Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:42 pm

Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by CasinoMadrid » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:36 pm

Hey guys! I'm a junior, finishing up my third year, looking to apply to Ph.D. programs in mathematics next fall. Could you guys chance me on what universities you think I'll get in? Right now I'm interested in analytic number theory, so I would love to go somewhere like UCLA (Terance Tao) but that's probably a long shot. I know UCSD, Brown and UIUC have strong analytic number theory programs. Ideally I'd like to go somewhere like Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, but I don't know if I'd actually get in.

Anyways, could you guys look over my stats and chance me for grad admissions?


Undergrad Institution: State University, well-known but not prestigious or anything.
GPA in Major: 3.88
Overall GPA: 3.92
Length of Degree: 4 years
Position in Class: Top?
Type of Student: Domestic White Male

GRE Scores:
Q: 800
V: 630
W: 5.0

GRE Math: 820

Bonus Points: Participated in the Budapest Semester in Mathematics

Research Experience:
One REU last summer, good results and submitted for a publication. Also resulted in a few presentations I got to give.
I got accepted to a second REU this summer, so I should have two summers of research under my belt when I apply.

Also, after my Budapest class in Analytic Number Theory, I have spent this spring doing research with one of my professors in analytic number theory (which is the area I'm wanting to study in grad school).
I will spend a second semester researching with him this fall, and a third semester researching with him this spring as I work on my senior thesis, so I hope to have some good research done there, even by the time I apply.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Math tutor, participated in problem solving group every year, math club, etc.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I took Calculus 3 in the summer between my freshman and sophomore year at a different university. Do you think grad schools will care? I'd assume not since I got A's in classes like real analysis but I'm not positive...

Here are the classes I've taken so far:
Calculus 1 - A
Calculus 2 - A
Calculus 3 - A
Linear Algebra - A
Differential Equations - A
Partial Differential Equations - A
Discrete Mathematics - A
Elementary Number Theory - A
Abstract Algebra 1 - A
Abstract Algebra 2 - B+
Complex Analysis 1 - A
Complex Analysis 2 - A
Real Analysis 1 - A (Budapest Semester)
Analytic Number Theory - A (Budapest Semester)
Commutative Algebra - B+ (Budapest Semester)
Topology - A- (Budapest Semester)
Differential Geometry - A- (Budapest Semester)
Real Analysis 2 - A
Algebraic Topology 1 - B+
Applied Linear Algebra - A
Functional Analysis - A
Probability Theory (taking next year)
Algebraic Number Theory (taking next year)
Representational Theory of Groups (taking next year)
Projective Geometry (taking next year)
Dynamical Systems and Applications (taking next year)
Fourier Analysis (taking next year)
Measure Theory (taking next year)
Numerical Analysis (taking next year)

[Yes, I understand that by taking 4 math classes a semester, I am officially a nerd.]

Anyways, chance me? What chances do I have on getting into...
a) Princeton, Harvard, MIT, etc?
b) Top 20 schools, UIUC, UCSD, etc?
c) Top 30 / Top 40 schools?

Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:42 pm

Re: Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by origin415 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:20 am

No one here is on an ad com, so no one can tell you your chances. Look at the profiles thread and see what it takes to get into those schools you want. But if you want an honest response your chances at Princeton and co. are minimal: you could be ramanujan reincarnate and it would still be a crapshoot. You should apply to at least one, but don't count on anything. Anything else would be guessing: if I were you I would apply to the bulk of my schools in the top 20 with at least one top 6, and at least one safety in the 30s. Make sure you apply to many schools. Like 10+.

Research is critical if you want to aim that high. You have REU's, which are great, does your school have a senior thesis thing? A summer long project is great, a year long project is fantastic. My thesis is probably a major reason I got in anywhere, if only because it gave me a top notch recommendation from my advisor.

[My senior year, I've been taking 5 math classes each semester, including the thesis and a grad class :P]

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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:42 pm

Re: Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by CasinoMadrid » Sun May 02, 2010 2:45 am

Youre taking 5 math classes a semester? Lucky. I would do more but I have to fulfill core requirements for graduation, and it costs a ton of money to take more than 18 hours a semester. So I'm doing 4 math classes a semester, plus my research is for my senior thesis. (I guess that technically counts as 5?) I will have two semesters of research (jr spring, sr fall) and be starting on a third semester (sr spring) as I'm applying, so I would consider that at least a "year-long project." Ideally, I'd like to get some decent results in research next fall so that admissions can see the research I've done there, and of course my advisor for my senior thesis should be able to write me a very strong letter of recommendation.

As for applying, I set aside a few thousand dollars for admissions fees so I should be able to apply to 30-40 if I want. I'm planning on pretty much applying to most of the schools ranked 1-30 (unless they absolutely don't have any research areas I'm interested in, like Duke) and a few backup schools in the 40, 50 range.

Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:42 pm

Re: Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by origin415 » Mon May 03, 2010 1:33 am

If you are already doing research, than thats great, you can even send a preprint in with your application then, I had to rely on the recommendation of my advisor, as I had no results by the time I applied. Overall, your application looks very strong to me, and I don't think you'll have any trouble in top 20 schools, but I'm no ad com member. Applying to 30-40 schools is a bit excessive, I think :/ Don't compromise the quality of your individual applications in order to apply to more, you're going to run into tons of problems making sure everyone has transcripts and recommendations that way, and your personal statement won't be as well tuned to the individual schools.

I included the independent study/thesis in my 5 courses, so were the same. My school has a 20 hour limit before you start being hit with a lot of fees, but its waived for honors students, which is pretty sweet. I've had senior standing since my sophomore year what with APs and 20+ credit semesters, I'll graduate with a total of about 200.

Best of luck with everything, though.

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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:42 pm

Re: Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by CasinoMadrid » Mon May 03, 2010 9:02 pm

Thats sweet...better than my school's policy. I'm in honors, and we get early registration (as if Algebraic Topology would ever be full. lol) but our policy on hours is that we can only register for 18 hours per semester, and we get charged $950 per credit hour extra. Quite ridiculous. Also, we can only register for 17 hours during registration, but can add an 18th credit hour during the first week of strange. It's a pain though since I actually do have to register for classes that fulfill general graduation requirements still.

As for applications, you're right that I need to make sure my applications are specific to certain universities, even if it means less applications. I've talked some about grad schools with my advisors and professors, but I'll definitely be having some serious discussion about it once I get back next fall. Right now I'm looking at UCLA, UIUC and UCSD as three schools I really want to focus in on, but we'll see what the professors think. Of course, I'll still apply to lots of other schools with good programs in analytic number theory.

So are you a senior, origin415? If so, where are you going to graduate school?

Posts: 61
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 11:42 pm

Re: Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by origin415 » Tue May 04, 2010 1:23 pm

Well we get early registration too. We have to do a bunch of stuff to stay in though, like take at least two honors seminar classes, 6 "honors experiences" (stuff like studying abroad, internships, research, etc), and an intro class with a major community service component.

I'm a senior, yeah. You can see how I got decimated on my profile here: ... 1568#p1568
Going to University of Washington, which I'm pretty happy about despite my 2/10 record. I probably would have chosen it over half the schools I got rejected from for excellent fit/location, anyway.

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:42 pm

Re: Chance me for Graduate School in Mathematics?

Post by CasinoMadrid » Mon May 10, 2010 5:39 pm

Yeah our honors program requires 5 honors classes the first 2 years, plus an independent study junior year and a senior thesis.

I'm glad Washington worked out well for you! That's one of the reasons I want to apply to a lot of schools...I feel like I could get decimated by a handful of top 20 schools, especially with the economy, and then end up getting accepted into a few of them. But I don't know which ones would give me acceptances, so I'm applying to a ton lol. I'll be making sure my apps to places like UIUC and UCLA are top-notch though. I'm going to do as much as I can to tailor each application to each school...but obviously it will be easier to personalize some of the apps than others. I've read through some of Bruce Berndt's papers at UIUC, but for most schools I haven't done stuff like that.

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