Undergrad Institution: Mid-sized, Southeast State School
Major(s): Mathematics & Physics
Minor(s): (math/physics duality)
GPA: 3.12
Grad Institution: same as UG
Major(s): Mathematics (M.S.)
GPA: 4.00
Type of Student: DWM
GRE (old) General Test:Q: 790 (93%)
V: 700 (97%)
W: 4.5 (72%)
GRE Subject Test in Mathematics:M: 640 (49%)
Program Applying: Pure Math, Geometry and Topology
Research Experience: 3 research projects: 1. pure math with technical report, in Sweden during study abroad, 2. computational astrophysics, summer RISE research internship in Germany, 3. CFD code at home uni with UG RA
Awards/Honors/Recognitions: top math dept academic awards in Master's
Pertinent Activities or Jobs: tutored math, TA during Master's, taught math & physics at community college
Any Miscellaneous Points that Might Help: visited UW math program in fall; lots of grad classes: e.g., algebraic topology, differential geometry, real analysis, functional analysis, etc.
Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: started and led seminar on Lie theory, lots of informal studies in gauge theory and gravity
Applying to Where: (listed in order of app due dates)
Northwestern - Pure Math / Rejected via email on 1/23UW Madison - Pure Math / Admitted + TA via email on 1/31 Attending! U Washington - Pure Math / Rejected via email on 3/5 Ohio State - Pure Math /
UC Riverside - Pure Math / Admitted + fellowship (15k) + TA (11k) via email on 1/24UVA - Pure Math /
U Arizona - Pure Math / Admitted + TA via email on 3/11Penn State - Pure Math /
SUNY-Stony Brook - Pure Math / Rejected via email on 3/23Boston U - Pure Math / Admitted + Teaching Fellowship via phone call on 3/6Indiana U-Bloomington - Pure Math / Waitlisted via email on 2/27U Oregon - Pure Math / Admitted + TA via email on 3/23UT Austin - Pure Math / Rejected via email on 3/1U Michigan-Ann Arbor - Pure Math / Rejected via email on 3/9What I learned: If you have a low stat (see above), DO take some space in your personal statement to explain it in a professional manner. (e.g., "I had to work to pay my way through..." etc.) Your research interests and background are paramount, of course. Make sure you "fit" into the general direction of the program. Email people and ask what is hip and rising. Websites often lag from the current direction the program is taking. Find an "in" and make sure you are a familiar face or name.
Also, don't assume reviewers see the obvious; there are too many applications. For example, I got a C in Adv Cal 1 (baby Rudin) and then As in Ad Cal 2 (baby Rudin) and the grad Real Analysis 1 (Royden). Obviously I picked up the Ad Cal. Tie that together for the reviewers in your letter. Otherwise they might not get past that C.
Good luck, future generations!