Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Sehkai
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:16 am

Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by Sehkai » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:05 am

I’m wondering what programs I should realistically apply to. My profile is very weak, so leave now if you hate cringing. :D

Undergrad: USC
GPA: 3.1
GRE: 170 Q / 164 V / 810 M
Domestic Asian male
Recs: one very strong, one probably strong, one unknown
I took a lot of math classes. I think around 20, most of which were grad.

My transcript and SOPs are a bit of a mess. My GPA is low because I’m bad at math, but also because I’m a terrible student. For example, I took algebra and number theory my first semester, and nearly failed. My second semester, I made straight F’s across the board, then dropped out to try and join the Army. Third semester, I took measure theory and got a (measly) B, but I took the qual on a whim and accidentally got a PhD pass, which angered a couple professors. My first real exposure to linear algebra was Hilbert and Banach spaces. I didn’t know what row reduction was until I finally took a linear algebra class in my sixth semester.

If I seem like an idiot, that’s because I am. However, I do have a saving grace, and that’s that I love teaching (really it’s a love for public speaking, but I might as well talk about math). Unlike math, I’m also pretty good at it, so that’s an angle I and my recommenders can push. I don’t want to do a PhD because I love math (I don’t), but I’d like to teach math to people who are actually enthusiastic about it.

Anyways, do y’all think there are any programs that would take someone such as myself? I applied this cycle to a small handful but never sent in my GRE scores because I didn’t want to waste more money. Thanks in advance!

ponchan
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:30 pm

Re: Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by ponchan » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:29 am

I was confused why you'd even want to get a PhD in math until your second to last paragraph. Have you considered instead getting a PhD in education? To answer your actual question, yes of course there are programs that would accept you. Nearly 20 grad classes and decent GRE scores are helpful and you have those. The only issue I see is your GPA. But seriously, why not consider something like the education program at Columbia? There are also some PhD programs that seem to be more teaching than research focused like Dartmouth that you might want to check out.

defen
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:40 pm

Re: Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by defen » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:08 pm

You should probably get a master's degree in your situation. Can't imagine committing for five more years without love for math (and specifically research).

Sehkai
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:16 am

Re: Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by Sehkai » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:14 pm

defen wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:08 pm
You should probably get a master's degree in your situation. Can't imagine committing for five more years without love for math (and specifically research).
You're right, but I forgot to mention that I did get a master's in math, essentially through my undergrad. I was basically given the degree on account of the courses I took and thesis I wrote.

Sehkai
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:16 am

Re: Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by Sehkai » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:17 pm

ponchan wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:29 am
I was confused why you'd even want to get a PhD in math until your second to last paragraph. Have you considered instead getting a PhD in education? To answer your actual question, yes of course there are programs that would accept you. Nearly 20 grad classes and decent GRE scores are helpful and you have those. The only issue I see is your GPA. But seriously, why not consider something like the education program at Columbia? There are also some PhD programs that seem to be more teaching than research focused like Dartmouth that you might want to check out.
That's a good idea. I actually do like research and learning, but about 95% of the math I've been exposed to is very unappealing to me, which is an obvious issue. The Dartmouth program seems like a neat idea, if true. I'm also trying to transition into a field I actually enjoy, like economics or business (which was my original major) and do a PhD there instead. But I wouldn't be opposed to math; I think it's worth doing, even if I have to suffer through it.

MathParent
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:32 pm

Re: Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by MathParent » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:38 am

Wait a minute. The reason to go for PhD in Math - is to love doing scientific research, to publish your results, to get grants and do more research. All of that while being a professor at a university. Or to get hired by a defense contractor or a national lab, and have a job for life and do research there. Yes, there is teaching involved if you do the first route, but still the main idea - is to love research in math. You do not sound like you enjoy math that much.
I agree with the advice to go get PhD in Math Education, and then go teach at a University that doesn't require research from the professors, only teaching.
Just decide what you want to do in life, man! The proper program for you does exist, but you have to decide what you want to do.

mbrane
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:53 am

Re: Weak(-*) Profile Evaluation

Post by mbrane » Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:05 pm

You may have already masters coursework in pure math, but there are also masters programs in mathematics education that you might enjoy. You'd be able to teach at a community college or as an adjunct with that degree and never have to do research. Saint Louis University and UIUC both have funded programs for such a masters and I'm sure there's other places.



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