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Is research important for applying a graduate program?


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For something as competitive as mathematics, it's often quite important in order to separate yourself from the other applicants. In statistics and economics for example, it appears to not be as vital (simply based on the fact that I've seen people get places at top ranked departments in these fields without previous research).

What's most important is that you show somehow that you have the aptitude to do research in the future. Often, your letter writers can make this clear. Plenty of people get into good programs without much research at undergrad level. Having good grades in relevant/tough classes often also makes the case for you.

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I have heard that in Statistics, not having research experience is not a huge barrier to getting into grad programs. The reason is that most students have not had enough statistical training necessary for proper research. Of course if you happened to have a lot of statistical exposure and have things like first-authored publications, that's a big plus.

Edited by Shostakovich
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Realistically any sort of math/stats related research would be a huge plus for two reasons (a) it shows you are interested in research and (B) it lets you get to know a professor very well and gives you the opportunity to have a killer letter.

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