This year I prepared graduate school applications, and they were all ready to be sent out. Unfortunately, my father passed away shortly before Christmas. This, as you can imagine, placed me in circumstances (for the time being) where it is longer possible to leave my job and head off to graduate school late this summer. However, my intention is to try again next year. (By “try again,” I mean to actually get a chance to send them out.) That being said, I am currently engaged in self-directed studies, and I could use a little advice on which path to take. Path (a): I could finish up Part II of Topology by Munkres (which I already started), and I could then begin working through “Elements of Algebraic Topology” by the same author. Sometime this summer I would also begin working through Abstract Algebra by Dummit and Foote. Hence, by next summer (2014), I would have a good handle on general Topology, Algebraic Topology, and Algebra. Part (b): Part (b) is the same as Path (a) except replace “Elements of Algebraic Topology” with a few basic Analysis textbooks. My interest leads me down Path (a). My desire for adequate preparation suggests Path (b). And, of course, please note that any other suggestions are more than welcome! I value any input greatly!