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Hello, new member here. I don't like posting these "chance" threads but since I've been just recently thinking of applying to grad school, I am completely in the dark about my chances. Any input appreciated!


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Background: Rising senior at an ivy league school majoring in math. Was not thinking about graduate school at all so my first 3 summers were spent doing random things (consulting, finance).


gpa: 3.94/4.0

other stuff: top 500 scores on putnam, academic prizes for math


gre: haven't taken yet, expect to do well on quantitative portion though


completed math coursework includes: linear algbera, set theory, multivariable calculus, 2 semesters of real analysis, abstract algebra, complex analysis, topology, probability and statistics, stochastic processes,


research: none...


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Ok I assume that if I applied with just that next year I'd be screwed, but I'm getting genuinely very interested in probability and statistics. I have been thinking of working for a year and then applying, so I get the full senior year to prepare. Here's my rough plan for senior year:


coursework: measure theory, functional analysis, data analysis, machine learning, quantum mechanics, galois theory (yeah I know the last two aren't relevant but I just want to)


research: spend the year working on an independent research project with prof supervision

LOR: get letter of rec from prof I work with and some others, hopefully would be decent?












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Uh, surely you're trolling? You have a 3.94 in math from an ivy league school and you think you're "screwed" if you apply this fall? Unless your letters are horrific, you have a good chance of getting into any top PhD program in statistics. 

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The chair at the stats department at my undergrad university (a well regarded, more theoretical program in graduate stats, but not a top 5 school) told me research isn't a major factor in admission decisions. It sounds like you will have research experience anyways by the end of this semester so its a moot point. I think you should spend more time trying to pick schools that are right for your interests rather than stressing about getting in?

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Another thing that concerns me is that if I asked for recommendations from professors now they would probably be pretty mediocre. I got top grades in most of my classes but no relationship with the profs.


Lol like what is a professor supposed to say in the recommendation, "gravityapples got an A in this class. He's probably decent at math?" So I'm thinking of working on building relationships with the professors whose classes I take next semester.


Does this seem like a valid concern?

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  • 2 weeks later...

You have an excellent shot at Stanford/Berkeley/Harvard/Washington stats programs.  I had a background similar to yours but with a lower GPA (3.5-3.6 range) and I'm starting Berkeley in the fall.


Also most of the math people go for math PhDs.  There's less competition for stats, in my opinion.

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