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Schools What is the best grad school for me? Applied math...

  1. May 12, 2017 #1
    Hey guys,

    So I'm an undergraduate, currently in junior year, majoring in mathematics with double minor in physics and computer science. I have only a 3.2 GPA, but I have extensive research experience. I received several grants for my work in operations research/mathematics, and presented at several symposiums. I have been featured in my school's newspaper 3 times, and I've written about 5 articles for the business school newspaper. I'm a part of data science club, as the head of research and development, (I oversee and manage all projects), I'm an editor for the school's newspaper, a senator in student government and have started initiatives to help the school, president of a few clubs, and part of several research groups. I'm currently focusing on computational biology(conferences/publications), chemistry, plasma physics(for which I go to conferences), and mathematics(mainly graph theory but some number theory). I have 4 publications currently for solving difficult problems from various math magazines. I'm also the only math TA at the school, for Stats and Calculus 3.

    I have a CS portfolio- which is my GitHub, a math portfolio, and a data science portfolio. I have good relationships with my professors, and am connected to Rice University, Stony Brook, and Virginia Tech. I have also maintained some correspondence with UCLA professors. Ideally, I think I would like to get into ivy league grad programs in applied math, but I'm afraid due to GPA that I won't make the cut. Any advice? Should I just look at non ivy schools? Thanks in advance, I'm very concerned.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2017 #2


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    I can't really give any math-specific advice, but I can offer a general observation and some advice

    It seems like you're doing a whole heck of a lot of extra-curricular stuff and I can't help but wonder if your GPA is suffering as a result. I don't mean to downplay the importance of extra-curricular activities. It's very important to get research experience if you're planning on going to graduate school. It's very important to acquire real-world skills and a broad array of experiences too. But all of this should come second to learning the material in your classes (and successfully demonstrating that you have learned it). That's what you're at university for.

    So the first bit of advice might be to drop some (certainly not all) of your peripheral activities and focus more on your studies. Getting top marks in your more challenging senior classes tends to go a long way with admissions committees.

    Secondly, you have a diverse array of interests: applied math, computational biology, chemistry, plasma physics, graph theory, number theory etc... which of these are you interested in pursing in graduate school? Generally you have to pick one. Figure this out, and you'll be in a much better position to figure out for yourself which are the better schools for you to apply to. Remember, it's not about the name or ivy status of the school that you want to optimize, but the opportunities that the school will offer you in terms of your education and potentially your future career.

    Finally, I would encourage you to speak with your professors - particularly the ones that know you well. They're the ones who are in the best position to advise you on what schools might be the best fit for you.
  4. May 13, 2017 #3
    Thank you so much for your response, this insight is very valuable. You are correct regarding GPA v. extra curriculars, I think i might be wise if I focused on raising my GPA. :)
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