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I want to go to grad school in math, but

  1. Jun 17, 2010 #1
    I just finished my junior year at my university, and I am currently interested in going to graduate school in mathematics. But from reading some of the posts on here, I am starting to feel maybe I'm not really a desired candidate for graduate study in mathematics. I will post some information about myself here, so feel free to leave some comments...

    School: I would like to keep this secret, but to give you some idea, it is a public school and it is listed on http://www.ams.org/profession/data/annual-survey/group_i" [Broken].

    My GPA: 3.74 overall / 3.70 math

    I know, I can't believe my math GPA is lower than my overall GPA :(

    I have A's in all the basic courses (calculus, diff eq, linear algebra, elementary analysis) as well as some upper-division ones (complex analysis, combinatorics, dynamical systems). Most of the B+'s are from more advanced courses like analysis (at the level of Baby Rudin), abstract algebra, and advanced linear algebra. I rarely get anything below a B+, and I never received anything below a B-, but any case, I certainly don't have A's in all of my math courses. It kind of sucks to not have A's on those harder courses because they are probably what grad school admissions are looking for, but I guess life is like that.

    A lame excuse: For some reason, most of the students who took those analysis and abstract algebra courses were first-year graduate students (Don't ask me why!). And I actually thought they had more preparations in these subjects than I did, and that might have affected the overall curve of the grades in these courses. But hey, I think it's silly to blame on others for my grades, so I'll try not to think this way.


    I will be taking topology and differential geometry in my senior year. I might actually take the graduate-level analysis sequence (w/ Big Rudin) as well. I talked to both the professor who taught undergrad analysis this year and the professor who is teaching grad analysis next year, and they both seemed favorable about this option. And I also enjoyed analysis this year quite a bit, so I think it might be a good option (even though it might be very challenging).

    I will be start working on my thesis project this summer. I will be doing reading with one of the professors here, and I'm pretty excited about this.

    I am doing honors program at my university (like this matters). I am also planning to do departmental honors as well (like most of the students who are applying to graduate schools).

    I know at least three professors would be willing to write letters of recommendations for me. I think I got along with my professors pretty well this year (especially the ones who gave me B+'s!), and I know at least two of them are pretty strong mathematicians (Well, I can't really judge that, but still...).

    I got a couple of scholarships from my university this year, and one of them is from the math department. I guess some people in this school like me, and I guess I can put that on my resume (again, like most of the students who are applying to graduate schools).

    I am planning to take GRE subject test in October.

    Anyway, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I know this is just an online forum, so I certainly won't be deciding my life just based on this board, so feel free to say whatever you want. I will probably talk to one of my professors soon to get more ideas.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 17, 2010 #2


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    No big deal that your math GPA is lower than your overall- in any field the upper level major courses will be harder than the general ed courses. I had a student whose math GPA was lower than her overall GPA because she had all A's in here non-major classes, but one B in her math major! (Yes, I was the one who gave her the B.)

    I can't guarentee anything but it sounds to me like you have a pretty good chance- couldn't hurt to apply and see what happens.
  4. Jun 17, 2010 #3
    Is it just me or does there not seem to be a ton of "bragging" threads on this forum? It seems like most people get these amazing grades and do really well and then come to this forum to create a thread basically saying "omg! i've accomplished alot and i don't know if i'll make it to grad school!" Seriously, don't worry. I am by no means knowledgeable at all. I didn't even get into university but meh.
  5. Jun 17, 2010 #4
    HallsofIvy: Thanks for your words of encouragement. I thought it might look strange that my math GPA was lower than the overall GPA, but I guess this isn't necessarily I should be worried about.

    Haha, I'm sorry that my thread sounded like I was bragging; that certainly wasn't my intention, but it's still my fault that it sounded like that way. I think I am somewhat less worried about getting into grad school part, but more worried about facing competition inside and outside of graduate schools. I read somewhere on here that I need to go to a relatively selective graduate program in order to actually get a good job at a good university. And I'm personally not scared of competition (after all, there is always competition no matter where I go, right?), but it is possible that I don't know about the people that I will be competing against. And I was wondering if I will be competing in a losing battle if I go to a graduate school to get a job at a reasonably good school. I certainly wouldn't like to withdraw from the competition yet, but I might want to have some reality check before it's too late.

    Please note that I am making A LOT of assumptions here, so feel free to correct me if you found something wrong in what I said. Also, I've been kind of ignoring about going to graduate school and not getting a job in academic position. This is not because I have no interest in the world outside of academics, but is because I simply don't know if there is any job outside of academics that I should consider. Of course, you can comment about that as well if you have any.

    Thanks, and more comments are appreciated.
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