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Casorati

Stat/Biostat PhD 2020 Profile Evaluation

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Hey I will be applying to statistics/biostatistics phd this fall. I am mostly interested in theoretical aspects of statistics so I am mostly looking into departments where there is a strong emphasis on theory. Any evaluation/advice is greatly appreciated. Here is my profile:
Undergrad Institution: One of the big Math/Statistics schools in Canada (one of U of T, U of Waterloo, UBC)
Major(s): Statistics and Mathematics
GPA:  We do percentage grading. High 80s, higher in math/stat courses
 
Grad Institution: Same school
Major: Statistics
GPA: ~90
Type of Student:  International Male
 
Relevant Courses:
Calculus 1-3 (100, 96, 91). First year Algebra (92). Linear Algebra 1-2 (91, 90). ODE I (93). Mechanics (93). Intro to Prob (95). Intro to Statistics (93).  Real Analysis I (84). Real Analysis II (84). Measure Theory I (95). Abstract Algebra (79). Complex Analysis (90). Mathematical Statistics I (92). Mathematical Statistics || (93). Graduate Math Stat (90). Applied Probability (91). Stochastic Processes (90). Applied Linear Models (80). GLM (89). Time Series (87). Experimental Design I (93). Experimental Design II (91). Survival Analysis (89). Missing Data and Causal Inference (90)
Taking next term: Functional Analysis, Measure Theory
Grading scale is as follows: A+: 90-100, A: 85-89, A-: 80-84, B+: 77-79, B: 73-76 etc.

GRE General Test: 
Q:
 170
V: 153
W: 3.5

Research Experience:  Part time RA with an assistant professor during undergrad. Graduate RA resulting in a master's thesis. Both related to causal inference. Expect to submit a paper to statistics in medicine before application deadlines.
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, awarded for academic excellence during grad study. Nothing major.
Letters of Recommendation: One from my master's supervisor (associate prof), one from a senior prof who I took grad math stat with. One from a very well-known prof in biostatistics.
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: Although I did well in most math/stat courses, I received some low grades in some finance, computer science and elective courses. How will this negatively impact my chances? Should I address this in my SOP?

Applying to Where: My grades are good but not stellar. Also I heard that the competition among international students is insane, so I don't think I stand a chance at very top schools. I am also thinking of applying to some math department focusing on probability theory. With my math background, is it possible? This is my tentative list and it is subject to change.
Statistics: Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, Cornell, UIUC, Toronto, UBC, McGill
Biostatistics: Washington, UNC, UCLA, Penn
Math: NYU, Georgia Tech, UCSD
 
Edited by Casorati

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Being from one of the best schools in Canada should help you a lot. I think students from U of T, UBC, Waterloo, etc. are evaluated similarly to those who attended top schools in the U.S. (whether they are domestic or international). Question: are you a Canadian citizen/PR or an international student from elsewhere studying in Canada? If you are in the latter category, then it may be tough to get into the Canadian PhD programs. I would recommend applying to a few more big state programs for stats (think Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M) and a few other Biostat programs ranked in between UNC and UCLA. 

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On 8/29/2019 at 8:49 AM, Stat PhD Now Postdoc said:

 I would recommend applying to a few more big state programs for stats (think Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M) and a few other Biostat programs ranked in between UNC and UCLA. 

Thank you for your input! I am an international student from China studying in Canada. It's generally hard for international students to get into UBC and Toronto and being a PR/Citizen helps a lot. Theoretically I can get PR in probably two years but I just can't wait to start my PhD. For the programs in the States, I heard that Berkeley has a very small program and Minnesota admits very few international students.One of my supervisor's former students got into all of Washington, Michigan and UNC but got rejected from Minnesota. So I guess lower ranked schools are not necessarily easier to get into. I am mostly interested in the theoretical aspects of statistics and I try to avoid programs which have epidemiology/public health courses as requirement. I only know that for biostatistics, Washington and UNC have a strong emphasis on theory and require students to take measure theory courses, and many other biostatistics programs, such as Columbia and Michigan are rather applied. 

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13 hours ago, Casorati said:

Thank you for your input! I am an international student from China studying in Canada. It's generally hard for international students to get into UBC and Toronto and being a PR/Citizen helps a lot. Theoretically I can get PR in probably two years but I just can't wait to start my PhD. For the programs in the States, I heard that Berkeley has a very small program and Minnesota admits very few international students.One of my supervisor's former students got into all of Washington, Michigan and UNC but got rejected from Minnesota. So I guess lower ranked schools are not necessarily easier to get into. I am mostly interested in the theoretical aspects of statistics and I try to avoid programs which have epidemiology/public health courses as requirement. I only know that for biostatistics, Washington and UNC have a strong emphasis on theory and require students to take measure theory courses, and many other biostatistics programs, such as Columbia and Michigan are rather applied. 

In that case, I would apply to more Statistics schools in the range of 15-50 of the USNWR rankings, to be on the safe side, and not to Biostatistics programs (apart from maybe UW and UNC). There are a lot of great schools in between Penn State and UIUC and ranked slightly below UIUC that you would have a good shot at.  

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On 8/31/2019 at 10:55 AM, Stat PhD Now Postdoc said:

In that case, I would apply to more Statistics schools in the range of 15-50 of the USNWR rankings, to be on the safe side, and not to Biostatistics programs (apart from maybe UW and UNC). There are a lot of great schools in between Penn State and UIUC and ranked slightly below UIUC that you would have a good shot at.  

Thank you for your input! I just noticed that from some schools' admissions webpage (Stanford, UNC) that admitted students had average GRE verbal in the 90th percentile, which struck me as odd. I know the GRE verbal is not very relevant but I am kinda worried about myself given the averages they listed. Should I retake the test in order not to get my application trashed in the first round? I also took the GRE math subject test last weekend and I felt that I did well with the possibility of getting over the 90th percentile. For schools that do not explicitly require the subject score, would submitting 90%+ score help my chances?

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1 hour ago, Casorati said:

Thank you for your input! I just noticed that from some schools' admissions webpage (Stanford, UNC) that admitted students had average GRE verbal in the 90th percentile, which struck me as odd. I know the GRE verbal is not very relevant but I am kinda worried about myself given the averages they listed. Should I retake the test in order not to get my application trashed in the first round? I also took the GRE math subject test last weekend and I felt that I did well with the possibility of getting over the 90th percentile. For schools that do not explicitly require the subject score, would submitting 90%+ score help my chances?

No, I don't think it is worth retaking the GRE since you got a perfect score on the Q section. If you did very well on the Math Subject GRE test, then you should submit it with your application. This may or may not help, depending on how much weight the programs put on it (some very good programs don't pay any attention to it all), but it certainly won't hurt your application.

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The math GRE subject score is out. I got 870(89%), which is around the average of admitted students at Stanford. With that score, should I apply to more top schools that recommend the MGRE? Is my score good enough to submit to schools that don't require it?

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On 10/11/2019 at 9:58 AM, Casorati said:

The math GRE subject score is out. I got 870(89%), which is around the average of admitted students at Stanford. With that score, should I apply to more top schools that recommend the MGRE? Is my score good enough to submit to schools that don't require it?

With your article submission to a respectable journal (Statistics in Medicine), that excellent subject test score, and a strong GPA from a top university in Canada, I would definitely recommend applying to Stanford and some other top-tier schools. Competition is very stiff for international students, but I would rate your chances as above average. If your interests are mainly in causal inference, I would suggest trying UPenn Wharton and Harvard.

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Hey. Sorry for fixing in, but I've been meaning to apply to some Canadian programs as well, and my concern is also that it's very difficult to get funding unless you're a PR/citizen. I guess both of you have already seen my profile. Any suggestions for programs I could tackle. I was thinking maybe one in the Waterloo category and others in the Simon Fraser etc category.

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2 hours ago, J456 said:

Hey. Sorry for fixing in, but I've been meaning to apply to some Canadian programs as well, and my concern is also that it's very difficult to get funding unless you're a PR/citizen. I guess both of you have already seen my profile. Any suggestions for programs I could tackle. I was thinking maybe one in the Waterloo category and others in the Simon Fraser etc category.

I think if you are not a Canadian PR/citizen, it may be especially difficult to be admitted to a Canadian program, though it is not impossible (for example, Yves Athade has a PhD from University of Montreal). Your chances are far better at the general tier of schools that I listed in your original post -- that is, solid mid-tier programs that will look favorably at strong performance in a math Masters program from an R1 in the U.S.A.

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3 hours ago, J456 said:

Hey. Sorry for fixing in, but I've been meaning to apply to some Canadian programs as well, and my concern is also that it's very difficult to get funding unless you're a PR/citizen. 

It was true for UBC and Toronto before but things changed last year. I have friends who got into Toronto, Waterloo and McGill. As far as I know, Toronto expanded their statistics PhD program and now international students pay the same amount of tuition as domestic students do. This means that the school does not need to pay as much to international students as before, so they are likely to admit much more international students. Waterloo has a large statistics PhD program and admits many international students. 

Edited by Casorati

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41 minutes ago, Casorati said:

It was true for UBC and Toronto before but things changed last year. I have friends who got into Toronto, Waterloo and McGill. As far as I know, Toronto expanded their statistics PhD program and now international students pay the same amount of tuition as domestic students do. This means that the school does not need to pay as much to international students as before, so they are likely to admit much more international students. Waterloo has a large statistics PhD program and admits many international students. 

 

I emailed Simon Fraser as well and they said that most of their international students get funded as well. I guess I'll take my chances at 3 Canadian schools I guess. Simon Fraser and the likes, and maybe 1 along the lines of Waterloo.

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2 hours ago, Stat PhD Now Postdoc said:

I think if you are not a Canadian PR/citizen, it may be especially difficult to be admitted to a Canadian program, though it is not impossible (for example, Yves Athade has a PhD from University of Montreal). Your chances are far better at the general tier of schools that I listed in your original post -- that is, solid mid-tier programs that will look favorably at strong performance in a math Masters program from an R1 in the U.S.A.

Yes, I'm mostly hedging my bets on schools in the 20-40 range. However, I'm going to take my chances and apply above as well. Thinking of Canada as well because of future job prospects so I'll try and sneak a couple of app's there I guess.

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