What schools should I apply to?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:59 am

What schools should I apply to?

Postby peoplesjw » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:08 am

Hello! I am about to enter my senior year and am a bit anxious about the graduate school application process. I am wondering what level of school I should be applying to / what programs would fit my resume and interests.

Undergrad: : large public research university, ranked around 100 public

Majors: Math and Physics

Domestic White Male

GPA: 4.0

GRE General Revised Test:
Q: 167
V: 160
W: score not in yet, expecting around 5

mGre: I take in September but am doing quite a bit of preparation and expect to score above or around 75% (shooting for 99%!!!)

Other things: I have quite a bit of Physics research (Biophysics) with a well respected professor in his field.

I am published in a paper on noncommutative geometry. It’s short, not a huge deal but figure it helps.

I won the award for best upperclassmen in Math at my Institution. I was unofficially told I will win the one for Physics this upcoming year as well. I won a best presentation award at an in institution conference (biophysics research presentation) and have the largest merit scholarship my school offers. I plan on taking the physics GRE to put on apps if I do well. I expect my letters to be fairly strong - one of my writers (the one who knows me least well, I took two semester of analysis with him with A+’s, But didn’t really talk to him a lot or go to his office more than a few times) is famous.

This fall I will be taking two graduate courses and maybe a reading course as well. I hope to give a talk on the paper I published as well. Will be applying for pure math PhD.

On one hand, I feel like I could be a fairly strong applicant: decent test scores, perfect gpa, published with good research experience and likely strong letters and clearly did very very well in undergrad.

On the other hand, my institution is not prestigious by any means, and I did no math REUs (Funded Research Experience every summer in Physics at my institution).

So where should I apply? Should my “slightly realistic reach schools” be top 20? Top 50? Additionally, any specific universities with math departments that would value my experience in physics and have strong mathematical physics would be appreciated. I know, my physics resume is likely a lot better, but I can’t help it I love math.


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Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:33 am

Re: What schools should I apply to?

Postby young556646 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:44 pm

IMO you can go like this: split your applications into halves for top 10 and top 20, then throw in one or two (or more if you have enough money and time) safety schools in top 50. I'm sure that you are qualified for at least top 20 schools, but sometimes grad admissions can go wild, so the safety schools may help.

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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:40 pm

Re: What schools should I apply to?

Postby defen » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:20 pm

Apply mainly to schools that have at least three profs whose research interests align with yours. This is more important than rankings. Also, have a couple of safety schools or at least put in an application for your home institution just in case.

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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:45 pm

Re: What schools should I apply to?

Postby penzeer2 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:30 am

Speaking from the perspective of a 2018-2019 applicant from a "low" ranked school, I think you'll do well if you find good letter writers. From what I've heard, MGRE is very important to prove that you're capable if you come from a "low" ranked school. Best of luck!

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:59 am

Re: What schools should I apply to?

Postby peoplesjw » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:19 am

Thank you everyone for your input - feeling more confident! Also still studying nonstop for this mGRE in about a month...

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