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MahanDastgiri

Fall 2020 Statistics PhD Application Evaluation

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Hi,

I'm interested in applying for PhD programs in Statistics and Data Science. I just finished my undergrad this June. I'm also interested in Biostatistics programs if I will have a better chance for higher ranked universities. 

Undergrad Institution: International University (70th based on QS World University Ranking, University of Malaya, Malaysia)

Major: Statistics

GPA: 3.92

Student Type: International Female

GRE General Test: Haven't taken yet (should get high on quantitative)

Courses:

Math: Basic Mathematics (A), Calculus I (A+), Introduction to Computing (A+), Calculus II (A+), Linear Algebra (A), Numerical Analysis (A), Introduction to Combinatorics (A+), Differential Equations (A), Advanced Calculus (A+).               

Stats: Probability & Statistics I (A-), Introduction to Statistics (A+), Regression Analysis (A), Probability & Statistics II (A+), Non-Parametric Statistics (A+), Basic Operational Research (A), Probability & Statistical Inference (A), Design and Analysis of Experiments (A), Stochastic Processes (B), Survey Sampling (A), Analysis of Failure and Survival Data (A+).

Computer Science: Data Analysis (A), Data Mining (A), Structured Programming (A).

 

Programs Applying: PhD in Statistics/Biostatistics/Data Science

 

Research Experience: A research project for a semester on Data Mining (Analysis of water quality data using data mining methods). Not published yet

Awards/honors: Dean's List for a few semesters, Pass with honors

Programming Experience: R, S-Plus, SPSS, C++, Orange, RapidMiner

Teaching Experience: Tutor for A-Level Math for a year

Letters of Recommendation: I think I will have decent letters, one from Stats Professor who is the program coordinator, One from the head of the department, One from a Math professor.

 

Applying to where: 

Carnegie Mellon

John Hopkins

University of Michigan

UCLA

NYU

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin

UT Austin

Rice

UNC

Minnesota

Penn State

UC Davis

University of Virginia

Washington University in St. Louis

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

George Washington

Southern Methodist

 

Could someone comment on my chances, and if I should add or remove some of the universities. 

Any suggestion/feedback would be great.

Thanks

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Is "Advanced Calculus" a course on introductory real analysis? You may want to make it clear in your application.

In any case, your profile looks pretty strong, but I would say your chances at CMU, JHU, Michigan, Washington, and UNC are slim, mainly because of the stiff competition from international applicants -- and all the ones from Asia who are accepted into programs at this tier are typically from Peking, Fudan, Tsinghua, USTC, Zhejiang, ISI, SNU, KAIST, KU, and Yonsei. NYU is also a tiny program (less than 10 students total), so it may be very selective as well.

I think you should apply to mainly programs at large state universities like North Carolina State University and Texas A&M University (which I didn't see on your list). I think you have a shot at NCSU, TAMU, and Minnesota. I think you also have a decent shot at schools like University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Connecticut, and Michigan State University. These schools have been known to accept outstanding students from the top universities in Africa, Bangladesh, Vietnam, etc., so I imagine they would also be willing to accept good students from the top university in Malaysia.

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Thank you for your reply and suggestions.

I will definitely consider the universities that you mentioned. Just have a question regarding my undergrad university. The university ranks higher than USTC, KU, and Yonsei in both Us News Ranking and QS Ranking. That will not help me to have a chance at some of the top-tier universities? Is my research experience even good enough for those?

Another thing I wanted to mention is due to some issues I withdrew from three consecutive semesters, which caused the length of my study being 5 years. Is that going to affect my application? how can I kinda sort that out?

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5 minutes ago, MahanDastgiri said:

Thank you for your reply and suggestions.

I will definitely consider the universities that you mentioned. Just have a question regarding my undergrad university. The university ranks higher than USTC, KU, and Yonsei in both Us News Ranking and QS Ranking. That will not help me to have a chance at some of the top-tier universities? Is my research experience even good enough for those?

Another thing I wanted to mention is due to some issues I withdrew from three consecutive semesters, which caused the length of my study being 5 years. Is that going to affect my application? how can I kinda sort that out?

I am not really sure what criteria these international rankings are taking into account, but for example, USTC ranks No. 1 in number of papers published in journals with high-impact factor among universities in China (i.e. it has the most papers published in journals like Science, Nature, PRL, JACS, etc. of all Chinese universities). So while its overall ranking may be lower than Peking and Tsinghua, it is particularly renowned for its math and science programs and has a strong reputation for producing successful PhD students in American STEM programs. I suspect that in general, admissions committees in Statistics are far less familiar with reputation and academic rigor from University of Malaya than the other schools that I mentioned, and hence why your chances may be very slim for the very top Stat programs in the U.S. (all of these top programs could easily fill their entire incoming class with just students from the top universities in China and India if they wanted).

You can try a few "reach" schools, but I would recommend NCSU as the higher end of the range of schools and  generally schools in the top 20-40 of the USNWR rankings for Statistics as the main ones to aim for.

 

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Thanks for the explanation. I will update my list of schools. 

As you asked for the advanced calculus, it was partly about introduction to real analysis. I dont know how that will affect my profile since I'm already graduated and cannot take the real analysis course anymore. 

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5 hours ago, MahanDastgiri said:

Thanks for the explanation. I will update my list of schools. 

As you asked for the advanced calculus, it was partly about introduction to real analysis. I dont know how that will affect my profile since I'm already graduated and cannot take the real analysis course anymore. 

I think it is probably fine as long as you mention in your SOP that you took real analysis in your "Advanced Calculus" class and have one of your LOR writers mention this as well.

As for withdrawing and taking 5 years to finish, I don't think any of that will affect your chances, and it is not worth mentioning. The grades (especially grades in math/upper division stats classes), letters of recommendation, and test scores are primarily what adcoms look at.

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