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Applying to same institutions 2 years in a row VS. postponing application for 1 year


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I graduated the college in 2017 June, and am currently taking a gap year working as a full-time research assistant under two professors. 

I was planning on applying to Statistics PhD programs in this December, but now I'm considering taking another gap year (researching for 1 more year or get a job) OR apply this year, see the results, and re-apply in the next cycle if I'm not satisfied with the results.

The reason why I'm considering the options is because I think I will have at least 2 journal publications as a co-author if I apply in the next cycle, whereas I will have 0 journal publications (maybe 1 conference paper or in the archive or something) if I apply in this December. The professor that I'm currently working with thinks my application will be much stronger if I apply in the next cycle with (multiple) journal publications (of course the publication is not 100% sure, but I think the professor is trustworthy).

It would be great if I could hear any opinions about the two options! Also love to hear opinions about my GRE score (low verbal...). Below is my profile. Thanks a ton in advance!

Undergrad Institution: UChicago 

Major: Mathematics, Statistics

Cumulative GPA: 3.6 ~ 3.7; Major GPA (mathematics): 3.7~3.8

Type of Student:  asian international male

Math Courses: 
Undergraduate: Honors calculus I (B+), calculus III (A), Multivariable calculus (A), Intro to analysis (A-), Analysis in Rn (3 quarters, B, B+, A- ), Abstract Algebra (2 quarters, B+, A), Complex analysis (A), Numerical analysis (A-),

Statistics Courses:
Undergraduate: Statistical Theory and Methods (2 quarters, B, A), Nonparametric inference (B), Intro to Mathematical Probability (A), Applied Regression Analysis (A), Categorical data analysis (B+)
Graduate: Numerical linear algebra (A)

(I'm pretty diffident about the grades due to frequent B's in important math and stat classes, which is why I'm trying to have better research experience)

GRE: Q 170, V 153, W 4.0 (should I re-take it for top stat programs due to low verbal score?)

GRE Mathematics Subject Test: N/A

Research Experience: RA in statistics department for 1 year (primarily worked with a Postdoc, advised by a Professor; Postdoc and I are writing a paper and planning for journal submission); currently also working as a full-time RA with two professors (expecting at least 1 decent journal publication)

Awards: Just dean's list

Recommendations: 2 from research experience, 2 from classes

Programs I'm Interested In: 

Top 20 Statistics PhD

Univ of Washington
Carnegie Mellon

Other stat related programs with computational emphasis


Edited by dkwijbw
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I would apply this year. I don't think that a couple of co-authored papers (which I assume means you aren't the primary author) are going to substantially change how people view your profile. You have strong math prep from an elite undergraduate institution; I would expect someone with your background to be able to make some kind of contribution on a statistical paper, so the fact that you have doesn't convey much beyond what is already in your application. As you note, a minor weakness of your application is your math grades, but grades are mainly a predictor of whether or not you can handle the coursework, and speak to a different dimension of your profile than research potential.

Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the lower verbal score; it's adequate, and unless you think you can score a 166+ I don't think retaking the GRE is a good use of  your time.

Edited by cyberwulf
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@dkwijbw You copied the formatting and and even language verbatim from my post... Also if the Numerical Linear Algebra course you listed is STAT 24300, that is definitely not a graduate Statistics course, even if it is cross listed as one (unless you actually took the cross-listed version STAT 30750, which I don't think they usually allow undergraduates to do). 

Edited by Radon-Nikodym
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