so obviously this isn't useful for anyone this year. but really, the last thing i needed this semester was to spend any more time on this website than i did lurking. so, to pay it forward, i'm going to post my results now.Undergrad Institution:
top 5 liberal arts collegeMajor(s):
3.8Type of Student:
domestic white maleGRE Revised General Test:Q:
5.0 (93%)GRE Subject Test in Mathematics:M:
[took the damn thing twice; exact same score]Program Applying:
Pure math, interested in topologyResearch Experience:
summer research (one summer) and senior thesis in low-dimensional topology at my school. one cs reu (did not emphasize this; not math-y or really relevant). no papers published. Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
n/aPertinent Activities or Jobs:
grader and ta for a number of math and cs classesAny Miscellaneous Points that Might Help:
took measure theory course at bsm. no other grad courses because liberal arts school.Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
one quality recommendation (from research/thesis advisor); other two were from professors i had class with but didn't know too well, and all three from my school. i suspect this was not to my advantage.Applying to Where:
since this is retrospective, gonna do this in order of responses. all programs were pure math if available, math otherwise.usc
via email march 3, offered dornsife fellowship march 10 via email. fellowship offers is 29k for 5 years, 2 of fellowship support and 3 of ta-ship. original offer was 23k ta-ship for 5 years.ucsd
via email on march 6; be warned, if you get an formulaic rejection email from them it will be at 11:55pm pacific time.northwestern
via email march 20.
started to get antsy as it got closer to april, and emailed the next four schools on march 24.ucla
via email march 25; actually did not get a response to my email, just an email to check website for decision.upenn
march 26 in response to email inquiry; told i was on bottom half of wait-list and unlikely to receive an offer. no word from them, so i'm assuming that that is the case.duke
april 7 via email; also no actual response and email to check websitebrandeis
march 24 in response to email inquiry; told that they only accepted 5 students and were waiting for responses. received email april 12 asking if i was still interested; said no since i preferred usc at that point (especially with the fellowship). was then rejected
april 14 via email.
then (of course) once i'd accepted usc's offer:ut austin
february 26 via email (only school that bothered to tell me i was on a wait-list without me asking, which i appreciated). then accepted
april 15 via email. 16k ta-ship for 5 years, 5k first year summer support, no guaranteed summer funding in future years. will attend!
in the end everything worked out great for me. ut austin was my top choice from the beginning, so i'm very excited to go there. i felt bad withdrawing my acceptance of usc's offer at the last minute, since they were very nice to me throughout the process and the fellowship was great, but ultimately i preferred the program at ut.
that said, i don't think i chose my list of schools very well; if i had to do it again, i would still apply to ut, usc, and ucla (last one because i'm willing to blow a bit of money on one why the hell not place). potentially also upenn, and probably brandeis, since they offered me an application fee waiver. duke, ucsd, and northwestern were really not good fits for my research interests--interested in topology?? why not apply to schools that don't really do much topology??--so i don't really know why i applied to them. i actually sort of realized that as i was writing my essays, but at that point i had already asked my recommenders to send letters to them, so i pressed on.
i also would have applied to more mid-ranked schools, since i was (pretty arrogantly given my qualifications, i now realize) on some level counting on getting into a top 25 sort of place; while that did happen in the end, it would have been much less stressful for me most of this semester if i'd had more options than usc to choose from. (even though i was pretty happy with usc up until when ut offered, i would have been more comfortable with more options).tl;dr
don't be arrogant and apply to schools that make sense