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Okay so I am in the final year of my math undergrad, and I am an undergraduate research assistant in what you might consider Mathematical Physics, specifically in Black Hole Quasi-Normal Modes.

I have really enjoyed working in this research area, and I will be applying to grad school in the next month. So my question is, now that I know which universities out there in the world have published in this field, If I apply to a Math PhD at one of these universities, with the intent of continuing to research black Hole QNMs does this at all increase my chances of getting accepted?

Or in general how much does the match between undergraduate research, and University research impact your chances of getting accepted to graduate school?

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I'm not part of an admission committee so take this with a grain of salt (maybe someone with more experience here will chime in). But from what I've seen second hand, yeah it will help. Probably more indirectly than directly though. You're making connections with people in the field, developing interests, and presumably doing research. All these things let you put together a stronger application - from relevant letters of rec to a well informed personal statement. That could give you an edge over someone who has less specific experience.

It probably won't make up for bad grades, lackluster research, or other shortcomings in your application though. So basically, it could make a good application better but it isn't going to fix a bad application - if that makes sense.

I think it's too individual to generalize though. It's just one part of an application. You can spin any experience to your benefit, relevant or not. But since you have relevant experience, run with it.

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  • I agree and I will add that undergraduate times of research should be spent with an impactful advisor willing to guide you. Nov 8, 2023 at 14:28

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