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hnn12

PhD Stats and Biostats 2019 Profile Eval

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I'm an international student who graduated from the UK in  2016. I'm applying for PhD programs in Biostatistics/Statistics, starting Fall 2019. Please leave some comments on my profile, especially the range of schools to which I'm applying.

BSc Degrees: Mathematics with specialization in Statistics from a top-10 university worldwide
GPA: Top 10/~250

Master Degree: Finance from a top-10 university worldwide
GPA: Top 10/~40

Type of student: Asian male

Program desired: PhD in Statistics/Biostatistics

Research Experience: coauthor of one published paper on an international journal in econometrics. I have also done 2 research projects (~ 3 months each) that were outsourced by private companies. Both were related to Statistics/Data Analysis. During undergraduate studies, I had 1 individual poster project, in which I made a poster on statistical classification using LaTeX and presented to faculty members, 1 group project on Support Vector Machine and Kernel Smoothing, which also involved writing a report and presented our work to professors, and 1 individual project on Pattern Recognition, which heavily involved R programming.

Teaching:  2 semesters of TA in Probability & Statistics and Time Series. I will TA another 2 semesters this year

LOR: 1 from my professor in the UK, who was my personal tutor. 1 from a professor, who is currently the director of the research institution I'm working at. Both should be strong. I can get the last letter from another professor, but whether it's strong or not is a question mark. 

Programming: Proficient in R, MATLAB.  Competent in C++, Visual Basic. Proficient in LaTeX

GRE: Verbal 162, Quantitative 170, Writing 5.0 

GRE Subject Math: 820. Not sure if I should retake

Coursework: most were A+, some were A and 1 B in Computational Maths. My first 2 years focused on developing a rigorous mathematical background while my final year consisted of graduate level courses, mainly in advanced Statistics. 

  1. First year: Foundation of Analysis, Mathematical Methods I, Mathematical Methods II, Computational Maths, Mechanics, Probability and Statistics I, Geometry and Linear Algebra, Algebra I, Real Analysis
  2. Second year: Probability and Statistics II, Algebra II, Introduction to Numerical Analysis, Analysis I, Complex Analysis, Statistical Modelling, Differential Equations, Multivariate Calculus
  3. Third year: Statistical Pattern Recognition, Applied Statistics, Stochastic Simulation, Credit Scoring I, Scientific Computing in C++, Quantitative Finance, Survival Analysis, Games Risk & Decisions     

Research Interests: I'm interested in high-dimensional statistics and machine learning, with applications to chronic diseases and cancer research in particular

Applying to:

Biostatistics:
Harvard
UNC

Wisconsin-Madison (biostatistics track)
Minnesota - Twin Cities
Rochester

Statistics:
CMU (joint statistics and machine learning)
Yale
Cornell
North Carolina State
Michigan - Ann Abor
Ohio State 
Penn State 

Note: I'm currently working for a research institution, which is part of the national university in my country. I expect some more projects in this academic year, though I'm not sure if these result in publications. It's unlikely that these will come before the application deadlines anyways.

The things that concern me most is the questionable 3rd LOR and the lack of published papers (only 1 for me). I've also heard that chances are much slimmer for international students. 

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It seems like you should be competitive for any program, but we'll let some of the more knowledgeable people make specific comments.

 

I wanted to address what I know about international admissions for Harvard biostatistics:

"due to limited funding for international students, applications are usually split into two groups:

- Domestic (usually admit ~10-12 students from pool of >100)

- International (usually admit ~2-3 students from pool of >100)"

 

from this admissions powerpoint. This is corroborated by what Paige Williams said at the 2018 interview/open house.

Edited by biostat314

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Your profile is very strong, it's just difficult for international students to get into Biostats programs largely because a lot of the funding comes from the US government, which is prohibited from funding international students. For stats programs, I think there's a significantly stronger chance for international applicants. I'd still say it's worth applying to some of the top biostats programs.

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Thanks for your replies. Many people have warned me about the more limited chance at Biostats programs, so I have been revising my list of schools. All programs are PhD Statistics. I intend to apply to

Harvard, Chicago, Cornell, CMU, Upenn, Michigan, UNC, NCSU, Penn State, Iowa State, Purdue, Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA, Ohio State, UConn

Please share your thought on my list. Are there any particular programs that I should apply to, given my background above

 

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If you’re interested in applications to chronic disease and cancer, dropping all biostat programs from your list seems like a mistake. Yes, it’s a little tougher to get into a biostat program as an international student, but keep in mind that the applicant pool is also quite a bit shallower overall. I’d say you have a decent shot at getting into a top-5 biostat program with your profile. 

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1 hour ago, cyberwulf said:

If you’re interested in applications to chronic disease and cancer, dropping all biostat programs from your list seems like a mistake. Yes, it’s a little tougher to get into a biostat program as an international student, but keep in mind that the applicant pool is also quite a bit shallower overall. I’d say you have a decent shot at getting into a top-5 biostat program with your profile. 

Agreed. If you look at previous profiles and results, you probably won’t get the sense that international students have a huge advantage at stat over biostat departments (if any). It seems Harvard is really tough for international students, but from my limited exposure I get the sense that UW, Michigan, UNC, and possibly even Hopkins have been accepting lots of non-Americans over the years. 

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i don't have any specific recommendations but i would like to add that this year at UMN, the PhD cohort has 8 domestic students and 2 int'l students. the accepted int'l students were previously MS Biostats students at UMN

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