Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
caxton
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:49 pm

Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby caxton » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:12 pm

Hello,

I am an international student (from a third world West-African country) with an Electrical Engineering background, interested in a Ph.D. in Applied and Computational Math.

Please I am direly hopeful to gain admission this Fall 2014 and I need some suggestions for U.S. schools that I can also apply to for safety, just to make sure I don't lose out entirely. I have been checking out schools but I thought I could use some advice as well to help my choice as I select schools to apply to.

My profile is below:

GRE: Q/V/A = 800/590/4.5 (results from 2009)
GRE Math Subject test: Awaiting Oct 19th results (but I'm not very hopeful of great scores, very poor preparation within about a month of the exams, when I was advised to take the test after I "stumbled" on Computational and Applied Math)
TOEFL: 116/120

Undergraduate university: If it matters, my undergraduate university is one of the most respected in my country.

Undergraduate Math background: As an Engineering student I never scored less than an A in all my Math papers, though I took some extra Math courses beyond the prescribed Engineering courses

Research experience: Almost none (such opportunities are very limited and restricted in my country), but I have some informal research experience as I assisted a lecturer and an MSc student respectively, with their research by developing/enhancing FORTRAN software to (a) solve systems of equations in a Reservoir Simulation via matrix inversions, and (b) solve PDEs numerically.

Teaching experience: Taught O'Level extramural "Further Math" classes, and taught Undergraduate (until final year) Math tutorial classes

Programming experience: Average in Python, Well above average in MATLAB and great at FORTRAN

Final year project: A small pattern recognition app in MATLAB

In summary I am a total greenhorn compared with most of the profiles I have seen here on this forum (viz subject scores, research and teaching positions, papers, etc), but I am eager and determined. I didn't even know there was such a course as "Applied and Computational Math" until some weeks before my GRE subject test but now I have read a lot about it and I am convinced this is what I want to do.

I know the admission decisions don't follow any formulaic pattern, and I understand that any advice I get from you is uncertain to pan out as anticipated, but I am still hoping I can get some suggestions.

Thank you,
Caxton

caxton
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:49 pm

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby caxton » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:45 pm

Hmmm so many views but it looks like I may not be getting any responses on this one. :( Sigh

goatman2743
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby goatman2743 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:29 pm

I think it's really hard for any of us to give you a guess of where you could be competitive with what you posted; some more information would be helpful.

-What Math classes did you take? I don't know what the standard math requirements are for an engineer. Maybe you could post all the classes you took past introductory Analysis and Algebra?

-Do you have an idea of how positive your recommendations will be?

-Would be good to post your gre score when you get it, also I'm not familiar with the toefl scale so I don't know how good that score is.

Overall, I think how competitive you are for an applied math phd is going to be very dependent on how many math classes you've taken. Are there professors at your school who went to grad school in the US? If so they would have a much better idea of where you should apply than us, so I would definitely recommend talking to them.

caxton
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:49 pm

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby caxton » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:41 pm

goatman2743 wrote:I think it's really hard for any of us to give you a guess of where you could be competitive with what you posted; some more information would be helpful.

Thanks for your response! It's very much appreciated.

goatman2743 wrote:-What Math classes did you take? I don't know what the standard math requirements are for an engineer. Maybe you could post all the classes you took past introductory Analysis and Algebra?

All the Math classes I took are:
Algebra, Calculus & Trigonometry (Calculus I basically), Analytical Geometry and Mechanics, Real Analysis, Ordinary Differential Equations, Mathematical Methods (Calculus II including PDEs), Numerical Analysis.

goatman2743 wrote:-Do you have an idea of how positive your recommendations will be?

I'm not very sure, really. Most of my past lecturers are still having some difficulty accepting that I want to pursue graduate studies in Computational And Applied Math rather than Electrical Engineering.

goatman2743 wrote:-Would be good to post your gre score when you get it, also I'm not familiar with the toefl scale so I don't know how good that score is.

Okay, I should have the GRE score within less than 2 weeks. The TOEFL is a really good score because on the average, schools require a score of about 77-90 of 120 to demonstrate good knowledge of English. And my own score is almost perfect (116/120).

goatman2743 wrote:Overall, I think how competitive you are for an applied math phd is going to be very dependent on how many math classes you've taken. Are there professors at your school who went to grad school in the US? If so they would have a much better idea of where you should apply than us, so I would definitely recommend talking to them.

Aha! Great idea, I'll look into this as well, thank you.

pj29019
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:24 pm

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby pj29019 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:51 am

This to me sounds like almost an impossible question to answer...

First of all, you did not tell us what GPA you have, GRE subject score you got (though you mentioned that you are waiting for it), nor did you clearly mention how strong your letters of recommendation were going to be... These are, in my opinion, the most important criteria in graduate admission, followed very closely by one's statement of purpose (in many instances, as important as, if not more than, those three mentioned above) and relevant research experience.

Plus, knowing at least what country you are applying from can reveal a lot about your preparation, because a lot of schools in Asia and Europe supply highly trained and qualified applicants.

yotamh
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:12 am

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby yotamh » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:41 pm

As far as my understanding about the application process - The most important aspect is the recommendation letter. You should find professors who can give you great letters, and than ask them where they recommend you to apply to.
If they have personal relations with some of the faculty involved at that place, your chances of getting accepted grow significantly.

caxton
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:49 pm

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby caxton » Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:58 am

pj29019 wrote:This to me sounds like almost an impossible question to answer...

First of all, you did not tell us what GPA you have, GRE subject score you got (though you mentioned that you are waiting for it), nor did you clearly mention how strong your letters of recommendation were going to be... These are, in my opinion, the most important criteria in graduate admission, followed very closely by one's statement of purpose (in many instances, as important as, if not more than, those three mentioned above) and relevant research experience.

Plus, knowing at least what country you are applying from can reveal a lot about your preparation, because a lot of schools in Asia and Europe supply highly trained and qualified applicants.


- My GPA is 3.2 if converted to a 4.0 scale.
- I just received my GRE subject score. It was 540 :(
- I suppose I can get strong letters of recommendation, but seeing that I am waiving rights to see them, I can never really tell.
- Statement of purpose, I think I can do fine here

- I am applying from Nigeria, West Africa. As I said, I did not have any opportunities for REAs as an undergraduate, and my teaching and research experiences have been informal.

Thanks for your response.

caxton
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:49 pm

Re: Pls I need suggestions for Safety Schools, given my profile

Postby caxton » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:05 am

yotamh wrote:As far as my understanding about the application process - The most important aspect is the recommendation letter. You should find professors who can give you great letters, and than ask them where they recommend you to apply to.
If they have personal relations with some of the faculty involved at that place, your chances of getting accepted grow significantly.


Thank you. I will see how I can obtain really strong recommendation letters. I contacted my Math professors though and they can hardly remember me. I was just some Electrical Engineering student from another faculty. Meh.

P.S. Interestingly, just 11 days ago ETS decided to stop testing in my country. This means I can't retake the test. I really need to do my best to get in this time then. Welp!
http://www.ets.org/gre/important_update/nigeria




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