Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
jaeliseo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:58 pm

Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby jaeliseo » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:59 pm

Hi all, Sorry to post another typical grad application question, but I really need some guidance on appropriate math grad schools I should apply to. My advisors don't seem to know much. Could anyone give me a rough idea of where I should apply... Top 20, 30, 40, 50... etc.. I am applying in the fall of this year.
I plan of apply to Pure Math PhD programs.

I go to a large state school in NC without any significant math reputation:

My overall GPA: 3.5 (I had a dismal start... 3.7+ last 2 years)
Math GPA: 3.75
MATH GRE: will take.

RESEARCH EXPERIENCE:
I have been doing a year-long project in Mathematical Biology with a professor, and am currently writing the paper for publication. I will get first name on the paper. I am also a T.A. for the math department, and a member of Pi Mu Epsilon (if that means anything).

I have taken the following courses:

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES:
Single, Multi- Variable Calculus: A
Differential Equations: B
Elementary Linear Algebra: C (not sure what happened here...)
Intro to Abstract Algebra: A-
Intermediate Abstract Algebra: A+
Intro to Mathematical Analysis: A
Discrete Mathematics I and II: B+
Set Theory and Transfinite Arithmetic: A+
Functional Analysis: A

GRADUATE COURSES:
Advanced Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory: A
Mathematical Analysis: A
Advanced Abstract Algebra: A
General Topology: A
Theory of Computation: A

LAST SEMESTER SCHEDULE:
Advanced Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory II (Graduate)
Mathematical Analysis II (Graduate)
Advanced Abstract Algebra II (Graduate)
General Topology II (Graduate)
Complex Analysis

So.... what should I shoot for?

is2718
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby is2718 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:13 pm

It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!

longtm1989
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:01 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby longtm1989 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:49 pm

I think you have a good but not great application. You can get into top 10 if you have good recommendation letters, research match with department, and a little bit of luck. Try to use the formula that most people suggested: apply to 2-3 from top 10, 4-5 from top 10-50, and 2-3 from top 50-80.

RicciFlow
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:24 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby RicciFlow » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:58 pm

Those look like decent stats to me. Far better than mine. I would suggest looking at the programs you are interested in and then going to the current graduate student pages. Often times the more senior students will have websites and you can find their CV's. This helped me pick at least one of my choices. Compare your undergrad CV to the dates of important factors on their CV's up until they graduated with their bachelors (i.e. don't count publications from them in years beyond their graduation date, etc.). This should give you an idea of what kind of graduate students get accepted, and what kind of graduate students stay in the program.

Also, letters of rec are probably the most important things in an application really. I have completely dismal scores and grades from an unknown math school (not in the last year and a half though) and I got wait listed to a top 50 program for pure, and I believe that if I had applied to the same school's applied department (a top 20) I would have been accepted (really strong connections).

But if you are still having a hard time deciding, it's good to go with one top ten (a dream school), a top 20 or two, a top 30 or two, and then a top 50 and one below that just for safety. If you can afford it you can of course fill in more than that at the top 10 and top 20 levels.

That's just my take on it. Hope that helps!

-RF

jaeliseo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby jaeliseo » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:42 am

is2718 wrote:It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!


The grad courses I have taken are using Texts by (Hoffman and Kunze: Linear Algebra, Dummit and Foote: Abstract Algebra, Munkres: Topology, Rudin: Analysis).

I am pretty sure these are considered graduate texts by almost all schools, at least below top 10. So I don't think they will be considered undergraduate. I'd like to hear your input on this though..

coral
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:50 am

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby coral » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:33 am

jaeliseo wrote:
is2718 wrote:It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!


The grad courses I have taken are using Texts by (Hoffman and Kunze: Linear Algebra, Dummit and Foote: Abstract Algebra, Munkres: Topology, Rudin: Analysis).

I am pretty sure these are considered graduate texts by almost all schools, at least below top 10. So I don't think they will be considered undergraduate. I'd like to hear your input on this though..


Classes using those texts where undergraduate classes for me. (... I went to a top 10 school) but if you do well in them and in your application specify the texts you used it will still weight very positively. I am applied math, but I have pure math classmates with those classes (+ 1 or 2 more advanced classes) who were accepted to the mid/lower end of top 15 schools.

colldood
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:45 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby colldood » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:01 pm

jaeliseo wrote:
is2718 wrote:It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!


The grad courses I have taken are using Texts by (Hoffman and Kunze: Linear Algebra, Dummit and Foote: Abstract Algebra, Munkres: Topology, Rudin: Analysis).

I am pretty sure these are considered graduate texts by almost all schools, at least below top 10. So I don't think they will be considered undergraduate. I'd like to hear your input on this though..



Dummit and Foote is I think primarily an undergraduate text, as is Munkres' topology (both used at my school in 3rd year), though the latter half of both could be considered graduate material. Don't know about the other two.

virgo
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby virgo » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:30 pm

colldood wrote:
jaeliseo wrote:
is2718 wrote:It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!


The grad courses I have taken are using Texts by (Hoffman and Kunze: Linear Algebra, Dummit and Foote: Abstract Algebra, Munkres: Topology, Rudin: Analysis).

I am pretty sure these are considered graduate texts by almost all schools, at least below top 10. So I don't think they will be considered undergraduate. I'd like to hear your input on this though..



Dummit and Foote is I think primarily an undergraduate text, as is Munkres' topology (both used at my school in 3rd year), though the latter half of both could be considered graduate material. Don't know about the other two.

Tbf some parts of Dummit&Foote could be used in a graduate course. Munkres is definitely a standard undergraduate book even though it says in the preface that it can be used in a first year grad course.

virgo
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby virgo » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:39 pm

longtm1989 wrote:I think you have a good but not great application. You can get into top 10 if you have good recommendation letters, research match with department, and a little bit of luck. Try to use the formula that most people suggested: apply to 2-3 from top 10, 4-5 from top 10-50, and 2-3 from top 50-80.
From personal experience I think top 10 will be a long shot. The problem is that he's from an unknown school. I also went to an unknown school and had more coursework, higher gpa (both general and math), also it seems from the textbooks he/she listed that my courses might have been more rigorous and I got rejected from every top 10 school I applied (I haven't heard from NYU yet but it will probably be a rejection). Then again I messed up on the mgre (~60%) and I did get rejected from Michigan a few weeks later than everyone else. Imo if you do well on the gre (>80%) you have a strong chance at top 20 and maybe top 10, however if you get below like 75% I would not bother applying to top 10, although you will still have a decent chance at top 20. I have gotten into 3 top 20 programs and I'm waitlisted at 3 other top 20 programs so top 20 definitely isn't out of the question.

longtm1989
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:01 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby longtm1989 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:39 am

I have to agree with Virgo that top 10 is out of reach. I'm from an unranked school, too. I went to the Budapest Semester in math, and math in Moscow program. I took measure theory, topology 1,2, functional analysis, advanced abstract algebra, homological algebra, complex analysis, algebraic number theory, differential geometry there. They all used standard textbooks like baby and big rudin, atiyah, munkres,...I got most As in them. I got waitlisted at Northwestern. Michigan hasnt rejected but told me it's a long shot. Haven't heard from Columbia. Otherwise, I got rejected from all top 10-20 schools. I got 840 in GRE. But i still think applying to 2-3 great schools doesn't do any harm. I didn't plan to apply to Berkeley, but my professor told me to try. I did, and do not regret it.

I think it makes sense too, cause I only started taking those courses from the second semester of my Junior year. I have 1.5 year in my college taking sociology, philosophy,...because my school does not offer more math courses. I was not motivated to study math/do research on my own too, cause there's no one doing math at my school. Even at the moment, I still have a lot of self doubt about doing math. I feel like i havent experienced life enough to know. I guess a student at a good school, with more motivation would be in a much better shape than me with more courses, research experience,...

is2718
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby is2718 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:12 am

jaeliseo wrote:
is2718 wrote:It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!


The grad courses I have taken are using Texts by (Hoffman and Kunze: Linear Algebra, Dummit and Foote: Abstract Algebra, Munkres: Topology, Rudin: Analysis).

I am pretty sure these are considered graduate texts by almost all schools, at least below top 10. So I don't think they will be considered undergraduate. I'd like to hear your input on this though..


I think these would be considered undergraduate texts at top 15 schools. I know that at UCLA, we had two sequences for analysis, algebra, and linear algebra: honors and non-honors. Students planning on going to grad school were encouraged to take the honors sequences - these classes were generally full. In the honors analysis sequence we went through Rudin and a number of chapters from Royden-Fitzpatrick (measure theory and some L^p theory). The algebra sequence used Dummit&Foote (as well as another 'in-house' text), and the linear algebra sequence used Hoffman & Kunze and then Friedberg. Munkres was considered an undergrad text, but we used another, equivalent text.

A number of the more competitive math majors took these classes in their sophmore/junior year, and then took graduate classes in subsequent years, using Lang, Folland, Stein & Shakarchi, Spivak, Hatcher, etc. and then some more advanced grad classes. This isn't standard among math majors here, but the peers I know that got into top 15 or top 5 schools would roughly be the equivalent of third year grad students at a school using Rudin and Munkres as first-year texts. Of course, there's more to grad school applications than coursework, but my impression is that to get into top schools you should apply not only with top school-level undergrad work, but even top school-level graduate work. I'd actually get a second and third opinion on that last statement, since it is almost entirely anecdotal.

jaeliseo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:58 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby jaeliseo » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:37 am

I hear what your saying. What I am gathering from this is that I might be in the more 20-30 range?

abstruse
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:57 am

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby abstruse » Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:10 am

jaeliseo wrote:I hear what your saying. What I am gathering from this is that I might be in the more 20-30 range?


I'm not so sure you should confine yourself to that range. Most of the classes you listed are intermediate to the undergraduate/graduate dichotomy. Anyone who says, for example, that Lang is a graduate algebra textbook but Dummit and Foote is not is prejudiced in my opinion. D&F may be more accessible to undergraduates than Lang, but I fail to see how they differ in content enough for Lang to be a "graduate" text and D&F an undergraduate one. As for Rudin, are you using baby Rudin or RudinRudin?

I think that you got good advice earlier, If I were you I'd apply to 3 schools in each of the following ranges (in your area of interest, which may or may not correspond well with U.S. News' ranking) 5-15, 16-25, 26-40. Certainly if you can take an entire sequence of graduate courses next year you will have the opportunity to look very good.

is2718
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby is2718 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:15 pm

jaeliseo wrote:I hear what your saying. What I am gathering from this is that I might be in the more 20-30 range?


Like abstruse said, don't confine yourself to that range. The point I was trying to make was that a top 15 or top 20 graduate school is going to see many of your graduate classes as the equivalent of (sometimes honors) undergraduate classes at top 10/15 schools. If you don't take any more courses from the ones you have posted, you will still be applying with a very solid and comprehensive coursework profile. Research, letters of recommendation, etc. all play a big role as well, and MGRE scores count too.

The purpose of my comment was to suggest that you should also apply to a number of schools that aren't in the top 20. Reading old profiles and seeing how many graduate courses people have taken can be a little misleading, since a graduate course at a small school and a graduate course at a big research school can be very different. You certainly have a good shot at a top 20 school, but you should also apply to a range of schools (as abstruse indicated).

Not every application to a top school needs to dazzle the eyes of the graduate committee with classes like "holomorphic functional calculus on anabelian schemes", bleeding-edge research or letters of recommendation that could double as character witnesses. That's certainly going to up your chances, and some applicants to top 20 schools fulfill some, if not all, of those criterion. Nonetheless, you've got a reasonable shot at a top 20 school, so don't sell yourself short by only applying to just one. But apply to 20-30 schools too, as well as some safety schools! Also, if money is an issue (even after considering fee waivers), it might be best to apply to 20-5 place schools rather than the top 5.

virgo
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby virgo » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:57 pm

is2718 wrote:
jaeliseo wrote:
is2718 wrote:It's really hard to answer that question without more details. I think that some of the graduate classes you listed would be considered undergraduate classes elsewhere. My recommendation is to look at the application profiles for the last couple years and find applications that look similar to yours. Look where those people applied and where they got in. Best of luck!


The grad courses I have taken are using Texts by (Hoffman and Kunze: Linear Algebra, Dummit and Foote: Abstract Algebra, Munkres: Topology, Rudin: Analysis).

I am pretty sure these are considered graduate texts by almost all schools, at least below top 10. So I don't think they will be considered undergraduate. I'd like to hear your input on this though..


my impression is that to get into top schools you should apply not only with top school-level undergrad work, but even top school-level graduate work. I'd actually get a second and third opinion on that last statement, since it is almost entirely anecdotal.
this. The problem for students at unknown schools is that a lot of the first year grad courses are actually undergrad courses. In order to the equivalent of a first year of grad courses at a top 10 school you need to take about 2 years of graduate courses at your unknown school and even then it's not that impressive if you do well bc your competition is weak and you go slower than a real top 10 program would go.

virgo
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby virgo » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:00 pm

Personally I think you should apply to a lot of top 20 schools bc you have a good chance of getting into one, but don't apply to any top 6. If you do well on the mgre then apply to the lower half of the top ten as well.

dangxing
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:37 am

Re: Not sure about the Strength of my grad application....

Postby dangxing » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:31 pm

I don't have a lot of comments. I just know a example of my previous schoolmate.
He was study in Iowa State University. He took 14 graduate classes and has MGRE>95.
However, he doesn't heard back any good news yet and is rejected all top 20.
But he is an international student.




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