Advanced Degree - Is it possible?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
careerchange
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:40 pm

Advanced Degree - Is it possible?

Postby careerchange » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:41 pm

Hi everyone. I should preface my situation and aspirations with the fact that I realize the following is most likely a pipe dream. That being said, I have been feeling this way for some time and willing to do whatever it takes to change my current situation. Anyway, here it goes...

I am in my late 20s and I'm currently a humanities teacher living in Massachusetts. I moved here for my wife's job (which is unique). I love living in this area, however, my career has come to a breaking point. I am no longer happy teaching to middle/high schoolers. I've been teaching for 5+ years and, by standard metrics, I would consider myself a successful teacher. As many of you know, being successful at something does not necessarily have a direct correlation to satisfaction or happiness.

I have taken a few Math courses (calc) in undergrad but received low grades in these classes due to lack of effort. I graduated undergrad with a BA in English and grad school with an MA in Education. I am interested in a career within the math field now, but I am completely lost how I could pursue it at this point.

Is it at all possible to pursue an advanced degree in Mathematics at this point. Where would I even start? How could I obtain the necessary prerequisites to have a chance? Would you recommend taking classes at a local CC to fulfill some of these requirements? I know research experience is also a key component. Is there any way to have an experience in research? As always, time and money are restraints in this equation. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!

fiboniz
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:38 pm

Re: Advanced Degree - Is it possible?

Postby fiboniz » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:13 pm

I am a non-traditional student as well. I started my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Indiana University but dropped out in my third semester because I failed - yes, literally FAILED - all my math courses. I left school thinking I would never pursue it again and got to spend time with my wife and children. We needed income so I took a night shift position at a local factory which, after a few months, gave me the motivation to go back and try again. I knew I needed to start somewhere so I went to a local university (University of Southern Indiana) and took a full load of courses (18 credit hours a semester) and I took 18 credit hours total in both summers - all while working full time to support the family. I finished my BS in Mathematics at USI in 2 years. I started in January of 2013 and finished in May of 2015. After this, I thought it was finally time to get a real job and become an adult. So I worked in banking and then went into the manufacturing industry but found myself still lacking something. I needed that academic stimulation back! I NEEDED to research! So now I have been accepted into Indiana University's PhD program in Statistical Science beginning this fall. Look's like I will finish where I started this journey.

So I want you to understand, that as long as you're willing to put in the work, you will reach your goals and you WILL research in Mathematics so long as you have the drive and motivation to do so. I hope my story can give you some hope for your future. Please feel free to message me with any questions you may have and I'll gladly answer.

Keep in mind, all throughout my undergraduate at USI, I had 2 children, ages 7 and 3 now, and we just had our third child in February of this year, so if you don't have a large family to worry about, then this will be an even easier goal for you to accomplish.

Best wishes.

careerchange
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:40 pm

Re: Advanced Degree - Is it possible?

Postby careerchange » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:02 pm

fiboniz wrote:I am a non-traditional student as well. I started my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Indiana University but dropped out in my third semester because I failed - yes, literally FAILED - all my math courses. I left school thinking I would never pursue it again and got to spend time with my wife and children. We needed income so I took a night shift position at a local factory which, after a few months, gave me the motivation to go back and try again. I knew I needed to start somewhere so I went to a local university (University of Southern Indiana) and took a full load of courses (18 credit hours a semester) and I took 18 credit hours total in both summers - all while working full time to support the family. I finished my BS in Mathematics at USI in 2 years. I started in January of 2013 and finished in May of 2015. After this, I thought it was finally time to get a real job and become an adult. So I worked in banking and then went into the manufacturing industry but found myself still lacking something. I needed that academic stimulation back! I NEEDED to research! So now I have been accepted into Indiana University's PhD program in Statistical Science beginning this fall. Look's like I will finish where I started this journey.

So I want you to understand, that as long as you're willing to put in the work, you will reach your goals and you WILL research in Mathematics so long as you have the drive and motivation to do so. I hope my story can give you some hope for your future. Please feel free to message me with any questions you may have and I'll gladly answer.

Keep in mind, all throughout my undergraduate at USI, I had 2 children, ages 7 and 3 now, and we just had our third child in February of this year, so if you don't have a large family to worry about, then this will be an even easier goal for you to accomplish.

Best wishes.

Thank you for sharing your story! It is motivational to hear about what you have accomplished as a non-traditional student. Congrats on the success and good luck on your next stop.

mjc89
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:51 am

Re: Advanced Degree - Is it possible?

Postby mjc89 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:24 pm

I'm also in my late twenties, and I'll be going to grad school this fall after taking 6 years off math since finishing my bachelor's degree.

If it's been a while since you've done math, you should take a few classes locally before applying to grad programs. Schools will want to see that you've taken, and done well in, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis, and Abstract Algebra at the very least. Topology and Complex Analysis are also good ones to take if you can. Make sure you're solid in Calculus (meaning you can comfortably do most of the problems in a standard calc text). If you've already taken the calc sequence, I'd recommend reviewing this material on your own and with the help of online resources.

I'm not sure where in Massachusetts you are, but Brandeis offers a post-bac certificate program for people who want to eventually go on to grad school but don't have the proper prerequisites. You might want to look into this.

Best of luck




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