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About penguinbombs

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  1. Whether or not to include the opiodes stuff will definitely be a difficult decision (I think it could work well if you manage to write about it really well, especially since it ties into your motivations for pursuing biostats, but ultimately might be simpler to not include), but it seems to me that you should definitely talk about the GED and the atypical academic trajectory you've taken. The individual drive it takes to push yourself through education like that is definitely a plus. Also, you wrote above that you were estranged from your family and that you needed a program with a low tuition rate; if you happened to be financially self supporting through all this, I'd mention that briefly in the statement as well.
  2. I don't know about the quality or cost, but another online option for courses is through University of Illinois. Here's a link: https://netmath.illinois.edu/ I would say the name of the school doesn't matter too much in this context, and that therefore Harvard in particular may not be "worth the price," but I would recommend taking an actual course if possible. Someone else can comment about how self studied real analysis might look to selection committees, but Real Analysis is an important enough subject that you want to ensure you really know it before entering a PhD program.
  3. Your profile looks great to me, but I'll withhold comment since I'm not to familiar with international admissions. Just wanted to say that despite their relatively lower rankings, Yale and Northwestern are definitely not a match and a safety. Because of their small size yet big name recognition, they are very difficult programs to be accepted to. Anecdotally, I was accepted to four top 10 programs, yet rejected by both Northwestern and Yale.
  4. Just wanted to chime in that I had a similar academic profile and trajectory (non math major from an Ivy, took a bunch of non-degree math courses at a state school) and I had good results this year. I agree that with your computing skills, GRE scores, and more unique motivation for entering statistics, you'll probably be a very attractive candidate once you get Linear Algebra and Real Analysis under your belt. For online courses, check out the Harvard extension school. I don't say this because of the Harvard name (I don't think that carries much weight as an online extension program), but just because I remember them having tons of classes, so maybe you'll find what you need there. Also it seems like University of Illinois offers a lot of online math classes. https://netmath.illinois.edu/academics/netmath-courses-college-students. I'm sure ASU as mentioned earlier is a good option as well. I ended up changing my work schedule and finding different jobs that allowed me to go to school in the day, so I didn't actually use any of these options, but give them a look, maybe they'll work for you. (Oh and for many masters, you're probably a strong candidate already) (Also about the math subject test, not to be a downer, but it's probably unrealistic to expect to get a good score given your preparation. It's extremely difficult covering a wide range of mathematics. I didn't submit my scores, but I was admitted to several schools that "highly recommended" the test, so probably isn't worth worrying about.) Good luck!
  5. I agree that a PhD in Epidemiology or Global Health might fit your interests more if you are looking for an entire program that's focused on those issues, but if you are in fact looking for that additional mathematic rigor, you can definitely find epidemiology research in Statistics programs, and certainly Biostatistics programs. Remember that many Biostatistics programs are actually housed in Schools of Public Health, so many (if not most) departments probably have at least somebody working on epidemiology. When looking through faculty at the department, look for areas statistical methodology that might be particularly useful for epidemiology like network analysis or spatial data analysis (and there are probably several others, but I'm not really an expert in this realm). In particular, Emory, with its close proximity to the Center for Disease Control, almost certainly has people working in areas of epidemiology. Even strict Statistics departments might have some professors that would meet your research interests. For example, Mark Handcock at UCLA. I remember UCLA Biostatistics also having a lot of research on HIV epidemiology, so look into that as well. UW is probably the highest ranked program for somebody interested in social statistics, but it definitely is not the only program you could consider. About choosing which type of program is better for your interests, you should note that while you can find something related to epidemiology at many places, the focus will be different. In (Bio)statistics, the emphasis will be on developing methods, and your dissertation would probably be meaningless if it wasn't focused on the mathematics of the problem at hand. In other public health programs, there is probably more room to research policy, implementation, and other non-mathematical topics. And about whether you'll be able to do global health type work coming from a statistics background, I don't think you'd have any problem. Your required coursework for the first 1-2 years will likely have less direct relevance to your research questions, but after that, you'll be able to take additional courses, pursue internships, and do research (finding collaborators in other departments as necessary) on the questions you find interesting. I myself am interested in statistics for applications in public policy, and I passed up a couple of Public Policy PhD offers specifically because I believe the more strictly mathematical training offered in a Statistics program will prepare be better for that type of work (or at least, give me a set of skills that others in the field might not have). I'm only just about to begin my program in the fall, so I'm not saying this career trajectory will definitely work, but there are definitely people out there with similar thinking as you. Best of luck!
  6. This might be somewhat "sample size of 1," but I was similarly unconventional applicant this year (liberal arts major with even less direct relevance to statistics), and I did most of my non-degree math work at a regional state school as well. I think my application was kind of a wildcard, but I had surprisingly strong admissions results this year. My undergrad GPA appeared stronger in an absolute sense, but it was only a hair above the school's average GPA, just like yours. Since I was not focusing on Math/Stats at the time, I don't think those grades played much of a factor in my results. Your strong grades since then and your research experience will be much much more important for your application. I agree that you should apply to a wide variety of schools, but if you find a really strong research match (anything related to environmental statistics, or maybe there is some statistics related to voice recognition technology, where your Linguistics background could be considered a plus?), it wouldn't be a total waste of money to try some applications to top 20 schools as well. Some larger programs like NC State might be more open to giving a chance to a less conventional applicant, and UCLA for example highly values people with strong training in adjacent disciplines. Also, given your academic trajectory and what you've done with stats so far, you would probably be a great candidate for a masters at top statistics programs (UChicago, Duke, ect). If you check the admissions statistics at Duke for example, you'll see that the admission rate for domestic applicants is pretty generous. My recommendation to you would be to nail the Statement of Purpose, clearly tracing your intellectual development and your unique motivation for entering statistics. I gather that for most applicants, the Statement of Purpose is not hugely consequential, but it is much more important for applicants from unconventional backgrounds. Overall, some admissions readers may be somewhat agnostic about your undergraduate years, but some might see them as a major plus. It will depend a lot on how you present yourself as an applicant. I feel very strongly about opening statistics to people from other disciplines, so I would be happy to talk to you more over DMs if you like!
  7. It sounds like Columbia is the best research fit for you, and some of the other factors (UChicago's slight prestige edge within Statistics, Duke's happy students) are muddying the waters. But within this tier, differences in prestige are negligible, and I'm sure you'll be able to be happy at any of the three as well. Since Columbia is strong in MULTIPLE of your interests, I say go with that! For what it's worth, I was admitted to these three schools as well. After the initial shock of getting into UChicago, I quickly dismissed it because it actually wasn't a great research match for me. Columbia was a great research match and was definitely the hardest school for me to turn down. I know how agonizing all this can be. If it helps at all, somebody posted recently about turning down Harvard and several other programs for Columbia. Best of luck with whichever school you choose!
  8. Nope, I had hadn't received any communication from them at all until today when I received an email from the department chair. So I didn't even know that I was on the waitlist or anything.
  9. Hey everyone, I got an email from UMichigan this morning asking about my continued interest in the waitlist for their Stats PhD program. I took myself off the waitlist because I have already committed to another program. For the people still waiting on Michigan, I just wanted to let you know that it seems like they are finally getting back to people. Best of luck to everybody!
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