Environment of Math Department

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:25 pm

Environment of Math Department

Postby calisapna » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:35 pm

I'm searching for grad schools to apply to, and I have some on my radar, but I want to learn more about the environment of the math department before I apply. I.e, friendly professors, grad student union etc. Are there any sites where grad students talk about their experience at their department?

If not, how do I ask people in the department about their department without sounding obnoxious, or creepy for looking them up :? ?
Or are these better suited questions for when(*fingers crossed*) I get in to their school as an admitted student?

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Postby biomath18 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:39 pm

If you look on the math department web page of each school, you should (hopefully) find at least a page about grad student associations etc. If they have a grad student association within the department that seems active, that's a good sign that it's a friendly department. Whatever grad students are listed as having positions in such an association would be good students to reach out to in order to ask about the department (via listed email). As long as you're polite and don't act like you'll definitely be admitted, you won't seem obnoxious or creepy.

Or, you could focus on places with a good research fit and then figure out the environment when you visit after being admitted.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Postby MathCat » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:18 pm

I think the best thing is to attend open houses once you are admitted, and talk to current students. It's especially good to try to talk to students of any professors you are interested in working with. Every open house I attended had some sort of lunch or evening get together with only students, with the explicit purpose of having a place to get honest answers from current students.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Postby Belville » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:43 am

Are students really open about everything at those meets? I would think people wouldn't talk about the negative sides openly.

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Re: Environment of Math Department

Postby Aramark » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:39 am

I don't see why they wouldn't be open. The students don't really have an incentive to play up their school instead of just being honest, and I think the format of the events is such that you get to talk to people one on one, so there's unlikely to be pressure from admin to sugarcoat.

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