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It seems I'm about to have a bad application season, as all schools I'm waiting to hear from have given out offers of admissions to other applicants. I'm trying to come up with a viable plan to turn my application into a successful one for next year's season.

Here are some important things to note:

  1. I come from an unknown school, but my reference writers earned their Ph.Ds from well-known schools in the U.S. (top 25 via NRC ranking). They all encouraged me to apply to top 30 programs in the US.

  2. I am an international applicant.

  3. I am interested in pure mathematics.

Some fall-back plans I have is to actually get involved in research during the summer and fall, and I'm hoping I can get a serious publication out of doing this.

So for the people who have served on admissions committees in the past, what else can I do? Should I not bother to apply to the same programs I applied to this year?

1 Answer 1

There's a lot of helpful advice on this front in the thread How do you get a bad transcript past Ph.D. admissions?

Basically, your situation really isn't all that different from the one discussed in that thread—your credentials don't seem to qualify you for international study. However, you may have some additional possibilities to consider:

  • Were your IELTS/TOEFL scores below par?
  • How strong were your letters of recommendation? Do they actually attest to personal attributes, or is it merely a recitation of your performance in class? The latter do you essentially no good in admissions to a US-style graduate program.
  • Do you have the opportunity to take more classes before you apply in an attempt to improve your standing?

These are some possibilities, but without knowing more about your situation, it's hard to comment further.