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What to do for the year while reapplying?


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Unfortunately I didn't get into any programmes this year (stats PhD). I'm definitely going to apply again next cycle, but I'm a bit unsure what to spend the year doing in the meanwhile. What's best to make myself competitive for next time round? I'm currently doing a master's in statistics so will still be doing that til the end of August but I don't have hard plans after that. Internships? Get a proper job and do that for the next 12 months? Just focus on improving my application full time?

Obviously a research internship would be great but these aren't so easy to find.

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Honestly, if you're not taking classes or doing research or something to improve the letters you will get, I don't think there is much to be done.  Luckily, I also don't think it matters much, as a school isn't going to look down on what you do for a year or even a few years.  Get a job to save up some money that will make grad school more enjoyable, or travel, or spend a year learning an instrument or something.

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I was exactly in your position a year ago, except I wasn't in a masters. I took a gap year, did research with a couple Professors, wrote a publication, then reapplied and have been admitted to several schools this cycle. But I agree with @bayessays above. You need to have some tangible improvement to your application to increase the odds. That said, I was fortunate to be able to fund myself, as I wasn't paid. 

Edited by vraman
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@csheehan10  I agree with @bayessays.    I'd go work a chill job save some money, cook and exercise a lot, and travel. 

If you want to bolster your math background:  I'd recommend taking a course or two on NetMath (UIUC).  You can do everything on your own schedule.  It's designed to be remote and it worked really well for me. 

If you want to get a better letter/research: So research-heavy medical schools (UCSF, Hopkins, etc.) regularly hire for research assistants/data analysts. With a masters, you could even get a junior statistician position.  That said, a lot of these junior research positions are a hit and miss: they pay poorly but can be intense. Even if your PI is nice, you're just not going to be a priority (compared to say, a PhD student).  This is just my opinion but if I wanted a better letter, I would go around asking professors for unpaid work in exchange for a letter (be upfront about it), work with them for ~2 months, move on and get a normal job that pays better and chill........

Edited by bob loblaw
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I agree with the above statements. Perhaps it goes without saying, but you may need to revisit the list of schools you're applying to and add in some lower ranked schools and drop some higher ranked schools in order to increase your chances of getting a range of options next year. I wouldn't suggest just reapplying to all the same schools unless if you have a much stronger profile by then.

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32 minutes ago, BL4CKxP3NGU1N said:

I agree with the above statements. Perhaps it goes without saying, but you may need to revisit the list of schools you're applying to and add in some lower ranked schools and drop some higher ranked schools in order to increase your chances of getting a range of options next year. I wouldn't suggest just reapplying to all the same schools unless if you have a much stronger profile by then.

Yeah for sure, I had half-planned to wait a year anyway but then some programmes dropped the GRE requirement so I just did 5 reach applications but planning 20ish with some safeties next time.

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