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I have a dilemma

  1. Jun 16, 2006 #1
    Thanks for reading this. I am going to make this simple.
    Here is the situation.
    Last Thursday, I encountered a professor that I know personally. He asked me to join his class for the coming autumn. I did not reply his request immediately. That night, I looked up informations of that class. It fits my time table. And this is where the situation gets confusing.
    I have already registered the following classes for the coming autumn. They are TOPOLOGY, MATHEMATICAL ANALYSIS I, ABSTRACT ALGEBRA, MATHEMATICAL ECONOMICS, PROBABILITY, and NUMERICAL ANALYSIS which already maxed out my normal credits maxium per semester. However, the class,PROBLEM SOLVING FOR MATHS COMPETITION, he asked me to join does not overlap with any other classes. I am going to graduate in spring 07. I am going to apply for postgraduate school and majoring in Operation Research/Financial Mathematics. These are professional degree and require applicant to have work experience and recommandations. The professor is very famous in pure maths field. His recommandation would be very helpful for my postgraduate application. Though, I already have 18 credits of workload (less important), and schedule of that class will greatly decrease the possiblility of getting internship(important). I am just 19 years old and I have not worked in any financial industry at all (fair amount of experiences in food industries and salesman). Of course, it is not guaranteed that I am going to get intership/his recommandation.

    What should I choose?
    My primary decision would be to join his class. However, I am in the situation therefore i might not see things clearly.

    Thanks for reading this again. Any thought would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2006 #2
    18 credits?! I have enough trouble with 9, though i do work fulltime
  4. Jun 17, 2006 #3
    If you decide to take this class you will need to drop another course, I would think. 18 credits is a lot as it is, and adding another class on top of that is too much, imo.

    I have had 18 credit semester and I am taking 18 credits next semester, and I cannot imagine taking another class on top of it. That is just waaay too much. Also, it's not always only about whether you can pull off good grades in the classes or not when taking on such a load. You want to make sure you are learning the subject matter very thoroughly also. Getting an A does not necessarily mean you learned the subject thoroughly.
  5. Jun 17, 2006 #4

    matt grime

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    And here we go again... look, 18 credits at one university has no relation to 18 credits at another university (where I work, for instance, students are supposed to take some number of credit points akin to 150 per year).

    As to the question. A course on problem solving for maths competitions sounds pointless compared to the other courses you are taking (but this is merely based upon the names). Why dont' you talk to this professor and explain you have a full load with these other courses; he will know what this implies for future work.
  6. Jun 17, 2006 #5
    I think its safe to assume hes using the standard american system of credits, (same for me in canada). You cant compare a UK school. Its clear he's taking 6 courses. In the vast majority of schools thats min 4 hours per course per week. Point is 7 courses is too much.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2006
  7. Jun 17, 2006 #6


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    Problem-solving is a valuable skill and it would be a feather in your cap to do well in a course such as this, especially if the professor is well-known and respected. The ability to break down a problem and decide how it should be approached is a real asset in the business world.

    Talk to your academic advisor and ask him/her if you should take the plunge. If you have the intellect and the work-ethic to take on a heavy course-load, that course may serve you well. Some courses will open doors for you. In my case, I started in Chemical Engineering, but was interested in Philosophy. The head of the Philosophy department was offering a course on meta-ethics to advanced philosophy students and grad students only. I was keenly interested in the differences between morals and ethics and questions surrounding the origin of these ideals, and asked if I could join his class, although I had never taken a philosophy course. He said that I could have 15 minutes of his time during lunch. We spoke for over 3 hours, I was in the class, and I never had to take an introductory or second-level course in philosophy. If I was interested in a course, I would sign up for it, and I got in with no prerequisite hurdles.
  8. Jun 17, 2006 #7
    Now,the way you explained your situation, I gather that you're choosing among 3 credentials to get into the grad school program of your choice:

    1. Good grades.
    2. An internship.
    3. A recommendation from the professor you mentioned.

    Of course, ideally you'd like to have all three. But if only two were possible, which two would best help you get into grad school?

    I don't know your GPA, but if it's decent (as in, above 3.2 or so) then you don't need to worry about #1 as much as you need to worry about #2 and #3. Now, you said you don't have an internship yet; you're trying for one, but you don't have one secured yet. So since an internship is not guaranteed, then assuming your GPA is decent, then go ahead and take the extra class, ace it, and get a good recommendation from your professor. I'd think that to ace the extra class is something you have more control over than getting an internship, which is decided by somebody else; and, I might add, many people get internships because of who they know, not WHAT they know, which may make the possibility of your getting an internship even less promising. So my advice is, take the extra class, ace it, and make sure you do well (as in, B or higher) in your other 6 courses. That strategy should best guarantee your long-term success. Good luck.
  9. Jun 17, 2006 #8

    matt grime

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    What makes you think you can compare things intranationally? Who says there is a 'standard'? Why should I assume he's in the US? Why not Aus? Why not somewhere else in the UK? Where in any of the post is anything stated that means we can assume the author is American (or in the US)?

    You seem to have inferred (or at least I am inferring that you have inferred) that I when I mentioned 150 cp I was somehow implying this is the 'standard' in the UK. It isn't. There is no such thing. Nor did I mention anything to do with the country in which I work, merely the university, apologies if that was not clear. The required credit points, or even the decision to call them credit points, is not a universal thing; get over your parochialism: not everyone here is in America, they don't all understand what GPAs are and why you need to get above a certain number to get into a certain major and minor choice, just as not everyone here would have a clue what I meant if I told them in the part 2 of the tripos I was a wrangler.

    There is nothing that leads me to understand that the author is in the US, and even if they were, why would I assume that there were a universal credit point system applicable to 'most' universities in the US when there is not one anywhere that I've come across in the UK (or the US where I've worked as a lecturer)?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2006
  10. Jun 17, 2006 #9
    6 math classes in one semester?! And you want to add one more :surprised How many math classes have you taken in one semester before and what classes were they and how did you do? What did your advisor say about your schedule? Also, could you post the description and pre-reqs of each of these classes and maybe what math classes you have taken. Personally I think just the original 6 you are signed up for is too much, at least it would probably be too much for me. I was going to take 4 math classes next semester (in addition to Russian) but decided that was too much. Just out of curiosity, do you need to take all of these classes or are you taking a few of them for fun?
  11. Jun 17, 2006 #10
    Sorry for so much confusion
    I am going to a state school in Dallas. I was educated under British System. I took 31 credits last spring and I passed everyone of them. I have 3.39 GPA since my school does not put transfer credits into its calculation. I weight recommandation and internship equally since they are both important to apply postgraduate school. GPA and workload is less import than recommandation and internship.
    The professor that asked me to join has been the coach of the US maths team. I have had this class before. His class was less lecture more discussion.

    I expect that Mathematical Economics is going to be easy because I have already talked to the professor. He said it is just going to be basic applied calculus.

    I have already scheduled an appointment with him. Though, I want to go with a decision. And Matt Grimme, what do you think about recommandation and internship?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2006
  12. Jun 17, 2006 #11
    I am taking them to prepare for Financial Maths.

    There are the description for the classes.
    MATH 3311 Abstract Algebra I (3 semester hours ) Groups, rings, fields, vector spaces modules, linear transformations, and Galois theory. Prerequisite: MATH 2419. (3-0) Y
    MATH 4301 Mathematical Analysis I (3 semester hours ) Sets, real number system, metric spaces, real functions of several variables. Riemann Stieltjes integration and other selected topics. Prerequisites: MATH 2451 and 3310. (3-0) (Y)
    MATH 4334 Numerical Analysis (3 semester hours) Solution of linear equations, roots of polynomial equations, interpolation and approximation, numerical differentiation and integration, solution of ordinary differential equations; computer arithmetic and error analysis. Prerequisites: MATH 2418, 2451, and CS 1337 or equivalent knowledge of a high level programming language. (Same as CS 4334.) (3-0) (Y)
    MATH 4341 Topology (3 semester hours) Elements of general topology, topological spaces, continuous functions, connectedness, compactness, completeness, separation axioms, and metric spaces. Prerequisite: MATH 2451 or 3310. (3-0) (Y)
    ECO 4351 Mathematical Economics (3 semester hours) Mathematical formulation of economic theories such as static and dynamic analysis of market behavior and macroeconomic models. Introduction to optimization techniques and linear algebra. Prerequisite: ECO 3304 or MATH 2418 or MATH 2333. (3-0) Y
    STAT 4351 Probability (3 semester hours) Probability models, random variables, expectation, special distributions, and the central limit theorem. The theory is illustrated by numerous examples. Prerequisite: MATH 2451. (3-0) T
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