How much does being a white female help in grad admissions?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
Amethyst
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:40 pm

How much does being a white female help in grad admissions?

Postby Amethyst » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:04 am

Quoted from another website:

Kesha wrote:"high GPA at mediocre school + studying your ass off for a 760 GRE (general) quant after you score a 710 math SAT in high school (despite being part of IB program), and be white, and yep you're accepted to an engineering PhD program at MIT.

Have a lower GPA than person 1, probably lower test scores, but be a white female? You're in too."


How true is this? I'm in this exact situation. White female, high GPA, mediocre school. I'd like to attend graduate school in either statistics or data science. I don't actually want a PhD; I want an MS. However, I don't want to drop $50,000 on an MS when I can go to a PhD program for free and drop out after getting an MS. That being said, I want a degree from a top-ranked program, and I'm worried about my chances of getting into a top-ranked PhD program, but confident about my chances of getting into a top-ranked MS program. Since I want a top-program more than I want the free tuition, I'll spend the $50,000 if need be.

So basically I'd like to know how much of an extra edge being a white female gives me. Will it really help me be accepted into a top-ranked statistics or data science PhD program?

I'd like to stay in the Northeast, so these are the schools I am considering: John Hopkins, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Columbia, Cornell, Yale, NYU, and Rutgers.

How would you rate my chances at getting accepted into each of these schools, keeping in mind that I am a white female? Please rate my chances for both the PhD and the MS programs (where applicable). I am providing additional information below for referencing. Thank you.

My strengths: high GPA, expected high GRE scores, president of my university's math club, relevant industry experience (summer internships), good writing skills which should translate into a strong personal statement

My causes for concern:

1-The math major at my school isn't that rigorous: real analysis, complex analysis, topology, etc. aren't offered. (To provide a frame of reference, these are my (expected) math courses: Calculus x 3 (through multi-variable calculus), Probability x 2, Linear algebra, Econometrics, Operations research, Differential equations, Biostatistics, Financial mathematics, Finite mathematics, Life contingencies x 2, and a Senior thesis.)

2-I have no serious research experience. I will be doing a senior thesis next year, but it doesn't involve heavy-duty research.

3-My school is very small, and the math department even smaller. To be quite honest, I will probably be the first student to apply to a math related PhD program in a long time. I am unsure how this will play out in my recommendation letters. I have strong relationships with my professors, and they know me well, but I am worried that they won't write me strong recommendation letters because they are asked to do so very infrequently.

To repeat my question, how would you rate my chances at getting accepted into a statistics/data science MS/PhD program at John Hopkins, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Columbia, Cornell, Yale, NYU, and Rutgers? Keep in mind that I am a white female.

boo78
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Re: How much does being a white female help in grad admissions?

Postby boo78 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:37 pm

I can't really answer your question, whether being a white female makes any difference, and if so how much of a difference, but I can say that my profile was very similar to yours when I first applied to grad school 12 years ago. I'm a DWF, and I was applying to astronomy PhD programs. I had high GPA at a big state school. Both astrophysics and mathematics programs were rigorous, but the departments were nothing special in those fields. I had strong LoRs, some research experience but nothing huge, and ok GRE scores, 720 (66%) on the physics. I got into both Harvard and Cornell, and attended Cornell. I'd like to think my race and gender had nothing to do with that, but who knows what goes on in those admissions committees. I can tell you that they have different standards for domestic vs international applicants, and they're very upfront about that one. Women are even more under-represented in math than in astronomy and physics, so I imagine it will likely catch their eye. It really depends on how interested the particular department and university are in increasing diversity vs simply accepting the best of the best. I have heard that statistics show that standardized tests are an even poorer indicator of grad success for women than for men, but having concentrated in statistics for my BS I know that statistics can "show" just about anything someone wants them to :lol: Just make sure you've got safety schools, and good luck! I imagine you'll probably get into at least one of your top choices.

Ryker
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:27 pm

Re: How much does being a white female help in grad admissions?

Postby Ryker » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:35 pm

I don't know the answer to the original question, either, but I'm hoping the answer is zero, as that would be the only "fair" thing.

boo78
Posts: 36
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

Re: How much does being a white female help in grad admissions?

Postby boo78 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:35 pm

I would tend to agree with the sentiment that the ideal situation is that everyone is judged the same regardless of their race or gender, or anything other than academic promise, but it would be naive to think the issue was that simple. I will simply contribute a marvelous definition of "fair" that I once heard and have used many times as a teacher and parent: Fair isn't everyone getting the same, fair is everyone getting what they need.

cti112
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:32 pm

Re: How much does being a white female help in grad admissions?

Postby cti112 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:05 pm

it does seem to be the case that schools DO want minority and female students in mathematics.




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