College for a kid interested in statistics and international relations

When we toured Elon last year, my son and I discovered the dean of the business school, Raghu Tadepalli is of south Asian heritage. He was a blast to talk with and has helped lead the Martha Love SoB to some fantastic improvements. In particular, the internship program was very impressive. I left that conversation feeling confident that my son would be in good hands at Elon Business School.

Faculty diversity isn’t quite the same as student diversity, but it matters.

Good luck in your search!


@chmcnm Your point on work experience is interesting. Thank you.

I know that work experience is a positive, but I don’t have a good sense of how top schools evaluate it.

Of the names you mentioned, I think he would like Duke. Brown would be another possibility.

He is ambivalent about NYU because it doesn’t have a defined campus. NYU Stern appears to have a good stats program.

Look at the Common Data Set for each school. The admissions section will tell you what they consider for admission and it’s weight.

Work experience shows maturity. Maybe work something he’s learned or changed him from his work experience in an essay.

For instance, Brown rates EC’s as important but Work as considered. At least they consider it.

CMU rates Work Experience very high, the same as EC’s.

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Don’t get caught up in nomenclature. Some of the best stats programs in the country are just plain old vanilla “applied math” (vs. the more theoretical math, and many universities have strong programs in both). And I would not be cutting programs using numbers or percentage of students who go on to advanced degrees as a way to cull- applied math is a very versatile discipline which can be used in all sorts of jobs/careers, and unlike bio or chem where employment opportunities are both low paying AND somewhat dead end without a grad degree, a strong stats background will not require grad school (unless of course there’s a subfield of interest which requires more study).


And the applied math degree from a college of arts and sciences is likely going to be much more versatile than a stats degree housed in a business school or program. Applied math or stats can go into finance for sure, but also health analytics, biostatistics, anything genetics-related, transportation planning, urban planning, sustainability, agronomy, climate change, etc.

A few hours talking to actuaries might be a solid investment. The career path is not what most HS kids think it is…


@chmcnm I have looked at the CDSs and the relative importance of work. I am happy he has that experience because he has learned life skills. However, I don’t know that it would be viewed the way membership in a USAMO team or Regeneron semifinalist would to a highly ranked program. I agree that a couple of these might be worth applications, as you aptly noted with your home run … bat swing analogy.

We have looked at Applied Math programs and I don’t think the list would be too different, except that it might include a few more LACs. With the exception of Macalester, the LACs are generally located in rural areas. We have visited the Haverford and Swarthmore campuses, and they are small. As I noted in an earlier post, he is not looking at programs housed in business schools.

This is a good suggestion. His limited understanding of actuarial science has come from watching videos on SOA, ASA and actuarial program web sites.

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@13street I think you’re headed in the right direction. Yes, USAMO would be a great EC and probably carry more weight than work but I think you understand that work is also adds to an application and shouldn’t be discounted. If he could find a summer job interning on something math related that would be a bonus.

I would also see if your son would expand his horizons to applied math and focus on statistics for grad school. It would expand his list of schools.

Once you find a few safeties and matches, shoot for the moon. Instead of asking “why me”, ask “why not me”. I don’t have any experience applying to T10 schools like the Ivies but other people on CC do and they can help craft your son’s application. Good luck.

I remembered one more site that’s helpful. Might help your search. I still think a few schools like Brown, Tufts or CMU should be on the list.

Actually, I just looked at Tufts…great for IR and math, 5000 kids and in Boston. Some kids want to go far away from home for college. Overrated in my opinion. I lived an hour away from home when I went to college. Maybe went home twice a semester.

Also look at RPI and Rochester. A co-worker’s son turned down CMU last year to do applied math at Rochester.

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Thank you. Rochester is on the list and is one of the top choices based on virtual visits.