Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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carokann
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:50 pm

Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by carokann » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:02 pm

Hi everyone,

I didn't get into any of my schools I applied to, not even my safeties. I am feeling discouraged; maybe math is not for me after all. What should I do now? Should I go into industry?

lebesgueboy98
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:12 pm

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by lebesgueboy98 » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:49 pm

You should PLEASE apply again next cycle, don't feel discouraged. This year was brutal.

5IsTheLargestInteger
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by 5IsTheLargestInteger » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:16 pm

This was a strange cycle due to COVID. Applying next year has a high chance of working out better for you. Talk to your letter writers and ask if they can pinpoint weaknesses in your application that you can improve by next cycle. If you still wish to apply next cycle, the time off is a good time to get savings before grad school and get some research done.

I was personally in a similar situation last year. I ended up doing a few months of research with one of my recommenders, posted a super short paper on the arxiv, and took a temporary job as a SWE. This cycle I got four acceptances (despite the increased chaos) and also have a modest financial cushion should I need it as a grad student.

pkzrd
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:43 pm

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by pkzrd » Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:04 am

carokann wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:02 pm
Hi everyone,

I didn't get into any of my schools I applied to, not even my safeties. I am feeling discouraged; maybe math is not for me after all. What should I do now? Should I go into industry?
Don't be discouraged. Try again next year.

I know someone in my school (top private) who applied to 10 schools and didn't get into any of them (his safeties were Florida State, Washington State and Iowa State). Luck play some part too because every committee member have different criteria and that alone can make or break, especially for someone on the waitlist.

bmuent1
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:59 am

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by bmuent1 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:04 pm

I don't have any advice on this, but I know of a lot of people who had similar experiences but had a lot of success when they re-applied a year later! Keep your head up, treat yourself to some ice cream or something, and just keep looking forward. This year was brutal, but everything will work out in the end.

saucy_marmalade
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:18 am

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by saucy_marmalade » Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:35 am

I also am likely not going to be excepted anywhere, so I hope I can be of some console as I am in the same situation. First, it's understandable to feel discouraged in this situation; however, remember that no one can measure your worth as a mathematician (or as a person). I wholeheartedly believe that being rejected from anywhere does not mean you have no future as a mathematician. Of course, not everyone can make a career as a mathematician, but one can not accurately say who can and cannot, and the fact that you made it this far is nothing to shake one's head at. If getting a Ph.D. in mathematics is truly your dream, then just trying perseveringly is cool in my books, and I think it worthwhile.

That said, after having seen my trajectory of future rejections, I naturally began to consider my other options. Through this exploration, I realized that grad school might not actually be what I want to do; this is fine. There is nothing wrong with going into industry or another field. If you have gone through this process and are still unwavering, then it's a decent chance that you do really want to go to grad school, and you should keep trying.

If you do choose to reply again next year, there are many resources for ways to improve your application. I know a few people who've had much more luck their second year applying. Although I am not in any position to be giving advice on this, I think it would be a good idea to talk to you letter recommenders about your application's potential strengths and weaknesses. For example, I know from getting feedback on the NSF-GRFP that the reviewers penalized me for my lack of tutoring/mentoring experience. Another example, a friend of mine had a weakness in course experience in the field he was applying to and took some classes over the next year and had much better results the second attempt.

To summarize my long a** post, if it's what you want to do, try again. Perseverance is its own strength! :wink:

Weil98
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2021 3:03 pm

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by Weil98 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:07 am

Is it a good idea to reapply to the coming spring semester? Or wait till the next fall?
They say It's always better to apply to Fall semesters, but why is that?

TheBlackMathGuy
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2021 8:21 pm

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by TheBlackMathGuy » Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:50 pm

Weil98 wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:07 am
Is it a good idea to reapply to the coming spring semester? Or wait till the next fall?
They say It's always better to apply to Fall semesters, but why is that?
Because most schools only admit for Fall semester

rondondon
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 5:56 am

Re: Didn't get in anywhere :( What now?

Post by rondondon » Mon Apr 19, 2021 1:51 am

5IsTheLargestInteger wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:16 pm
This was a strange cycle due to COVID. Applying next year has a high chance of working out better for you. Talk to your letter writers and ask if they can pinpoint weaknesses in your application that you can improve by next cycle. If you still wish to apply next cycle, the time off is a good time to get savings before grad school and get some research done.

I was personally in a similar situation last year. I ended up doing a few months of research with one of my recommenders, posted a super short paper on the arxiv, and took a temporary job as a SWE. This cycle I got four acceptances (despite the increased chaos) and also have a modest financial cushion should I need it as a grad student.
This is exactly what I am going to do: get some money, discuss the weak points of my application with some professors I know, raise GPA in this last semester, finish and publish some research. I am already accepted into one of my safety schools, but I intend to reapply the next cycle anyway (the department is totally cool with this as there is more funding than PhD students).



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