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Undergraduate school prestige? (Math)

  1. Dec 16, 2007 #1
    Hello everyone, I've been reading this site for about a year now, but this is my first post. I've learned so much from this site!

    Now, my situation. I'm currently a freshman at a third-tier school, and I just switched from Chemical Engineering to Mathematics after realizing I'm much more interested in my math courses than engineering

    However, my predicament is that I picked my school because of a free ride, turning down expensive offers from "better" schools (Illinois, Georgia Tech)

    How much of an impact will the name of my undergraduate school have upon graduate admissions? Although I realize it's a little to early to say, I'm very interested in a career in academia, and I want to attend a top 10 graduate school.

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 16, 2007 #2
    Also, if anyone cares, I just finished Linear Algebra and Calculus III (with A's). Next semester I'll be taking Introduction to Modern Algebra, Differential Equations, and Groups and Representations
  4. Dec 16, 2007 #3
    If you don't mind me asking, what school do you go to? How is their mathematics department? Is there undergraduate research offered? Can you independent study with math professors? What kind of elective are offered?
  5. Dec 16, 2007 #4
    I attend Oklahoma State University, and so far I'm not sure how I feel about the math department. There is undergraduate research and independent study offered (which I'll hopefully be getting into after next semester), and the two professors I've had were terrific. However, the exams/quizzes were largely computational, with little emphasis on theory/proof

    Here is a listing of the courses available. Should I be concerned that our real analysis course is called "Advanced Calculus"?
  6. Dec 16, 2007 #5
    My advice to you, get involved in as much research as possible and be the best math major at your school. That is all you can really do; excel at your current institution. The course offerings seem good, on par with what an undergraduate math cirriculum should include. If possible, try to take grad courses to make up for any perceived deficiencies that people might have. It is not impossible for you to do well and get into a great grad school is basically what I am trying to say.
  7. Dec 17, 2007 #6
    man i wish there was a geometry class at my school
  8. Dec 17, 2007 #7

    Gib Z

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    Echoing what Jason just said, make the best of your situation. After all, even if you went to a terrible school, but you were outstanding at that school, admission controllers would definitely not dismiss you straight away. Get as involved as you can, learn as much as you can. Anyway, depending on want you want to do as a profession, even the name of your grad school may not matter too much. I remember a thread here a while ago saying that employers value experience more than the name of your grad school.

    EDIT: At ice109: damn me too! Hopefully a proper one >.<
  9. Dec 17, 2007 #8


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    There seems to be a bunch of good-looking graduate courses offered. Try to take one or two, because some of the people you will be competing against will have. And there's the Putnam. If you train hard -- and I mean really hard -- and do well, then I think this will help your chances.

    Also, you can always transfer if you really want to.

    [Note: I should point out that I'm only an undergraduate myself, so my post is really just commentary that I think is logical. You should keep this in mind whenever you ask for advice online -- that people aren't necessarily qualified to give you proper advice. So you definitely need to speak to your academic advisor and/or professors.]
  10. Dec 17, 2007 #9

    Gib Z

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    O yes that reminds me, any advice I give is what I either would logically expect or have heard from others on this forum, I'm not qualified for this sort of advice either.
  11. Dec 17, 2007 #10
    Yeah, I'm planning on taking graduate courses and doing as much research as possible as an undergraduate

    But I guess what I'm really wondering is, is it worth it to give up the free ride in order to attend an expensive private school? (lets use Stanford, with $50,000 per year)

    If I excel at OSU, how much of an effect will the school's name have?
  12. Dec 17, 2007 #11

    Gib Z

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    How "worth it" it is really depends on how much money you have. If paying that much means you have to sacrifice a lot of luxuries and time in making that money, it may not be, but if paying that much won't have much of an impact on your lifestyle, then it may me. Of course, if you are extremely devoted and sincerely believe the other school will benefit you more, then you may consider sacrificing a lot of other things for it.
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