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Fall 2020 Statistics Applicant Thread


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Since the application season is nearing the end for PhD applicants, are people interested in creating a results thread? I created last year's thread, and if there's enough interest I can go ahead and

I got accepted to University of Washington! So excited I'm actually shaking

I've been through the process a few times, and I think the only real way to lower the stress is to lower the importance that you assign to the whole process, which you can do in a few ways. 1) Yo

Anyone who is still waiting for BU UNC or UMN Biostatistics? I saw people posting results already but I didn't get anything yet... I wonder if I still have a chance or it's basically a rejection...

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Just got invited to a visit day at Ohio State. How do these things usually work, and what's the expectation of the faculty from the students who are visiting? Also, if I have multiple offers, I'd like to know about the following things before committing to a program:

1. Qualifying exam structure, and the flexibility associated with it. Some departments expect students to pass exams by the first year; some have more flexible policies and don't weed out students etc.

2. I'm mostly interested in probability and its applications, so I need to figure out if I can work with faculty in the math department etc.

Are these the types of questions students should be asking on visit day? Also, I haven't gotten details on funding as of yet. Could there be any chance they'll make funding offers based on their impression of the students that day?

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@J456 This is just from personal experience, so take my answer with a grain of salt.

Visit days are pretty much the department trying to sell you on their program. You might hear more about the requirements, faculty might talk about their research, and you'll probably get the chance to talk to current grad students. If you're already accepted, the only thing faculty are expecting is that you're genuinely interested in the program. 

At the visit you should ask whatever questions you need answered to make an informed decision about the program. The questions you listed are definitely appropriate along with questions about culture, quality of life, funding, etc. I think personal stuff (within reason) is fair game too, especially if it might have a huge impact on you. You should definitely ask about funding while you're there since they haven't specified yet. 

I'm not sure if they'll make funding decisions based on impressions, though I would think they'd be transparent about the visit impacting funding.

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@J456 Yeah, definitely ask those types of questions.  For OSU, I believe they have 2 years where you have to take a MS-level qual and then later a PhD qual, so two years of intensive tests.

Every department is different, but if you're interested in probability, make sure there are people in the department actually doing probability research.  I imagine you could get somebody to co-advise from math, but if you go in asking if you can take statistics courses and get a degree but then work with all math faculty, they'll probably wonder why you applied to their department.  I see at least 2 people on their actual faculty doing probability research - those are much more likely to advise you than someone in math department. 

As for funding, I believe OSU nominates many people for university fellowships.  They are still probably waiting to hear back to see who gets fellowships and who gets TAships.  If you got an offer, I think it's safe to say you will at least be funded with a TA.

 

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@captivatingCA @bayessays

Thank you for your response. I would definitely like to get to know more about the department culture etc. The last couple of years have been hell for me, so I want to be at a place where I get sufficiently challenged, but also at the same time feel confident I can succeed. How does one go about asking such questions? I assume I should be talking to current grad students about this issue.

Also, should I talk to either faculty or grad students about the flexibility the program allows in designing your program of study etc. I am looking to enroll at a school where there's enough flexibility and research options available, and I have no intention of solely sticking to one particular area, and not learn about anything else. Sure, I don't want to give the impression that I only want to take courses from other departments etc, but I'd like these types of questions answered at least so I can make an informed choice.

Also, is it reasonable to ask about whether schools weed off students, do schools allow reattempts on qual exams etc? In any case, I want to get to know more about the structure and more importantly the expectations a program has from their students, rather than just a bunch of requirements listed on paper.

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In my opinion the best way to ask these questions is to ask directly. 'What is the culture of the department?' is a valid question, though the answer may vary. You could also ask about specific attributes, such as the program being collaborative, competitive, friendly, or independent. In terms weeding out, it might be better to ask specifically how many students fail or leave early. I don't think many people would actively admit to weeding students out.

I think you could ask both faculty and students these questions. It's great to get multiple answers from different people so that you get a better understanding of the program from different perspectives. 

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1 hour ago, ENE1 said:

Just got my first offer from Colorado State. Nice to have one under my belt and I don't have to worry so much about rejections elsewhere.

Looks like Uni of Washington has started sending out interview requests. Fingers crossed for everyone here.

When did you apply for Colorado State? I did not receive any emails from them yet :(

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Hey, I was one of the Minnesota admits (stats PhD). I’m guessing they notified me earlier because they told me they wanted to nominate me for a university diversity fellowship that has a deadline next week and requires an additional essay.

The visit day isn’t until March 6, so they could definitely be doing several rounds of admission offers.

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1 hour ago, milka49 said:

Minnesota typically releases in early to mid February. The acceptance may be a Masters student here who got into the PhD program or may be a troll. I'd be shocked if it was a standard applicant. 

I know from personal experience they have historically they have given at least some PhD applicants admission in late January. 

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Sorry to imply it absolutely wasn't possible. I was more trying to say that a vast majority go out sometime only a bit before mid-February, so that if people haven't heard back yet, it's not because they're not in or this is a fluke year, and instead it's probably some special circumstance that someone has heard back.

It's good they're admitting with an eye for a diversity fellowship. I know they're, to some extent, trying to build up their diversity, so that's exciting. Congrats!

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