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A "what-if" 2020 profile evaluation


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  Hi all, I just posted this in the results thread. I'm pursuing a masters to strengthen my eventual PhD application, but I've always been curious where I could have ended up if I applied straight to US PhD's this cycle. Assuming a decent GRE score, what range do you all think I would've had a chance at? I suppose I would be considered international if applying to the US? 

2 minutes ago, SPIWizard said:
Long-time lurker here. Don't usually have much to add to the discussion about PhD programs, I am applying only to Canadian masters programs. 
 
Undergrad Institution: Regionally prominent Canadian school (not Toronto, UBC, McGill or Waterloo)
Major(s): Statistics
GPA: 3.97 converted
Type of Student: Domestic (Canadian)

GRE General Test: Did not take
 
Programs Applying: Masters in Statistics
 
Research Experience: One USRA (aka. Canadian REU) working on computational statistics at home institution. One 2nd author paper in one of the big ML conferences.  

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's list, some GPA-based scholarships.

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: High school math tutor, worked as an financial analyst intern almost every summer (excel stuff). 
 
Letters of Recommendation: Strong letter from assistant prof who was my advisor (I was able to see this letter), two good letters from senior profs, well respected in Canada.
 
(Relevant) Math/Statistics Grades:  Calc I-III, two terms of linear algebra (applied topics, but proof based), two terms of non measure probability, two terms of real analysis, intro to math stats, experimental design, time series, linear models, a few statistics grad courses: stochastic analysis, bayesian stats, GLMs, high dim. statistics. 

Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: Nearly 10 courses in Economics, which mostly served to convince me that I was not into Econ.
 

Applying to Where: 
University of British Columbia - Accepted 
McGill University - Accepted 
University of Waterloo - Accepted 
Simon Fraser University - Rejected 
 
Notes:
  • I hope this will help people who were in my position back in October. There are limited resources out there for domestic applicants in Canada, which makes sense given that even my own departments grad students are >50% international. 
  • The offers are all funded, with funding a little lower than average PhD stipends. 
  • I did not think my math background was sufficient to apply directly to PhD programs in the States, and hence did not take the GRE. 

Looking forward, or perhaps dreading, to be back for the PhD cycle soon... 

 

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I think you have a chance of some top 10 programs in the States (i.e. Stanford, UCB, Harvard, Chicago, UW, UM, Columbia, Duke, UPenn, CMU),  though this depends a bit on your GRE score.  But seeing as you already have your name on an ML publication and a very high GPA I think you could have probably gotten into one this year.  I also think that after doing a Masters in Stats your chances will be even possibly better so you may have even more options within that tier. 

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6 hours ago, Spaghettini Plot said:

I think you have a chance of some top 10 programs in the States (i.e. Stanford, UCB, Harvard, Chicago, UW, UM, Columbia, Duke, UPenn, CMU),  though this depends a bit on your GRE score.  But seeing as you already have your name on an ML publication and a very high GPA I think you could have probably gotten into one this year.  I also think that after doing a Masters in Stats your chances will be even possibly better so you may have even more options within that tier. 

Thanks for the response! This is a kind evaluation - I definitely thought I was lacking in math background compared to others on here, and maybe needed a more well-known undergrad program to crack top 10. 

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8 hours ago, SPIWizard said:

Thanks for the response! This is a kind evaluation - I definitely thought I was lacking in math background compared to others on here, and maybe needed a more well-known undergrad program to crack top 10. 

Not that any of this information is definitive, but based on my own experience at visit days and meeting others, I'd say Canada is a bit of a special case regarding international students.  Other strong schools may be a bit more known than you realize, (e.g. U Vic, SFU, McMaster, Queen's, U de M  Dalhousie to name a few) and there are certainly people who come straight out of undergrad from these places and get into any of the aforementioned US programs.

I'd say maybe your main area to improve is to take more core grad level stats. Certainly advanced math helps but I'd think that grad level stats is certainly also looked upon similarly well. 

I think if you do well in a grad level math stats, and maybe measure theory probability then you'll be in really great shape, especially if you get another publication in your masters. 

 

Best of luck if you do end up applying to the US, and feel free to DM me if you have more specific questions!

Edited by Spaghettini Plot
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