I am wondering if I should just get a math masters and try to get a job in industry to try to get my PhD.
Here is my situation. I recently graduated, and I applied to grad schools last winter. I got waitlisted at UCSD and at Rutgers, primarily because I did not do well on the GRE Math subject exam.
Well over the summer and into this Fall, I will be doing 3 research projects, 2 with big name professors as I have also been studying for the GRE Math diligently. I definitely think I can get a respectable score on the GRE Math (like a 70+ percentile score, my score last year was below 50%) and my letters of recommendation will be a lot better. I expect to have a publication where I worked side by side with one of my professors by the time grad school apps are due. Overall, I expect to have a way better grad school application this year than I had last year. I had a 3.8 overall GPA at an institution that has sent kids to Berkeley, Texas, Harvard, UCLA for math phd.
So given that my profile is going to be a lot better, what schools should I apply to? I mean I had an OK profile last year and got waitlisted at 2 schools that I would be happy if I get into, UC San Diego and Rutgers. I figured I am going to apply to a lot of the midrange schools (like #15-#30 range) and a few of the top level schools (3 or 4 top 10s). I have a standing admissions offer for Fall 2009 at NYU for their masters program.
My plan is to apply to all "good" programs, no safety schools because I'd rather go to NYU and get a masters and start working than go to a safety school and have a tough time finding a job in academia. So if I can get into a school like Northwestern, UIUC, Duke, UPENN, etc. I'll turn down my NYU math admissions. If I don't, I can just go to NYU, and I'll probably just take a bunch of financial math courses and try to get a job on Wall Street for a few years.
What do you guys think? I know someone is going to say apply to a safety school, but I went to a school that is in the mid 20s rank, and almost all the professors were from Harvard, MIT, Chicago, Berkeley, Stanford, etc. I didn't see anyone from UCSB, UC-Santa Cruz, you know what I mean? I have looked up faculty and their research interests at almost all the top 50 schools, I would say most of them came from top flight programs. If I don't have a chance at academia, I would rather just try to get a good paying job and pay off my masters debt.
Also, are there any math phd students on the forums? It seems that grad school is 50+ hours a week, now does this include TA and courses? Or is this 50 just studying? Because than that can easily become an 80 hour a week.
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