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GRE subject math scores and places to apply

  1. Nov 21, 2007 #1
    I am an Italian graduate in Mathematical Engineering (with a converted 3.97 GPA, 4.00 GPA in Math courses), and I am willing to pursue a PhD degree in pure mathematics. Since I had very good GRE and toefl scores (720 V - 800 Q - 4.5 A for the GRE, 115/120 Toefl), I have good recommenders, and I had a mathematics research article published on an international journal
    (a very good one), I only applied to four schools: Indiana University, Illinois University (UC), Berkeley and Princeton (long shots). A 5th application to CMU is in progress.

    I discovered I had a 770 (83%) on the GRE math subject. Probably I ****ed up some questions since I answered pretty much everything, and my abstract algebra background is quite basic (I come from an engineering program). I know it is a fairly good but not exceptional (no top school level) score.

    I am asking for some advice: does this score put my admission (and hopes for a fellowship) to some of the schools (Princeton, Berkeley, IU) in jeopardy? Shall I apply to some other universities? I was considering Texas-Austin, Michigan, Brown (still a top one, I know), Rutgers... Take into account I am mainly interested in PDEs and dynamical systems, so Berkeley and IU would be exceptional places for me, and these one I listed would be very good.

    Thank you,

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2007 #2
    I have had a very well-weathered advisor tell me that it is quite possible to be admitted to those top schools with a subject score like that.
  4. Nov 23, 2007 #3
    Thank you. The problem is, shall I apply to some less appealing university, in your opinion?
  5. Nov 23, 2007 #4


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    If the cost of application is not a big issue, you should apply to a few more schools, both on the high end and on the low end. My opinion is that your qualifications (including your GRE score) do not exclude you from some of the top schools.

    Have you looked into other schools in this list ?
  6. Nov 23, 2007 #5


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    you should direct this question to someone at those schools.
  7. Nov 23, 2007 #6
    I already did. They answered what I already knew: except for Berkeley, which has an 80% percentile requirement, they restated the fact that there is no minimum score required and that GRE scores only represent a part, more or less important, of the application.

    I also asked about the requirements for a fellowship, but the situation seems to be pretty similar.
    I think I would rather a fellowship (or a research assistantship) than a TA, and this could motivate some other applications.

    Thus, I wanted to know if someone around here has had similar experiences.

    Thank you,

  8. Nov 24, 2007 #7
    MIT maybe don't care much about GRE math subject test. One of my friend get into MIT without GRE math subject test, GRE 450V+800Q+3.5 AWA. He contacted directly with one professor and was accepted with fellowship.
    Princeton and Harvard need 85-87%, Stanford maybe more than 90%. Berkeley you can try if it is your dream school. With other schools your score is fine. You also should try UCLA, Cornell and Caltech.
    As far as I know, about 200 Chinese students take the test this year, and the ratio of Chinese students scored more than 90% is about 35-40%, this maybe the big obstacle for us.
  9. Nov 24, 2007 #8
    The fact is that I already have very good contacts with faculty at Indiana University; I am almost sure I will get in that program, which is a top 5 tier program for PDE and Dynamical Systems. However, I am kinda annoyed when lots of people (including my parents) do not seem impressed with IU and disregard it if compared with Princeton or Brown, or Cornell, or...

    Thus, the idea of going in a "renowned" university is excavating tunnels through my mind, even if I don't like the PDE research group in princeton, and I prefer the environment of a small, unexpensive city like Bloomington to Berkeley or to living in the New York Area.

    What shall I do, in your opinion? Another outstanding research group in PDE is in Texas at Austin (Prof. Caffarelli). But the school itself is not much better than Indiana.
  10. Dec 3, 2007 #9
    In the end, the deadlines are approaching... any advice?
  11. Dec 6, 2007 #10
    UT Austin has a great math phd program, I would say better than IU. It all boils down to what you want to study. For instance, I would not even consider Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, etc. if I wanted to do PDE.
  12. Dec 7, 2007 #11
    Sure. I admit that the application I made to Princeton was a little bit off mark, if one thinks that my field of study is not very popular there.
    I should have applied to Texas instead, but I didn't for some reason (one of my recommenders is a great friend and co-worker of a faculty member in Austin, so I probably would have been admitted, but my thesis advisor (and recommender) has his biggest contacts at IU, and is quite pushing me to go there.)
    However, I think I would rather live in Bloomington than in Texas (even if I was told Austin is a very nice city)


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