In general I am happy to write reference letters for undergraduates that I have taught or conducted research with. Before you ask me for a reference letter, here are some considerations:
- It is hard to write letters for students that I do not know well. If our only interaction has been that I taught you, consider how much we interacted during this class and office hours. If our interactions were limited, perhaps I am not the best reference writer for you.
- Preparing a reference letter takes some time, so please reach out to me at least two weeks before a deadline!
- I can only write you a letter if you waive your right to read it.
- Many application systems require my contact info and my job title. These can all be obtained from this web-page.
- It is usually a good idea for us to meet briefly, either in person or via Zoom, to discuss the programs your are applying for and your motivation for graduate study. This really helps me write you a stronger letter.
Due to research and teaching commitments, I am unable to supervise any undergraduate research projects at the moment.
For South African Undergraduates
If you are a South African undergraduate considering doing a PhD in mathematics in the United States, here is some general advice:
- Apply early.
- Consider applying to a few less prestigious or lesser known schools. Stanford and Harvard can only accept so many candidates a year, but there are many great schools, particularly in the Midwest and South-East, that are less oversubscribed.
- Look into doing a semester abroad, an REU , or some other research exchange. Not only will you have fun and learn a lot, you'll make contacts that will be useful when applying for graduate school.
- Consider applying for a Fulbright Scholarship
- Have a website or blog on which you can share some of your mathematical projects or presentations. Admissions committees actually do look at these sorts of things.
- If you have further questions, feel free to email me.