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davidolohowski

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  1. Undergrad Institution: University of Western Ontario (Canada) Major(s): Financial Statistics Minor(s): NA GPA: 4.0 Type of Student: International GRE General Test: Q: NA V: NA W: NA TOEFL Score: NA Grad Institution: Same Concentration: Statistics (Astrostatistics) GPA: 4.0 Programs Applying: Statistics Research Experience: One undergrad honors thesis (resulted in publication but not an author ); One MSc thesis, Two manuscripts under way for submission for publication; Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Nothing significant Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA Letters of Recommendation: One very strong letter from main supervisor (big name in time series/data analysis); One strong from co-supervisor in astronomy (big name in astronomy) Math/Statistics Grades: Calculus sequence (100); Math stats/Probability theory (90+); Real Analysis I (98), Real Analysis II (taking it now) Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: My interest is very niche, probably helped my apps a lot Applying to Where: University of Toronto (It's my top choice and it sent me offer before I submitted apps for other schools, so not applying to any other schools anymore) UofT- Statistics/ Admitted / (Dec 13) / Accepted
  2. Thanks for the reply. I see your point. Then to what point is it enough to demonstrate ability in technical rigor? Is it like what my friend did, the more the merrier? Or does getting good grades in real analysis is simply enough?
  3. Thanks for the reply. Since you mentioned letters and reserach making impact, it made me wonder how much of an impact my current situation in research have on admission. I'm also very interested in what makes the research component really meaningful. Here is a little specifics about my research experience and letters: The stats department at my school is about top 150 in the world. I am in astrostatistics. So I have two supervisors, one in astro and one in stats. Both of my profs are top in their fields with the stats prof being probably the best researcher in my department and is currently professor emeritus. In terms of paper, my astro prof told me I should definitely get the applied part of my work published in astronomy journals, hence the applied paper. My stats prof told me I should get the methodological work published as well, hence the computing paper. I was told to aim for journal of computational and graphical statistics. It is mainly on enabling Hamiltonian Monte Carlo for a certain form of intractable likelihood distribution. I will be first author for both papers. In terms of letters, my astro prof told me he wrote a very strong one and I should be a strong candidate at any school. But I would take that with a grain of salt because he came from a different field. For my stats prof, he straight up showed me his letter and he said in the letter that I was among the top 5 students he had during his entire career and my Masters thesis is on par of a PhD thesis, at least for the standard of my department. Based on above, how much does my research and letter component contribute to my application? I am aiming for schools around top 20 - 50 in the world.
  4. Thank you very much for clearing that. I always had the impression the most important part about stats admission is research potentials. But then I have another question which is sort of a comparison between me and him. I understand it's not really appropriate or maybe blatantly wrong in doing comparison with others but because both of us were trying to get into the same school, there's direct competition in this scenario, so I am indeed wondering. I am kind of in the opposite direction of him where I only took the generally required real analysis and grad level probability theory and did very well in them but those are the only pure math/proof based courses I took. I spent most of my time focusing my research. But I guess I was lucky enough that my research is currently prepared for publications for two papers, one applied and the other in statistical computing. My main interests are also different from his in that I am more applied heavy and interested in methodological development for applied problems. I also did my damnedest in terms of SOP and I got 2 very strong letters. So in this scenario, who has a better chance then?
  5. I have a friend who is applying for stats PhD right now and he wants to do probability theory. But his mindset on GPA really got me interested in the impact of GPA on admission. What he did was during his Master degree, he took all the graduate level pure math courses our math department has to offer. He was literally taking 9 or 10 courses each semester. He still managed to get good grades in all of them. But as far as I know, he does not have enough time to work on research during Master degree simply because he was busy doing all those courses. He did have a paper published in applied math during undergrad though. I am also guessing the reason he wants to do research in probability theory is because he enjoys doing proofs. The other day, we got into an argument on how exactly does GPA and course work affect your chance of getting admitted. My stance is that GPA and math GPA is just served as a cutoff mechanism to filter out people who are clearly not gonna survive during a stats PhD. It essentially is just an indicator that you have the basic foundational ability in taking in new materials and understanding literature. The most important thing should be your reserach potential which is demonstrated through your SOP and reference letters. But he is arguing that the fact he excelled in all the pure math courses sets himself apart from many others and gives him an definitive advantage over others. Then he went on and argue that the most important thing for PhD admission is coursework while SOP and letters don't matter that much simply because everybody is likely doing different research and there is no universal assessment on reserach ability when people are doing completely different research. So my question is, what is the actual impact of GPA/coursework on admission? Whose opinion is the right one? Also, just out of curiosity, given my friend's scenario, what is his chances of getting into a top stats PhD program?
  6. Thanks for this. I guess I should've made a disclaimer as well. It is true that there are many Masters degrees having large proportion of international students but they are all self funded and hella expensive and almost all of them tend to be professional degree rather than research degree. If we're only talking about the research masters degree, although UofT has no official stance saying not taking international students, it is extremely unlikely for them to take in internationals. I remember two years ago on their website they specifically said:"we have limited spots for international students." It just seems this is a declaration that they almost do not take international students unless you're a superstar that can solve world hunger problem. I'm guessing the reasons they don't take international master students is that they generally know that in statistics, it is very unlikely to produce any meaningful research during a master degree. So funding international student for something that doesn't really have a return is not appealing to them and I'm guessing that's why UofT has created various kinds of professional programs for international students and that has become their cash cow (ones like MMF costs 50k~60k a year). Of course they'll never say that, officially they don't take international students and they cannot say that. But based on what we observe, and since we are in statistics, this does suggest getting into UofT for masters degree with international status is near impossible. However, things may be different for PhD since generally there is significant research produced during PhD and it is worthwhile for them to take on some international talents for that. But just how much more likely it is to be admitted compared to Master's is unknown.
  7. Thanks for the reply. Getting accepted for a Master at UofT with international status is impossible, I know that. I heard rumor about their Master program in statistics, there is only at most 1 spot for international student each year. As for self-consumption, I can see that from their PhD rosters. And I don't think it's just a thing with UofT, a lot of other Canadian schools do that too like UBC, UWO, McGill, etc. Waterloo seems a bit different cuz their undergrad usually look for better schools and leave for UofT or US. In terms of the prof, I already spoke to her, and she's glad to take me as her student but the issue is she's new and she doesn't have, at least for now, that much of a say in this and she's also not on the committee, so I don't know if there can be any help from her at all. But I did put that in my SOP so don't know if that does anything. Thanks for your input anyway. Much appreciated!
  8. Hi thanks for the reply. I saw your own post on applying to PhD and gotta say you're probably way ahead of your game compared to me. Hope you get some good news very soon. In terms of myself, I just submitted my apps to UofT a week ago. To be honest, I want to work on more computational and applied side of MCMC or other Bayesian inference algorithm. My main interest is in Astrostatistics however and since UofT just hired a new professor in this field, it really makes it my dream school. But like I said, being an international student really kind of sucks in Canada. So just wanna know if you're familiar with current status on UofT's take on international students. Any info is appreciated.
  9. Going to finish up my Master's degree and plan on continue with PhD. Hopefully get some insights on where I will be able to go. I'm only applying in Canada for personal reasons. So would be helpful if anyone familiar with Canadian Universities could chime in. Undergrad and Master's school: Top 150 in QS world stats ranking in Canada Undergrad Major: Financial mathematics Master Major: Statistics Undergrad GPA: 4.0/4.0 Grad GPA: 4.0/4.0 Student Type: International Math courses: Calculus I, II(100); Linear Algebra I (100); Linear Algebra II (100); Advanced Probability (Proof based, 90); Real Analysis I (98); Real Analysis II (95); Statistical Inference (97), ODE, PDE (100) GRE: NA Research: one undergrad honors thesis in financial mathematics, not published. Master's thesis on building novel statistical model for astronomical data. To be submitted for publication in astronomical journals. First author Also worked on a new algorithm for speeding up certain type of MCMC algorithm. To be submitted for publication in statistical computing journals. First author. LOR: one very strong letter from my stats supervisor; one strong letter from my astronomy supervisor; one from a previous instructor who always gave me high praises. Targets: U of T, Waterloo, UBC, McGill, SFU Concerns: mainly international status in Canada is highly unflavored and face fierce competition.
  10. Wow this is probably the best advice I've gotten so far. Thanks for pulling me out of a potential disaster!!
  11. Thanks for the reply! I'm also wondering whether I should ask them to put a good word for me in front of ad com when I meet them. Will that be considered inappropriate?
  12. I'm an international student who did all my degrees in Canada. I am applying for PhD in stats at U of T this fall. I secured a meeting with two professors to discuss potential co-supervision and both of them are interested in taking me as student. Things seemed to be in my favor but I just got word from one of the prof that U of T places a heavy preference on Canadian domestic students over international applicant. From their PhD student directory, it seems they only take in 1 or maximum 2 international students every year out of possibly 500 applicants. This just makes things extremely depressing for me as U of T is the only school in Canada that has faculty doing what I'm interested in and if they don't take me, I have to try out schools in US but I really want to stay in Canada for a variety of personal reasons. Does anyone have any suggestion on how to deal with this issue emotionally? Moreover, what should I do in my application to maximize my chances? Also, should I ask those two profs to put in a word for me in front of the admission committee?
  13. I'm currently doing my statistics masters program in Canada. When I was in undergrad I didn't know it was required to have real analysis if I want to get into a top tier stats PhD program. Hence I was rejected by lots of top PhD program I applied to. Now I want to try it again, but because I didn't do any pure math courses in undergrad, I can't take any grad level analysis courses and I was only able to take them for undergrad level. I have taken analysis I (so everything about real number lines) this past semester and I got a 98 out 100 and I will take analysis II (Metric space, etc but still at undergrad level) the next semester and I expect to get a similar grade. I'm wondering if this will have any impact on me applying for PhD? Specifically, will admin consider the fact that I was in grad school but didn't take grad level analysis course and thus affect my chances of getting in? Thanks a lot!
  14. Thanks for the very detailed reply. Now I'm much more certain about what to expect and how should prepare. In terms of math ability, I was the Gold Medlaist (top of my class) for my undergrad program, but I don't know if that helps stating that in my SOI because my undergrad program is really applied, so I'm not sure if that adds much weight. I'm pretty sure I can get my profs to attest my math ability tho. Thanks very much!
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