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In need of some advice about my future

  1. Aug 12, 2013 #1
    I went to Harvard as an undergrad, but I was exceedingly poorly prepared in more or less every respect. I ended up finishing with a 3.3 GPA and a 3.1 concentration GPA (My pure math classes are higher (3.45), the lower grade is because I counted four physics classes towards my major that I bombed due to having no background, just took them to try and keep up with the kids in the "advanced" classes.) There were a few personal things (a bad break-up) but the largest factor was general immaturity. So the classes I took, with grades

    Freshman: Linear Algebra/Real Analysis (A-/A)
    Topology/Abstract Algebra/Complex Analysis (A-/C/B+) (yeah, I know, pretty bad)
    Combinatorics and Graph Theory/Graduate Complex Analysis (A/A)
    Differential Topology (B)

    The physics classes were so bad I'd rather just not mention them. I was discouraged and stopped taking math classes after this and focused on music classes.

    Well, I've been out of school for a while now, and I've started re-reading textbooks from my old classes with the eye of an adult. It's becoming clear that I've made a terrible mistake. I just didn't understand how to learn mathematics as an undergrad, and I was too immature to handle the course work. Now I'm really wanting to move forward with math, but I feel my academic record is a massive hurdle and I'm not sure what concrete steps I can take to convince adcoms that I'm a reasonable gamble for a Ph. D.

    If I want to move forward with mathematics, what are my best options? Are there any ways for people who have graduated to get research experience? Should I be trying to move somewhere (I live in rural TN) with a reputable university so I can take more high level math courses?

    Thanks PF.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2013 #2
    I'm having a hard time understanding how a 3.3 gpa from harvard can be considered bad o_0
  4. Aug 14, 2013 #3
    That's the impression I get... there was substantial grade inflation, and my GPA was far lower than anyone else I knew in college. The grad school standard seemed to be around a 3.8, and most of those students took a lot of graduate math classes which I could not handle.
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