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Hi all, I'm currently working, but have decided to apply for a PhD program this Fall in statistics. I'm quite anxious about the chance of being admitted, since I have virtually no research experience. Below are my background. Undergrad: UIUC Major: Actuarial Science GPA: 3.98/4.0 Master: Columbia Major: Statistics GPA: 3.67/4.0 GRE: 330 Research: Some grad-level course projects, a small undergrad-level educational research, currently doing an econometric research to improve my weak research experience. Work experience: Currently working as an actuary in a top leading insurance company. Recommendation letters: One from actuarial math professor in UIUC, one from statistics professor in Columbia, another is from the econometric research advisor(instructor tile, but a Harvard and UChicago alumni) Course taken: Most math and stat courses and machine learning courses that should be prerequisite for applying for a stat PhD, but haven't taken real analysis yet. Others: Nearly passed all associate level actuarial exams Pros: Relatively good math skills, have a master's degree, (some work experience?) Cons: No concrete research experience, no publication, no hardcore math courses such as real analysis, low graduate school GPA Schools I plan to apply are as follows, 15 in total, I'm not sure whether I'll be rejected by all of them due to lack of concrete research experience. Actuarial Science PhD: Waterloo, Wisconsin-Madison, UIUC Statistics PhD: UCLA, UMichigan, UCSB, UCD, PennState, 7 undecided (Probably from USnews top 50~150 list) Also, is it common for being considered and admitted for MS instead(when the committee believe a student need take more prerequisites) when applying for PhD? Any advice will be precious for me. Thanks a lot!