My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
aeginotu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:09 pm

My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby aeginotu » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:31 pm

My profile:
Undergrad Institution: Tier 1 state school(in AMS grad school rankings)
Major(s): Math
Minor(s): None
GPA: 3.2 overall, 3.3 total math, ~3.6 advanced math(B's in all 3 calc's and Diff Eq)
Position in Class: Near top? I've only met 2 or 3 undergrads who are clearly above my level
(no real way to rigorize this, its just subjective opinion)
Type of Student: Domestic Hispanic Male

GRE Scores:
Q: Not taken
V: Not taken
W: Not taken
M: 74% is what I remember, think it was ~730

Program Applying: Math

Research Experience: None
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Big scholarship from the department. Applying for a college level scholarship as well, decent chance at receiving it.
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: I'm studying under a well known professor this summer, and will likely tutor come fall.
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: I'll probably have 6(and maybe 1-2 audited) graduate classes under my belt, namely:
- real analysis I
- two semesters of graduate level algebra
- two semesters of algebraic topology
- one other, most likely differentiable manifolds or analysis, but that could be either functional, complex or real 2.

sitting in on formal logic

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Anyway,

If you go to my older posts, I definitely overestimated how well I thought I'd do on the GRE, and I'm gonna have to retake it(thats what my professor is suggesting, he says a 74% might hold me back). So assuming I get an 80%+ on the retake:
a) What are my chances at the schools I'm looking at(they're below)?
b) What other schools should I be looking at?

My main interests right now are:
Algebraic geometry
Non-commutative geometry(though I've been somewhat scared off by a functional analyst in the department)
Recursion theory

The schools I was interested in are basically:
University of Chicago
U Utah
UW Madison
U Mich
Vanderbilt
Berkeley
one more TBD

EDIT: Updated the courses I'm taking.
Last edited by aeginotu on Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bemonocled
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby bemonocled » Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:57 pm

Hi, I'm also applying for fall '12 and am interested in non-commutative geometry. Two schools that are strong in NCG/C*-algebras that you haven't mentioned are UCLA and Northwestern, and Northwestern also is strong in algebraic geometry. Penn State also has an enormous center for NCG and is strong in algebraic geometry as well. So those are some other schools you might look at.

How did the functional analyst in your department scare you off?

gromov
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:49 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby gromov » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:15 pm

I would say that subject test score is fine - it's not that bad. Of course, raising it some could be nice, but yours isn't bad enough to raise concern.

That said for the very hardest to get into schools, a much higher test score can sometimes help.

I would be more concerned with your fundamentals (a lot of people applying have very high math GPAs). Your advanced classes will keep you in the running, but you should apply widely (perhaps consider some of the choices of previous poster).
You sound like the type of applicant where letters of recommendation could just about squeeze you in.

Basically, your GPA in advanced math coupled with test scores makes it clear you probably won't flunk out of the program's basic requirements, nor are you scared of trying advanced material. After that, it's often letters.

EDIT: The reason your professor's extra cautiousness about your subject score might be warranted, however, is that it might compensate a little for concern about your GPA.

aeginotu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:09 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby aeginotu » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:00 am

bemonocled wrote:How did the functional analyst in your department scare you off?


Thanks for the response. I knew about PSU have a NCG group, but not Northwestern. I'm in Chicago(which gives away what school I'm at, oh well.), so Northwestern may be a very convenient choice. Not too excited about the idea of staying in IL, but it is very convenient(and we have fantastic pizza in Chicago. I would miss that dearly). I also didn't know about PSU's A.G. I'll definitely consider both!

Anyway, I asked him about going into NCG, and he said that it isn't a fertile field at the moment, which is a serious red flag in my mind.(More important of course is that it is fertile in 3-4 years,)

gromov wrote:I would say that subject test score is fine - it's not that bad. Of course, raising it some could be nice, but yours isn't bad enough to raise concern.

That said for the very hardest to get into schools, a much higher test score can sometimes help.

I would be more concerned with your fundamentals (a lot of people applying have very high math GPAs). Your advanced classes will keep you in the running, but you should apply widely (perhaps consider some of the choices of previous poster).
You sound like the type of applicant where letters of recommendation could just about squeeze you in.

Basically, your GPA in advanced math coupled with test scores makes it clear you probably won't flunk out of the program's basic requirements, nor are you scared of trying advanced material. After that, it's often letters.

EDIT: The reason your professor's extra cautiousness about your subject score might be warranted, however, is that it might compensate a little for concern about your GPA.


Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement. I'm actually going to switch Formal Logic to graduate algebra. I was looking forward to the Formal Logic, but the algebra is far more useful(or at least it is for my purposes, logic is always useful!). The professor pointed out that if I apply to a top program without the graduate algebra it may hold me back from more advanced classes. That resonated with me, so I changed it.

That being said, when you say apply widely, do you mean apply to more selective or less selective schools or both? I'm pretty unsure of myself as far as what level I am at.


Again, thank you both for your responses!

bemonocled
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby bemonocled » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:13 pm

Anyway, I asked him about going into NCG, and he said that it isn't a fertile field at the moment, which is a serious red flag in my mind.(More important of course is that it is fertile in 3-4 years,)


I don't know exactly what he means by that. The non-commutative geometers I have talked to (who admittedly may be biased) seem to think that it is a great field for a young scientist to go into because there are so many unanswered basic questions. For example, there is not even a good way to define functions between spectral triples yet (the non-commutative generalization of Riemannian manifolds) - though there are some candidates.

Maybe he means that non-commutative geometry still needs to prove its worth to mathematicians/physicists in general? I would agree with that to an extent, though I've been told that a large reason for this is because it is such a sophisticated subject that people don't want to put the effort into learning it until it becomes really necessary to advance (especially among physicists). For example, the only rigorous model of the integer quantum hall effect that takes into account all of the relevant physics comes from non-commutative geometry, but it does not really tell you anything new about the quantum hall effect other than models that do not use NCG are obscuring the full picture. And with stuff like applications of NCG to the Standard Model, the masses are wrong. Connes' proposal on how to prove the Riemann hypothesis via NCG has decades of work left to be done, etc.

aeginotu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:09 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby aeginotu » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:34 pm

bemonocled wrote:I don't know exactly what he means by that. The non-commutative geometers I have talked to (who admittedly may be biased) seem to think that it is a great field for a young scientist to go into because there are so many unanswered basic questions. For example, there is not even a good way to define functions between spectral triples yet (the non-commutative generalization of Riemannian manifolds) - though there are some candidates.

Maybe he means that non-commutative geometry still needs to prove its worth to mathematicians/physicists in general? I would agree with that to an extent, though I've been told that a large reason for this is because it is such a sophisticated subject that people don't want to put the effort into learning it until it becomes really necessary to advance (especially among physicists). For example, the only rigorous model of the integer quantum hall effect that takes into account all of the relevant physics comes from non-commutative geometry, but it does not really tell you anything new about the quantum hall effect other than models that do not use NCG are obscuring the full picture. And with stuff like applications of NCG to the Standard Model, the masses are wrong. Connes' proposal on how to prove the Riemann hypothesis via NCG has decades of work left to be done, etc.


Hmmm... that's interesting. Maybe he meant its too difficult for most people to start out in? I'm not really sure what the meaning of it was. I'll probably learn about it regardless. Right now my major (hypothetical research) interest is in dualities between topological/geometric objects and algebraic objects, of which NCG is arguably based on. Of course algebraic geometry brings in its own dualities, and I believe you see a few in differential geometry/topology(all I know of are Serre Swan theorem and spectral triples really).

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

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby owlpride » Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:27 pm

If you go to my older posts, I definitely overestimated how well I thought I'd do on the GRE, and I'm gonna have to retake it(thats what my professor is suggesting, he says a 74% might hold me back).


If you can get above the 80th percentile, a retake might be worthwhile. A few of the top programs, Berkeley among them, are quite explicit that they are looking for math subject scores above the 80th percentile.

bemonocled
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:54 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby bemonocled » Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:37 pm

aeginotu wrote:
Hmmm... that's interesting. Maybe he meant its too difficult for most people to start out in? I'm not really sure what the meaning of it was. I'll probably learn about it regardless. Right now my major (hypothetical research) interest is in dualities between topological/geometric objects and algebraic objects, of which NCG is arguably based on. Of course algebraic geometry brings in its own dualities, and I believe you see a few in differential geometry/topology(all I know of are Serre Swan theorem and spectral triples really).


I am really interested in the same kind of stuff. If you haven't before, you should give the paper A Mad Day's Work library.msri.org/books/sga/from_grothendieck.pdf a read. It gives a birds-eye view of a bunch of different perspectives on generalizations of geometry and I'm sure that you would enjoy it.

aeginotu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:09 pm

Re: My chances at acceptance for fall '12

Postby aeginotu » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:07 pm

bemonocled wrote:I am really interested in the same kind of stuff. If you haven't before, you should give the paper A Mad Day's Work library.msri.org/books/sga/from_grothendieck.pdf a read. It gives a birds-eye view of a bunch of different perspectives on generalizations of geometry and I'm sure that you would enjoy it.


That was a really good read! Thanks for linking it to me :D


So, I had a "wat" moment today when I realized that my 2 'for certain' letter writers are both well known in their fields, and were doctorized at Harvard, and a possible third one(who seems to like me so far, I'm in their class) is the same. Maybe I should apply to Harvard? How strict are they about general GPA(as opposed to subject).




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