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Profile Evaluation Statistics PhD

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I have a few major questions: Should I report the GRE mathematics subject score to schools that don't require it?  If so, which ones?  And is that score bad enough to exclude some of the top ones like Harvard, Stanford, Chicago or Columbia?  I recognize that it might be.  Thanks so much for any help/advice you can provide!

Type of Student: Undergraduate in final semester

Undergrad School: Smallish Canadian School

Undergrad Major: Statistics, Minors: mathematics, economics

Undergrad GPA: 4.30 out of 4.33 (4.33 in math and statistics)


Q = 168 (94th percentile), V = 159 (83rd percentile), AW = 4 (59th percentile)


Relevant Undergrad Courses & Grades: (All A+ grades) Intro Analysis I, Intro Analysis II (essentially first 11 chapters of Rudin in these two), Statistical Theory, Stochastic Processes, Applied Time Series, Complex Variables, ODEs, Sample Surveys, Design of Experiments - and currently taking: Abstract Algebra, PDEs, and two ML intro courses

Research Experience: 2 Undegraduate Research Awards (equivalent of REUs in the US) with different professors over the last two summers (one in experimental design, the other in uncertainty quantification).  No papers, this summer's project might turn into one, but not before the applications are done - I feel like I'm lacking in the ability to actually show research potential.

Recommendation Letters: 2 strong letters from professors that know me well and can speak to my mathematical background.  One that might not be perfect since he doesn't know me as well (but I've had 2 A+ grades with him and spoken to him on occasion)

Applying to: (ALL PHD IN STATISTICS unless otherwise noted) - Tentative list (it's huge I know but I have a little bit of money to throw away):

University of Toronto

UBC (MSc statistics)

NC State



Carnegie Mellon







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Your profile looks pretty good, but for the PhD programs in the U.S.A. on your list, your list of schools is very top-heavy. It is not clear to me that you are a "sure thing" at any of these -- though I suspect that your chances for NC State and Washington are above average. It's not clear from your post how much prestige your institution has. 

Still, it's a definite risk to be applying *only* to these top-tier schools. Are you sure you do not want to add some other schools like UCLA, Purdue, Penn State, Minnesota? Maybe I'm just conservative about this, but unless someone has a "super-star" profile (i.e. summa cum laude from Princeton + coursework in graduate-level math classes + publications), I would not advise them to apply to so many top-tier schools, but to be more selective about which top-tier ones to apply to and to "spread out" their list a bit more.

Edited by Stat PhD Now Postdoc
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Thanks for your advice!  I know I'm not a sure thing for any of the top places - but I assumed that there's a decent chance I get into at least one of them - perhaps I'm wrong.  I wouldn't say my institution has tonnes of prestige, although our statistics department is quite well known in Canada.  Do you think I should report that math subject GRE score to any of the places that don't require it (all of them other than Stanford)?

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I think it's fine to report that score. I would just advise that you apply to a few schools that are not in the tip-top tier to better your chances. There have been posts on this board by people with seemingly strong profiles who applied to a lot of the most elite Statistics PhD programs in the U.S. and were completely shut out. The higher up you go in the rankings or if the program is housed in an elite school (i.e. the Ivy League), the more weight the prestige of the undergrad institution carries... and the harder it is for domestic/Canadian applicants to get in. UChicago, UPenn, and Harvard only seem to have 1-2 domestic students in each cohort.

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