99

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 ...


56

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


15

"... unless you went through a textbook and attempted to prove every theorem yourself first you won't truly understand the subject" Nonsense! This is anxious, perfectionistic thinking, and internalizing thoughts like this ultimately caused me to leave academia. I felt that I couldn't pursue my research unless I fully understood everything from first ...


14

Instead of me looking through your questions on Math SE like Ethan Bolker suggests, let me tell you what I would look for and evaluate instead, and then let yourself do the self-evaluation (which is also an important skill to develop as a researcher!). Basically, I would look at if your questions are well received. If you hit the hallmarks of a "good ...


13

No-one really knows the educational effects of reliance on SE yet, mostly because you, and your generation, are the canaries down the coal-mine. Most of the experts who answer questions on the technical SE sites are people who completed their graduate education before SE existed, and some before the Internet was even in regular use. Those of us who answer ...


11

It's a completely neutral reply. I write these emails to qualified candidates about once a week myself. It is, in essence saying: "You've contacted the wrong guy. I'm not making the decision about admission. We'll talk again if and once you've been accepted and here." In other words, I don't think you can draw any kind of inference from the email -- neither ...


10

There are a lot of aspects of training to be a mathemtician. For example, you want to learn: Mathematical theory (definitions, key theorems, key constructions) Literature search (figuring out what's in which papers, finding results in books, using google to find relevant ideas) Mathematical tricks and proof techniques How to struggle with a difficult ...


6

I'm an assistant professor data mining in another EU country. Suppose that you choose to do this exchange semester at Keio University, and then apply for a PhD position in my lab. What your resume would tell me, is not that you elected to go to a university with relatively simple courses*. Instead, what it would tell me, is that you elected to acquire a ...


6

There is far too little information here to make any prediction. However, letters of recommendation are probably very important most of the time. Grades mean something. Research experience means something. Courses taken mean something. But all of the details are only there to paint a picture of the candidate that more or less enables an admissions ...


5

Really, the answer to this is very simple. Everything that you can find on the internet has already been done by someone else. What you are required to do in PhD research is something which has not been done by anyone else yet. Of course, the web may still give you good ideas about techniques, etc. But SE or (any other web forum) isn't actually going to "...


4

This is pretty common, actually. I'd suggest making it an outline, not a narrative. But use complete sentences so that he can copy paste if he wishes. Include the things from your background that you want highlighted in a letter. But, I'd probably not recommend writing glowing praise for yourself. Let him add that part. You can also include some forward ...


4

It is certainly valid for you to feel you are not getting enough supervision, but I don't think it is productive to make that assessment by comparing yourself to other students. That will only lead to frustration. On the specific issue of the preliminary exam, it's possible that he was confident that you would pass and therefore had a low priority on ...


3

In my opinion your friend should talk to the director of studies or whoever is in charge of the PhD program. They should explain that their situation is far from ideal and ask for advice. The objectives of such a meeting would be to: Appear on the institution radar as somebody who may have face difficulties due to these circumstances. This can help the ...


3

I would include the awards and emphasize how your experience as a student athlete reflects your time-management skills and ability to perform well under stressful circumstances. You also capitalized on a great opportunity-- funding via a scholarship-- and made the best of it. By the way, computer science is one of those fields in desperate need of ...


3

This is a classic example of what’s been dubbed the “XY problem.” You have some actual problem to which you’ve decided that emailing this professor is the solution and you’re asking about your solution. But I’m quite confident that getting a professor at another school to read a draft of an essay is not the correct solution to any problem. You should not ...


2

Having struggled with imposter syndrome since what feels like my birth ("How have I fooled everyone into believing I deserve to exist and participate in society?!"), I frequently revisit these answers for a moral boost, especially during conferences, where I fear the concentration of experts looking at my work all at once will somehow trigger my pending ...


2

You can just carry on with this approach through graduate school and well into your career as a professional mathematician. For instance I have at least one series of papers that started because of answers I got to a mathoverflow post when I was confused about something.


2

I doubt that it would have any effect at all. You might be better to stress other, more recent things. Presumably your transcripts show proficiency in statistics sufficient for entry. I doubt it would do harm other than to have someone, possibly, question why you did that. And a 3 isn't a huge benefit, as your undergrad experience showed. However, if ...


2

If you do a bit of a search you will learn that the GRE has little predictive value for success in graduate study. Given that, I doubt that a difference of five points has any significance at all. But how a GRE is interpreted by a specific admissions system is completely up to them, so, again, no prediction can be made here. Focus your application on ...


1

Kurt Gödel is an alumnus of University of Vienna, and would be a pretty hard act to follow, but at the intersection of math and philosophy he has few peers. I think your plan is perfectly reasonable, though if you don't speak and write German, you might want to address that. Maybe not essential today, I guess. The Wikipedia entry on the university is ...


1

Hiding the grade is unethical and if discovered will haunt you. But lots of doctoral courses in the US, at least, result in B grades. It isn't a huge problem if you learn something in them. Their purpose is to prepare you for comps, not to show a high GPA. I'd call in more or less neutral for your application. But the application, overall, needs to show ...


1

First the difference between a GPA of 3.76 and 3.8 doesn't seem very big or relevant to me. Beyond that, in general I would not put the two numbers in the application. Put the GPA of your already graded courses, so the 3.76 and write next to it that it is preliminary and in particular does not contain your thesis grade yet, which accounts for 20% of the ...


1

They will look at the overall more than the specific courses (in general, some schools will vary) for the simple reason that it is just easier. Consider the difficulties in doing subset examination of grades for applicants from different schools with different major requirements and names of courses. I don't recommend staying longer to get grades up. Move ...


1

If this is the US, then it could be either, but the grades that are most important are the ones that relate to your background and aptitude for the program you apply to. Some others may also be weighted fairly heavily. For example, if you apply in CS, then your grades in a writing course might be considered significant, since writing is an important part of ...


1

When asking for a reference letter, it is customary to provide materials that will inform the recommender of what you've been up to. In addition to an example cover letter and CV, you might also provide a brief synopsis of work that's relevant to the recommendation. Think about what you'd want to show the graduate school: evidence of research skills, like ...


1

If you are looking up the solutions to the exact (or trivially similar) questions you are being asked in your homeworks, then that is cheating. It is bad for all the reasons that cheating is bad: you are not doing the assignment the professor wants in the manner they want you to do it; you are side-stepping the challenge. Your performance in the assignment ...


1

I imagine that this is one of those situations in which far too many people have this "not invented here" mentality. It is something every one of goes through at some point in our lives. For example, a beginner programmer might insist that he or she has to write their own code for any and all functions that they wish to implement, including shunning the use ...


1

I intended to answer after looking at the kinds of questions and answers you posted on Math SE. I was surprised to find none linked from your profile. Stack Exchange can be a good place to "discuss mathematics", but if all you did was lurk, reading other people's entries, you have not discussed much, and may not be as ready for further study as others here ...


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