Quick background: I earned my BS in Math earlier this year at Portland State University, and just completed my first quarter in the MS Statistics program at the same school. I went into the program half-heartedly, and I’m really not into it.
I recently decided I’d rather find an MS program in Applied Math, or something similar that concentrates on Numerical Analysis, Differential Equations and the like. I’ve been looking at various universities across the nation, and have found several programs I like. Some things I’m wondering about:
- Thesis. I’ve been surprised at the number of programs that either don’t require a thesis or make it optional; usually the alternative is to take a couple of extra courses. If given the choice, I’d much rather just take the extra classes, but does an MS without a thesis “carry the same weight”? I’m envisioning a job interview once I’m armed with my MS:
Interviewer: “Tell me about your thesis.”
Me: “Uh, I didn’t do one.”
Interviewer: “I see.” (makes note of such, concludes interview)
The GRE. Some schools require it, some recommend it, some don’t want it. I’ve never taken any kind of exam like this (SAT, ACT, etc), so I truly have no idea what they are like. Most of the universities I’ve looked at have February application deadlines for the Fall Semester, but I read somewhere that it takes four to six weeks after taking the GRE for the results to be released. So even if I scrambled and took the test at the earliest opportunity (beginning of January), chances are the scores wouldn’t make it to the schools before the deadline. But wouldn’t I need to prepare for, like, MONTHS before taking it? Would I be best off just applying to schools that don’t require the GRE?
GPA. Long story short: didn’t care about college in my first go, got shitty grades; took eight years off, returned with a better attitude and got my degree. My undergrad GPA at PSU is 3.42, my major GPA is 3.5, but my overall GPA is 2.7. On top of that, this first quarter doing the stats program, not being too into it, I screwed up a bit… got 2 Bs and a C, for a 2.55 GPA. Did I shoot myself in the foot, or is it possible that schools will favor my undergrad performance more?
ETA: I’m not looking to get into Yale or MIT; I’m mainly looking at state universities.