Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
yso6
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:25 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by yso6 » Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:51 pm

MathParent wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 3:12 pm
PhilippMainlander wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:41 am
Curious. If you didn't get an "unofficial notice" does that imply you will not get an official acceptance? I didn't apply to UNC chapel hill, just asking for general knowledge.
Some schools do phone or Skype interviews, and by the end of it they tell you "you should be expecting an official letter soon." This is your unofficial acceptance. Some schools just accept or reject. Some call you to come to visit, and decide after that.

I am not sure whether Chapel Hill interviews all of their applicant or not. I am also not sure how many "waves" of acceptances they have.

The variety between colleges is great. I am thinking that the variety of admission styles is large even within one school: the professors are hunting for their future PhD candidates, and some of them want to personally interview the applicants. But not all. Say, may be a number theorist form some school will interview every candidate who indicated Number Theory as their line of interest. And may be a geometer from the same school will make his recommendation/decision based on application material alone, with no interview.

The details are in the dark.
In that case, I don't think getting an unofficial acceptance means you are 100% going to receive an offer. I got a Skype interview with Cornell last year where they told me by the end that I should be receiving an official letter very soon but I got rejected anyways.

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:18 pm

yso6 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:51 pm

....
In that case, I don't think getting an unofficial acceptance means you are 100% going to receive an offer. I got a Skype interview with Cornell last year where they told me by the end that I should be receiving an official letter very soon but I got rejected anyways.
Did they tell you (back then) that "you will be receiving an official letter" or "expect positive decisions to show in your mailbox"? You know what I mean, subtle difference, but translates into the opposite ends of the binary decision.

yso6
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:25 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by yso6 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:34 pm

MathParent wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 5:18 pm
yso6 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:51 pm

....
In that case, I don't think getting an unofficial acceptance means you are 100% going to receive an offer. I got a Skype interview with Cornell last year where they told me by the end that I should be receiving an official letter very soon but I got rejected anyways.
Did they tell you (back then) that "you will be receiving an official letter" or "expect positive decisions to show in your mailbox"? You know what I mean, subtle difference, but translates into the opposite ends of the binary decision.
It might be the latter one but if you hear that by the end of an interview for the first time, it makes sense to consider that as an unofficial offer.

wujinya1
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:59 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by wujinya1 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:44 pm

MathParent wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:02 pm
ponchan wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:44 pm
chrisps1992 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:04 pm
I think it’s pretty clear it’s a troll who meant to start up an argument about gender.
Yeah. Especially since they've been called a troll on here repeatedly and haven't denied it.
I don't know guys. It looks to me like a misguided girl, who took Calculus and Differential Equations, did well on those and decided she can do PhD at Harvard, in pure math. It seems that her professor at the undergraduate institution doesn't have any graduate students, and may be the school doesn't have the grad department anyway. Which all means the professor doesn't have much experience dealing with PhD students (probably forgot the times when she one one herself, and may be she got her PhD from a tier III school - which doesn't necessarily mean she is bad, it just means that she was less exposed to research and to other bright students). A combination of all this results in Nicole having no one to guide her. Her initial attitude of this beating the "I am a white female" card, so "they will admit me into all top schools" - seems to have subsided. She is now in a genuine fear that she might not get anywhere at all, - which for all I know, may be closer to the truth that she is willing to admit.
I agree, she mentioned that she was a MathEd major and switched to math last year. In that case, she don't have too many time to exchange information with others and gain a better understanding of her situation. Also the "safe schools" on her list are not safe, not even reach, for her at all.

BTW, anyone here able to give a description of what typical strong applicants of a top 20, 50, 70 looks like?

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mani_fold
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:49 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by mani_fold » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 pm

wujinya1 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:44 pm
BTW, anyone here able to give a description of what typical strong applicants of a top 20, 50, 70 looks like?
Such a good question. Not an expert at all (and a current applicant myself), but this is how I think of it. Assuming the candidate is American, since the international competition for US schools is not something I know very well, here's how I'd frame it.

Criteria Group 1
  • i strong letters of recommendation
  • j percentile on the mGRE**
  • k graduate-level classes, with promising grades
  • l years of professional experience (grading, tutoring, TA)
Criteria Group 2
  • significant conference presentation
  • REU (with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • research experience at home institution (possibly expository, but with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • significant award beyond institution (Goldwater, IMO, Putnam)
  • very high GPA (relative to institution)
Top 70
  • Group 1
    • i >= 1
    • j >= 40
    • k >= 3
    • l >= 0
  • Group 2
    • Pick 3 (counting multiplicity)
Top 50
  • Group 1
    • i >= 2
    • j >= 50
    • k >= 5
    • l >= 1
  • Group 2
    • Pick 5 (counting multiplicity)
Top 20
  • Group 1
    • i >= 3
    • j >= 60
    • k >= 7
    • l >= 2
  • Group 2
    • Pick 7 (counting multiplicity)
**mGRE is much harder to predict, since some top schools do not even require it. I'm basing my wild guesses on averages.

These estimates are pure speculation and only based on gradcafe and mGRE forum observational averages. Thoughts welcome on fine-tuning the stats and the profile-itemization procedure.

wujinya1
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:59 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by wujinya1 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:23 am

mani_fold wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 pm
wujinya1 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:44 pm
BTW, anyone here able to give a description of what typical strong applicants of a top 20, 50, 70 looks like?
Such a good question. Not an expert at all (and a current applicant myself), but this is how I think of it. Assuming the candidate is American, since the international competition for US schools is not something I know very well, here's how I'd frame it.

Criteria Group 1
  • i strong letters of recommendation
  • j percentile on the mGRE**
  • k graduate-level classes, with promising grades
  • l years of professional experience (grading, tutoring, TA)
Criteria Group 2
  • significant conference presentation
  • REU (with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • research experience at home institution (possibly expository, but with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • significant award beyond institution (Goldwater, IMO, Putnam)
  • very high GPA (relative to institution)
Top 70
  • Group 1
    • i >= 1
    • j >= 40
    • k >= 3
    • l >= 0
  • Group 2
    • Pick 3 (counting multiplicity)
Top 50
  • Group 1
    • i >= 2
    • j >= 50
    • k >= 5
    • l >= 1
  • Group 2
    • Pick 5 (counting multiplicity)
Top 20
  • Group 1
    • i >= 3
    • j >= 60
    • k >= 7
    • l >= 2
  • Group 2
    • Pick 7 (counting multiplicity)
**mGRE is much harder to predict, since some top schools do not even require it. I'm basing my wild guesses on averages.

These estimates are pure speculation and only based on gradcafe and mGRE forum observational averages. Thoughts welcome on fine-tuning the stats and the profile-itemization procedure.
That's one good answer! Yet not useful enough.

I know this is a little bit against the rule of this forum, but I suggest that let's make a list of book/theorem one should read/know (for all possible areas) to be a strong applicants for a top 20, 50 70 school, so that the future applicants can benefit (and start worrying :) )

Apparently, some school has only one or two PHD applicants and it is very hard for them to obtain revelant information.

Take me as an example, I used to believe that getting all As in my analysis class allows me to get into Top 20 easily, and didn't work as hard as I am able to for a really long period. Even though I am studying in a large public school (top 50?), very few (around 10) people apply to pure phd and all interested in very different areas. I mainly get my information from current Grad students, which is kind of late...

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am

mani_fold wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 pm

....
Criteria Group 2
  • significant conference presentation
  • REU (with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • research experience at home institution (possibly expository, but with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • significant award beyond institution (Goldwater, IMO, Putnam)
  • very high GPA (relative to institution)
Top 70
  • mGRE >= 40
Top 50
  • mGRE >= 50
Top 20
  • mGRE >= 60
**mGRE is much harder to predict, since some top schools do not even require it. I'm basing my wild guesses on averages.
Great start, in my opinion, but I disagree on a few points. First off, about mGRE. The question was, what STRONG application looks like. What you listed, mGRE-wise, is what seems to be a borderline application with which you can barely squeeze by, if the rest of your stuff looks good.
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE??? I am not aware of any, may be I missed something.

Let's do some math. The number of mGRE test takes is about 16,000 (projection from https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table2.pdf).
let's say every top school admits 50 people on average. About 15 will start at a school, the rest will go to another school (15 may be actually too many, it is probably lower at many institutions). Let's assume that the total number of first year PhDs at top 20 schools = 20*15 = 300. It is rough, may be off by a lot, but 300 is about 19% of the applicants pool. In reality many programs are smaller than 15 per year, overlap is hard to judge, but my point is that the top 20 schools do collect the top 10% to 20% off the applicants pool. That's why I think your numbers are a bit low.

In my opinion,
Top 70 -- strong mGRE >= 60; average mGRE >= 45
Top 50 -- strong mGRE >= 70; average mGRE >= 60
Top 20 -- strong mGRE >= 80; average mGRE >= 70

Another note is about your criteria group #2. It seems repetitive. I mean, you do research and then you publish and/or present at a conference. You listed the same stuff over and over. in the end, you either did research that resulted in publications and/or presentations (or submitted it and it was accepted but didn't come out yet in a journal, or the conference is in the next several months and you didn't present yet, but will), or you didn't. Alternatively, if you do not have publications/presentations, you may have still did research and it is summarized in some internal report or thesis or notes that you gave to your professor, and he/she wrote about it in the recommendation letter. This is much weaker version, but it is much more than zero.

One more note. Why does everyone write "research at your home institution"??? Why does it have to be at your home institution? What if you go away (from your home institution) on May 15, come back on August 21 (it is called "summer break"), and devote the whole summer to an internship, where you do research and publications? And repeat it for a few summers?

Mustela nivalis
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:14 am

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by Mustela nivalis » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:06 pm

MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Top 20 -- strong mGRE >= 80; average mGRE >= 70
Is it for American applicants only? How about international (Russian)?

CoronalRain
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:02 am

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by CoronalRain » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:42 pm

MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE???
Brown.

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:43 pm

Mustela nivalis wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:06 pm
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Top 20 -- strong mGRE >= 80; average mGRE >= 70
Is it for American applicants only? How about international (Russian)?
Not sure. I am having these estimates from my recent browsing over grad cafe and this blog. I may be mistaken of course. In general, I think that for *undergrad* requirements for internationals are a lot stricter than for US kids, but for Grad school, I think it is closer, but still international is a bit of an unknown. But then again, the math professors from well known institutions are very well aware of the quality of degrees from abroad, and in many cases the quality of an "abroad" degree is better than the internal degree - simply because the education is structures differently over there, and undergrad kids study much more math to graduate than here in the US. So, really, really hard to tell. May be in some cases, mGRE requirements for internationals are a bit simpler just because the language may be taken into account: after all, it does slow people a bit, when they have to comprehend a problem in a foreign language.

By the way. Did you try e-mailing to the professors at the institutions you applied to? Those that are close to the topics you are interested in? You can find the list of professors on the web site of each school, you can google up their research. Some of these people have Russian last names. They will certainly be aware of the quality of the Russian undergraduate education in math. E-mail them, express interest! The time to do so is now, not next week ;-)

ponchan
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:30 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by ponchan » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:50 pm

CoronalRain wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:42 pm
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE???
Brown.
And Minnesota, and Duke, and probably others that one could figure out with 10 minutes of research.

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:54 pm

CoronalRain wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:42 pm
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE???
Brown.
I guess you are right, but I am afraid this is the only one.

Also, something I wrote previously:

I searched through some past posts, and found quotes from UPenn web site, and from Berkeley web site, and these quotes are no longer available (the content is gone from the web pages, which are either updated with info on some other topics, or "401-cannot-be-found"). The post with the quotes is this: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=750&p=3890#p3890

The quotes themselves look like this:
UPenn wrote: Scores on the Advanced Math Subject Test of the GRE should be at least 750, though applicants with somewhat lower scores may be admitted if the rest of their application is sufficiently strong.
Berkeley wrote: A score below the 80th percentile suggests inadequate preparation and must be balanced by other evidence if a favorable admission decision is to be reached.
80% percentile is around 810-820, according to the last table I can find (https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table2.pdf)

These old quotes inject some numbers into the discussion of what's low and what's ok, mGRE wise, for these top schools, and probably similar schools as well, and this information is not a single data point ("I was admitted here and here with the score of X"), but a reliable (hopefully) statistical semi-cut-off. These days, schools are a lot more secretive about their admission process, but I doubt the reality of what's considered to be an "ok" score for math subject GRE changed much since 2011, when these quotes were dug out from the web sites of these leading schools.

To add to this, here is the current quote from UMD:
UMD wrote: What score do I need on the GRE Subject test?
There is no minimum score, since other factors also play a role, but your chances decrease significantly if your score is much below 700.
The link is https://www-math.umd.edu/graduate/80-ma ... ocess.html

700 is about 60%, and the language above suggests this is not average, but borderline score for UMD. University of Maryland Grad Math program is currently ranked #22 (tie).

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:58 pm

ponchan wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:50 pm
CoronalRain wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:42 pm
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE???
Brown.
And Minnesota, and Duke, and probably others that one could figure out with 10 minutes of research.
Duke: "The GRE General test is required. The GRE Subject test is strongly recommended." - that's what I gathered.
Too lazy to check Minnesota (didn't look at anything in this place lately, sorry).

User avatar
mani_fold
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:49 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by mani_fold » Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:26 pm

MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
mani_fold wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 pm

....
Criteria Group 2
  • significant conference presentation
  • REU (with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • research experience at home institution (possibly expository, but with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • significant award beyond institution (Goldwater, IMO, Putnam)
  • very high GPA (relative to institution)
Top 70
  • mGRE >= 40
Top 50
  • mGRE >= 50
Top 20
  • mGRE >= 60
**mGRE is much harder to predict, since some top schools do not even require it. I'm basing my wild guesses on averages.
Great start, in my opinion, but I disagree on a few points. First off, about mGRE. The question was, what STRONG application looks like. What you listed, mGRE-wise, is what seems to be a borderline application with which you can barely squeeze by, if the rest of your stuff looks good.
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE??? I am not aware of any, may be I missed something.

Let's do some math. The number of mGRE test takes is about 16,000 (projection from https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table2.pdf).
let's say every top school admits 50 people on average. About 15 will start at a school, the rest will go to another school (15 may be actually too many, it is probably lower at many institutions). Let's assume that the total number of first year PhDs at top 20 schools = 20*15 = 300. It is rough, may be off by a lot, but 300 is about 19% of the applicants pool. In reality many programs are smaller than 15 per year, overlap is hard to judge, but my point is that the top 20 schools do collect the top 10% to 20% off the applicants pool. That's why I think your numbers are a bit low.

In my opinion,
Top 70 -- strong mGRE >= 60; average mGRE >= 45
Top 50 -- strong mGRE >= 70; average mGRE >= 60
Top 20 -- strong mGRE >= 80; average mGRE >= 70

Another note is about your criteria group #2. It seems repetitive. I mean, you do research and then you publish and/or present at a conference. You listed the same stuff over and over. in the end, you either did research that resulted in publications and/or presentations (or submitted it and it was accepted but didn't come out yet in a journal, or the conference is in the next several months and you didn't present yet, but will), or you didn't. Alternatively, if you do not have publications/presentations, you may have still did research and it is summarized in some internal report or thesis or notes that you gave to your professor, and he/she wrote about it in the recommendation letter. This is much weaker version, but it is much more than zero.

One more note. Why does everyone write "research at your home institution"??? Why does it have to be at your home institution? What if you go away (from your home institution) on May 15, come back on August 21 (it is called "summer break"), and devote the whole summer to an internship, where you do research and publications? And repeat it for a few summers?
I think your math is wrong. 300 is like 1.9% of 16,000 total mGREs. The big missing variable you’re not accounting for is the huge share of the upper 10-20% of GRE scores from students in China, India, eastern Europe. That goes back to my original caveat that my analysis is based on American students. I was talking to a DGS at a top 20 school recently and he very bluntly told me that a 70% is great for an American student but far too low for, say, a Chinese student. There are vastly different standards and they are hard to compare to one another.

Moreover, unless I am misinformed, Harvard and MIT do not “require” mGRE but “strongly encourage” it. I guess my overall point is that being a strong applicant at a top 20 school doesn’t mean you need a blowout GRE; there’s (very limited) record of people making Princeton even with 77%. I would emphasize that it’s part of a comprehensive application and isn’t a do-or-die statistic (up to a point of course; a 3% won’t get you far). I think because the test is so hard, it’s a common point of insecurity for math majors applying to grad school, and in turn, it’s quasi-psychosomatically over emphasized in the admissions process.

I would emphasize and defend in my pseudo-scientific admissions scheme a lower GRE threshold, though I’d certainly buy an uptick in the percentages by a few points. Still, I think it really boils down to strong LoRs, research experience, and immaculate academic record— all supported by a good mGRE score.

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:25 pm

mani_fold wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:26 pm
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
mani_fold wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 pm

....
Criteria Group 2
  • significant conference presentation
  • REU (with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • research experience at home institution (possibly expository, but with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • significant award beyond institution (Goldwater, IMO, Putnam)
  • very high GPA (relative to institution)
Top 70
  • mGRE >= 40
Top 50
  • mGRE >= 50
Top 20
  • mGRE >= 60
**mGRE is much harder to predict, since some top schools do not even require it. I'm basing my wild guesses on averages.
Great start, in my opinion, but I disagree on a few points. First off, about mGRE. The question was, what STRONG application looks like. What you listed, mGRE-wise, is what seems to be a borderline application with which you can barely squeeze by, if the rest of your stuff looks good.
Also, can you tell me at least one institution in top 20 that does NOT require mGRE??? I am not aware of any, may be I missed something.

Let's do some math. The number of mGRE test takes is about 16,000 (projection from https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table2.pdf).
let's say every top school admits 50 people on average. About 15 will start at a school, the rest will go to another school (15 may be actually too many, it is probably lower at many institutions). Let's assume that the total number of first year PhDs at top 20 schools = 20*15 = 300. It is rough, may be off by a lot, but 300 is about 19% of the applicants pool. In reality many programs are smaller than 15 per year, overlap is hard to judge, but my point is that the top 20 schools do collect the top 10% to 20% off the applicants pool. That's why I think your numbers are a bit low.

In my opinion,
Top 70 -- strong mGRE >= 60; average mGRE >= 45
Top 50 -- strong mGRE >= 70; average mGRE >= 60
Top 20 -- strong mGRE >= 80; average mGRE >= 70

Another note is about your criteria group #2. It seems repetitive. I mean, you do research and then you publish and/or present at a conference. You listed the same stuff over and over. in the end, you either did research that resulted in publications and/or presentations (or submitted it and it was accepted but didn't come out yet in a journal, or the conference is in the next several months and you didn't present yet, but will), or you didn't. Alternatively, if you do not have publications/presentations, you may have still did research and it is summarized in some internal report or thesis or notes that you gave to your professor, and he/she wrote about it in the recommendation letter. This is much weaker version, but it is much more than zero.

One more note. Why does everyone write "research at your home institution"??? Why does it have to be at your home institution? What if you go away (from your home institution) on May 15, come back on August 21 (it is called "summer break"), and devote the whole summer to an internship, where you do research and publications? And repeat it for a few summers?
I think your math is wrong. 300 is like 1.9% of 16,000 total mGREs. The big missing variable you’re not accounting for is the huge share of the upper 10-20% of GRE scores from students in China, India, eastern Europe. That goes back to my original caveat that my analysis is based on American students. I was talking to a DGS at a top 20 school recently and he very bluntly told me that a 70% is great for an American student but far too low for, say, a Chinese student. There are vastly different standards and they are hard to compare to one another.

Moreover, unless I am misinformed, Harvard and MIT do not “require” mGRE but “strongly encourage” it. I guess my overall point is that being a strong applicant at a top 20 school doesn’t mean you need a blowout GRE; there’s (very limited) record of people making Princeton even with 77%. I would emphasize that it’s part of a comprehensive application and isn’t a do-or-die statistic (up to a point of course; a 3% won’t get you far). I think because the test is so hard, it’s a common point of insecurity for math majors applying to grad school, and in turn, it’s quasi-psychosomatically over emphasized in the admissions process.

I would emphasize and defend in my pseudo-scientific admissions scheme a lower GRE threshold, though I’d certainly buy an uptick in the percentages by a few points. Still, I think it really boils down to strong LoRs, research experience, and immaculate academic record— all supported by a good mGRE score.
Oops! Thank you, mani_fold! Yep, missing an order of magnitude will make any argument false! I am laughing at myself loudly, believe me!

As far as Harvard and MIT "strongly encouraging" - you know what it means. Unless you have very very extraordinary circumstances, read it as "required."

As far as LORs, let me through in a curve ball here. I was told by someone on the admission committee (not math, but very much related department), that LORs are not the main thing. At that specific place, all they use LORs (and GREs, and GPAs) for - is to cut down the number of applicants to a manageable size. After that, they interview people. And they use the performance at the interview as the main criterion. As for LORs - don't shoot the messenger - "there are no bad LORs." If a professor agreed to write you a LOR - it will be a good LOR. (Again, I am just a messenger.) And that's why it cannot be the main criterion.

And for more information on GREs - see my other post (click on the arrow)
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:54 pm

Mustela nivalis
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:14 am

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by Mustela nivalis » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:30 pm

mani_fold wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:26 pm
I think your math is wrong. 300 is like 1.9% of 16,000 total mGREs.
A little remark. 16,000 mGREs correspond to three years, not to one year. Also there is a pool of applicants who take mGRE at least twice.
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Let's do some math. The number of mGRE test takes is about 16,000 (projection from https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table2.pdf).
let's say every top school admits 50 people on average. About 15 will start at a school, the rest will go to another school (15 may be actually too many, it is probably lower at many institutions). Let's assume that the total number of first year PhDs at top 20 schools = 20*15 = 300. It is rough, may be off by a lot, but 300 is about 19% of the applicants pool. In reality many programs are smaller than 15 per year, overlap is hard to judge, but my point is that the top 20 schools do collect the top 10% to 20% off the applicants pool. That's why I think your numbers are a bit low.
I deem there is a logic blunder here. You should not count a number of enrolled individuals, but a number of admitted ones. This is because we discuss admission chances here.

MathParent
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:25 pm

Mustela nivalis wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:30 pm
mani_fold wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:26 pm
I think your math is wrong. 300 is like 1.9% of 16,000 total mGREs.
A little remark. 16,000 mGREs correspond to three years, not to one year. Also there is a pool of applicants who take mGRE at least twice.
MathParent wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:28 am
Let's do some math. The number of mGRE test takes is about 16,000 (projection from https://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table2.pdf).
let's say every top school admits 50 people on average. About 15 will start at a school, the rest will go to another school (15 may be actually too many, it is probably lower at many institutions). Let's assume that the total number of first year PhDs at top 20 schools = 20*15 = 300. It is rough, may be off by a lot, but 300 is about 19% of the applicants pool. In reality many programs are smaller than 15 per year, overlap is hard to judge, but my point is that the top 20 schools do collect the top 10% to 20% off the applicants pool. That's why I think your numbers are a bit low.
I deem there is a logic blunder here. You should not count a number of enrolled individuals, but a number of admitted ones. This is because we discuss admission chances here.
Yes, and yes. I already apologized above. I probably should have slowed down and do it a bit more carefully - guilty as charged.

The only place where I found the number of admitted people was the Ohio State web site (70-80). So, let "15,300 mGRE" value - be the take-attempts (btw, it doesn't say over there if this is test-take attempts or actual people, test takers), and let's say most take it twice. Roughly we get 15,300/3/2 = 2,550 people per year. If we have 20 top schools, admitting say 75 people each, and every top applicant is admitted to roughly 5 schools, we get 20*75/5=300 non-duplicate admissions. 300 is about 12% of the 2550 people's pool. So, top schools grab the top 12% of the applicants pool... Of course all these numbers can be skewed by a coefficient of 2 or more... So, again, trying to derive something here is not very meaningful.

So, forgetting this my very faulty attempt to look at these numbers (mGRE taken vs the number of people admitted), we still can go back to the stats published at grad cafe and this forum. And my impression of the mGRE values are mainly form these two places.

ponchan
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by ponchan » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:55 pm

mani_fold wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 pm
wujinya1 wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:44 pm
BTW, anyone here able to give a description of what typical strong applicants of a top 20, 50, 70 looks like?
Such a good question. Not an expert at all (and a current applicant myself), but this is how I think of it. Assuming the candidate is American, since the international competition for US schools is not something I know very well, here's how I'd frame it.

Criteria Group 1
  • i strong letters of recommendation
  • j percentile on the mGRE**
  • k graduate-level classes, with promising grades
  • l years of professional experience (grading, tutoring, TA)
Criteria Group 2
  • significant conference presentation
  • REU (with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • research experience at home institution (possibly expository, but with a result/paper/manuscript to point to)
  • significant award beyond institution (Goldwater, IMO, Putnam)
  • very high GPA (relative to institution)
Top 70
  • Group 1
    • i >= 1
    • j >= 40
    • k >= 3
    • l >= 0
  • Group 2
    • Pick 3 (counting multiplicity)
Top 50
  • Group 1
    • i >= 2
    • j >= 50
    • k >= 5
    • l >= 1
  • Group 2
    • Pick 5 (counting multiplicity)
Top 20
  • Group 1
    • i >= 3
    • j >= 60
    • k >= 7
    • l >= 2
  • Group 2
    • Pick 7 (counting multiplicity)
**mGRE is much harder to predict, since some top schools do not even require it. I'm basing my wild guesses on averages.

These estimates are pure speculation and only based on gradcafe and mGRE forum observational averages. Thoughts welcome on fine-tuning the stats and the profile-itemization procedure.
There are small programs in the 45-55 range (at least according to the perhaps useless US News ranking) that are harder to get into than some of the larger state schools at the 19-26 range. I know people personally who have been accepted to schools in the later range and rejected or indefinitely waitlisted at the former.

MathParent
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MathParent » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:54 pm

ponchan wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:55 pm
There are small programs in the 45-55 range (at least according to the perhaps useless US News ranking) that are harder to get into than some of the larger state schools at the 19-26 range. I know people personally who have been accepted to schools in the later range and rejected or indefinitely waitlisted at the former.
Admissions are so individualized! May be the topics that the applicant talked about in his/her Statement of Purpose were a better fit with the professors at the larger schools in the 19-26 range, and there were simply none (or one) faculty member ready to explore the potential of this candidate in the small school, just because fewer faculty members mean less diversified list of interests across the department?

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mani_fold
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by mani_fold » Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:44 am

On an unrelated topic—

Does anyone have some good advice on how to break the habit of obsessively checking gradcafe/email 100 times a day? I think it’s feeding into my anxiety and driving my nerves up the wall. There’s a perpetual feeling of “I should stop checking so often but what if I miss something?!”

HarmonicDog
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by HarmonicDog » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:07 am

mani_fold wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:44 am
On an unrelated topic—

Does anyone have some good advice on how to break the habit of obsessively checking gradcafe/email 100 times a day? I think it’s feeding into my anxiety and driving my nerves up the wall. There’s a perpetual feeling of “I should stop checking so often but what if I miss something?!”
I had the same anxiety before and couldn't focus on doing other things. But then I told myself I should keep on learning math and put forth consistent effort no matter which school I got into. The admission result only affects you in the short-run. It is your mathematical career in the long run that matters. So try to spend five hours a day learning some new math or doing a new project. This solves the anxiety issue. :D

noobplayer
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by noobplayer » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:01 am

mani_fold wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:44 am
On an unrelated topic—

Does anyone have some good advice on how to break the habit of obsessively checking gradcafe/email 100 times a day? I think it’s feeding into my anxiety and driving my nerves up the wall. There’s a perpetual feeling of “I should stop checking so often but what if I miss something?!”
That pretty much sums up my feelings... I started documenting how much time I waste refreshing these webpages and it is very embarrassing. But I think that it has helped me resist the urge a little bit.

nicole2
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by nicole2 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:29 am

Hey guys, are there any good programs I can still apply to that doesn't require the math gre, except Syracuse? Today is January 22 ...

laplacian
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by laplacian » Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:31 am

mani_fold wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:44 am
On an unrelated topic—

Does anyone have some good advice on how to break the habit of obsessively checking gradcafe/email 100 times a day? I think it’s feeding into my anxiety and driving my nerves up the wall. There’s a perpetual feeling of “I should stop checking so often but what if I miss something?!”
Glad to find out I'm not alone!

I try to tell myself that no good comes from checking gradcafe/e-mail. Most schools didn't even look at our files yet. I guess we need to tell ourselves that where we end up at won't matter in the long-run, but I find that hard to believe.

I already got a rejection from UIUC, so I cannot shake the feeling that something is wrong with my application and I won't end up at somewhere I match. Does anyone have any advice about how to deal with rejections? Last year, a friend of mine waited until March to hear about his first acceptance. I cannot imagine what would happen to my mental health if I have to wait that long.

I would like to hear more on how to chill.

lingmoserar
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by lingmoserar » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:03 am

My method for managing stress is to have plans for all sorts of outcomes. For example, if worse comes to worse, by some accident, I got rejected from all schools, the US is not the only country with universities, there are still other places where I can do a PhD. I could apply for European universities - there are professors who do good works plus the admission is a much more personal process with mutual selection. If the reason that I am rejected is because I'm ill-informed of the level of preparation for PhD then I will get feedback, fix the gaps and be better prepared in the next round.

The important thing is that you are sure of what you want to do. If you are certain to have a career in math, then the result of this admission round is only a start, whether you get the dream offer or not, there is hard work ahead for more opportunities. There will be times more stressful than this, but you just need to be steadfast and keep going.

nicole2
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by nicole2 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:07 pm

nicole2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:29 am
Hey guys, are there any good programs I can still apply to that doesn't require the math gre, except Syracuse? Today is January 22 ...
I called one of my schools in regards to my app status and was told that "your application has been reviewed but a decision has not been made". Does that indicate I have been rejected and they just don't want to tell me over the phone? (Their application deadline has NOT yet passed)

analysister
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by analysister » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:17 pm

nicole2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:07 pm
I called one of my schools in regards to my app status and was told that "your application has been reviewed but a decision has not been made". Does that indicate I have been rejected and they just don't want to tell me over the phone? (Their application deadline has NOT yet passed)
Not necessarily. If the application deadline hasn't passed they may not be allowed to disclose any information yet. Plus they only send out a certain number of offers per year. So except with a few stand out applications that they think are perfect for their school they cannot make final decisions until all applications are in.

laplacian
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by laplacian » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:50 pm

Did Cornell send out official acceptances? I'm wondering if the recent post on gradcafe is real.

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mani_fold
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by mani_fold » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:18 pm

laplacian wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:50 pm
Did Cornell send out official acceptances? I'm wondering if the recent post on gradcafe is real.
I'm not applying at Cornell, but a friend of mine is; she hasn't heard anything. I'm speculating, but with 2/3 rec letters from Cornell grads it might be more of an unofficial acceptance delivered by a personal connection with the department. Without another 2,3 offers/rejections on gradcafe it's probably not part of a standard round of offers.

laplacian
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by laplacian » Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:27 pm

Thank you. But in any case, Cornell sent out acceptances and rejections between February 4 - February 7 last year, so I think we might hear from them soon.

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mani_fold
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by mani_fold » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:03 pm

How is everyone feeling about Washington? Looks like first round is out.

Good luck!

analysister
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by analysister » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:39 pm

mani_fold wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:03 pm
How is everyone feeling about Washington? Looks like first round is out.

Good luck!
I haven't seen anyone who applied for the pure track that have been accepted, everything on grad cafe besides one rejection are applied.

AugmentedSeventh
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by AugmentedSeventh » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:46 pm

Has anyone heard back from MIT? They usually release first wave of admissions about now and there is an acceptance post on gradcafe.

NotMyRealName
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by NotMyRealName » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:29 pm

Expected to hear back from at least one school this week... I guess next week will be a barrage of rejections! Good luck everyone

chrisps1992
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by chrisps1992 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:36 pm

NotMyRealName wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:29 pm
Expected to hear back from at least one school this week... I guess next week will be a barrage of rejections! Good luck everyone
I feel the same XD

xu3
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by xu3 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:11 pm

AugmentedSeventh wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:46 pm
Has anyone heard back from MIT? They usually release first wave of admissions about now and there is an acceptance post on gradcafe.
Yes, I just receive their admission few hours ago.

AugmentedSeventh
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by AugmentedSeventh » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:25 pm

xu3 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:11 pm
AugmentedSeventh wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:46 pm
Has anyone heard back from MIT? They usually release first wave of admissions about now and there is an acceptance post on gradcafe.
Yes, I just receive their admission few hours ago.
Congrats!

ahhhhmeh
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by ahhhhmeh » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:51 am

Has anyone heard back from UBC Vancouver?

laplacian
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by laplacian » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:36 am

I think it is reasonable to assume that you'll get a rejection from MIT if you haven't already got a reply.

jamest03
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by jamest03 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:15 am

laplacian wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:36 am
I think it is reasonable to assume that you'll get a rejection from MIT if you haven't already got a reply.
Why is that?

laplacian
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by laplacian » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:25 am

Well, if you check the gradcafe posts of the last year, you'll see that there are only 3 acceptances from MIT, followed by many rejections two weeks later. Considering that only small amount of people post in gradcafe, I think MIT sent out all acceptances (which shouldn't be many anyway), and the rest of us will get our rejections at sometime in the next weeks.

MMDE
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by MMDE » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:20 pm

I saw someone on gradcafe heard back from Columbia APAM for applied math. Anyone else hear anything?

HarmonicDog
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by HarmonicDog » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:05 pm

Have anyone heard from Northwestern?

wujinya1
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by wujinya1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:11 pm

Nothing so far. No rejection, no admissions.

I got a feeling that I will be rejected by all the schools and this might just be my last couple of month with math...

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mani_fold
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by mani_fold » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:01 pm

wujinya1 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:11 pm
Nothing so far. No rejection, no admissions.

I got a feeling that I will be rejected by all the schools and this might just be my last couple of month with math...
Hang in there! Don’t let the imposter syndrome control your inner monologue and believe in yourself.

To be completely honest I just keep reminding myself that the constant sense of existential dread will subside in a few weeks. It’s that feeling that’s keeping me going right now.

Integreat
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by Integreat » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:13 pm

HarmonicDog wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:05 pm
Have anyone heard from Northwestern?
I got waitlisted a couple days back. They said "We will possibly be making further decisions on admissions to our program in February."

AugmentedSeventh
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by AugmentedSeventh » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:31 pm

Integreat wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:13 pm
HarmonicDog wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:05 pm
Have anyone heard from Northwestern?
I got waitlisted a couple days back. They said "We will possibly be making further decisions on admissions to our program in February."
Did they tell you that you are waitlisted after you sent them an email?

nicole2
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by nicole2 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:38 pm

nicole2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:29 am
Hey guys, are there any good programs I can still apply to that doesn't require the math gre, except Syracuse? Today is January 22 ...
Do you guys believe I would get into at least one school? I really don't have a plan B. Should I apply to more schools and what would you suggest?

Integreat
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by Integreat » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:46 pm

AugmentedSeventh wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:31 pm
Integreat wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:13 pm
HarmonicDog wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:05 pm
Have anyone heard from Northwestern?
I got waitlisted a couple days back. They said "We will possibly be making further decisions on admissions to our program in February."
Did they tell you that you are waitlisted after you sent them an email?
No, I haven't reached out to any of the places I applied to! They just sent me an email.
nicole2 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:38 pm
nicole2 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:29 am
Hey guys, are there any good programs I can still apply to that doesn't require the math gre, except Syracuse? Today is January 22 ...
Do you guys believe I would get into at least one school? I really don't have a plan B. Should I apply to more schools and what would you suggest?
I think you'll get in somewhere. Maybe one of the ones you've listed as a safety. You might also get into masters programs, who knows. A gap year would be helpful if you still want to do a pure math Ph.D., so that you can take more advanced math classes!
Last edited by Integreat on Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wujinya1
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Re: Fall 2020 Sweat Thread

Post by wujinya1 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:48 pm

mani_fold wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:01 pm
wujinya1 wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:11 pm
Nothing so far. No rejection, no admissions.

I got a feeling that I will be rejected by all the schools and this might just be my last couple of month with math...
Hang in there! Don’t let the imposter syndrome control your inner monologue and believe in yourself.

To be completely honest I just keep reminding myself that the constant sense of existential dread will subside in a few weeks. It’s that feeling that’s keeping me going right now.
Just a hypothetical question, suppose you got rejected by all schools (which is not happening in your case), what would you do next?

In my case, I took only courses in the realm of pure math, barely finished all the standard first year graduate courses (I know how poorly did I understand these material), and haven't took a single one in applied math. (Also no research or REU)

I can not afford another semester in college, so if I don't get any admission, the only option is to find a job. However, I only know very little about programming and statistics, also while I know how to explain math but I know nothing on how to deal with people. It is going to be hard for me, I guess.

Most of the schools I applied to are quite competitive and have already given out some offers or waitlists (UCLA, Uwash, etc). I did applied to some safe schools (eg. Iowa, Arizona) but it seems that too many people also consider these to be safe schools.

I am not depressed or anything. Knowing that this is probably the end motivated me to become extremely focused on math, I read quite a bit and learned a lot in the past few weeks, probably a lot more than what I learnt last semester! (and make me hate GenEds even more! these stupid things just take too much time. :) )

Thank you for your reply BTW. Best of luck to your application.



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