144

A few suggestions: If it were me, I would be very forthcoming about the illness. Of course, no one is entitled to your private medical information, so you will have to decide what you're comfortable with. But "an undiagnosed brain tumor caused me to act erratically" is a very convincing explanation, and does not reflect poorly on you. Consider ...


100

Yes! In fact, I think you're well on your way to doing better than your peers! Taking longer to understand something isn't something to be proud of! There's no need to reinvent the wheel. If someone can help you understand something, you would be well-advised to make use of them. In the same way, you would be well-advised to attend the lectures, thereby ...


76

[For context: I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Georgia. I've served on my department's Graduate Committee, which does graduate admissions, for about eight years. From 2016-2019 I was the Graduate Coordinator, hence the faculty member most directly involved in the graduate admissions process.] Regarding your son, you told us: 1) He is ...


64

I'll give the same answer as Allure, but for a very different reason. Not only is it common, but most people won't notice it. And of the few that do, fewer yet would think it an important enough issue to bother with. "Egad, this person misspelled a word. Horrors." Nope, it ain't gonna happen. But, you also need to be assured that no single thing, ...


60

First of all, I believe this is extremely common these days. More and more I notice students neglecting to develop important problem solving skills and instead developing great “google-fu” and “stack-exchange-fu” skills to achieve the same goals. Now, don’t get me wrong, SE-fu is a terrific skill to have. Just like you are worried about using the internet ...


60

To be honest, you will not be spared the moral decision. There will be a number of angry and/or unhappy people if you leave, there is no way around that. The core question is: do you know the other supervisor? Will you be happy with them? Is the added value of the other topic/institution so much more than your current that this difficult and costly decision ...


57

You can't "retract" a letter. This isn't done, and I think it would look weird and somewhat suspicious. The committee might be inclined to read that letter more closely in case it contains something damaging that you were trying to conceal. At the very least, it seems distasteful to be "gaming" your professors' supposedly well-considered evaluations in ...


56

I would just reply that you thank him for his interest but that it isn't possible to work together at this time. But suggest that you would be honored/happy to stay in contact for the future if your fields of interest intersect. Over the long run you want to build up a set of contacts like this and you have an opportunity to start it. He might be a future ...


55

I do not think the quick monetary outlay is common. You seem to be leaning toward acceptance and then backing out if you get a better offer. This may be possible because, in my experience, there is not a centralized system which lets other schools know you have accepted (although perhaps that could be different for Masters programs where you are using ...


50

As other people have mentioned, the problem with 16 schools is that a professor cannot, either truthfully or operationally provide customized letters to 16 different schools. By "customization" I mean more than changing the name of the school and program. Good letters of rec use professor's familiarity with their field to speak to applicants' specific ...


48

Your professors are in essence, trying to help. They think that their letters would not carry enough weight to help you. They may be thinking about if they'd admit a student from a different field whose letter-writers said nothing about their chemistry experience (and apparently deciding they would not). Professor's time is valuable, and they don't want to ...


39

Yes, this is an interview. Or at least a part of an interview - depending on your location, there may be a more formal one later. As a rule of thumb, both for academia and industry, whenever you meet with a prospective employer, be it for a coffee or lunch, a "chat" or something else, it is part of the interview. As for the chat itself. If he asked ...


38

It's certainly possible -- in fact, in the USA it's more common to start a PhD directly after a Bachelor's than after a Master's. In Europe, having a Master's first is a more typical requirement, but I have known some people to start PhDs straight after their Bachelor's (in physics, in the UK). Having significant research experience and published papers will ...


38

Go to the Dream University This quote from your question says it all. Internally, deep inside me, I want to leave and pursue my dreams and the things I am more passionate about. However, I feel very bad and selfish to do this. In this case your dream is achievable. Follow it. Everyone else will be OK. Your supervisor will probably get another student and ...


35

You have nothing to lose by reaching out -- the sooner the better. The best person would be a professor who recruited you (wants you in their group) or informed you of the offer. But I would also reach out to: Any administrator who contacted you Any other professors you are interested in working for Whichever faculty member in the department is in charge of ...


33

Tell your professor of your plan to apply to 16 schools, and let them decide if it’s too much. They are capable of making their own decisions without you doing that on their behalf. It’s nice of you to worry about the professor’s well-being, but unnecessary, and counterproductive if it ends up undermining your own success. And as for the professor ...


27

Can One Poorly Written Research Paper Derail Your Academic Future? No, it can’t. It sounds like you are catastrophizing. And in any case, if you got an A-, it’s extremely unlikely that your paper is poorly written. So as in the case of the advice I gave in the other linked answer, your excessive concern about ruining your academic career with a single small ...


27

You might mention extenuating circumstances if: They significantly decreased your past performance. You explain why your performance will not be reduced in the future for the same reason. Do not include any evidence unless it is requested, or perhaps if the circumstances were something very unlikely. Having been imprisoned for a crime and later exonerated ...


26

As others have pointed out, anything can happen. Of course if you are at the weaker M.S. school, emphasize your class rank, etc. But my Bayesian estimate is that you (one) are better off at the STRONGER school. It will challenge you more, move you more etc. Don't try to be a big fish in a small pond. Go out in the ocean and compete with the Great ...


26

Change your name I don't know about other countries but in the UK one can change their name by deed poll. https://www.gov.uk/change-name-deed-poll It is also acceptable to write academic papers under a pseudonym. If I publish under a pseudonym, can I still take credit for my work? Also in the UK, universities are required to take issues of mental health very ...


26

we were in the bottom of the pile. Not really! You were in the very top of the pile. Many departments get more PhD applications than they can accept. Typical acceptance rates are about 10%, although I don't know about statistics specifically. So if they offered eight spots, you were applicants #9 and #10. That's good. Unfortunately, when it comes down to ...


25

To know whether you can do an applied math PhD, the question to ask is: did you succeed in difficult math, science, and computer science courses in undergrad, and do you have professors in relevant fields willing to write you a strong recommendation? General aptitude tests are dramatically less informative. This is not to say that, if you’re correct that you ...


25

I just want to answer just this part of the question: c) Let's say I decide to shell out my 5k -- would it be unethical for me to withdraw at a later date if I get into another school? They're not investing anything into me, and they get free money. if anything, it is (in my opinion) unethical for them to charge this much as a non-refundable deposit. ...


24

I strongly recommend that your son (or you) speak with the professor he is working with at his university for guidance on your questions. With that being said... With regards to funding age restrictions, it should not be an issue. Also, funding for CS PhD programs (at least in the United States and Cananda) is almost always guaranteed with acceptance and is ...


24

The letter is fine, but I'd actually suggest that you replace this: I have asked prof A about studying with him, but he has kindly refer you to me since he's on leave next year. with something like the following: Prof A has referred me to you as being a good fit for my research interests. There is no real need for the rest of it, and might be ...


23

First, I don't think you did anything wrong. If there was improper action anywhere it was on the part of others. (See the final statements about "favors" in the answer of tbrookside for example.) But I suspect that the oral recommendation given had little weight other than at the margin. The professor wouldn't have taken you on if there was any ...


23

I suspect @Buffy is right, that you did not do anything wrong. However, you did receive an advantage you did not earn because of who your parents are and who do they know. I suspect that that advantage is much more subtle and much more substantive than the oral recommendations (compare your experience with this answer Does politics and perception play a role ...


22

Sending offers too late to a very good applicant also involves the risk that the applicant will accept a different offer, and the university will lose out. Very good applicants also tend to receive many offers, so this risk should not be underestimated. Similarly to the case of hiring employees at a company, if a university wants to admit the best students, ...


20

Definitely not. Plagiarism is the use, in an academic, creative or intellectual context, of someone else's ideas or distinctive language, without proper attribution. It follows from this that in some forms of writing it is not possible to plagiarize: for instance, you cannot plagiarize in a lease or customer service agreement or in wedding thank you cards. ...


18

I wouldn't worry too much. It sounds like you are making excellent progress. You are still an undergraduate, you have tons of time ahead of you! There are lots of good ways to learn mathematics. Talking with others (including over the Internet) is one. Allowing yourself to get stuck, and trying hard to come up with your own proofs is another. If you feel ...


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