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My chances at getting into an MS program (Fall 2022)

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Hello, I wanted to put my profile out here for some advice. I'd like to apply to statistics graduate programs (Masters) but I'm not sure if I stand much of a chance honestly. Please be brutally honest:

Undergraduate Institution: US News top 30 (no grade deflation, though)

Major: Math and Statistics 

Overall 3.37
Major: Around the same

Type of Student: Domestic Male

Relevant Classes:
Math Courses

  • Calculus 2,3 (B+/B)
  • Linear Algebra(C+)
  • Linear Algebra 2 (A-) (Called a different name at my school but I'll make a note of this in my application)
  • Discrete Mathematics (A-)
  • Intro to proofs (A)
  • Mathematical Stats 1 (Calculus based probability) (B+)
  • Mathematical Stats 2 (Calculus based stats) (A-)
  • Differential Equations(B)
  • PDE (W)
  • Real Analysis 1,2 (B,B)
  • Numerical Analysis (A-)
  • Abstract Algebra (W)
  • Graduate Complex Analysis (B)
  • Graduate Real Analysis (Lots of measure theory )(A-)
  • Graduate Measure Theoretic Probability (C) (I took this class as a non degree student to beef up my profile while working full time, but Covid made a lot of things difficult. Bad idea)
  • Functional Analysis (A)
  • Intro to Inference (A-)
  • Regression Analysis (A)
  • Time series Analysis (B)
  • GLM (B)
  • ML (B)
  • Advanced Statistics (B+)
  • Bayesian Statistics (A-)

Test Scores : 
GRE general : V 165 / Q 164 / A 4.5 

Research Experience: One Lab that I worked in as an undergraduate my Junior year, but it didn't really go anywhere. it had to do with predicting heat waves. 

Work Experience

- 2.5 years as a Marketing Analyst using a lot of Python and R

LOR : One from research professor, 2 from mathematics professors

Schools (Masters): UIUC, Wake Forrest, Purdue, University Of Georgia, University of Pittsburgh, University of Florida, University of Iowa, UCLA, USCD, University of Washington, Texas A&M, Florida State

I think there are two huge outliers here: The C+ in linear algebra, and the C in Measure theoretic probability. The first one is easier to explain because I took proof based linear algebra and aced it, and also aced a class in numerical analysis. Both of these should reflect that I can handle that type of math. The second one is a lot more concerning: As a non degree student online, I didn't really get too much attention in office hours, nor was I able to collaborate with the Math PHD students in the class. This was exacerbated by demands at work during the pandemic, which left me with little time to study. It did leave me devastated, but it was a lesson in resilience: while I don't have the opportunity to retake it, I did take the functional analysis class via Harvard, and that was a lot better organized. I did quite well there. Any advice on explaining the outliers in a SOP or Personal Statement is much appreciated. 

I'm looking for MS funding, though I'm not sure if, with these mixed results, I'd be very competitive. Even if I don't get it though, I'd be willing to bite the bullet and shell out my savings for this. Half of the schools listed are not requiring the GRE, which is a good thing for me. My goal is to use the MS program and then apply for PHDs afterwards, since I doubt I'm very competitive right now.


Edited by itsallinthedata
Missed somethings
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I think you have a good shot at getting into at least one of those MS programs. I'm not familiar about the funding at MS programs. I think your GRE score and work experience can compensate for your lower GPA. I got into a PhD program with similar GRE scores. You have taken some pretty advanced math/stat courses and  even though you do not have A's on all of them, you have seen a lot of the materials that will be covered in grad school and will likely do much better the second time around. Just be honest about your intentions for going to graduate school in your SOP and experiences that you had that may help you succeed there.

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Thanks for the input. Do you (or anyone else) have any advice on addressing that C in graduate probability theory properly? I suspect being honest about my constraints is helpful here, given that they had to do with full time work, online learning, and the pandemic, but at the same time, I'm wary of coming across as someone who's making excuses. Graduate school seems demanding, and they might interpret that line of reasoning as "he's not tough enough for this". It doesn't help that it's also a PhD level class that a lot of students in Statistics take. 


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A master's degree in statistics will care about your measure theoretic probability grade about as much as plumber school cares about your grade in fluid dynamics.  You have so much more math than is necessary for these programs, and regardless of the Cs, nobody in their right mind will reject you because they don't think you can handle the coursework.  I'm not sure where you'll be able to get funding, but those two grades are not a big concern.

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Thanks @bayessays , it's certainly possible I'm worrying too much about that result. Just figured that, since it's a mandatory course in most PhD programs, a poor grade there may reflect badly since I am using this as a stepping stone to graduate school, and the schools listed have "mathematical statistics" tracks in the MS programs that are more theory focused. I'll probably just provide a short explanation and mention better grades from equally rigorous courses taken afterwards (functional analysis). 

Edited by itsallinthedata
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  • 2 weeks later...

@cyberwulf I recently read your post about agonizing over research statements, and I'm following that advice closely as well as I start sending out my applications. I was wondering if you had a viewpoint on my post above? It says on your profile that you're/were a faculty member in a biostatistics department, so I'd really appreciate your insight. 

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