Environment of Math Department

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Environment of Math Department

Post by calisapna » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:35 pm

I'm searching for grad schools to apply to, and I have some on my radar, but I want to learn more about the environment of the math department before I apply. I.e, friendly professors, grad student union etc. Are there any sites where grad students talk about their experience at their department?

If not, how do I ask people in the department about their department without sounding obnoxious, or creepy for looking them up :? ?
Or are these better suited questions for when(*fingers crossed*) I get in to their school as an admitted student?

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Post by biomath18 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:39 pm

If you look on the math department web page of each school, you should (hopefully) find at least a page about grad student associations etc. If they have a grad student association within the department that seems active, that's a good sign that it's a friendly department. Whatever grad students are listed as having positions in such an association would be good students to reach out to in order to ask about the department (via listed email). As long as you're polite and don't act like you'll definitely be admitted, you won't seem obnoxious or creepy.

Or, you could focus on places with a good research fit and then figure out the environment when you visit after being admitted.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Post by MathCat » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:18 pm

I think the best thing is to attend open houses once you are admitted, and talk to current students. It's especially good to try to talk to students of any professors you are interested in working with. Every open house I attended had some sort of lunch or evening get together with only students, with the explicit purpose of having a place to get honest answers from current students.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Post by Belville » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:43 am

Are students really open about everything at those meets? I would think people wouldn't talk about the negative sides openly.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Post by Aramark » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:39 am

I don't see why they wouldn't be open. The students don't really have an incentive to play up their school instead of just being honest, and I think the format of the events is such that you get to talk to people one on one, so there's unlikely to be pressure from admin to sugarcoat.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Post by finnlion » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:10 am

I agree with posters above that visiting after accepted will be the best way to sense the feel of a department. Though you can know if you prefer a larger/smaller department ahead of time. Something I think that is easier to do ahead of time is get a feel for how supportive the university is of graduate students and what kind of city it is located in. How many grad students are there? What kinds of groups for graduate students exist? Some universities have a single group while others have specific ones that allow you to build community with grad students that share your interests - international grad students, grad students from specific backgrounds, etc. Does the city/town have the type of activities you could see yourself doing on the weekends? Does transportation allow you to get out and do cool things? Not sure how important these “quality of life” factors are to you, but they seem easier to research ahead of time to me than the math department itself.

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Environment of Math Department

Post by Geraldhat » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:51 pm

i had 65 marks in applied math Css17. They couldnt have been better so i will take my chances

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