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Graduate School Admission Chances?

  1. Nov 29, 2011 #1
    Hi all,

    I am currently applying to a few PhD programs in mathematics, and I was wondering what your opinion is regarding my chances of being admitted to any of these schools?

    Below is a very brief description of my background:

    Institution: Small, not known for math

    GPA: Overall: 3.94, Math: 4.0 (on a scale of 4.0)

    General GRE: Haven't taken yet

    Math GRE: (Nov.) Expecting 680-760

    Academic Credentials: I have a total of two papers under review for publication to refereed journals. One is as a result of an REU that I did two years ago, so I am one of the authors, while I am the only author of the second one. I also have submitted another undergraduate research project/paper for publication to an undergraduate journal.

    Conferences and Presentations: I have given a talk(for two consecutive years) at the Texas Undergraduate Mathematics Conference. I will also give a talk at the 2012 Joint Mathematics Meeting on one of the AMS Sessions(The talk will be over my paper that I have already submitted for publication). Presented at the Alpha Chi National Convention in San Diego, and won an award for the best presentation/paper under the mathematics session.

    Other Academic Credentials: I have had three reading courses, graduate level, in Analysis, Algebra, and Topology (Rudin, Dummit and Foote, Massey and Munkres).I will have strong recommendation letters, including one from a professor that is quite known in his field (not my intended field of study though). I also have somewhere between 20 to 30 solutions and/or proposals that have appeared or will appear in journals such as: The Amer. Math. Monthly, The College Mathematics, School Science and Math. Journal, MathProblems etc. I have been a Math Tutor and Math Grader for the past 3.5 years. I have also recently joined the editorial committee of a recently founded international mathematics journal.

    The schools that I am applying to are:

    Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    UT, Austin
    Ohio State Univ.
    UC, Davis
    Univ. of Washington, St Luis
    Indiana, Bloomington

    I am also thinking of applying to: Dartmouth College, Brown (?), Yale (?), UC at Berkeley, and maybe one or two more(feel free to suggest any other school that you think might be a better or more realistic choice for me)

    I am applying for pure math only.

    I am well aware that some of these schools might be a long shot, (one of my profs. is encouraging me to try some of these top schools), however, I would appreciate your most honest opinon on this list?

    In my opinion my weakest part might be my Math GRE scores. Many things went wrong on the day of the test.

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. The schools are listed from less likely to more likely, in terms of admission chances (in my opinion).
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2011 #2
    I am not an expert in US universities so you'd better take anything I say with a grain of salt, but I believe that the fact you have already published two papers is a very strong point in your application. If I were you I'd add to this list two or three of the 'top' schools. I think you have a realistic shot at them.
  4. Dec 2, 2011 #3
    Thanks for your reply!

    Anyone else care to give their opinion?
  5. Dec 2, 2011 #4
    i agree with this
  6. Dec 3, 2011 #5
    I am afraid my GRE scores will hurt my application. How much are GRE scores weighted compared to say research experience, GPA, and letters of recommendation?
  7. Dec 3, 2011 #6
    probably not a lot. . . your app is quite outstanding.
  8. Dec 4, 2011 #7
    Most grad school applicants have research experience through their undergrad years. Few of them may have published in some conference. But honestly, I've never seen an undergrad who has a refereed journal publication; let alone two of them.

    Yes, that's how outstanding your application is. You really should put Princeton, Stanford, MIT, or whatever schools that are considered top in math.
  9. Dec 4, 2011 #8
    Hi HossamCFD,

    I appreciate your input, and thanks for encouraging me to apply to some more top schools.

    Just to clarify though, I have two papers under review for publication, but they are not published yet (I strongly believe they will, but this might as well make a difference).

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  10. Dec 4, 2011 #9
    that shouldnt be an issue, def apply to a lot more schools. . .
  11. Dec 4, 2011 #10
    This can make a difference only if you single authored the papers or you professor is utterly unknown/new to the field. Otherwise, it doesn't make any difference wether the papers are still under review or have already been accepted.

    The way the admission will probably look at it is that, if you're professor is well established in the field (which can easily be inferred from his list of publications) then the papers will most likely get accepted after some minor/major corrections. In the unlikely case when the paper get rejected then you will probably submit it to another journal (probably after some modifications according to any constructive comments you get from the previous referee). There is no way your professor would put his name on a paper if it's crap and therefore the paper must be good. In some cases the admission might ask you for a preprint to judge the quality of your research and you should discuss with your professor wether he agrees to that or not.

    As Highway and myself (and one of your professors as you say in the OP) have said, you should put more top schools to your list. Believe me you don't want to ask yourself 'what if' in a couple of months when the application period is over.
  12. Dec 13, 2011 #11
    Both of you, thanks again for the input, it is much appreciated.

    To Hossam: Actually I single authored one of the papers. However, the good news is that it was recently accepted for publication at the journal I submitted. While the journal is not very prestigious,(from what I've heard), at least I guess the issue of quality of my paper should no longer be a problem.

    The other paper is also authored by a professor who is quite known in the field. So, I am 100% confident that he would not put his name on the paper unless he's sure that he paper is worth something.

    Thanks again!
  13. Dec 13, 2011 #12
    please make sure you apply to mit, harvard, and princeton; i'd really hate to see you miss out on either one of them . . .
  14. Dec 13, 2011 #13
    I second that.
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