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Fall 2019 Ph.D. Statistics at University of Washington - chance of getting in?


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What are my chances of getting in the University of Washington Ph.D. in Statistics program? What can I do over the course of the next year to improve my chances?

Undergrad: Large state school in Colorado
Major: Math (Applied)
Minor: Atmospheric Sciences 
GPA: 3.98/4.0
Math Coursework: Calc 2/3 (A), Analysis (A-), Lin. Alg (A-), Probability Theory (A), Mathematical Statistics (A), Environmental Statistics (A), ODE (A), PDE (A), Discrete (A)
Programming: I only took 1 programming course, but also took a few classes where programming was incorporated in the homework (ie. Enviro Stats)  
Involvement in Math Department: Teaching assistant for a few semester and worked at the tutoring center for a year and a half. 
Letters of Rec: I will have 3 very powerful letters of rec. 
GRE: I have not taken yet. I am studying for the next 5 months and will take in the fall. 
*Academic/Merit-based scholarships covered 90% of my tuition 

Research Experience: Three month summer internship with NASA focused on air quality.  I did not publish my work, but I was selected for funding to present at a national conference. This research was not directly related to statistics, but did include a lot of data analysis. 

Currently: I work in finance, building financing models and working with investors. I really like the quantitative side of my work and enjoy building large models.  My plan was to do this for 1-2 years before pursuing graduate school. I started my job February 2017, and I am planning on going to grad school Fall 2019. This means I will have ~2 years of working experience prior to starting. 

School choice: I really want to go to University of Washington.  This is by far my top choice school, but I don't know how competitive my application will be.  Based on the above, what are my chances of getting in? What can I do over the next 9 months before applications are due to enhance my application? 

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UWashington is definitely a reach school. I don't think anyone would suggest you apply to UWashington,  but if you really want to pay the application fee for probably a 5-10% percent chance of acceptance.  UWashington is a top-tier program that's hard for even the best applicants to get into.  The problem is you don't have graduate coursework, statistics research, an Ivy League level undergraduate institution and those things are typical among applicants to that level of program.    Did you take any proof based mathematics courses (intro to proof,  real analysis, abstract algebra)?  What are you reasons for liking the University of Washington?    Ideally, you need to look at places in the middle and lower half of the ranking to start.  Since you are out of school the easiest way to increase your chances is studying for the GRE.  Ideally, you want 167+ on Quant,  but if your practice scores are in that range already practicing wouldn't be helpful.  There is probably nothing else you can do in 9 months to significantly improve your chances.  Statistics PhD admissions are very difficult,  especially at a place like UWashington.    Look at the profiles of this year's applicants, where several people with much better profiles got rejected by UWashington stats in particular.  

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I think her analysis is a little harsh - true, UW is probably still a reach because it is for almost anyone. Are you planning to take the math GRE? Acing that might put you in contention.  I'd imagine you'd have no trouble getting into their MS program. Have you thought about applying for their biostat PhD program? Still very competitive but less of a reach. 

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Thanks for your feedback bayessays! I agree UW is a reach for most people, myself included! I will apply regardless (yes goodbye application fee).

I have not looked into the math GRE; I have only just started studying for the general GRE.  Do you think it is worth it to split my time studying? Or should I focus on knocking the general GRE out of the park?

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13 minutes ago, yogi_tea_4ever said:

Thanks for your feedback bayessays! I agree UW is a reach for most people, myself included! I will apply regardless (yes goodbye application fee).

I have not looked into the math GRE; I have only just started studying for the general GRE.  Do you think it is worth it to split my time studying? Or should I focus on knocking the general GRE out of the park?

They strongly encourage it, so it would help if you do extremely well but it's a very difficult test. If you're math major, I can't imagine you'd have to really study for the general GRE as it tests high school level math.  Many people spend hours a day for months to prep for the math GRE though - it requires a thorough knowledge of calculus and algebra. 

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I don't think there's a reason for you to not apply to UW, you have a shot. You don't need to take the math gre if you don't think you'll do well on it, it won't hurt you if you haven't taken it (but doing very well on it, like 75%+, would probably help). If you really want to go to UW you should also apply to the biostats program since the two departments are well connected/ you can work with profs in either department while in either program.

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Thanks bayessays and marmle! I will need to look more into the subject test, as I have not researched it at all.  As far as the general GRE goes, yes the math is all very basic, but I still want to review to ensure I don't make any silly mistakes and can work quickly enough :) 

 

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