Profile review - chance me?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:03 am

Profile review - chance me?

Post by Vector112 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:57 pm

Undergrad Institution: American Public University
Major: Mathematical Biology
Minor(s): Biological Sciences
Overall GPA: 3.49
Math Major GPA: 3.67
Type of Student: Domestic Asian Male

GRE Revised General Test: Will take later this year
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics: Will take later this year; the degree programs I list at the bottom are generally in their respective university's mathematics department.

Program Applying: Mathematical Biology or Systems Biology Ph.D. (maybe a master's)

Research Experience: Two biomath REUs at home university - first was on gene regulatory networks, the second on cancer lineages - I did a poster presentation for the second one at a big biomath conference; 1.5 years of theoretical virology research with paper pending and oral presentations at two conferences. Will be a research intern at a national laboratory for summer of 2018.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: university honors program, university honors in mathematics, member of university's chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon; recipient of high-tier award in math modeling competition in 2018
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: math club president, undergraduate coach for aforementioned competition who established teams with minimal faculty support
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: At least one of my letter writers is famous in mathematical biology; I will have at least four letters come fall, and possibly a fifth in pure mathematics, all from those who know me well.
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: My GPA generally went from up-and-down in my first three years (as low as 2.5 to as high as 3.8 ) as a bio major to being a solid 3.6 to 3.8 per term in my last two years as a math major. Since I switched to mathematics from biological sciences very late, I had no time to take graduate-level courses; taking one gap year and working on applying to NIH. Of the two biomath REU's I mentioned, I'm not asking for a letter from my PI from the first REU.

(If I don't get into the NIH, I'll work on my mathematics chops via Papa Rudin and the like.)

Universities to which I might apply: Here are places to which I'd like to apply, with the ones nearer the top of the list being more generally preferred (the list is somewhat fluid, but constitutes a solid upper bound on the set of institutions to which I'll apply).

American institutions:
  • * University of California, Los Angeles - Biomathematics Ph.D.
    * Duke University - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * University of California, San Francisco - Systems Biology Ph.D.
    * University of California, San Diego - Quantitative Biology Ph.D. (essentially a Systems Biology Ph.D.)
    * University of California, Irvine- Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * Georgia Institute of Technology - Quantitative Biosciences Ph.D. (also essentially a Systems Biology Ph.D.)
    * North Carolina State University - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Systems Biology Ph.D.
    * College of William & Mary - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * Arizona State University - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * University of Utah - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * University of Tennessee, Knoxville - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * University of Georgia - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * Harvard, Yale, UPenn University - Systems or Mathematical Biology Ph.D. (hahaa...)
Canadian institutions:
  • * McGill University - Physiology M.S. (actually a Mathematical Biology or Systems Biology M.S.)
    * University of British Columbia - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
    * University of Alberta - Mathematical Biology Ph.D.
Thank you for having looked over my profile, so far.

I'm really worried that my overall and math major GPA will be the death of me for entries on the lower part of the list of American schools, or really any of the schools on I've listed. What's your take on my stats for any of the schools and the individual degree programs to which I want to apply? In spite of the letters and research experience, does my GPA render most of the listed schools as reach schools for me, even if I do my darndest to write a great personal statement and statement of purpose?

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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:23 pm

Re: Profile review - chance me?

Post by seanmaths » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:47 pm

I am not an expert about GPA criteria for top tier schools, but as far as I know the math GRE is definitely a critical element of applications. It seems that scoring roughly in the 80th percentile is key for being considering in competitive programs, and even higher for dream schools. Having a high score can definitely offset weaknesses in other application areas.

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