Kim Janda, Fred Jones, Curt
Wittenberg, and Steve Mayfield. The Chemistry Program Admissions
Committee is composed of Erik Sorensen (co-chair), Phil Dawson
(co-chair), Chi-Huey Wong (co-chair), M.G. Finn, Floyd Romesberg,
and Jamie Williamson.
Each committee member independently reviewed and rated the
applications. Committee members then met as a group to make
the final decision about which applicants would be invited
to go on to the next stage of the admissions process: a visit
to the TSRI campus.
These applicants attended one of three prospective student
weekends organized by the Office of Graduate Studies in February
and March. The visits provided prospective students with an
opportunity to learn about graduate life at TSRI. Organized
activities included a student get-together at the La Jolla
restaurant Cozymel's, interviews with some half a dozen to
a dozen faculty with similar research interests, a presentation
from Human Resources, a tour of the campus, and a reception
followed by dinner in the Conference Center.
Time was also available to explore the surrounding San Diego
Throughout the weekend, each prospective student was guided
by a current TSRI student, often from the same alma matter
or with similar research interests.
"Pairing prospective students with current students works
really well," says Marylyn Rinaldi, graduate program administrator.
"Prospective students get a real idea of what it is like here.
Current students tell it like it is. And we want our students
to know about all aspects of graduate life here before they
The campus visits also provided members of the admission
committees with an opportunity to meet the students in person
and make a final evaluation of their potential as scientists.
After the campus visits were completed this month, committee
members gathered once more to decide which of the students
were to receive an offer letter.
Now replies from the students are starting to roll in.
"We already have eight students who have confirmed they
will attend in the fall," says Rinaldi. "I don't think we've
ever had so many students accept so early."