What are my chances of getting into grad school?

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  • Thread starter jtk1000
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  • #1
I am a senior at a top 20 undergraduate university majoring in math and physics. I am hoping to study math at the graduate level next year. I have a 3.5 GPA (3.3 in math) and have been doing undergraduate research for the past 2 years with an engineering firm in my hometown (mostly been writing computational software). Additionally, I work in the chemistry department at my school as a lab assistant and am a math tutor for several students. My recommenders should write me very good letters. I took the general GRE and got an 800 (94th percentile) on the quantitative and a 690 (96th percentile). I am applying to several top universities (top 20 graduate math programs) and several mid level universities (ranked ~50th graduate math programs).

I am concerned because I just received my mathematics GRE subject test scores and they are terrible. I got a 510 (16th percentile). I was pretty blindsided by these scores since I studied relatively intensely and felt confident after the test.

So I just want to know what are my chances of getting into graduate school despite these scores. I am looking for realistic expectations so don't feel like you have to be nice or gentle. Thanks!

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Gold Member
Do you have anything published with your name on it? In a peer-review journal that is.
  • #3
No, I do not.
  • #4
Gut instinct (based on similar scores, physics): I think your chances at getting in top-ranked programs is slim... decent at intermediate ones. I'm glad you're spreading out your applications among both levels.

Ultimately, your chances depend on the other applicants, and how many students are applying versus how many they make offers to, and how they rank factors... and that varies by institution. I think you should highlight your research experience, even if there aren't any publication results. Also highlight your teaching experience some... many (intermediate) programs will like that they can definitely use you as a good TA.

For top-ranked programs, generally the application needs to be flawless, because there's just so many applicants. For intermediate ones, you're generally allowed a flaw or two... which in your case are a low GPA and a bad math GRE test score. Work on improving the GPA while you still can. (Also -- has it shown improvement over time? It would help if the things pulling it down are from freshman or sophomore year.)
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  • #5
also, if you really want to work with a certain professor at a top school or something, you can do a masters at another school, publish some papers, and make sure your grades are high in graduate coursework.

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