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Hi everyone, 

I am thinking about applying to Biostats PhD programs for fall 2022

Undergrad Institution:

Major: Statistics

GPA:  3.78 (roughly the same within major as well)

GRE:  Q: 166  V: 159  W: 6

Type of Student: Domestic white female 

Grad Institution:

Major: Biostatistics MS

GPA:  ~3.75

Relevant Courses:

Taken in undergrad institution:

Calculus I and II (B/B+), Multivariate calculus (B+), Linear algebra (C+), Statistics I & II (A+/A), Probability (A-), Survival (A), Categorical (A), Stat Computing (A-), Experiment design (A), Linear Models (A), Inference (A-), Sampling (A)

Taken in graduate institution:  

Statistics/Biostatistics/Probability sequences (all A's /A- ) and all A's in other statistics courses except a B in Inference 😕

Research Experience: Several labs and an REU in undegrad. Been working as a biostatisician for 3+ years at a prestigious institution, 30+ collaborative pubs (several second author), very strong R skills, can get very good rec letters from people well known in the field. 

Schools considered: 

Would really like some insight into this. I think my grades are lacking, but I have a lot of research experience/coding and applied stats skills.  Any suggestion is welcomed!

I am concerned about my undergrad grades and wonder if it is worth applying Thanks!

 

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Early undergraduate grades usually aren't a huge factor if you have advanced math classes to make up for them, but since you don't have real analysis, that's going to hurt you because there isn't further evidence that you can handle the math.  The B in inference is not going to help, either.  Letters from famous people can help and are a real wildcard here, but since there's not a lot of evidence of being able to handle advanced theoretical stuff, I have a hard time imagining you getting into JHU/Harvard/Penn/Brown and even BU.

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5 minutes ago, bayessays said:

Early undergraduate grades usually aren't a huge factor if you have advanced math classes to make up for them, but since you don't have real analysis, that's going to hurt you because there isn't further evidence that you can handle the math.  The B in inference is not going to help, either.  Letters from famous people can help and are a real wildcard here, but since there's not a lot of evidence of being able to handle advanced theoretical stuff, I have a hard time imagining you getting into JHU/Harvard/Penn/Brown and even BU.

Thanks for the reply! Are there any schools you would recommend that you may think there is a chance at? That was just a list of some I was interested in and was not exhaustive

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I'd probably add some more schools at the Pitt/Vandy/Iowa/Duke level -schools that are outside the top 5 and not Ivy Leagues.  I am not saying you shouldn't apply to the higher schools, either.  I'd talk to your professors.  Your level of experience and publications show you know what you're getting into and can succeed in applied work, and if you have letters from known people that can go a long way, so I imagine you will have more success than a normal person with subpar grades.  The Ivy League pedigree and top MS program will of course help too.

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Curious that you put Columbia with Harvard and JHU as the former is on a much lower level than the latter two.

I agree with @bayessays regarding analysis. I definitely think you should take real analysis and do really well. Make no mistake--taking real analysis at any of those three schools is going to be hard. You should aim for an A- I think to boost your application a lot. 

I will add that the C+ in linear algebra is going to kill your application at most of the best schools. The only way to remedy this is either to take PhD-level linear models (which I do NOT recommend as many programs will prefer that you take PhD core classes at their institution), OR to take abstract algebra. Again, this will likely be very hard at any of the institutions you mentioned that you are attending.

I also agree that asking some of your professors what they think about your profile and how to boost it will help a lot as they generally will know which schools are looking for which types of students.

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