I'm applying for fall 2019, and I would really appreciate any feedback on my chances of getting into the programs I specified.

Program: Statistics PhD

Schools Applying To: Virginia Tech, Penn State, Johns Hopkins, UGA, Purdue, NC State, Rice, Missouri at Columbia, VCU

Interests: Design of experiments, response surface methodology, stochastic processes

Undergrad Institution: US State School

Undergraduate GPA: 3.81 (cumulative) 3.89 (major)

Undergraduate Major: Statistics

GRE: 154 V, 163 Q, 4.0 AW

Quantitative Courses: Intro Stat (A), Calculus I (A), Discrete Math (A), Calculus II (A), Intermediate Stat (A), Mathematical Reasoning (A), Linear Algebra (A), Combinatorics (A), Mathematical Computing (A), Statistical Computing (A), Differential Equations (B), Advanced Calculus (B), Multivariate Calculus (B), Probability Theory (B), Statistical Inference (A), Mathematical Modeling (A), Nonparametric Statistics (A), Regression (A), Mathematical Statistics I (B), Complex Analysis (A), Time Series (A), Applied Computing w/ R (A), Numerical Methods (A), Multivariate Statistics (A), Industrial Statistics (A)

Work Experience: 1 semester working on a research project in Biostatistics, 1 summer doing research at a national lab (which results in 1 published paper and multiple projects), 1 summer with statistical internship doing Bayesian work, Multiple semesters being a math tutor/TA

Demographics: Domestic White Female

LORs: 1 from my research advisor at national lab, 2 from professors I know very well and have promised outstanding letters

SOPs: Will most likely try to tell the story of my research and how it connects to the research I want to pursue and how that could fit into their department


  • My low-ish GRE score
  • The 5 B's I received, even though they were not received in recent coursework

Thank you for any advice!

marked as duplicate by cag51, Scientist, astronat, ff524 Jul 25 '18 at 18:17

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  • Welcome to Academia.SE. Unfortunately, your question is not a good fit for our site -- we don't really do "specific advice", focusing instead on question of general interest. FWIW (and I'm not a statistician), the few blemishes you mention seem rather insignificant. So, I doubt they'll reject you for being unqualified -- but if there are too many qualified candidates, it will come down to whether there is enough to make them select you over someone else (usually research experience, occasionally LoRs or essays). – cag51 Jul 26 '18 at 2:51

Every university is different. Every student is different. You have picked a set of very demanding schools each of which gets a lot of outstanding candidates each year. I wouldn't worry unnecessarily, but what anyone says here is unimportant except to encourage you to apply.

I won't be on any of the committees reviewing your admission, but would, myself (mathematician) have no doubts about your success.

A low GRE score can result from many factors. Some people just don't do as well on such exams as other people do. I always found them pretty easy but it was just a thing that happened. I also think that such scores are considered only a relatively minor indication of success.

However, when you apply you will likely be invited for an interview. That is where you really want to shine. Any negatives you think you might have you should be prepared for with an honest answer. And think a lot about what you want to do with such a degree once earned. How do you see yourself in 15 years?

Apply, but knowing that nothing is certain, have a backup plan.

But the only valid answer will come from the institutions and you won't get that answer without asking. The best way to ask is to apply.

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