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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
dang, you can work anywhere

I don't have a background in statistics (TA for stat class for those without stat backgrounds) but my field requires a lot of statistics and I find this true about a lot of fields. What do you like to do? I would expect that you could go into several fields but it depends on your interest. I know that there are a lot of opportunities in epi/bio-statistics, transportation, manufacturing (in some fields), healthcare, marketing, environmental-fields and research... ironically almost any applied field. However, you will hold an advantage over a lot of peer if you ever decide to go to graduate school for as long as you do not go into a literature/communication focus.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
But you are a true double major correct? (Completely separate requirements for both programs) That counts more than you think. Although Grad schools like to see separated fields (English and Business, or History and Philosophy) with completely separate requirements, they will normally hold a double major above a single major candidate. It shows grad schools you can handle more than other students and greater work loads. I know, because mine was the History and Philosophy example. In addition, my GPA was 2.85... technically a B- average due to my school's point system, but that was also including a few very poor grades (a D when I did well) in foreign languages before finding out I had a language disability. Still, a 3.0 is still golden for getting into grad schools and it is likely you are a better candidate for an assistantship than you think. However, start up my applying early (in the next few months if you are graduating in May 2012) and follow up with interviews and visits with the schools. Yes, the economy has made it more challenging to get a funded positions but if you are a good candidate with a good work ethic, then you can find a place. Profs know that 4.0 students do not always make good research assistants (often because they blow off assistantship work for class work). This is where double majors are attractive since they know you can do two things at once. Mathematic fields might chase the GPA more, but other field would love to "import" your skill set. So if you want to do a more applied field, you could be the prime research assistant.

Which college in Winona? Because the schools academic reputation also plays heavily into the grad application. (Don't always assume that a school needs a big name as there are many smaller schools that are well thought of, especially liberal arts colleges)

BTW, I completely forgot about the engineering field... those are always open to quantitative minded folks.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
PhD in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment (Combined Planning, Architecture, and Construction PhD program). Masters in City and Regional Planning. I am basically a Transportation Planner.
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Winona is a state university in Minnesota. It isn't too famous but it does have an extensive statistics program. I have taken probably 6 grad school courses and used some pretty nice statistics computer programs. Thanks for the help! I really appreciate it.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
OK, I was not sure (I kinda guessed it was WSU) but there are private school as well in that neck of the woods, right? I kinda got a feel for the MN schools from my brother who coaches at Morris. NE ways, you should be able to find a graduate program if you really want... but it requires you knowing what you want to in life. A masters degree can be two things, an catapult for skipping some of the more "entry" level positions for as long as the field does not assume the Masters to be the entry degree (City Planning does, for example). Or it can be a "shift" to another field. For me, it was that shift. Philosophy and History are not applied fields (it got me an internship in planning but I needed a masters degree to break in) so going with a city planning degree allowed me to enter into a different career field/direction. If you have taken 6 graduate courses, what is your GPA in those courses? If it is high, then you can have a good case of admittance and an assistantship. I used my GPA from my 300+ level courses (3.32) as my argument (because the 100-200 levels is where my GPA stunk). If you can show that you are serious, then grad schools take notice. On the other hand, those 6 courses could also hurt you. My friend took several masters courses in civil engineering as an undergrad and then entered the grad program... he could not retake those courses to fulfill the requirements and it was a PITA to get substitutes (which were grinder courses). For instance, he had to take PhD-level research statistics in the applied stat program. Those courses were to weed out PhD level stats folks in a stat program... and he had to do it as a civil engineer masters student. I know, because I had to take one of their courses for my research methods requirement and it was a $&%*@.

And props for those state normal schools! Represent!
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I am basically a 3.0 student. I got like 2 stats classes and 2 math classes that I did not get a B in.

Oh! Yes there are some private schools here.

I have no desire to skip those classes in Grad School. I just wanted my application to look better.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
FSU, are you are a GIS person? Weird.

In grad school there are only 3 grades really. A , B... and Failing. People get let go because of C work. That is why I was asking about your grades in the Grad courses. If you got Bs it is ok, but As would make a really good case. If it was less, you might need some creative explanation. As for already taking them... it is not to "skip" courses, it is more like they will not let you take the course again (which sucks because they normally swap it out with a more difficult course). Just market yourself well, and things work out. Math can be done is nearly every field so you are more of a "jack-of-all-trades" than you think. You can still go into a biological program and they will love someone with a stats background... biostats is BIG. Heck, my masters thesis was nothing but one large regression analysis for shipping projections... and that was from someone with 0 undergraduate math courses (got to love the "logic" loophole). If you really want to get into a different field, take a look at what master programs expect you to have. Marine Bio might like to see organic chem (which should not be too difficult for a math person) and some basic bio courses. But you have to get good grades in those classes. If you final semesters allow you to branch out, do it in the field you want to pursue. I took urban planning courses (offered in the Geography program) while my History thesis looked at urban development. I used that to show my interest and ability in the field which I wanted a masters degree.

Don't worry, a GPA has nothing to do with intellect. I was in the bottom half of my undergraduate class and my wife was "first" (she has never made a B in her life, only As from kindergarden to masters). That being said, I am getting my PhD and she is happy with a Masters. What it turns out to be is that I am "smarter" at research and creating new ideas than she is but she can recall almost any fact/topic. Her brilliance is replication and perfection, mine is creation and argumentation. Different intellects and the undergrad favors my wife's ability more but it favored her less once in grad school. I was an under-performing undergrad but became one of the strongest grad students ever to go through my program. In fact, my oral defense for my PhD was almost a non-event. Non of my advisers had any issues... a rare thing because a Prof can create any issue they want. The discussion of whether I passed only took about 2 minutes and I have seen those discussions go on for hours.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
Oh, and those who are thinking about grad school, this comic sums it up well. Feel free to read from the beginning and/or read the top 200 list.

http://www.phdcomics.com/
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
interesting... one of the courses I TAed was Quantitative Analysis and Land Use. It is basically a hybrid statistics and GIS course(s) that end with a final comprehensive plan. Crazy. I was glad I was really only the TA for the stats part but grading was a pain!
 

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Schroeder
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1,149 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I am still bouncing around between going to grad school and getting a job. Most of the jobs I see online say things like

-a (bachelors, masters, or doctorate) degree in statistics
-2 years experience
-knowledge in use of statistical programs

I was wondering if you guys think that if I said something along the lines of "I can work here for minimum wage for 2 months and if you like me, you can bump my wage up, otherwise you can let me go. Do you guys think that this would be a bad idea? I am kinda hoping just to get a job but I am not sure what my options would be and it just makes me nervous.
 

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Aquatic Philosopher
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15,434 Posts
The job market stinks, but it is still area-economy driven. There should be data driven jobs out there. I would not try the minimum wage deal (you might as well apply for internships because that is what they are). The cost to go to grad school is the cheapest it has been because you are likely to be under-employed so the tradeoff for loosing two-years of earnings is less right now than in a good economy when you are rightfully employed or over employed. If your prospects look like minimum wage for two years, go to grad school and work. If you can land an assistantship, then it might pay better than minimum (often) and reduce school costs.
 
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