Profile evaluation

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:47 am

Hi, I'm wondering if I could get a profile evalutation

Undergrad Institution: Good state school but not top
Major(s): Math
Minor(s): Physics
GPA: 3.56 overall 3.67 major (3.75 in you include CC classes)
Type of Student: DWM

GRE Revised General Test:
Q: 170 (98%)
V: 159 (81%)
W: 5.0 (93%)
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics:
M: 740 (68%)

Program Applying: Pure Math

Research Experience: Senior thesis with two talks given on it, reading course
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Two semesters of deans list
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Private tutor, graded for two years
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: I took four grad classes (entire functional analysis sequence and one on stochastic calculus), have strong letters of rec, I have a very clear plan of what I want to research and strong SoP
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I took an upper div probability class pass/no pass because I joined the class late and was kind of lost at first. I did fine though.

Applying to Where: (Color use here is welcome)
Duke
UCSD
Purdue
Rochester
UCSC
UW Seattle

I wish I could apply to a few more places but money is an issue. How do I look?
Last edited by stokped on Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AMGMScrub
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 3:20 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby AMGMScrub » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:55 am

Unless you have seen the LORs, how do you know it is strong? Likewise with the SOP.

stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:33 pm

AMGMScrub wrote:Unless you have seen the LORs, how do you know it is strong? Likewise with the SOP.


I know because I am close with the people writing them, and I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't sure they would give me good ones.

I say my SOP is strong because I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to research and have evidence to explain why.

SoulOnIce
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:28 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby SoulOnIce » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:08 pm

Your stats look fine for your schools. Duke's website for Pure Math says that "most of the students accepted have subject test scores above 50%", which you are, and your other "reach" schools are in pretty much the same tier (i.e. Top 15-30 schools like UCSD, Purdue, U Wash). So I think you would make the cut in that regard.

I would be a bit concerned about GPA since Notre Dame, a school of similar caliber, has an average accepted GPA clocking in around 3.7 or even 3.8 (as posted on their math Ph.D website). In this regard, your GPA would be slightly under average, but its definitely not enough to rule you out of the competition, since you are quite close (even without your community college GPA factored in). That aside, I would consider Rochester and UCSC (I'm guessing it's Santa Cruz) as decently safe choices (Top 60-75 schools).

As a whole, it seems pretty realistic. If it were me, I would expect a rejection or two from your top schools on average. The exact number would mostly be swayed by LoR's or even the SOP. If you can afford it, try to add one more school in the Top 40-60 range (like NC State, Boston U, etc.). I know that Ohio State's application fee is $5, and UFlorida's is $35. Hope this helps.

ghjk
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:42 pm

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby ghjk » Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:02 pm

I have a different thought than SoulOnIce. First, I'm very concerned about your Math GPA, as honestly, it's quite low compared to that of the candidate pool, assuming your target school is Duke, UW (or even UCSD). I think you should spend at least a few sentences in your application explaining which courses that you did terribly and WHY (hopefully it's Calculus, or some 1st/2nd-year course. In that case, the admission officers will be more lenient). Second, how well you did on your grad courses will be valuable, as it shows the admission somewhat of your potential to at least not fail the qual/prelim exam so that you can at least get a Master, or advance to candidacy. Third, and this is probably make or break if you want to get into Duke or UW, where is your research experience? If you tell me you haven't done much (like no publication or no praise on your research capability in the LORs), then that's dangerous, unless the LOR said something like "he's the best student I have ever had in my 20-30 years of teaching/sending students to top grad schools. I have no doubt he will soon be able to produce high-quality papers at top journals in the research field of his choice."! Duke and UW are VERY competitive if your goal is to apply to Pure/Applied Math (UW is one of the top 10 programs in Applied Math), so I think you hedged your bet well with other schools.

I'm sorry if it sounds discouraging to you (I tried to avoid coming across as that), but the reality is that you only have an average application. You should consider math-related fields, like Economics or Finance or Operation Research, if you're not totally committed to pure math - the toughest research world.

Best of luck to you, and let me know how things go!

stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:50 pm

ghjk wrote:I have a different thought than SoulOnIce. First, I'm very concerned about your Math GPA, as honestly, it's quite low compared to that of the candidate pool, assuming your target school is Duke, UW (or even UCSD). I think you should spend at least a few sentences in your application explaining which courses that you did terribly and WHY (hopefully it's Calculus, or some 1st/2nd-year course. In that case, the admission officers will be more lenient). Second, how well you did on your grad courses will be valuable, as it shows the admission somewhat of your potential to at least not fail the qual/prelim exam so that you can at least get a Master, or advance to candidacy. Third, and this is probably make or break if you want to get into Duke or UW, where is your research experience? If you tell me you haven't done much (like no publication or no praise on your research capability in the LORs), then that's dangerous, unless the LOR said something like "he's the best student I have ever had in my 20-30 years of teaching/sending students to top grad schools. I have no doubt he will soon be able to produce high-quality papers at top journals in the research field of his choice."! Duke and UW are VERY competitive if your goal is to apply to Pure/Applied Math (UW is one of the top 10 programs in Applied Math), so I think you hedged your bet well with other schools.

I'm sorry if it sounds discouraging to you (I tried to avoid coming across as that), but the reality is that you only have an average application. You should consider math-related fields, like Economics or Finance or Operation Research, if you're not totally committed to pure math - the toughest research world.

Best of luck to you, and let me know how things go!


If you include my community college grades, my major GPA is 3.75 which I think is perfectly okay and I don't think I did "terribly" in any class. I never got below a B in any math class. And my research experience comes from doing a senior thesis (which was published), along with some reading (as I had said). I have a letter of rec from both professors and both really like me.

I am totally committed to pure math. I have no interest in economics or finance or operation research.

stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:15 pm

SoulOnIce wrote:Your stats look fine for your schools. Duke's website for Pure Math says that "most of the students accepted have subject test scores above 50%", which you are, and your other "reach" schools are in pretty much the same tier (i.e. Top 15-30 schools like UCSD, Purdue, U Wash). So I think you would make the cut in that regard.

I would be a bit concerned about GPA since Notre Dame, a school of similar caliber, has an average accepted GPA clocking in around 3.7 or even 3.8 (as posted on their math Ph.D website). In this regard, your GPA would be slightly under average, but its definitely not enough to rule you out of the competition, since you are quite close (even without your community college GPA factored in). That aside, I would consider Rochester and UCSC (I'm guessing it's Santa Cruz) as decently safe choices (Top 60-75 schools).

As a whole, it seems pretty realistic. If it were me, I would expect a rejection or two from your top schools on average. The exact number would mostly be swayed by LoR's or even the SOP. If you can afford it, try to add one more school in the Top 40-60 range (like NC State, Boston U, etc.). I know that Ohio State's application fee is $5, and UFlorida's is $35. Hope this helps.


Thank you, and I don't think you meant that OSU's app fee is $5 ;)

My major GPA including CC is 3.75 which is smack in the middle of the average accepted GPA.

Either way, thanks.

AMGMScrub
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 3:20 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby AMGMScrub » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:19 pm

I only mentioned this because many applicants seem to think they have strong LOR and SOPs. Maybe you should ask you letter writters on what they think your chances are at these schools.

stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:29 pm

AMGMScrub wrote:I only mentioned this because many applicants seem to think they have strong LOR and SOPs. Maybe you should ask you letter writters on what they think your chances are at these schools.

Of course. It's generic, but I think in my case it's really true!

One of my letter writers (very well known in the community, I took grad functional analysis with him) said to apply to more top programs, suggested something like MIT. I forgot to say Yale, but I'm applying there because hey, people get in. One of my other letter writers (thesis adviser) actually tried to set me up with one of his friends in another grad school in his country (Germany) but it ultimately fell through (language etc). The last letter writer (reading course) said "your skills are much much much higher than the average undergrad" (yes 3 "much"es :lol: ).

Everyone thinks they have strong letters, I agree. But I hope it's actually true.

ghjk
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:42 pm

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby ghjk » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:30 pm

stokped wrote:If you include my community college grades, my major GPA is 3.75 which I think is perfectly okay and I don't think I did "terribly" in any class. I never got below a B in any math class. And my research experience comes from doing a senior thesis (which was published), along with some reading (as I had said). I have a letter of rec from both professors and both really like me.

I am totally committed to pure math. I have no interest in economics or finance or operation research.


May I know the venue where your work is published? If you are not the first author, or a lone author, then it's not that significant unless the recommenders specifically said how much work you did on that paper. Also, what I'm concerned is about the (grad) classes where you didn't get an A. If that's in grad courses, it raises some concerns. Duke or UW is TOUGH to get in for pure math (pure math's competition is the toughest one among EVERY grad programs), so you gotta be realistic. I will say your shot is low, as you will compete with people from other top undergrad programs (Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, etc), but you're lucky not to compete with people from Tshinghua, Peking or IIT. Even in that case, it's still a long shot for you, my friend. Independent reading is nearly worthless, as it doesn't form any metrics in the evaluation of the admission (unless your LORs talked extensively about what you did, in that case, be careful! If what you did is trivial compared to undergrad students usually did at Duke or UW, then the letter will hurt your case. If it's unusual to the admissions, then it will stand out and definitely help!) Anyway, all the best with your application:)

SoulOnIce
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:28 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby SoulOnIce » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:11 pm

stokped wrote:
Thank you, and I don't think you meant that OSU's app fee is $5 ;)

My major GPA including CC is 3.75 which is smack in the middle of the average accepted GPA.

Either way, thanks.


I just checked and OSU's app fee IS $5, however the deadline passed already. :(

crow1664
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:51 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby crow1664 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:24 pm

Hi hi, just for your information, the courses you have taken and your academic experience are pretty reasonable; what worry me are the GPA and GRE subs, which seemingly need some slight explanation

stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:01 pm

crow1664 wrote:Hi hi, just for your information, the courses you have taken and your academic experience are pretty reasonable; what worry me are the GPA and GRE subs, which seemingly need some slight explanation


Are they really that bad? I don't really have an explanation. I just started taking a lot of classes/doing a lot, and the classes got hard. I had a couple Bs. My major GPA for all colleges is 3.75 which seems fine to me.

For the GRE subject test, I did practice ones and was getting over 80%. On the test I just didn't. It wasn't too unlike one's I've seen. If I had the chance I might have retaken it but I didn't get to.

AMGMScrub
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 3:20 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby AMGMScrub » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:27 pm

It's not that your GPA is bad. A thing to note is that the people you will be competing for admissions will on average have higher gpas. Likewise for the math subject GRE. Though this will vary from year to year.

stokped
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:36 am

Re: Profile evaluation

Postby stokped » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:33 pm

AMGMScrub wrote:It's not that your GPA is bad. A thing to note is that the people you will be competing for admissions will on average have higher gpas. Likewise for the math subject GRE. Though this will vary from year to year.


I know it isn't perfect, but I don't know what to say if I did want to explain it.

Classes just got harder and I was taking more of them. I was focusing on senior thesis more, I was grading and I need some time to myself. I don't think there's anything to explain, I just got a couple Bs.




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