Feeling overwhelmed with graduate options

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
IlikeGroups
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:20 pm

Feeling overwhelmed with graduate options

Postby IlikeGroups » Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:53 pm

Hello all, I am a senior at a very unknown school (in terms of math, but comparing a few classes to youtube series at well known schools, our classes are certainly not a joke or anything). And I am trying to find the balance of realistic options but still want to go to the best school as possible. So i guess I'll share some info in hopes that someone could give me some advice :)

So my major is pure math and my minor is in chemistry and here is a list of all the classes I'll have finished by the time I submit my applications:
Calculus 1,2,3 and Proofs (Duh but figured I'd list it haha)
Abstract Algebra (Groups/Fields/Rings... etc)
Abstract Algebra 2 (Factor Rings/Ideals/UFDs/Finite Fields/Galois Theory)
Linear Algebra (Teacher loves Abstract and proofs)
Complex Variables (will take in fall 2011)
A. Calc (will take in fall 2011)
Numerical Analysis ( " " " " ")
History of Math (" " " " ")
Diffe Q
Elementary Number Theory (Indepenent Study, school only offers it one in seven years >.<)
Algebraic Topology (Indepenent Study)

Classes in Spring 2012
Point Set Topology ( I know I should take this before Algebraic but I plan on learning point set this summer on my own)
A.Calc 2

My GPA for major and overall should be around 3.7-3.8ish (idk guessing kinda). I'll get a A+ letter from a recent UCLA PHD grad, a A to A- from a recent PHD grad from Penn State and I have to figure out who I'll get my third from. So will letters hold more weight if I apply to schools that my professors graduated from?

(Trying to be realistic) I think I can say schools like Harvard, MIT... etc are out of my reach, but say I got a 70% in one scenario on the subject what would my options look like? And what about 80%, and 90% and 95%?

Oh and I should mention that I want to do algebra, topology or number theory. Anyways any advice is appreciated and pointers to increase my chances. Thanks all!

irreducible
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Feeling overwhelmed with graduate options

Postby irreducible » Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:48 pm

1. You need letters from faculty (not DWIC letters). Get talking to your professors. Ask lots of questions in class, ask them about their research, get to know them. This will help with my second point. The unfortunate fact is that letters from PhD grads will not likely be of any use.

2. Research. Unfortunately nowadays research experience is almost a requirement. Normally if you have talked to faculty and are acquainted they will be more than happy to help you get started. Even if you're just volunteering with some calculations it still looks good. This relationship will in turn help with my first point.

My advice for finding a school is to initially ignore the rankings.
1. Make a list of 20-30 schools.
2. Look at each individual professor's website and see what her research is. Glance through the abstracts of their papers etc. Does this interest you?
3. Note each school where people are doing interesting things.
4. Now you can sort this list by ranking.
5. Apply to every school on this list plus a handful of safeties.

IlikeGroups
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:20 pm

Re: Feeling overwhelmed with graduate options

Postby IlikeGroups » Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:25 pm

Ya I guess I worded that funny, the graduates I was referring to, is faculty at my school. But thanks for the advice that does seem like a really good way to organize schools.

johnrichard
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 6:24 am

Re: Feeling overwhelmed with graduate options

Postby johnrichard » Sat May 14, 2011 6:49 am

irreducible wrote:1. You need letters from faculty (not DWIC letters). Get talking to your professors. Ask lots of questions in class, ask them about their research, get to know them. This will help with my second point. The unfortunate fact is that letters from PhD grads will not likely be of any use.

2. Research. Unfortunately nowadays research experience is almost a requirement. Normally if you have talked to faculty and are acquainted they will be more than happy to help you get started. Even if you're just volunteering with some calculations it still looks good. This relationship will in turn help with my first point.

My advice for finding a school is to initially ignore the rankings.
1. Make a list of 20-30 schools.
2. Look at each individual professor's website and see what her research is. Glance through the abstracts of their papers etc. Does this interest you?
3. Note each school where people are doing interesting things.
4. Now you can sort this list by ranking.
5. Apply to every school on this list plus a handful of safeties.


Exactly..that will work.




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