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Thread: Low GPA, What are my chances?

  1. #1
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    Low GPA, What are my chances?

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    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Economics from top2 Russian U
    Undergrad GPA: 2,89 (at present)

    Type of Grad: None
    Grad GPA: NA

    GRE: Haven't taken yet, but will study hard to get a good score.

    Math Courses: Calculus (C+), Linear Algebra (B-), Differential and Difference equations (A-), Probability and Statistics (A-), Dynamic Optimization (A), Game Theory (B-), Stochastic Processes (B-), Discrete (A)

    Econ Courses (grad-level): International Trade (B-)

    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Micro (B-), Macro (B-), Econ. Demography (A-), Introductory Econometrics (A), Institutional Economics (A+)

    Other Courses: Philosophy (A-), Sociology (B-), Accounting (A-), research seminars, projects etc.

    Research Experience: RA of a professor in my university, intern in one of the top research institutes, also unofficially (yet) working in the international laboratory in my Uni. Likely will become an RA of another professor.

    Letters of Recommendation: Will get one from somewhat famous American professor (He has written a book and has dozens of publications), one more from my supervisor (He has publications and he is somewhat known in European community). Searching for someone ho could give me another good recommendation. Probably will get one from my research institute supervisor. There is a slight probability that I will work with very famous American professor and get a very valuable recommendation, but not clear yet.

    Teaching Experience: Tutored Macro once for Management faculty students.
    Research Interests: Macroeconomic Policy, Political Economy, Inequality and Growth.
    SOP: none as of yet

    Concerns: Very low GPA (but not only for not working enough), what chances do I have to get to the places I want and what level of school would fit my level?


    Applying to: UCSD, UCLA, UCD, probably NYU, Boston


    Greetings!


    I realize that I want to pursue an Economics PhD, but I'm not sure whether I have considerable chances to get to the programs I want with my GPA. It is low for several reasons: (1) I have actually transferred to my current university from another one (in the middle of the first year), and because of specifications of the education system of my country some good grades were transformed as satisfactory what spoiled my GPA dramatically; (2) I have not good marks for some subjects (e.g. Game Theory, Inter.Trade) cause I was overloaded with studies when I was passing them (I had 9 exams and tonnes of HW); (3) finally, I was not working at the limit all the time cause I understood that I want to go to the academia just a year ago, before that I had an internship in bank and other experience.
    My dream is Berkeley or NYE, more realistic dream is Northwestern or Boston. I would love to study at the UCSD, or UCLA, or USC. I don't want to enter a university lower that John Hopkins or California-Irvine.
    I have an alternative to go to the prestigious MA in Economics in Russia and after that probably to get to a higher-level program (Berkeley and the like), but that's not the variant I want.
    What chances do I have to get to the programs from that I've mentioned (from California-Irvine to NYU)? What programs will I fit with my level? In your opinion, should I take an MA or apply for programs that I want to?
    Will be very grateful for your advice!

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    Quote Originally Posted by srpankratyev View Post
    My dream is Berkeley or NYE, more realistic dream is Northwestern or Boston. I would love to study at the UCSD, or UCLA, or USC. I don't want to enter a university lower that John Hopkins or California-Irvine.
    I have an alternative to go to the prestigious MA in Economics in Russia and after that probably to get to a higher-level program (Berkeley and the like), but that's not the variant I want.
    I think you need a reality check. Students with far better profile than yours get rejected at schools which you do NOT want to go. Furthermore, I am not sure that going to a MA in Russia would help with your profile much. Even if you did exceptionally well at a program like the EME or CEMFI, I doubt you would have good shot at schools like Berkeley.

    If this is not your final year, I would say that applying to MA programs and doing well in a prestigious MA program that is well known by the American Universities is your best shot. With your profile as it is, I think you will be very disappointed by your results.

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    you should really go through other posts of student profiles in this forum, and feedback of admission chances on those profiles.

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    Look at the Russian guy that placed at UCSD two years ago or so. Even if you do extremely well in your masters, I'm afraid your upper bound may be in the top 20. You are competing with very strong candidates from Russia that have near perfect grades.

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    There are some similarities in our profiles check if you'd like. Masters would definitely help if you do very well there, otherwise not so much.

    If you want to apply for PhD directly, my advice is:

    - Nail GRE. 167+ in Q, 157+ in V. Allow enough time for 3-5 attempts
    - Apply everywhere 10-45. 30-35 applications totally
    - Take more math if you can

    If you do above, you will be able to get some offers in that range IMO

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    Honestly with your current profile, even with a 170 on the GRE you'll have a very hard time getting into top 40 programs. Much safer applying around top 50-60 programs. But who knows

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    Speaking from my experience and personal observations, the strategy that would most likely end up with you being admitted into a top-20 program in Economics would be to first go for a Master's degree in the top institutions. Chicago(not so sure they had one, but I saw a colleague of mine enter their 2-year Master's program), Duke (Pure Econ, or Economics and Computation), LSE, Cambridge are some options that you might want to look into. The caveat being that you must consistently rank among the top students in the program throughout the one or two years you will spend there.

    That being said, it would probably help if you first accurately assess your current state of preparedness, which does seem to require some hefty supplements if you are to meet your proposed goals.

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    Quote Originally Posted by srpankratyev View Post
    My dream is Berkeley or NYE, more realistic dream is Northwestern or Boston. I would love to study at the UCSD, or UCLA, or USC. I don't want to enter a university lower that John Hopkins or California-Irvine.

    dude you need way better perspectives. Northwestern is NOT a more realistic dream, nor is UCSD or UCLA for that matter.
    I had an avg undergrad profile and had to get a north american master's, 2 year's RA experience (would have preferred a european master's but didnt get into LSE, Cambridge) and did well in GRE quant. Thankfully I managed a US-news ranked top 30 econ phd program this round.

    I think you really should ask yourself how committed you are to this path, because it will be long and tough. There's no reason to believe you can get into a top european ms program as you stand now (LSE, BGSE, Cambridge etc). you might first need to do part or all of that ms in your home country. Assuming you get into and do very well in LSE/BGSE/Cambridge and ace your GREs, then you'll hopefully hav a shot at the schools you mentioned. Just my two cents, I'm definitely not the best qualified to suggest.

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    Quote Originally Posted by YangmaL View Post
    Speaking from my experience and personal observations, the strategy that would most likely end up with you being admitted into a top-20 program in Economics would be to first go for a Master's degree in the top institutions. Chicago(not so sure they had one, but I saw a colleague of mine enter their 2-year Master's program), Duke (Pure Econ, or Economics and Computation), LSE, Cambridge are some options that you might want to look into. The caveat being that you must consistently rank among the top students in the program throughout the one or two years you will spend there.

    That being said, it would probably help if you first accurately assess your current state of preparedness, which does seem to require some hefty supplements if you are to meet your proposed goals.
    Thank you for the insight!
    But do I have chances to get to an MA program at university like Chicago? Duke? or LSE?
    And yes, another disadvantage of my situation is that I'm very limited in finance (my family has limited earnings and it can be proved), so I need at least the tuition to be paid. If I don't find such conditions in the US or UK than I will turn to other european programs like Toulouse or PSE/ CEMFI.

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    Re: Low GPA, What are my chances?

    UPD: I've taken my grades converted to the A/B format (converted to ECTS officially by my U) and used GPA calculator with respect to credits (converted these A/B grades into 4.0 scale)
    and got the following GPA points:
    Math GPA: 3,13
    Econ GPA: 3,47
    Math & Econ GPA: 3,25
    Overall GPA: 3,27
    These figures do not seem to look so bad, as that one mentioned in the topic. (It seems that faculty member computed my GPA neglecting credits) And I'm currently working to push my grades up in this semester. And I'm attending additional advanced math lectures (like controllable Markov chains). Also planning to take a master/phd-level econ summer school.

    Can it change something? I've heard about guys getting to top business schools with GPA 3,3 and decent recommendations (PhD in Econ/Finance). I would also love to get to a not bad business school on an Econ PhD program or, if not possible, to a decent masters.

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