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Chance of getting into grad school, any suggestions/comments are helpful !! ◡̈

Posted: Sun Jul 23, 2023 11:59 pm
by ruby
Hello!

I'm working on applications for an applied math PhD, in Mathematical Modeling/Simulation or Quantum Computing related. I'm heavily leaning towards simulation. I wanted to get some feedback on my chances and about how many schools to apply, I just graduated college and am taking a year off to work and save a little.

• University: UC (University of California, not UCLA or Berkeley)
• Awards/Honors: some department awards, NASA Intern Challenge award, National Merit Semifinalist in high school but don't think that'll matter
• Major: Math and Computer Science double major
• Math GPA: ~3.4
• Overall GPA: ~3.2
• Recommendations: 3, with one being my research professor I've been working with for 3 years
• GRE Revised General Test:
Q: 167
V: 160
• GRE Subject Test in Mathematics: going to take in September

In terms of experience, my research has been in quantum information theory and I'm finishing my undergrad thesis this summer. No publications or anything like that. As far as internships, my biggest one was at NASA, working on a mathematical modeling project. Other than that I've done some work for the space/satellite club at my school, and presented that at my University's research conference. My GPA brings my application down a lot, since my Junior year I had stuff going on that made it really hard to focus on school, and ended up with mostly B/Cs. For math classes, first 2 years of college I had As but last 2 years was mostly Bs. I've had Cs in 2 Math classes. No math graduate coursework, only a graduate class in Quantum Computing. I'm studying hard for my Math GRE, but I'm feeling pretty discourage right now in terms of where I was hoping to apply. I was wondering what my reach, middle, safety cut offs should be, or if I should even apply to grad school considering my GPA and lack of graduate coursework :/ Thank you all in advance for the advice and suggestions, I really appreciate it

MIT
Princeton
Stanford
UC Berkeley
UCLA
CALTECH
NYU
Yale
Columbia
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
University of Texas - Austin
Brown
Cornell
Duke
Northwestern University
University of Pennsylvania
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Carnegie Mellon
Georgia Institute of Technology
Johns Hopkins
UC San Diego
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
University of Maryland - College Park
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Ohio State University
University of Washington
Rice University
Stony Brook University
UC Davis
Purdue University
UCSB
University of Notre Dame
University of Southern California
Dartmouth College
Berlin Math School

Re: Chance of getting into grad school, any suggestions/comments are helpful !! ◡̈

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2023 2:35 pm
by eamath
Hello, if you can afford to do so (may not be funded), consider a 2 year type MS degree (with thesis) at your current school. This will let you show you can do graduate coursework, raise you GPA, and ideally make some conference presentations and get out a journal paper. You would then be much more competitive for PhD program applications. I would also possibly consider a computer science, statistics, or a distinct applied math department rather than a math department. Your list looks a bit like top math program rankings from US News and pretty top heavy for reasonable chance of acceptance with your current stats, which are good but not great. People do understand extenuating circumstances impacting academic performance, getting an MS would be a nice way to bounce back and show you are a stronger candidate than your undergrad stats suggest. Another possibility would be to do an additional 1 year type research experience at NASA or a national lab with the goal of a publication.

I would also suggest consider applied math departments at Stony Brook and U Colorado Boulder, which would probably be reaches for you now (not sure?) but may become matches after an MS. A lot also depends on your long term plans, academia vs industry for what type of school and program you shoot for. Keep in mind many schools are no longer considering math GRE, although for ones that do a good score could help. Also get suggestions from your current research professor, perhaps he/she has contacts at other schools that would help. Best of luck!