Hello. I am looking to apply to a Master's programs in Statistics and Applied Statistics throughout the country in November because I want to become a data scientist. I am a graduate of UCLA with a BS in neuroscience.
I have a very limited math background given that I am a neuroscience major. I have taken Calc 1-3 and I earned A's in all three. I have also taken non-calculus based statistics and I got an A.
My GPA is a 3.501 and my projected GRE scores are above 165 in both Verbal and Math (taking it in 4 weeks). The problem is that my lower division GPA is a 3.9 while my upper division GPA is very low at 2.6. I did nothing but party junior year and onward, and a D in my final quarter really brought it down.
1) Will I be able to gain acceptance in a decent program somewhere in the country? My letters are pretty average, and I plan to apply to 20+ programs. My essay should be very good.
2) Do I need to take the mathematics subject test GRE to show the committees that I can do well in math? I signed up for it last week and honestly it seems as if I don't have enough time (I have one month). I know only about 15% of the material in my review book, and it's so condensed that learning new stuff is hard. Regular GRE math is ridiculously easy, so I will certainly be in the top 95% percentile.
I thought this test would be similar to the SAT 2 Math test with some calculus added, but holy shit it seems like a test FOR math majors (why would I know things like set theory, diff eqs, topology, algorithms, etc?)
3) What should I emphasize in my essay?
4) Should I reach out to program directors and stuff (especially ones at UCLA) to pitch myself more?