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biostat_prof

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  1. With those credentials my guess is that you will be accepted somewhere. I hate to say it, but being female helps quite a bit when you're applying to stat departments (this is much less true in biostatistics). That said, as other posters have stated, you really do need to take analysis (preferably a year-long course) and perhaps an advanced linear algebra class. It's hard to say where to apply without knowing your full profile. If you get A's in analysis, do well on the GRE, and get a third stronger letter, you will be competitive almost everywhere. If you don't do all of these three things, th
  2. Just to be clear, I am only speaking for my own department that can only admit a very small number of international applicants for various reasons. Given that competition for this very small number of slots is so intense, we simply don't admit international students who attended schools that we're not familiar with unless their files are absolutely extraordinary. (I can't remember this happening even once in the past 5-6 years.) This certainly isn't true everywhere, however. Historically I know Stanford admitted very few domestic students because they have plenty of money (and as a private sch
  3. From my point of view, the most important criterion for comparing the "difficulty" of qualifying exams is that passing rate, and I don't think any of these schools make that number public. I'm not super familiar with the curriculum at any of these schools (outside of my own department), but my impression is that Hopkins requires more advanced theory than the other schools on the list whereas Harvard requires significantly less. I don't see a major difference in the level of knowledge one is expected to have to pass the exams at UW/UNC/Michigan, although I couldn't tell you how that translates
  4. As others have said, definitely take advanced calculus. That is a no-brainer. If you don't have that on your transcript, many (most?) programs will just trash your application immediately. It probably won't make a difference which one of the other two classes you take.
  5. In my department, it is unusual to admit students who don't have mostly (if not entirely) A's in their advanced math courses unless you're an underrepresented minority. This isn't a hard and fast rule, though. If you're coming from (for example) Chicago or CMU (two good undergraduate programs that are known for grade deflation), we'll be much more forgiving of lower grades. And recommendations are very important for providing context. A person with a few B's but with a recommendation letter saying that this is the highest GPA in the department in recent years will be viewed more favorably than
  6. As I said in my earlier post, I agree that if a department has a history of admitting PhD students out of its MS program and one likes the idea of getting a PhD at that particular department, that changes the equation a bit. But every department is different in this regard. Some departments basically admit any MS student who performs well into their PhD program whereas other departments don't favor their current MS students at all. So make sure you know what the department's policy is when making this type of decision.
  7. Is taking more math classes not an option? Honestly neither computer science nor stat will do much to help you with MS admissions in most departments. Taking some sort of analysis or theoretical statistics course would be the best thing to do if your goal is to get admitted to the best grad program possible. If it's not, then I would just take whatever interests you. Neither choice is likely to have much impact on your admissions chances or your career options.
  8. I just got back from ENAR last week, and I know many people are trying to make decisions about where to attend grad school right now. I thought I would give people one more data point to consider, namely the number of ENAR student paper award winners from each department. For those of you who are not familiar with ENAR, it is the biggest biostatistics conference in the country. Every year ENAR hosts a student paper award competition wherein students submit papers (typically a subset of their dissertation) that are evaluated (blindly) by faculty at various schools. This year there were 20 winne
  9. My guess is that you will do fine coming out of either program. I would probably go for the cheapest option, honestly, although Stanford might be a better choice if you are thinking of going for a PhD afterward.
  10. I don't want to discourage anyone from posting information that could help other applicants. However, I do think it is worth noting that you should not expect anonymity if you post as much detail as some people have posted on this thread. I'm pretty sure I could guess the real identity of a couple posters on this thread based on their applications to my department. So I guess I thought it was worth noting that if you post this much information on this thread, I recommend that you do not say anything here that you wouldn't want an admissions committee (or a faculty member in your future departm
  11. It's hard to know without knowing what programs have accepted you, but none of our MS students have any trouble finding jobs in their preferred market. I can think of one student who initially took a job in regulatory compliance because she couldn't find a job as a statistician in the smaller city where her husband worked, but they gave her a new job as a statistician within six months. If the programs where you are accepted are solid, my guess is that you'll have no trouble finding a job in DC.
  12. If you want to PM me the names of the schools, I can try to give you more detailed advice. I'm guessing that school #2 is UNC, because they are notorious for making one-year funding offers, and I've never heard of Michigan funding terminal MS students. But I would absolutely take less debt at UNC than $90k in debt at Harvard/Washington. Honestly, I'm not convinced that there is really much of a gap between the quality of the faculty at these three schools. (This is hardly a perfect metric, but at this year's ENAR student paper competition UNC absolutely killed Harvard and every other departmen
  13. At the MS level, unless there is a required thesis/MS paper, I wouldn't worry too much about research fit, because most likely you won't be doing much of it. And honestly, if you apply to a PhD program, where you do your MS is very low on the list of things that we consider. You're much better off doing well at a lower-ranked department than doing poorly at a higher-ranked department. The only real benefit of a higher-ranked department if you later apply for a PhD program is that it might be slightly easier to get a recommendation letter from a well-known faculty member, but I would have a har
  14. Many of the top biostat departments (including Hopkins, UNC, and Michigan off the top of my head) have faculty profile pages that link to either Scopus or Google Scholar pages with lists of all the faculty member's publications. You want to see faculty with multiple (and ideally recent) publications in the top statistics journals, which are usually consider to be The Journal of the American Statistical Association, Annals of Statistics, Biometrika, and The Journal of the Royal Statistical Society-Series B. The total number of publications and the total number of citations is also informative.
  15. In my experience it's very rare for advisors to turn away a student outright. However, they may sometimes tell a potential student that they have a lot of other students and hence won't have time to devote to them. But the only cases where I have heard of advisors turning students away is when the student has a poor academic record or a reputation of being difficult to work with. That said, sometimes there is strong pressure to work with a particular professor if that professor is willing to fund you and you don't have another funding source lined up. Rarely does that hurt you, though, except
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