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Request for profile evaluation for PhD admission in Statistics/Biostatistics

Blain Waan

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Hello, I am an international student from the subcontinent and I am planning to apply this year to PhD programs in Statistics/Biostatistics. Since it is quite expensive to apply from here, I am bewildering which universities I should apply in order to get admitted with funding. Since I have already made late, I have shortlisted the universities where I can still apply. It'll be immensely helpful and kind of you if you could suggest me which of the programs listed below can actually consider my application for admission based on my profile. I am not unwilling to take risks as it will cost me nothing but some money to take some risks. But I just don't want to be insanely ambitious.

I list my profile very briefly here:

  • Education: B.Sc. and M.S. in Applied Statistics (3rd in Honors with CGPA: 3.85 and 1st in Masters with CGPA 3.93). With WES evaluation both CGPAs rise to 4. I have got Dean's award in recognition of academic excellence.
  • GRE: 313 (Q: 161, V: 152, AW: 4). I really believe I should have prepared myself well before attending GRE.
  • TOEFL: 107 (R: 28, L: 28, S: 26, W: 25)
  • Job experience: I have worked at James P Grant School of Public Health for 3 months as a Statistician, at the central bank for 8 months as the Assistant Director and have been teaching Applied Statistics at the best university of my country for 3 years as a Lecturer. Apart from that I have also worked as the RA of an Australian academician. 
  • Publications: I have one article published on maternal and child health in BMC Pediatrics and another on clinical trial design in Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics.
  • LOR: I hope the letters of recommendation will be good from my professors.
  • Additional information: I was a contributor to the official population projection of the country in 2016 and wrote part of the report and did most of the analysis.

The universities which have deadlines that I can catch (sorry for posting the complete listing!):

  • Biostatistics PhD programs: Johns Hopkins, University of North Carolina, University of Pittsburgh, University at Buffalo, Virginia Commonwealth University, The University of Cincinnati, Yale University (School of Public Health), George Washington University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Alabama- Birmingham, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, University of California—Davis, University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Rochester Medical, Center Rochester, NY, University of Goergia, University of Massachusetts
  • Statistics PhD programs: Johns Hopkins University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan—Ann Arbor, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University—College Station, Iowa State University, Columbia University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, Perdue University, Cornell University, Ohio State University, University of California—Davis, University of Florida, University of Iowa, Yale University, Florida State University, Rice University, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—New Brunswick, Michigan State University, Colorado State University, University of Connecticut, University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern University, George Washington University, University of Georgia, Virginia Tech, University of California-Santa Barbara, Arizona State University, University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, University of California-Riverside, Kansas State University, University of Missouri, University of Kentuky, University of Massachusetts, San Diego State University

I am mainly interested in Biostatistics programs. However, if I can get into a fairly good Statistics program, that will also be great! Could you suggest me, as an international student, which universities I should really look forward to, given my profile? Thanks in advance for your kind response. 




Edited by Blain Waan
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I think we need some more information about your educational background in order to make a legitimate recommendation. What MATH courses did you take? Statistics courses are useful, but math courses (particularly Calc III, linear algebra, and real analysis) have much more weight than stats courses. Moreover, most applicants (international and domestic) will have taken many more math courses beyond those three. Secondly, the prestige of your institutions also matter. Did you go to ISI or IIT? If so, then I think you can maybe manage to squeeze into a few of the middle tier programs (go to US news for rankings).

However, your GRE is alarmingly low for PhD programs, particularly for an international student with a master's degree. Secondly, almost all of the deadlines have passed for biostatistics (the deadline usually is 12/1), and it's fast approaching for statistics (some programs have already passed, some have 12/31 or 1/1 deadlines).

My advice: wait until next year. I understand that's easier said than done, but if you're serious about wanting to do a PhD and possibly be funded, take a year to get that GRE quant score up to a 164+ (and preferably a 167+ as an international student). Assuming you've done that, I think your profile gets boosted tremendously. International students coming from unknown institutions (since you're from the subcontinent, I would classify that as not IIT and not ISI) are under very high scrutiny, so you'll want to do everything you can to show the adcoms you're a good candidate.

Good luck.

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Thank you so much for your kind advice. I'm not from ISI. I'm from ISRT. I have done calculus, basic and linear algebra, real analysis, mathematical methods courses. Thank you for giving me an idea about how my quant score should be improved. How much do I need to improve the other parts of GRE in order to get into a really good program? If I can do a Masters from, say, Canada or UK, then will that be beneficial to get funded in a PhD program in US? I see that most masters programs in UK are one year long. So it can be a possibility. I'd really appreciate your advice on that.

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I think a master's from a reputable university could certainly help but I think the GRE score is much more important. I think the other parts of your GRE are fine. Much higher than that of some of my classmates even. Also, it depends on your definition of "really good". If you're talking about Stanford, Harvard, or Washington, you'll need to boost your profile tremendously. If you're talking about schools like Penn State, Florida, NC State (talking about stats here, not biostats), improving your GRE score should make you competitive at these schools.

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