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Chances of acceptance (M.Sc, pure math) / personal statement advice

  1. Jan 7, 2010 #1
    Hello,

    I'm finishing up my personal statement for grad school, and wondering how much the things I'm worried about we also be cause for concern for the admission's committees? Briefly, my background is this: I switched to mathematics late, and did very few of the 1st/2nd year courses. My overall GPA is mediocre: 3.14 (I did crappy, C+, in a wretched chemistry elective I took last semester), and almost all of my grades for advanced math courses (real analysis, complex analysis, measure theory, relativity, abstract algebra) will not be out til April, well after I've applied (by that time, my GPA should rise to 3.45, when these grades are factored in - I'll also probably get the university's award for highest grade in real analysis, unless I have a drastic collapse this semester).

    So, I'm worried the admissions committee's will think the following:
    1. This guy switched to mathematics late, how committed is he?
    2. We have almost no grades for advanced courses to evaluate him on at this point, and the grades we do have are not great.

    In my favor, I do have very strong references from two analysts. One taught me real analysis I and I did research with last summer. The other is my current real analysis II prof, whose class I'm doing very well in and will be doing research with this upcoming summer. I also have my own explanations/excuses but I'd like to not dwell on explaining away my negatives too much on my personal statement, for fear of drawing attention to them. Should I be? Any suggestions? I could care less what school I get into. I just want to get in somewhere. If I need to apply to 20 places to ensure that, I'll do it.
     
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  3. Jan 7, 2010 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Number 1 is not a concern. Number 2 is a big concern. It may be worth thinking about applying next year (if you can do something useful over that year).
     
  4. Jan 7, 2010 #3
    Thanks Vanadium 50,

    I know of a few schools with deadlines after April - so I'd have my grades by then, and I think I'll get in. But those would be application deadlines past the funding deadlines, so that's an issue. Either way, I'm going to apply to some schools right now (already finished most of three applications, just need to fill a few details and hit 'submit' online). Applying next year will be a consideration if I get rejected everywhere, but I really hope it doesn't come to that (obviously it is a possibility though).

    I wish I had more of a handle on exactly how admissions processes work. If it comes down to a pure numbers game, like sort applicants by GPA and taking X top percent, then I'm in trouble. How much sway do referees have at this point? I've been assuming a lot, and sort of using that as comfort.
     
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