dexter wrote:Hi quark, not that my opinion really matters, but I'm definitely impressed that you could do all of this while leading such a busy life!
I can't speak for admission committees, but at this point I definitely think you can be competitive at many graduate programs IF you do well on the GRE subject test. You come from an excellent school, and you still have a semester left to leave a great(er) impression and get the best letters possible (this is easier said than done, and you will have to work very hard!). If you can even take a graduate level course in the Spring and ace it, that'd be even better.
So I'm really not sure if going to a Masters program could help you but you definitely want a program that has good faculty teaching grad-level courses. Can you stay in Rutgers as a non-degree-seeking student and take graduate courses there? I think that would be a much better option.
Anyways, it goes without saying that it's best to talk to a professor who knows you well and who can offer you personalized advice. Rutgers routinely send students to some of the best programs, so they do know what it takes to get in, and they can give you good advice.
Best of luck!
Hey dexter, thank you for your kind words and feedback!
Ideally, I would love to stay back and take a few more courses, but it would be a big financial strain on me and my family (it actually works out to be much cheaper for me to be a full-time masters student at CUNY than a part-time student at Rutgers). If, however, doing so for a year would give me a really strong chance at getting into the grad program here next year, I might seriously consider it. My target school is the one that I'm at, but with my ABYSMAL subject score (which couldn't be any worse if I randomly circled answers without even reading the question), I think I've blown any chance of me staying here.
I'm not sure about the chances of me getting permission for any other grad classes based on my conversations with the professors, but I might potentially be doing an advanced independent study (possibly in Mathematical Physics) with one of my professors next semester. As for recommendations, I will be getting them from 2 non-tenured professors who have been very actively involved in unofficially mentoring me and 2 other professors who are fairly well known in their field.
This year, I'm applying to some schools on the east coast that are in the 30-60 range, and a couple of long shots, but unless I get a really good offer from one of the better schools, I'm very tempted to spend another year in the area either at Rutgers or at some NY state school.