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Stats Profile Evaluation?


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Student Type: Domestic Asian Student

Undergrad: A top US Stats University

Major: Math and a Coterminal Masters in Statistics.

GPA: 3.91 (4.06 for Masters)

Math: Linear Algebra (A+), Multivariable Calc (A-), Differential Equations (A), Topology and Geometry (A), Applied Linear Algebra (A), Measure Theoretic Stochastic Processes (A), Functions of a Real Variable (CR, COVID), Analysis (A), Lebesgue Integration and Fourier Analysis (A), Grad Level Measure Theory (A-), Differential Topology (A), Groups and Rings (A), Galois Theory (A), Complex Analysis (A), Elementary Functional Analysis (A), Discrete Probabilistic Methods (A).

Stats: Intro to Stochastic Processes 1 (A), II (CR, COVID), Mathematical Statistics (A), Applied Stats (A+), Linear Models and ANOVA (CR), Data Mining and Analysis (A), AI Principles and Techniques (A-), Deep Learning (A), Bayesian Stats (Phd level, A), Applied Bayesian Stats (Phd level, A), Convex Optimization 1 (Phd Level, A), Convex Optimization 2 (Phd Level, A). 

For the Math courses, all are undergrad courses unless otherwise indicated. For the stats courses, they are all Masters courses except for the last 4 courses.

I started Math a bit late, as I switched to Math from Computer Science the summer before my Junior year (didn't do too hot in computer science though).  As a result, I wasn't able to dive as deeply into Math as I would have liked to. Also the school I go to is notorious for grade inflation, so the grades that I get are not of any particular significance.

GRE: Will take this qtr.


I wrote some final papers for math classes. I also have a first authored paper on COVID mutation in a CDC journal and an honors thesis for math that I did on random graphs.

Letters of Recommendation:  One from a well-known stats professor. The other two done by assistant professors in Math and Statistics. Two of them were my honors thesis advisors and the other I authored the paper under and worked with her for 2 years on biostats.

I wanted to apply to Stats programs. I have no particular research interests quite yet, so I am really open to anything, though I would prefer departments that focus more on theory. As such, I wanted to know which programs (in general) would be realistic for me to get into.  I've talked to my advisor but also wanted to get other opinions as well (including on here!) Thanks!

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Sounds like Stanford's a real possibility dude, so I'd just apply to all the top places. Because you're domestic I really wouldn't bother applying lower than Michigan/UWashington/Duke. Actually should probably apply to like 2 lower schools in the top 20 out of an over-abundance of caution.


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As someone who applied to both programs and got into some of both, I would pay more attention to the type of work that professors in Bio-statistics and statistics programs do and the coursework rather than the label. Biostatistics programs generally do more applied/methodology work that is focused on being immediately applicable to biomedical problems (hypothesis testing, Causal inference, etc...). Statistics programs generally do a wider range of stuff and if you want to do crazy theory like crazy asymptotic statistics or high-dimensional theory then you'll likely only be happy in a statistics department. Im still speaking in generalities because if you go to somewhere like Harvard you have people like Rajarshi Mukherje who are more theoretical than most people even in a pure Stats department like Duke.

Personally I think if you're truly interested in biological applications then biostats departments like Harvard/UWashington are the way to go as you get so much exposure to biomedical problems that its probably academic heaven. Otherwise it might be a little torturous as departments like Harvard, depending on the training grant you're on, will force you to take many classes in your field of specialization (e.g cancer, genetics, environmental health). Also it'll kinda suck if everyone around you is super passionate about genetics and you're still confused about what a chromosome is (I speak from my experience at a statistical genetic REU).

Unlike me, I think you're a strong enough applicant where you don't need to hedge your bets with biostatistics program unless you're really interested in biology stuff. So it really comes down to what you want.

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