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Thread: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    Sponsored Ad:
    Undergrad Institution: University of Failureville - Loser City Satellite Campus (economics program? unknown, you haven't heard of it)
    Major: Economics and Math (?)
    Overall GPA: 3.78
    Economics GPA: 3.9
    Math GPA: 4.0
    Math Courses: Calc Series, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations
    Economics Courses: Intermediate Macro/Micro, Econometrics, Industrial Organization, Labor, Money and Banking, Development, International Economics,
    Letter of Recommendation: I've got them and they're solid.

    My dilemma is as follows: I'm unsure as to whether or not I want to finish up my Math degree, which is all that I have left at this point. I can graduate this semester if I want to and, for financial reasons, I'm considering trying my hand at getting into a low-ranked PhD program and accepting my fate as an academic who doesn't teach as at an institution that produces research of note. That'd be pretty okay with me at this point.
    However, this is very much a second best option for me and it's not what I want. Simultaneously, I'd really prefer to not stay at the institution I'm at, even if I'm very capable of getting straight As in all of my Math classes because, to be blunt, while I enjoy doing Math, I see it as a bunch of fun parlor tricks and logic games that have some useful applications. It's not my passion and taking 4 Math classes a semester for a year sounds soul-crushing, though Real Analysis seems like a fun class I guess.

    So, yeah, I guess I'm looking for guidance: do I have a shot at getting into a low-ranked, little-known Phd program? If so, does it still make sense to persevere and keep trucking? If not, I think I know what my task is: finish up my Math degree. I suppose I could also apply to one of those Applied Econ Master's programs, which I'm also willing to do if I can get funding, which I know I'm privy to somewhere based on connections.

    Lastly, I should probably answer what would be an acceptable outcome for me: if I could get into just about any graduate program that gave me full-funding and some sort of stipend, even if it was contingent on something, I'd be satisfied. I'm under no illusions here: my profile sucks. I could make it better but it'd come at a cost and I'm posting here to try to think about whether or not it's worth it to commit to improving my profile.
    Last edited by TheDeadFlagBlue; 02-12-2017 at 05:27 AM.

  2. #2
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    I think you're being more pessimistic than you should be.

    PM me your school name and I will give you a more accurate assessment. But I could see you getting a funded offer.

  3. #3
    economist
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    You are quite likely to be able to get into some PhD program. One thing you might want to do is to look at the placement records of a few such programs and see if similar results would make you happy. For that mater, look at your current institution and see where the faculty hired in the last ten years got their degrees. Would you be happy teaching at a place like your current school (not the same school obviously). That would give you a target for where to apply.

  4. #4
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    Throw in more math and keep the GPA high and I don't see how you couldn't get into a school breaching the top 30, which is by no means a bad thing. High GRE scores and research positions/independent would also look good and help you out.

    I have a similar profile to yours but just with more math and that's where my target interval is at for this grad cycle. If you have time, consider even taking graduate econ classes if you can, and do well on the GRE.

  5. #5
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    Thanks for the feedback!

    In retrospect, I definitely came off as a bit overly pessimistic here; I'm not very concerned about my odds getting into a low-ranked program right now...

  6. #6
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    If you can get LORs from people who do research I don't see why your profile isn't good enough for a top 40.

  7. #7
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    As is the case for other applicants from lesser-known universities, if you want to gauge your own competitiveness, you should figure out the previous placements of the top econ undergrads from your university.

  8. #8
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for a Weak Student

    bump

    Some time has passed and my objectives have been reconfigured. I'm very comfortable with the idea of taking more math classes, I've found that I can handle MA level economics (won't divulge why for confidentiality reasons) etc. With this in mind, I'm wondering if I have a shot at getting into MA programs at CEMFI or BGSE or the University of Toronto or Duke (top choices). It seems that lesser-known undergraduate institutions are able to send students to these programs; I'm just uncertain if I'd be competitive.

    Another question I have relates to the merit of "applied" master's programs that aren't strong or that are basically unranked. I have an easy way to obtain a master's in agricultural economics. If I run out of options, I'd consider it. There will be two faculty members who went to Berkeley's ag econ program there and, because I am interested in Berkeley's ag econ program, this doesn't seem like a total waste of time to me.

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