Some suggestion needed for a 2019 appliant

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
macloft
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:47 am

Some suggestion needed for a 2019 appliant

Postby macloft » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:21 am

Hey all! :D I'm new here to prepare for the graduate school and need some suggestions. Currently, I'm an international student studying pure math as an undergrad at a big public school in Midwest. Right now, my GPA is 3.90/4, major GPA is 3.94/4 and I have a minor in CS. I haven't taken GRE nor GRE math sub.

So far, I took Linear Algebra I (A+), Probability (A-), Ordinary Differential Equation (A+), Foundation Analysis (A+) and I'm currently taking Vector Calculus, Linear algebra II, and a graduate level real analysis.(I began to like math at a very late time lol) I just started a research with a prof which probably won't yield any paper(lol). After taking an Abstract Algebra course next semester (probably the honor one ), I'm done with all the requirement.

Here is my question.
(1) Is there anything I can do before the end of next semester to improve the chances of being admitted to a satisfying graduate program? I'm aware some of my weakness like: few grade courses, no academic activities (talks, posts, etc..), no papers... :oops:
(2) My advisor recommended me to prepare Putnam exam next semester (I didn't take it before) which means I'll take 2 undergrad proof based class, prepare for the exam and do the research I mentioned before. Or I can take 2 undergrad math classes and 1 graduate class. Which seems better just in terms of improving my overall math ability? My math prof didn't recommend me take 3 math courses and prepare the exam since he believed it would be overwhelming.
(3)How did you guys find the area you want to do research? Right now I'm very confused. For example, I really like Real Analysis which I'm taking now. But since the math courses I've taken are limited, I may like some other math subjects like topology, complex analysis or the combination of CS and math in future...

Any response will be appreciated! :) :) :) :) Wish all you guys get wonderful offers!

Thank you!

kayiilu
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:08 pm

Re: Some suggestion needed for a 2019 appliant

Postby kayiilu » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:54 am

Hi, I am an international student studying in the US too. I will be pursuing an Applied Mathematics PhD in Fall 2018.
In my opinion:
1. You should treat the research with your professor seriously. :) Even if it does not produce any paper, it is fine. Work hard on it and everything else will come naturally. For example, for me, I did a research project with my professor in my last semester of study. It ended up bringing me to two conferences for poster presentations (There are actually a lot of conference opportunities... At least more than I would have thought of!), and a strong recommendation letter from him. You could aim the same. A strong recommendation letter from a professor who you do research with would be very valuable!
2. Looks like you have a very good GPA! Try to maintain it, as I think a high GPA is very important too. Also, I think you have excellent academic credentials already (with the honors classes and the grad level classes), at least compared to mine...
3. Maybe invest in a whole summer studying for the general GRE and try to get a good grade on it. Also, you will need to invest in at least a few months to prepare for the Math GRE to get a good grade too (I didn't take the Math GRE myself, so just some suggestions). So plan your time out accordingly, especially when you also need to focus on a lot of other things too.
4. Identify potential people for your recommendation letters! This should come naturally from your research, classes, and any math-related job as well. You can talk with them more so they can get to know you more. Ideally, you should have professors writing for your recommendation letters for a Mathematics PhD program.
5. As grad school is not only about research, but also teaching, you may consider taking on some mathematics teaching/tutoring/mentoring jobs to get the experience.
6. Personally, I think it is fine if you don't know what mathematics you want to do research on in the future yet. They are all so interesting, so it is hard to choose really. My professor gave me the advice that I should keep my mind open, and decide on what I want to study after I am exposed to more mathematics. But anyway, I think mentioning a few things/directions that you want to pursue in the future in your SOP would be very helpful. Some schools are strong in a certain areas, and if you are interested in those areas it would be a good research fit.
7. And if you study in the US for undergraduate (4 years), you don't need to take the TOEFL!
8. When you are applying, make sure to ask your professors for advice on the applications (eg. school selection, SOP, CV, etc)! They are much more experienced than us and could offer a lot of helpful information. Also, see if there are any resources in your university on grad school applications, like a workshop on how to write your SOP/CV,etc. You can also consult grad students in your university on how they applied for grad schools. Ask more people! Usually they are very willing to help, and their information is very valuable.


The above are just my opinions! Please based on your own situation to decide on what to do next.
Good luck!

macloft
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:47 am

Re: Some suggestion needed for a 2019 appliant

Postby macloft » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:59 pm

kayiilu wrote:Hi, I am an international student studying in the US too. I will be pursuing an Applied Mathematics PhD in Fall 2018.
In my opinion:
1. You should treat the research with your professor seriously. :) Even if it does not produce any paper, it is fine. Work hard on it and everything else will come naturally. For example, for me, I did a research project with my professor in my last semester of study. It ended up bringing me to two conferences for poster presentations (There are actually a lot of conference opportunities... At least more than I would have thought of!), and a strong recommendation letter from him. You could aim the same. A strong recommendation letter from a professor who you do research with would be very valuable!
2. Looks like you have a very good GPA! Try to maintain it, as I think a high GPA is very important too. Also, I think you have excellent academic credentials already (with the honors classes and the grad level classes), at least compared to mine...
3. Maybe invest in a whole summer studying for the general GRE and try to get a good grade on it. Also, you will need to invest in at least a few months to prepare for the Math GRE to get a good grade too (I didn't take the Math GRE myself, so just some suggestions). So plan your time out accordingly, especially when you also need to focus on a lot of other things too.
4. Identify potential people for your recommendation letters! This should come naturally from your research, classes, and any math-related job as well. You can talk with them more so they can get to know you more. Ideally, you should have professors writing for your recommendation letters for a Mathematics PhD program.
5. As grad school is not only about research, but also teaching, you may consider taking on some mathematics teaching/tutoring/mentoring jobs to get the experience.
6. Personally, I think it is fine if you don't know what mathematics you want to do research on in the future yet. They are all so interesting, so it is hard to choose really. My professor gave me the advice that I should keep my mind open, and decide on what I want to study after I am exposed to more mathematics. But anyway, I think mentioning a few things/directions that you want to pursue in the future in your SOP would be very helpful. Some schools are strong in a certain areas, and if you are interested in those areas it would be a good research fit.
7. And if you study in the US for undergraduate (4 years), you don't need to take the TOEFL!
8. When you are applying, make sure to ask your professors for advice on the applications (eg. school selection, SOP, CV, etc)! They are much more experienced than us and could offer a lot of helpful information. Also, see if there are any resources in your university on grad school applications, like a workshop on how to write your SOP/CV,etc. You can also consult grad students in your university on how they applied for grad schools. Ask more people! Usually they are very willing to help, and their information is very valuable.


The above are just my opinions! Please based on your own situation to decide on what to do next.
Good luck!


Thanks for your such a detailed reply! @kayiilu :D (I haven't figured out how reply works on this web yet..)

These suggestions are all very helpful. I can't appreciate more. Actually, my research is in applied math area where I didn't have any background before started.(I chose this research mainly because I wanted to know more different math areas. And this one looks fun.) It was a little frustrating at the beginning since I felt I knew nothing about it. I guess it is common for people who are new to research anyway. I didn't expect I would make any progress lol. Your suggestion really inspired me to spend more time on research. :lol: Right now the real analysis prof is my target to write the letter since I've been to his office hours a lot and did well on the first exam. I hope this would help him know me well to write that letter...

Also, I saw your post in 2018 application result. Congrats on that!!! Your GRE scores are really good!




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