Hi, everybody! My goal is to obtain a Master's degree in Applied Mathematics eventually leading to a job with the government or private industry, but I face a number of challenges. My info, in the forum-standard format:
Undergrad Institution: Big state school, well regarded for mathematics.
Minor(s): None, but significant coursework in Comp Sci and Econ
GPA: 2.78, ~3.0 in major
Position in Class: Probably below average
Type of Student: Domestic white male
Q: xxx (xx%) I haven't taken the general test yet.
V: xxx (xx%)
W: x.x (xx%)
M: 610 (42%)
Program Applying: Applied Math
Research Experience: 1 summer research position in non-Euclidean geometry
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: TA for one semester
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: None
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: 4 years work experience in an analytical role with a major telecom company
As you can see from my info, I am an underwhelming candidate on paper. The 2.78 GPA is probably my biggest hurdle, but it comes with some qualifiers. I certainly slacked off for the first 3 years of school, but I also scored a 3.6 GPA in my senior year, in which I took the majority of my upper-level math classes. I am also 5 years out of school.
The 610/42% MGRE score is disheartening. I was scoring in the 55-60% range on my practice tests, and I genuinely thought I did even better than that when I walked out of the test in April. I have no idea how I got so many wrong. This is after I studied as hard as I possibly could for months before the test, which I felt I had to do after scoring a 540/24% back in November. It's hard to re-learn a lot of this stuff after being away from math for so long, especially since I never took a class in complex analysis or topology. I can't see going through that a third time, so the 610 is what I'll have to live with.
I have heard that applicantions for Master's degrees can be more lenient than for PhD's. I am also sensible enough to not even apply to any top schools. I will be apply to (in order of preference):
1. University of Maryland, College Park
2. Johns Hopkins University
3. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
I know I should apply to more schools, but for a number of reasons, I'm not willing to leave the DC-Baltimore region.
Is there any hope for me? UMCP and JHU even list a minimum 3.00 GPA to apply, but I'm hoping that it's not a hard cut-off. Is there anything I can do to improve my chances? My current career is going nowhere, and I love math so much - I think about it all the time. I hate thinking that my behavior 6+ years ago that is no reflection of my current abilities could prevent me from being able to study math.