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Second Undergrad?


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I am currently in my 4/4.5 years as an undergrad. I was attempting to double major in Rhetoric and Statistics. I would love to one day get a MS/MA in Applied Statistics. However, I cannot seem to do well in my Mathematics and Statistics finals because I suffer from extreme test anxiety. I feel competent and that I have the ability to take courses at a higher level, yet I currently have not been able to materialize my sentiments. I feel unable to do well at my current undergraduate program and am most likely going to "bail out" and just get the Rhetoric degree. My goal would be to one day attend a Top 10 Statistics program or a Top 25 University in Mathematical Sciences. I don't think I could get into any Masters programs with my current undergraduate GPA (3.6 Rhetoric, 2.8 stats, 2.4 cum<---story worthy of novel or 60 Minutes). I have taken practice GRE's and predict my score to be above a 750 in each, would that be enough (for some reason I do well on standardized tests only), or would I have to get another undergraduate degree? And is getting another undergraduate degree even possible?

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I don't know anything about statistics, but I do know several people who have pursued a second undergraduate degree. It can be done, and it can often be done in less time than the first. If you decide to go for it, I would suggest waiting for a few years first. Work a handful of jobs, see if being away from the pressures of school helps your test anxiety, figure out exactly what kind of life you want, and what kind you don't. You only get one shot at a PhD, unlike your undergrad, and you want to make sure that you're in the right place personally and emotionally as well as crystal clear about your goals and abilities when you start work. That way, when you do coursework to raise your statistics GPA, you can also be very deliberate about choosing courses and professors that/who will help you get into a good program. Best of luck.

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Yay statistics!

I don't really know about the second undergraduate, but to be totally honest unless you have awesome research/other factors, there's no way you'd get into a top stats program right now. I don't want to be harsh, but at least this year it was really tough. I have decent grades (3.4 cumulative, 3.7major (stats - got 1 C though, in a mathematical statistics class)) and rocked the GRE (800Q) and still failed to gain admission to top tier schools for stats. I knew people with even better resumes than mine who also didn't get in. That being said, it's *not* just about the grades and if you have good enough soft factors, you absolutely can compensate! But as it stands you definitely have to do something about those grades to get into a top tier program.

options to pursue....

1. Could you take the math stats course through another university and transfer the credits? Unfortunately most math stats programs that I've seen tend to put huge weight on the final, but I know that there have to be programs out there that have projects/etc that count for more.

2. Assuming you can get by that particular hurdle, can you take grad level courses in applied stats - regression and ANOVA, GLM, sampling, DoE, etc? That may show them that you can definitely handle applied stats work. Getting some research experience would help also for getting into a top tier school.

3. Do you have your heart set on going to a top tier school? Unless your ultimate goal is to get a phD you may be better served going to a 2nd or 3rd tier school - you might have more options (very top programs tend to be really focused on their phD students), more connections to industry, and ultimately more interesting opportunities for you. I'm just curious why it's worth a whole second undergraduate to you to go to a top tier school when there are plenty of mid ranked schools doing really cool things in applied statistics.

Best of luck to you!

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