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Help about PhD statistics admission timeline



I am a third-year undergraduate studying statistics at a relatively unknown university outside the US. I currently have a 3.83 GPA in statistics and a 3.6 overall GPA. During the course of the next 1.5 years I expect both of these to improve since I will not be taking any economics courses (which were the reason for my relatively low overall GPA).


I am passionate about higher studies in biostatistics and wish to apply to the Fall 2024 PhD intake at US universities. However, this will mean I would have to apply with just 3 years of statistics, math and economics coursework on my transcript. I will be doing undergraduate research on survival analysis in my 4th year and some advanced coursework but I understand that these will not feature in the unofficial transcript I send in my application.


As for other application components, I intend to take the GRE General Test soon in which I could hopefully score near-perfect on the quantitative component and fairly well on the verbal one. My letters of recommendation will be from lecturers on whose courses I have scored A's or A+'s so I expect them to be good but the writers will almost certainly be unknown to any US admissions committee. I will also be taking TOEFL since English is not my native language but I guess this will have no significant effect on a PhD application.


I am worried that my lack of research experience and absence of 4th year coursework on the transcript I submit would significantly diminish my chances of getting into a good program. I am broadly aiming for 20-50 ranked programs on USNews (considering that there are only 64 listed), while taking into account my fit with the research interests of the faculty. I could wait another year but I am eager to start early. 


Am I being too ambitious? Should I lower my sights towards lesser ranked programs? Should I wait an extra year to allow my research to be included in my transcript and LORs? Any advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you.


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