Hey everybody, I'm an international student, and I'm applying to an REU program in applied mathematics, the only one I've found that accepts international students. However, I'm intending to pursue a PhD in pure mathematics, and I'm not into applied math at all. So which would look better on grad school applications for pure math, a 10 week REU in applied mathematics or an individual research with a professor in my home institution in a field of interest that may or may not culminate in worthy results?

I would say depends on how long until you are applying. Any relevant research is going to look good; however you might be doing this independent work and get nothing, whereas there is a good chance of working on an REU project with some professor that gets you a write up and presentations which also look quite good. Also, there's nothing keeping you from doing both.

I'm applying at the end of this year for fall 2013.

Certainly I intend to do some independent research projects, but what would look better, one extra independent research or an REU in areas of no interest at all?

Certainly I intend to do some independent research projects, but what would look better, one extra independent research or an REU in areas of no interest at all?

There's nothing "special" about REUs. I am a graduate student at Stanford and almost none of my fellow grad students did an REU in college. Publications are overrated too; very few of my classmates had one before they entered grad school.

Retrospectively, I wish that I had spent more time learning advanced material as an undergraduate. My suggestion to you is to keep working with professors locally rather than going away for an REU.

Retrospectively, I wish that I had spent more time learning advanced material as an undergraduate. My suggestion to you is to keep working with professors locally rather than going away for an REU.

Potential for long term research success, not early leaps into the publication process, is what people generally want to see.

Your letters and several years of achievement are more important than any 10 or so week program.

Do the REU only if it really adds to your mathematical development.

Your letters and several years of achievement are more important than any 10 or so week program.

Do the REU only if it really adds to your mathematical development.

Thanks for the replies!

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