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!
c3adv wrote:I think I shared my experiences regarding my Master's program on another thread. Great experience, but not worth it in terms of cost. I was warned not to pay for graduate school by professors at Cornell, but in a somewhat similar situation without dependents, I realized too late that I wanted to seriously pursue a math major. I wanted to get a stronger foundation and look more appealing for Ph.D. admissions committees, but that could have been done with tons of self-teaching, REU's, independent studies, and more emphasis on the GRE subject test.
Definitely get strong recommendation letters; if nothing else get some research done with a faculty member that knows you well, retake the GRE as needed, and ace hard graduate classes while you are still an undergraduate student. Avoid massive student loan debt like the plague. If you can get into a fully funded Master's program, then that's probably worth it. Nonetheless, unless you have a generous employer or work for a university, you might need to go to Europe for a year and change. Your situation is complicated, but if this is something you truly want, travel might be unavoidable in order to minimize overall cost and maximize value.
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