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Found 11 results

  1. I am stuck in an airport with nothing else to do and not enough WiFi for Netflix so I figured I would start an advice thread on all things Statistics PhD admissions that I have learned from the process. I wanted to share all the things I wish I knew when I was applying. Anyone else feel free to add to it. I wrote this from a general statistics perspective but some of this probably will be similar in biostats and perhaps even math. Admissions - Where to apply The best indicator of how you will do is looking at the past profiles that are most similar to you. You will unlikely find a perfect match, but try to look at similar applicants first and then see what kind of programs they got into. Expect a lot of randomness and try to have a more balanced list than I did. Also know that safety programs really don’t exist and lower ranked programs (particularly smaller ones) can be just as hard to get into as large high ranked programs. There are programs that you have a higher probability of getting admitted at then others. Also research fit is very important so consider that if you have known interests. Admissions - What to Expect When you are Expecting to go to Graduate School TL;DR Expect a lot of waiting. I am going to be totally and completely honest with you about my experience applying for graduate school. For undergrad I was admitted two weeks after I applied and had an departmental scholarship two months after that. I knew I was going there because it was my first choice and I had automatic acceptance. So I have never not know what I was doing next. This whole process of not knowing where I am going to be in Fall 2018 for over a year now has been hard. I still don’t know where I will go. I have watched results tell me that I was waitlisted and rejected before I knew officially and checked admissions portals multiple times a day. To protect my sanity and prevent me for spending my entire life on the gradcafe I blocked it from 9-5 every day on my laptop. I highly recommend it. I have cried more than I ever have in my life and have questioned myself almost daily. My impostor syndrome has been awful. I have doubted whether or not I am ready to jump into a PhD program at 21. I have questioned why programs admitted me and felt intimidated by the people at visits who already have masters degrees. I have read all the profiles dozens of times and knew that most domestic students with my level of research experience typically do well but I didn’t think I would do as well as I did. I have questioned if I really do know what I want to do and whether or not being able to pursue my research is a deal breaker. I have struggled over how to decide and what qualifies as a deal breaker. If you had/have any of these feeling you are not alone. Interviews I interviewed two times (three if you count Baylor) so thought I would share my experience. For Duke the interview was very informal and was more about me as a person than me as a prospective admit. I was asked what my hobbies were (which totally threw me off) and we talked about life at Duke and in the research triangle. It was about 20 minutes long and with a single assistant professor on the AdComm who was the original reviewer for my application. I was asked for more technical details on my research but that was the only thing application related we talked about. For Virginia Tech, they just asked if I had any questions and I asked about funding and their completion rate. It was implied that funding was competitive and I was told the completion rate was “around 30%” because a majority of people fail quals. They were definitely trying to court me calling me their “top applicant” and “favorite application” and I really though I had gotten the fellowship. I had an single semester of support with the possible option of renewing but it didn’t have the language that my other offers did which offered more security. I mainly applied for the fellowship so when I didn’t get it I wasn’t very interested. Baylor was a causal visit and I meet with everyone at the department that was there. It wasn’t really an interview. Visits I have completed three visits so far and I wanted to help answer the what do I wear question that I had. On both my prospective student weekends there was a range from button down and tie for men and nice blouse and heels for women to tee shirts and jeans. The average was around business causal and that’s what I would recommend you do. Don’t worry about knowing anyone research interests and memorizing CVs if they aren’t your POIs. All my meetings with professors started with a basic explaination of their research and since you will likely be supported by a TA ship your first year you don’t need to find an advisor right off the bat. I didn’t really take notes and made a list of people I liked. You will have information overload and it takes time to fully realize the pros and cons after visiting. Program Impressions Next I wanted to share my impressions of programs based on my interactions with them. Baylor Baylor is my favorite program so I am biased. Demographically it is a majority domestic program (~75%) with about 40-50% women. Waco is very much a college town but it still has a lot of things to do. They told me 82% of their students graduate in four years with almost all of them finishing by year 5. Their placements are mainly in industry with a lot of people at Eli Lilly which is huge supporter of the program and has funded RA positions and grants for the faculty. It has 3 Bayesian statisticians and 5 other faculty members doing different things. The main fields of application are biostats and environmental statistics. They have a nice bank of computers for faculty and students to use to run simulations on. I think it is severely underrated. On the Academic side of placements they occur mainly at state universities and liberal arts colleges. They offered to buy me a plane ticket but instead they reimbursed me for mileage which was over $300 plus a nice hotel room. It’s a great department that is totally underrated. UT Austin It may be a young department but it is growing fast. They have a ton of people doing Nonparametric Bayesian statistics with some machine learning and hierarchical modeling mixed in. It is entirely Bayesian to the point of the visitors being told that if you want to be a frequentist don’t come here. A lot of the faculty is double appointed in both stats and the business school but they are committed to the Stats PhD program. It seemed to be about 40% female and a slight international majority but the domestic and international students were really integrated with each other which doesn’t always happen. Austin is a very expensive city (at least for Texas) and most of the graduate students I talked to spend around $700-1000 on housing a month, my stipend offer was $2000 a month so that seemed expensive. They also have a lot of computing resources for research. They are very proud that their first graduate got a job (post doc I think?) at Berkeley straight out of a PhD (who wouldn’t be) My visit was completely funded. University of Missouri - Columbia Also know as Mizzou, the University of Missouri is state university in a college town. Columbia’s airport is awful (I have been stuck here for 5 hours since there are only like 5 flights a day), but Columbia is a nice city that is bikeable and the bus system is apparently good. The department has a wide variety of research but it probably more Bayesian than classical and more focused on environmental statistics than most programs. Demographically it appeared to be about half and half domestic and international but not a single international student did anything at the visit until the free dinner where they didn’t sit with the prospective students. A grad student made a comment that they never want anything to do with us (referring to the domestic students). This is a lot different than UT and Baylor where all the graduate students knew each other pretty well. The faculty do seem nice and hierarchical modeling was a common theme from the research presentations. Their placement was a mix of academic and industry and generally good for a mid tier program. My visit was completely funded. Virginia Tech I never actually visited but it I didn’t like the completion rate and the potentially unstable funding package. The professors seemed nice but I am kinda bitter about how they called me their top applicant and then didn’t even give me two semesters of funding. I am sure it is not a bad place but I was no longer interested when I began to get my other packages. Their academic placements aren’t great as well. I personally wasn’t interested in visiting given my concerns but they offered to fly me out on a paid visit. I talk about TAMU when after my visit.
  2. For those who are admitted, could you guys please share info on the dates of campus visits? I think it will be very informative for applicants who are currently on waitlists.
  3. Hey Everyone -- I thought it might be nice to start a thread about campus visits for a few reasons. See if other folks are attending the same visit weekend as you. If you've already toured a campus give some insight and impressions. If it's an interview weekend, what types of questions did you/should you ask, what did they ask you etc. It would also let us connect on the same schools. That being said -- is anyone planning on going to UT- Austin's communications studies weekend in February? It's one of my top choices so I'm definitely going to try to go.
  4. I really did just begin the process of thinking about and researching doctorate programs, so please be gentle when correcting any glaring examples of complete ignorance (although please do correct me). I am an art conservator with a professional background in historical materials (I currently work at a history museum and also work in the conservation of library and archival materials) and an academic background in art history. I am interested in studying the idea of preservation of art and historical materials as a "Public Trust," as written in so many museum and library mission statements but rarely reflected in local or larger public policy. I am particularly interested in how this self-imposed mission influences both the way in which artwork and historical artifacts are preserved and how the public and government access and interact with those materials. I have been researching various programs under various departments and feel as though my interest and research could fall under so many different umbrellas. History? Art history/ visual studies? Public policy? Sociology? I would really appreciate it if I could get a few opinions to help focus my search for possible avenues. I am not so much looking for advice on specific programs or schools- just more generally some opinions on where my research interests may best fall. Thank you in advance for you help!
  5. I've seen different comments about graduate students scheduling their own campus visits or interviews, but also other comments that say their visits/interviews have been accepted by the school. I think it would be nice to tour the campuses I'm considering before I apply and maybe meet some of the faculty, but I'm not sure if I have to wait until application season to try and schedule a meeting or visit.
  6. If we all post where we expect to accept or decline, I think it will give some of the folks on waitlists some idea of movement. Where have you been accepted to/waitlisted? What are your top choices?
  7. So I have been accepted to a few programs that would be wonderful. Have narrowed it down to two and am now trying to decide. I dont have to ask questions to impress faculty, more to genuinely get to know the programs and make the best decision but of course I would really like to not get off on the wrong foot. I have visited one but was vastly unprepared for the visit and was knocked off by the implication of some faculty that perhaps I chose the wrong department(ECE rather than CS where my current knowledge and interests is) so made terrible use of the visit day. Later I got accepted anyway and thinking it through I might have applied to the correct department after all. Theres seems to be a wide variety of interesting things and I dont know who I would want as my advisor there, which can be kind of scary but also gives me time to explore. The one thing I dont want is to go there only to discover that there is no one for me to work with. Also this is so far out of my current range of knowledge I am afraid of what if it turns out I am bad at/ or don't like this kind of research after all or that the culture really doesn't work for me.This school is well ranked and well known, I think around top 20 definitely top 50. In the other school the research they are doing aligns exactly with the system I am actually familiar with and have already a strong interest and fairly good background in, and I think they are doing cool stuff. Its a far lower ranked school. I am visiting soon and trying to get a feel for the school. There though I feel like I would be pigeonholing myself and while I dont worry that I wont find someone to work with, if it turns out we dont work well together I am in bigger trouble. Its hard to figure this out from limited contact. Being a smaller less regarded school I worry that I would have to fight more for my career as well. This school is probably not in the top 100 maybe not even the top 200. Though they do seem to be publishing in decent places just not often, small school, few students. Both have their own "risks" I feel like the first highly ranked school might be a "smarter" option but I also feel that the second program has a lot of resources for the particular problem that I could potentially do good work there. The first program has given me the option to conduct an additional skype interview with a member of its faculty and while this would be very helpful I am having trouble choosing and figuring out how to not step on feet. I am also not entirely sure what would be most helpful for me to know that I can present without making myself look bad. Same applies to the second program. I will get to visit a lab meeting and get to know potential lab mates as well as speak with the potential advisors but what else should I be doing/ asking to make best use of my time to gather information? Again without potentially stepping on any toes.
  8. I've been accepted to Baylor and University of Iowa. Prior to acceptance I went to a visiting students weekend at Baylor, but Iowa accepted me without an interview. Before I make the choice, is it okay to ask to visit Iowa? I'm not sure how to breach the topic, especially travel expense wise- I don't expect them to pay, so how to I ask to visit without asking for handouts? I of course wouldn't complain if they offered to pay, but I also know they are under no obligation. How do I phrase the email? I'm really interested in the program, but money isn't exactly flowing for me. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
  9. I've been invited to open house weekend at a great program that I'm really interested in. We just got our itineraries and instead of scheduling our faculty meetings for us, we are asked to pick which faculty we want to meet with and schedule times with them individually. I've already met with my POI multiple times, plus she is on the admissions committee, so I know I'm going to meet with her, but what about everyone else? There's really only one other faculty member who's interests match mine. I feel like I'll come off as aloof if I only meet with one faculty member outside of the admissions committee. On the other hand, if I ask for meetings with other people, I don't know what we would talk about. Their research is interesting, but doesn't really have much to do with what I want to do and I'm not sure I would ask very insightful questions about it. Thoughts?
  10. Out of curiosity, how many interview/visits did/will you go on? And are you currently in school, working, etc.? Just want to get an idea of what is typicial.
  11. Okey-doke: So I'm an utter newb at this whole Grad School cult(ure) thing. I've been invited to two Open House/Recruitment Weekend/Admitted Students Day-type thingies (from schools that have both made offers to me), and am seeking advice on what to expect, what sort of questions I should ask while there, and (shallow being that I am) what the frak should I wear?!?! I'm typically a chucks, jeans, and a baggy tank kinda gal.....but something tells me that this garb might not be appropriate for this purpose. I know they can't revoke my admit decision because I look like a schlub, but I figure (OK, let's be honest....I didn't "figure" anything....my more socially-functional friends have told me. In no uncertain terms) that I should try to look "professional" when I go on these trips. So.....what does "professional" mean, in this context? Do I need heels? A jacket/blazer thingy? Or should I just say "screw it" and show up looking like I actually look, in ripped jeans and a ball cap, so that I feel comfortable and not like I'm playing in Big Sis's closet? It's not like they're not potentially going to see me in my *ahem* natural habit every day for the next 6+ years...... tl;dr: HELP! Tell me what to expect during "Recruitment Weekend".
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