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cyberwulf

What I'm looking at when I review applications

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It's unusual, but how do you score or rank an applicant if they have publications but a normal GPA (e.g. 3.7 rather than 4))? It may be my own feeling but I have seen many top US statistics departments admit students with very high GPA but reject those have decent publications. If the publication is more or less helpful, how do you weight these factors like the impact factor or reputation of the journal?

Edited by Epi5tat

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18 hours ago, Epi5tat said:

It's unusual, but how do you score or rank an applicant if they have publications but a normal GPA (e.g. 3.7 rather than 4))? It may be my own feeling but I have seen many top US statistics departments admit students with very high GPA but reject those have decent publications. If the publication is more or less helpful, how do you weight these factors like the impact factor or reputation of the journal?

It really depends on the quality of the publication(s), and if there is strong evidence (from recommendation letters) that the student did much of the work in developing and writing the paper. The problem with undergraduate publications is that they are sometimes more a function of "luck" (being in the right research group at the right time) than ability; also, faculty can have very different standards for the contribution required to be first or co-author on a paper. 

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3 hours ago, cyberwulf said:

It really depends on the quality of the publication(s), and if there is strong evidence (from recommendation letters) that the student did much of the work in developing and writing the paper. The problem with undergraduate publications is that they are sometimes more a function of "luck" (being in the right research group at the right time) than ability; also, faculty can have very different standards for the contribution required to be first or co-author on a paper. 

What if they are independent research projects, with just a faculty co-author/advisor? Thanks!

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Hi, thank you for posting this really helpful information. My overall GPA is 3.67, but it's mostly because it was dragged down too much in the second semester of my junior year, during which I had so many things going on at the same time (e.g., advanced classes from every department, an actuarial exam, running a club, etc.). Would you think I should explain this in my personal statement or try not to emphasize it?

Thanks!

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@Laura06 how low was it? I also had a bad semester where I got a 3.1.  It was my second semester and I have done fine since.  I almost considered talking about it but instead I used the room to talk about my mathematical background.  The main problem is that might be the last semester the AdComms see (for early deadlines and assuming you haven’t graduated yet) but if it was because you got a C in American Literature and a B in Spanish but gots As in math/stats courses it wouldn’t be as bad as getting a C in Mathematical statistics and a B in real analysis and made an A in American Literature.

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I wouldn't bother talking about it. I've failed classes, never mentioned them, nobody cares. If you have a real excuse that doesn't reflect poorly on you (immediate family member death or something like that), you could explain a semester away, but otherwise I wouldn't harp on it. 

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