I would love some help with my grad school search.

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Post Reply
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:00 am

I would love some help with my grad school search.

Post by squabs32 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:29 am

Hello all, I am a senior undergraduate Mathematics student who is thinking about where to go for my PhD. I actually was planning on graduating last spring (in 3 years) but I ended up getting denied from ALL the programs to which I applied so I decided to stay for a 4th year of undergraduate education. Let me give some information about myself.

My favorite courses have been in probability and analysis so I think I want to do work in those fields. I really do enjoy and probably prefer working out proofs and doing theoretical math over more computational stuff but I think at least for a while I want a profession working in applied math. I'm not sure if that makes sense to most people but I feel like pure math is going to be more like a hobby in my life and I'd rather work more closely with real life problems. Something tells me though that I can get into applied math after working closely with pure math easier than the other way around and perhaps someone can confirm this or correct me if I am wrong.

Here are my "stats"
Math GPA: 3.96
Quant GRE: 800 (94th %)
Verbal GRE: 590 (84th %)
Writing GRE: 4.5 (45th %)
Math Subject GRE: 820 (87th %)

When I applied to schools last fall, I think applied to far too good of programs and I am certain far too few. My biggest problem is that I have no idea what sort of schools to look at with my test scores and coming from a small school that most schools have never heard of and with no research experience. I also don't know whether I should apply to applied math programs or pure math programs or both. Most of the students at my school that go to grad school enter programs in nearby universities that "know about" my school and will frequently accept our students but I don't want this at all. I am willing to basically go to school anywhere in the country as long as it is a good fit for my mathematical interests and aspirations.

I don't know any students in my school that have similar interests, all the students that like probability seem to hate working on proofs and all of the students who are more theoretically focused don't like probability. So I find that I have no one in my life to compare my experience to or to discuss this with.

Anyway, if someone can point out some schools that I can possibly get accepted to that seem to be a good fit for my interests or if anyone just has any sort of advice at all for me, it would be much appreciated.

Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: I would love some help with my grad school search.

Post by MattW » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:16 pm

Hi squabs32,

It is very tough to say which schools you may be admitted to, but I'll run through the list of things which are most crucial in the decision process.

1. Reference letters. This is by far the most important part of your application.

2. High grades in advanced coursework. Ideally you want to have some graduate courses under your belt with high grades. If you aren't able to make the grades, this may hurt your application. Lack of advanced coursework hurt my application.

3. Research experience. This looks great on any application, especially if its accompanied by a reference letter praising your work. This isn't seen as necessary though.

4. Math subject GRE. A low score will raise eyebrows but a good score probably won't boost your application too much.

Seeing how you are from an unheard of school (as I am) and don't have any research experience, don't expect to get into the top 10. Breaking into top 25 schools (as rated by US News) would be tough. You can compare your profile to mine if you'd like.

- http://www.mathematicsgre.com/viewtopic ... 2287#p2287

- http://www.mathematicsgre.com/viewtopic ... 2122#p2122

Post Reply