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Extraciriculare activities

  1. Nov 21, 2008 #1
    I am currently a math undergrad with my sights set on an elite grad school for pure school.
    My question to what degree to grad school consider your extraciricular activies, i.e. clubs, community service, honor societies.
    I have an excellent gpa, but i'm worried that my lack of activities will hold me back. i'm not involved in any clubs. i'm a member of a couple honor societies, but not particularly active.
    Should i make a more conscious effort to get involved and boost my resume?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2008 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    What I think is more important is that you work on your spelling and general use of English. Grad schools care much less about extracurriculars than college admission offices, but they do care if you can express yourself clearly and in a way that will be a credit to the department.
  4. Nov 21, 2008 #3
    Come on, Van, it (sans title) wasn't that bad :tongue:

    kbfrob: You appear to have a keen academic focus. Does your university give opportunities for senior undergraduates to tutor earlier-year students? By "tutor" in this context I mean taking a class of students from a course and helping with set problems, etc. If so, that is something some graduate schools will look favourably towards, as often graduate school will involve you doing some teaching. Regardless, teaching at this stage is a great way to consolidate what you have already learned and gain some confidence speaking to an audience about mathematics.

    Outside tutoring maths, your university may also have peer mentoring programs, where you could use your academic experience to help newcomers make decisions about which courses to take and so forth.
  5. Nov 21, 2008 #4
    kbfrog: I could give you a list, and this list i heavily weighted towards a Phd-position.

    1. Research while still in your Bsc or Msc. Very good.

    2. Tutoring in the subject at hand.

    3. Tutoring writing at your writing center.

    4. Work experience as a boss.

    5. Being a treasurer of some sort. Be it charity or corporate sector.

    6. Experience with the applied world of the science you want to do a PhD in. (once again work experience).

    7. being a very good athlete.
  6. Nov 21, 2008 #5
    In my experience applying to grad school in physics, I've found that extracurriculars don't matter at all. The only application I filled out which even asked about extracurricular activities did so in the portion of the application that I turned in to the graduate college (i.e. it wasn't the physics department's idea). I've also spoken to professors about this. The only thing they care about is that you demonstrate the mathematical ability to handle graduate level coursework in math, and that you portray yourself as someone who can excel at research.

    Consider this: for the next five to seven years (hopefully closer to five), you'll be taking a couple years worth of courses, and then doing research. For the first two years they'll be paying you to teach, and for the last three to five they'll be paying you to do research. What matters to the department is that you justify the cost they are expending on you by successfully earning your PhD from their department. Extracurriculars might demonstrate your ability to multitask. But strong involvement in math research demonstrates that you are ready for graduate school. So it is in your best interest for your application to strongly convey that you are good at math and good at doing research.

    You already have a good GPA, which is very beneficial to you. There are only two other things that I would recommend. First, take challenging courses. Specifically, take abstract algebra, real analysis, and topology, since these are the three important subjects in mathematics. Secondly, get involved in research with a professor. REUs are one good way to get into this. Another is simply to ask a professor if he's willing to pay you to work for him.

    Anyway, I hope this helps!
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