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Improving background as a future stat/biostat phd applicant

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Thanks for reading this. I will be attending a Top 3 biostat master program next fall, and I want to seek for advice on how to become a competitive applicant for phd program in stat/biostat 2 years later, especially as an international student.

FYI, I graduated from a top flagship state university with a major in statistics&computer science. I also have a minor in math but most math course I took are not proof-based and I only took one elementary analysis class (A+ grade). I also have done several research projects but do not have any publications.

Specifically, I want to know given my background, should I prioritize taking more advanced proof math/analysis/probability class, or focusing more on doing research and possibly making some publications during my master study?

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In my opinion, you should be focused on:

1) getting As in all your required courses. Perhaps taking the more advanced stat theory and probability classes in your second year.  I don't think taking more math outside of that is necessary at all.

2) getting involved in some type of research

3) forming relationships with professors from parts 1 and 2 who will be able to write you fantastic letters of recommendation.

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Thanks for your reply! All of these are very helpful. Since the analysis class I took in my undergraduate study did not cover metric space, which I believe is essential for more advanced measure-theoretical probability, I was thinking maybe I should take a second semester of analysis class. Do you think this is necessary?

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