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Where to take Pre-requisites


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I did my undergraduate degree in Accounting & Financial Management and graduated 2 years ago. Down the road I would like to ultimately get into higher level quantitative analyst jobs but it seems like they all require at least Master's degrees (if not PhDs) in a quantitative field. So I'm interested to do a graduate degree in Applied Math or Statistics. The University of Michgan is my top choice. However I didn't take enough math/stats/programming classes in undergrad to be able to submit an application. I need to take 6-8 of these pre-requisite classes before applying.
So my question is where should I take these pre-requisite classes? Community college has most of the courses I'd need (except for stats, probability and a higher level programming course) and they're fairly affordable. OR should I take these classes from the University of Michigan? The cost of each class is almost 7 times the cost of the community college classes, but I would have access to campus resources, be able to join clubs and do extracurriculars/projects that could strengthen my application and also possibly get letters of recommendation from faculty members who are well known to the admissions committee.
Does it matter to graduate admissions committees where I take these pre-requisite classes?

The other question I have is about Letters of Recommendation. I'm not sure any of my undergrad profs really remember me, so I don't think I could get LoRs from them. I was planning to ask the professors/instructors from the pre-requisite courses I'll take. What's the best approach to getting a strong letter of recommendation from a professor you've known only one semester?

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I was in a similar position when I was applying to Masters programs. My mathematics background from my undergrad included Calc I-Calc III and Linear Algebra but not much beyond that (I majored in Economics), so I had to take a few more math classes to be qualified for admission to an MS program. So in order to get into a Masters program in Applied Mathematics, I had to take a few more upper division college classes to show that I was capable of handling it. In total, I took four math classes and a computer programming class (all while working full-time).

If you can afford it, I would recommend taking the courses at local universities. Luckily, I could get some tuition reimbursement from my job, so that covered some of the cost, and I lived in the Boston area where there are a lot of universities with afternoon/evening classes. If possible, you could also arrange "flex hours" with your job if you must take classes that meet during the morning or early afternoon. Re: rec letters. It shouldn't be a problem securing a strong letter of recommendation from professors who only taught you for one semester. All of my rec letters for my Masters program were from professors whom I had taken only one semester of mathematics with. For PhD programs, it might be advantageous to get one or two rec letters from professors you've known for at least two semesters, but for MS programs, it's not as big of a deal.

Good luck! As someone who made a similar career change, I say it's definitely worth it. :)

Edited by Applied Math to Stat
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Thank you so much for your reply! It definitely helped. I've been kind of apprehensive about spending the time and money for these courses without any guarantee of acceptance first.. sounds risky, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one in this situation :) 

What was your experience like in the Masters of Statistics program after having done an undergrad in Econ?

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My Masters degree is in Applied Mathematics. For the most part, it was perfectly fine. It definitely helped to have some experience with proof-based math before starting the MS program. For Statistics MS programs, I think taking Calc I-III and linear algebra and some upper division math classes should definitely be helpful. Masters programs are also less competitive and have many "non"-tradititional students who did not study math or stat (there are a lot of econ, business, biology and life sciences majors who enroll in Statistics or Biostatistics MS programs after they have completed the mathematics prerequisites).

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