How many schools to apply to?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
MattW
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:34 pm

How many schools to apply to?

Postby MattW » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:09 pm

Its almost time to start applying to grad schools.
Have you decided where you're going to apply to? I know that I'm still trying to decide.

How many schools is a good number to apply to?
I'd like to hear some opinions on this one. I don't want to apply to too few in case I get rejected from all of them, but at the same time, applications cost a lot of money and I don't want to be too troublesome to my references.
What do you think a good number is?

Matt

lpt234
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:14 pm

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby lpt234 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:41 am

I will certainly apply to 10 grad schools. I'll apply to 6 top 15 schools, 3 top 30 and 1 will be my safety net (top 70). I have asked this question to many professors or grad students and they all said that I should apply to 6 to 10 grad schools. It really depend on how confident you feel, but I don't think any of us should be confident about going to top 15 grad schools.

cbreeden
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:37 am

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby cbreeden » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:57 am

I sure know that I am not feeling that confident of being accepted to a top 15 school. I was thinking about apply to about 13-15 schools; something like 7 top 20 schools, 5 top 40 schools, and 2 or so safeties. I just know too many people who have been completely shut down last year; which really gets me anxious about applying to those top 10 schools.

owlpride
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby owlpride » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:21 am

One thing I have heard over and over again is that there are no safeties in this game (unless you have personal connections that will get you in).

Lower-ranked schools might not accept a strong applicant because they don't think we would attend. Higher-ranked schools might not accept us because we aren't strong enough. If other students from your school are applying to grad schools, you might want to coordinate your lists because many departments will accept at most one of you. This is even more important if you are getting letters from the same professors. (The one with the stronger letter would get most of the acceptances and the other one might be screwed.) Consider the possibility that your letters might not be as strong as you think. If a professor has a reputation for writing overly glowing letters for everybody, his letter might be discounted completely. Some professors generally write rather cold letters, which can hurt you immensely.

So many things that could go wrong...

lpt234
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:14 pm

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby lpt234 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:44 pm

owlpride wrote:One thing I have heard over and over again is that there are no safeties in this game (unless you have personal connections that will get you in).

Lower-ranked schools might not accept a strong applicant because they don't think we would attend. Higher-ranked schools might not accept us because we aren't strong enough. If other students from your school are applying to grad schools, you might want to coordinate your lists because many departments will accept at most one of you. This is even more important if you are getting letters from the same professors. (The one with the stronger letter would get most of the acceptances and the other one might be screwed.) Consider the possibility that your letters might not be as strong as you think. If a professor has a reputation for writing overly glowing letters for everybody, his letter might be discounted completely. Some professors generally write rather cold letters, which can hurt you immensely.

So many things that could go wrong...


I totally agree with you! It's so frustrating since luck seems to be a very important factor and we can't do anything. The more you apply to, the more your chance are high.

MattW
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:34 pm

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby MattW » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:39 pm

Thanks for your replies. Not getting accepted anywhere is a scary thought :|. I'm thinking that I will apply to around 10 schools - 6 American and 4 Canadian.

@owlpride: I come from a small school, so I don't need to worry too much about competing against my classmates for the most part. On the flip-side, I don't have as many advanced courses as many of the people I'm competing against. I consider my past coursework to be my greatest weakness. I took a gamble on one of my reference letters: I asked the dept head for a reference, but he's a really tough guy to impress and its hard to tell how strong of a reference he will give me. Hopefully that doesn't come back to hurt me.

jplusip
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:40 pm

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby jplusip » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:33 am

I'm only applying to two schools, though I wouldn't recommend it.
Those two would be a school on the low end of the top 40 (my dream school though as I specifically want to work with a professor there) and my current institution. I'm only applying to two because all I've got going are an incredible improvement over the past year, solid letters of rec from fairly unknown professors (who will vouch for my studying Rudin, Mac Lane, Markushevich, Munkres, etc. in my spare time), and experience and a good rep for doing TA like duties (working as a tutor in the Math Learning Center, which is what our TAs do).

Hopefully GRE scores will be a positive addition. I almost feel like making an 800+ is my only shot at getting in my dream school. My current institution is a lock with a TA position though. They just don't have anyone in my field here (complex analysis) and its an applied math school (whereas I love pure math). Ah well. :)

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby Chapel » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:29 pm

I was thinking 8, but that number was dictated mostly by how many schools are convenient as I have something of a life in New York already. A previous attempt at a PhD saw me only apply to 2 schools and get rejected from both (although there is a high probability it was because NYIT didn't send my transcript and/or sent the wrong one.) It is a good idea to choose from a wide range of schools so that you are sure you are going to the best possible school for you that you can get into.

alex
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:54 am

Re: How many schools to apply to?

Postby alex » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:12 am

I just finished (more or less) my applications for next year (November and December are going to be crazy for me so I wanted to get it out of the way early). I'm going with 14 schools. In retrospect, I should have cut that down though, I think. It got really costly by the end. I made my budget decision based on app fees and ended up throwing in schools in that comfortable 30 - 60 range that had waived the fee without thinking too hard about them, but then i forgot until too late that i still had to pay for ets to send my scores and fees for transcripts and these things. I just wanted to cast a wide net, since it is so random at a certain point. Oh well.




Return to “Mathematics GRE Forum: The GRE Subject Test in Mathematics”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron