Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
So I'm graduating with a BS in Accounting from a not well known university and basically during my last 3 semesters I wanted to do a career change to mathematics. In short, I fell in love with the subject after teaching myself calculus 1 (basic single variable) and went right into calculus 2 at my local community college. By the time I graduate I will have Calc 2, 3, differential equations, & linear algebra (most likely A's in all). I understand this is weak and I am also coordinating an independent study with one of my professors.
Letters: 1 from a University professor who knows me well and is a phd student for data science at NJIT, 1 from a mathematics community college professor, another from an economics professor with a phd from UPENN.
Test Scores: I plan on taking the general gre and getting above a 160 on quant and am going to do my best on the subject test.
GPA: 3.8 (most likely 4.0 in math)
Schools: Please tell me if you guys think this list is realistic.
Far Reach Rutgers Stony Brook Penn State University of Maryland (College Park) University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Reach CUNY Boston University University of Virginia Northeastern University UMASS Amherst University of Connecticut
Match (Hopefully) University of Florida Florida State University Syracuse University NJIT Stevens Institute of Technology University of Rochester Colorado State University
I understand this is a long post and I really appreciate any advice/suggestions on this. Tell me like it is, I want to know if I have any chance of doing this.
Letters: 1 from a University professor who knows me well and is a phd student for data science at NJIT, 1 from a mathematics community college professor, another from an economics professor with a phd from UPENN.
Test Scores: I plan on taking the general gre and getting above a 160 on quant and am going to do my best on the subject test.
GPA: 3.8 (most likely 4.0 in math)
Schools: Please tell me if you guys think this list is realistic.
Far Reach Rutgers Stony Brook Penn State University of Maryland (College Park) University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Reach CUNY Boston University University of Virginia Northeastern University UMASS Amherst University of Connecticut
Match (Hopefully) University of Florida Florida State University Syracuse University NJIT Stevens Institute of Technology University of Rochester Colorado State University
I understand this is a long post and I really appreciate any advice/suggestions on this. Tell me like it is, I want to know if I have any chance of doing this.
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
I hate to break it you, but the math courses won't be enough to get into a PhD program in mathematics. The classes you list are not what representative of what "real mathematics" is in that they're not proof based. At the very least, you should have real analysis and abstract algebra under your belt (1 semester of each should suffice). If I were you, I would consider looking at some postbacc programs that will help you get to the level you need to be in order to be competitive for the schools you listed.sroma wrote: ↑Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:42 pmSo I'm graduating with a BS in Accounting from a not well known university and basically during my last 3 semesters I wanted to do a career change to mathematics. In short, I fell in love with the subject after teaching myself calculus 1 (basic single variable) and went right into calculus 2 at my local community college. By the time I graduate I will have Calc 2, 3, differential equations, & linear algebra (most likely A's in all). I understand this is weak and I am also coordinating an independent study with one of my professors.
Letters: 1 from a University professor who knows me well and is a phd student for data science at NJIT, 1 from a mathematics community college professor, another from an economics professor with a phd from UPENN.
Test Scores: I plan on taking the general gre and getting above a 160 on quant and am going to do my best on the subject test.
GPA: 3.8 (most likely 4.0 in math)
Schools: Please tell me if you guys think this list is realistic.
Far Reach Rutgers Stony Brook Penn State University of Maryland (College Park) University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Reach CUNY Boston University University of Virginia Northeastern University UMASS Amherst University of Connecticut
Match (Hopefully) University of Florida Florida State University Syracuse University NJIT Stevens Institute of Technology University of Rochester Colorado State University
I understand this is a long post and I really appreciate any advice/suggestions on this. Tell me like it is, I want to know if I have any chance of doing this.

 Posts: 49
 Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:31 pm
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
Just posting to say that I agree with mlpwas100. Algebra and analysis are pretty fundamental for entering a PhD program. This doesn't mean that you will never be able to apply in the future, just that you'll need extra training first. Doing a postbacc is a great idea.mlpwas100 wrote: ↑Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:55 pmI hate to break it you, but the math courses won't be enough to get into a PhD program in mathematics. The classes you list are not what representative of what "real mathematics" is in that they're not proof based. At the very least, you should have real analysis and abstract algebra under your belt (1 semester of each should suffice). If I were you, I would consider looking at some postbacc programs that will help you get to the level you need to be in order to be competitive for the schools you listed.sroma wrote: ↑Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:42 pmSo I'm graduating with a BS in Accounting from a not well known university and basically during my last 3 semesters I wanted to do a career change to mathematics. In short, I fell in love with the subject after teaching myself calculus 1 (basic single variable) and went right into calculus 2 at my local community college. By the time I graduate I will have Calc 2, 3, differential equations, & linear algebra (most likely A's in all). I understand this is weak and I am also coordinating an independent study with one of my professors.
Letters: 1 from a University professor who knows me well and is a phd student for data science at NJIT, 1 from a mathematics community college professor, another from an economics professor with a phd from UPENN.
Test Scores: I plan on taking the general gre and getting above a 160 on quant and am going to do my best on the subject test.
GPA: 3.8 (most likely 4.0 in math)
Schools: Please tell me if you guys think this list is realistic.
Far Reach Rutgers Stony Brook Penn State University of Maryland (College Park) University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Reach CUNY Boston University University of Virginia Northeastern University UMASS Amherst University of Connecticut
Match (Hopefully) University of Florida Florida State University Syracuse University NJIT Stevens Institute of Technology University of Rochester Colorado State University
I understand this is a long post and I really appreciate any advice/suggestions on this. Tell me like it is, I want to know if I have any chance of doing this.
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
I understand and appreciate the responses, but from everything I’ve read it seems like a post bacc is a terrible idea. Don’t some schools do conditional admissions? Like you are admitted as long as you take x and y during the first year with these grades?? Shouldn’t I just also apply to masters programs too over a post bacc?
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
No, this is not realistic. You haven't taken any of the basic foundational math courses: real analysis, abstract algebra, topology. Also, most people applying to a PhD program have taken beyond these courses. I'd look into postbac programs or, better yet, MA programs that are funded. You might have a shot at Miami University or Wake Forest.sroma wrote: ↑Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:42 pmSo I'm graduating with a BS in Accounting from a not well known university and basically during my last 3 semesters I wanted to do a career change to mathematics. In short, I fell in love with the subject after teaching myself calculus 1 (basic single variable) and went right into calculus 2 at my local community college. By the time I graduate I will have Calc 2, 3, differential equations, & linear algebra (most likely A's in all). I understand this is weak and I am also coordinating an independent study with one of my professors.
Letters: 1 from a University professor who knows me well and is a phd student for data science at NJIT, 1 from a mathematics community college professor, another from an economics professor with a phd from UPENN.
Test Scores: I plan on taking the general gre and getting above a 160 on quant and am going to do my best on the subject test.
GPA: 3.8 (most likely 4.0 in math)
Schools: Please tell me if you guys think this list is realistic.
Far Reach Rutgers Stony Brook Penn State University of Maryland (College Park) University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
Reach CUNY Boston University University of Virginia Northeastern University UMASS Amherst University of Connecticut
Match (Hopefully) University of Florida Florida State University Syracuse University NJIT Stevens Institute of Technology University of Rochester Colorado State University
I understand this is a long post and I really appreciate any advice/suggestions on this. Tell me like it is, I want to know if I have any chance of doing this.
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
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Last edited by CE123 on Wed May 06, 2020 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
Can you give us some context as to what makes a post bacc sound like a terrible idea? Also, you could apply to some masters programs as well, but once again, you do lack a lot of the foundations necessary for graduate school, not just for PhD programs. Conditional offers are also pretty hard to come by, especially with applicant pools being this competitive.sroma wrote: ↑Sun May 03, 2020 5:33 pmI understand and appreciate the responses, but from everything I’ve read it seems like a post bacc is a terrible idea. Don’t some schools do conditional admissions? Like you are admitted as long as you take x and y during the first year with these grades?? Shouldn’t I just also apply to masters programs too over a post bacc?
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
For certain schools like Stevens and NJIT I was planning on applying directly to the PhD program checking the box that id also like to be considered for the masters. I will have a whole semester in between fall admissions and when I graduate undergrad to take 1 or 2 classes so I’m hoping I can somehow squeeze that comment in my applications somewhere.

 Posts: 3
 Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2020 11:12 pm
Re: Admission Chances (Non Traditional Student)
You should do a masters or postbacc to figure out if you really want to do math. The masters is probably better, because if you don't want to do research you at least have a masters degree which opens up a good job market.sroma wrote: ↑Mon May 04, 2020 11:53 amFor certain schools like Stevens and NJIT I was planning on applying directly to the PhD program checking the box that id also like to be considered for the masters. I will have a whole semester in between fall admissions and when I graduate undergrad to take 1 or 2 classes so I’m hoping I can somehow squeeze that comment in my applications somewhere.
Your application will probably not be looked at by the PhD application selection committees (so it's unlikely that checking the box for consideration for the masters program would be looked at). It's probably better to apply directly to masters programs.
Just because you liked the calculus sequence, it doesn't necessarily mean you like advanced mathematics. A lot of my friends from high school were so much more enthusiastic about math than I was and loved the calculus sequence in college, but they all left mathematics because they didn't enjoy writing proofs. (Most wound up in CS, Physics, Stats which all _use_ a lot of math, but don't write proofs).
On the other hand, I loved writing proofs, started out with a different major, and switched to mathematics for the proofs. I absolutely hated the calculus 13 and intro differential equations/linear algebra classes. They're really not representative of what math is like.
I'm sorry if this comes off harsh  I don't mean to be critical at all! I just want to put things in perspective  you've probably covered what most people cover in their freshmen/sophomore year of a mathematics program. You just are starting further behind. That doesn't mean you won't be a great mathematician, because plenty of people have become great contributors to the field after starting late, but you just have to spend some time learning the basics before you can jump into a PhD.
Life is not a race! Take the time to find out if you really enjoy mathematics before jumping into the deep end