engineered_features Posted March 21, 2017 Share Posted March 21, 2017 School: Large Public Research University (40-45 ranked math department - USnews ranking) Major: Mathematics, Computer Science Minor: Economics GPA (Cumulative): 3.81/4.00 (Math): 3.9 Mathematics Coursework: Calculus I,II,II (A-,B,A-), Discrete Math (Intro to proofs) (B+), Linear Algebra (Proof-Based) (A), Ordinary Differential Equations (A), Real Analysis I (A-), Real Analysis II (A), Abstract Algebra I (A-), Complex Analysis (A), Linear and Nonlinear Optimization (A), Financial Mathematics (pretty much just a course in stochastic calculus) (A), Numerical Analysis (next year), Partial Differential Equations (next year) Statistics/CS Coursework: Probability Theory (A), Statistical Theory (A), Graduate Machine Learning (A), Data Mining (A), Financial Econometrics (A), Time Series (next year) Math Courses with Ws (and then retook for A/A-): Calculus III, Abstract Algebra I, Probability Theory GRE Scores: 169Q, 165V, 4AW (I was going to apply this year, but decided to finish up my computer science degree by taking a 5th year, and add some more research to my profile) Letters: 2 from professors having done research, 1 from professor I took several classes with (opportunity to do research with next year too - see below) Research: -non-relevant to statistics (both in number theory): Semester Research Project, Summer REU -relevant: year long research opportunity (if I accept - see below) PhD Programs (preferred) : Chicago, Michigan, Harvard, CMU (joint machine learning - honestly, I never see anyone get admitted to this though), Berkeley, Wisconsin, Penn, Penn St, Duke, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State, Columbia, Cornell, Purdue, UCLA MS Programs: Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, CMU, Berkeley, Duke, Washington, UCLA (trying to keep this top heavy, since the consensus is that masters are easier to be admitted to) I have quite a bit of interest in machine learning, and would prefer going to a program that has some faculty doing research in this area, but I wouldn't say it is a deal breaker (i.e. if I was admitted to Chicago I'd go, regardless of the minimal research in ML). Some Questions: 1. I have four W's, three of which are in relevant mathematics classes (listed above). I was struggling financially at the time, father was laid off and not able to find steady work. During these periods, often of which were not given with much heads-up, I had to take on 40 - 60 hours of work and could just not keep pace will all of my courses. Figured it probably better to withdraw and retake, rather than take a C. How much weight will this have on my application? 2. Would it be more beneficial to complete a undergraduate thesis OR one year of statistics relevant research with a professor? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Wzz Posted April 12, 2017 Share Posted April 12, 2017 I am a current student too which means my words might not be helpful. But according to the impression I get from professors, the W's are no problem, as your overall grades shows how strong you are already. There will be a question in application to explain these sort of situations, and you do have a legit reason for these W's. So I guess don't worry? If I were you, I would do the research. Firstly it will give you a picture of what you like in statistics. Secondly, as I'm doing a thesis for undergraduate now, I feel that at this level a thesis would emphasize more on background research and summarizing what I have already done, which is not as beneficial as doing extra research. Also in speaking of application, I feel that a experience in stats will add more to your profile than a thesis, plus there are probability you finish something within a year and write a paper. Both will be nice, as your math research experience can already endorse your ability. About ML and Chicago, maybe adding TTIC to the list? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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