Undergrad Performance vs. Grad School Performance

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Undergrad Performance vs. Grad School Performance

Post by petrokov » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:20 am

Hello everyone. I'm currently in my first year of a two year masters program at Simon Fraser. I'll be applying for PhD programs next cycle, and I'm wondering if I can fix some of the mistakes I made during undergrad by having stellar graduate performance. I'd like to know if I still have a chance to get into an excellent school.

My undergrad university was about #100 in the USA, and I had a 3.82 GPA with about 3.9 in math. I only had a few grad level courses, and I got 77th percentile on the math GRE. I had one paper written, but my result wasn't even new, and my paper was only good for an undergraduate journal. I think my profile wasn't particularly bad, but it definitely wasn't competitive for high level PhD programs.

Now that I'm in my master's program, I'm taking academia much more seriously and fooling around a lot less with my life. I should be able to get a 4.0 (although this is partially due to grade inflation), and based on the way things are going and what my advisor says, I think I should be able to spit out at least two papers with new results before I finish the program. Also, I have a knack for standardized tests, and I'm almost sure that if I adequately prepare this time, then I should be able to get a score on the math GRE in the upper 90's.

If everything goes well the way that I'm hoping, do I still have a shot at getting into a high ranking school like Georgia Tech or even MIT? If it makes any difference, my focus is discrete math, specifically graph theory. I know that any small mistake can prevent someone from getting into a top school, so I don't know if my odds are good. On the other hand, people say that research is the most important factor determining admission, so I'm hoping that if I really do manage to finish two or three papers with small but still new results, then this combined with my good grad school grades (and hopefully high GRE score) might mean that I still have a chance.

Do I still have a chance to get into a great PhD program, or am I dreaming?

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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:51 pm

Re: Undergrad Performance vs. Grad School Performance

Post by athulyaram » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:59 am

I have a really bad undergrad record (top research university in India, but extremely bad GPA with so many C's and C+'s in math courses, one publication in a small journal), and I am doing my Masters now at NYU Tandon and has a good academic record now (3.95/4.00). I have finished my applications now and I have applied to some top programs (Brown, GeorgiaTech, Columbia, etc). As of now I got my acceptance from Rensselaer Polytechnic and had a pre-screen interview from GeorgiaTech.
Since I am going through a similar situation, why don't I update you when I hear my admission decisions? I can't give you an answer to your question now, but maybe you can make your own conclusions from my admission decisions.

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