I'm a rising senior thay has just recently made the decision to pursue a MS in biostatistics rather than the original path I've been working at for the past couple years (PhD in Clinical Psychology).
Clearly, this is a major shift in my plans so I have been attempting to familiarize myself with the field and what credentials I'll need in order to be admitted into such a program. The underlying question of this post: do I even have a chance of admission for Fall 2019 or I should apply for the following year?
Undergraduate Institution: Large Public University (top 60 in national universities, top 20 in public universities) Major(s): Psychological Sciences, BS GPA: 3.92/4.0 (I had an "off" semester)
Type of Student: Domestic URM Female GRE General Test: (TBD, expecting 165 Q and V)
Programs Applying: MS Biostatistics
Research Experience: 2 years as a research assistant for five laboratories in different areas of psychology (not all at once, currently in two), 1 year as a project manager for a large meta-analysis in clinical psychology, 1/2 year developing a senior's thesis pertaining to pathological personality under the guidance of a mentor as part of a research-focused honors program for a small cohort of PSY students (program will last until graduation, culminating in a potential publication and poster presentations), just started in a lab this summer in the area of quantitative methods lab and clinical psychology (I'm their only research assistant so I'm getting the opportunity for meaningful involvement in projects involving advanced quantitative methods) Activities or Jobs:
(N/A for work in statistics but to give more background) 1 year as a mental health technician for a group home for adults with severe mental illness, 1 year as president of mental health advocacy organization, 1 year as crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line
Letters of Recommendation: research mentor (strong), supervisor for meta-analysis (strong), quantiative methods lab supervisor (strong) Relevant Coursework:
Psychology - Introduction to Statistics in Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, Understanding and Analyzing Experiments (ANOVA and Research Design), Introduction to Bayesian Statistics, Honors Research Seminar I (all As)
Math & Statistics: Calculus I (AP credit)
Honors and Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Office of Undergraduate Research Scholar ($1000 scholarship program), Psychological Sciences Research Focused Honors Student
Skills: programming in R (developing skill under the guidance of the quantitative methods lab I'm in, hope to become proficient)
Plan of Action:
Fall - Calculus II
Spring - Calculus III, Linear Algebra, Statistics
Summer (considering) - Real Analysis, ODE, Probability
1. Unfortunately, I'm currently in a position of playing catch up on prerequisite coursework. I have a plan to take the classes I need, but my grades will of course not be finalized in time for the many programs that have application deadlines in early December. My concern is that the programs will have nothing to go on as far as my ability to take rigorous math courses and will thus not be able to seriously consider me for admission. For the programs that have early spring deadlines, they will only be able to see my grade in Calculus II. This is the primary reason I'm asking if I even have a chance of admission. Thoughts?
2. If I do have a chance, which range of programs should I be applying to? My worry is that many programs I've been looking into are out of reach given my background.
3. If I likely don't have a chance of admission, what kind of jobs can I pursue in a gap year that will be benificial on my application for the following year?
4. I'm truly trying to set myself up for success this next year, but I also have a lot on my plate given commitments I made prior to this change in post-graduation plans. From what I've gathered, grades and letters of recommendation are the strongest selling points on an application. Therefore, I've been thinking of stepping down from the research focused honors program in order to give myself the chance to study more for the math classes I need to excel in (I would have more time for studying without the significant amount of credit hours from research seminars, individual study, and meetings that will take up my schedule in the fall and spring). My concern is that I would me removing perhaps one of the few pulls, if there even are any, to my application. Is this experience even something admission committees would look at favorably to warrant the added stress? I don't want to stretch myself to thin and not perform well in my courses.
I know this was long so I'm grateful for you sticking with me. Any and all feedback is appreciated. Thank you!