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Thread: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

  1. #1
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    Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

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    Hi, I'm looking for suggestions on how I could improve my profile before I need to apply. I changed majors my freshman year so I've been trying to play catch up to get all of my math credits in.


    PROFILE:

    Type of Undergrad: BS in Economics, Math minor. At a regional university
    Undergrad GPA: 3.99 / 4.00 (4.00 in math and econ)
    GRE: Taking it this May, studying weekly with a friend also applying for grad school. Targeting 165+ Quant, anything lower and I'll study and retake it. I'm not focusing on studying for Verbal or Writing (should I?).
    Notable Math Courses: Cal 1, 2 (A, A), Multivariate/Vector Calc (A), Linear Algebra (A), Differential Equations (In progress), Stats for the Sciences/Math stats (In progress). This fall I plan on taking Introduction to Analysis, Probability, and will take Advanced Calc, Modern Algebra in the Spring. (The only other semi-relevant math courses my University offers that I'll be missing are Complex Variables and Numerical Analysis)
    Notable Econ Courses: Intermediate Macro (A), Labor (A), IO (A), Behavioral (A), Financial Economics (A), Intermediate Micro (In Progress). Will take International over the summer, taking Grad Econometrics next fall.
    Letters of Rec: Two of the professors that I am an RA for, they should be both be strong letters, I am close to my adviser (who I am an RA for) and work with him on a daily basis. Last letter will either be the College of Business Dean (econ PhD) or Mathematics department dean, I know the Math department dean fairly well.
    Research Experience: I've been an RA for 4 semesters now, will graduate with 6 semesters as an RA. Finishing up my second paper this semester, my first paper I presented at a few conferences and won my regional conference with. I am more interested in experimental economics research and have focused in that area. Will work on a third senior thesis/capstone beginning next semester. I reckon this is my strongest attribute, next to a letter from my adviser who I've worked with.
    Teaching Experience: I've been a student assistant the principles classes for 4 semesters, I've gotten opportunities to lecture and work one on one with students.
    SOP: Obviously this isn't written yet, but I plan on using it to explain the lack of course offerings I've had at my U, and financial issues for why I was unable to transfer to a university with a broader amount of course offerings.

    My Worries:
    1. My University is regional (it has an accredited and ranked business and engineering program though, so there's that?), so I worry that could overshadow any work I've done here.

    2. My University's math department is tied to engineering, so most of the math courses are catered toward that program. Due to this, the courses I need are offered on weird rotating intervals, and courses like Probability are only offered when one of the professor's feels like teaching it (as we don't have a stats program, so it isn't necessary for any of the engineers degrees). Not sure if I'll be lacking any specific courses, or if there'll be an issue I'll be getting my analysis and proofs courses my senior year (as they won't get my spring grades before admittance decisions, obviously).

    3. I'm nervous about the GRE, simply because time standardized tests with a ticking clock on the screen freak me out and make me more prone to make mistakes. I reckon with enough practice I can get over that standardized testing anxiety (that weirdly doesn't seem to effect me during classroom tests)


    Obviously, I'm missing info that'll be filled in these semesters, so I'm not really looking for chances of admittance. More looking at is there anything I should be doing or looking into. I also haven't decided exactly where I'll be applying yet, planning on applying to around 10-12. I'd like to shoot for a highly ranked program, but I'd also be perfectly happy landing at a mid-ranked University. I'm wanting a job at University so I can research and teach Economics, so I'd be hoping for a University ranked high enough so I could land an academic job.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Impressive. Very impressive. Make sure you do well in that Econometrics course and Analysis. You should have a good chance as long as your GRE goes well and your recommendations are good.

    I don't know what other people's experience has been but you might check if you can get a recommendation from someone with a reputation.

    GRE will come down to time management, the math is rudimentary. If I remember correctly, the ticking clock is optional, you can hide it.

    If you really want to get into a great program, applying for a masters program is a good way to give yourself something to do for 1-2 years before you try again in the case of failure.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmac3 View Post
    If you really want to get into a great program, applying for a masters program is a good way to give yourself something to do for 1-2 years before you try again in the case of failure.
    Very few students at American universities who end up in top programs do a master's first. Many do an RA gig, however.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    Very few students at American universities who end up in top programs do a master's first. Many do an RA gig, however.
    I don't know if that is true. A cursory glance at job market candidates at NYU shows about 40% have masters and at Harvard it is much lower at about 15%. Most if not all were foreign masters however.

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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmac3 View Post
    I don't know if that is true. A cursory glance at job market candidates at NYU shows about 40% have masters and at Harvard it is much lower at about 15%. Most if not all were foreign masters however.
    I do know that it's true. I've looked at the data. (The story is very different for international students.)

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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    I do know that it's true. I've looked at the data. (The story is very different for international students.)
    Ah, very good. Is the data publicly available? I'm curious

  7. #7
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmac3 View Post
    Ah, very good. Is the data publicly available? I'm curious
    The data isn't publicly available, although it will be eventually. The paper is at http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/~startz/The...mics%20PhD.pdf. (We seem to be having some connection issues at the moment, so if the link hangs you might try later.)

  8. #8
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Thanks! This is very interesting. That must have been a lot of work data mining all that info. If you ever do a comparison of masters in economics vs masters in mathematics for Americans, I would be interested in knowing the result. I imagine you would might need more data though.
    Last edited by mrmac3; 02-11-2018 at 08:15 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmac3 View Post
    Impressive. Very impressive. Make sure you do well in that Econometrics course and Analysis. You should have a good chance as long as your GRE goes well and your recommendations are good.

    I don't know what other people's experience has been but you might check if you can get a recommendation from someone with a reputation.

    GRE will come down to time management, the math is rudimentary. If I remember correctly, the ticking clock is optional, you can hide it.

    If you really want to get into a great program, applying for a masters program is a good way to give yourself something to do for 1-2 years before you try again in the case of failure.

    Good luck.
    Thanks! So it seems like applying for a Masters program and working for a year on grad Econ or Math work would be a good back up plan?

    My main concern with a LOR from somebody with a reputation is that there aren't many connections at my school that have PhDs from highly ranked schools. My best chance is if I end up landing a competitive Summer Internship at Fed and I make a connection with Econ PhD there (that's something that simply isn't any guarantee though, as those aren't easy to get). I'm hoping this can be made up for the fact that I know the professors better than I'd assume a typical undergrad would, so there should be more to write than just "xx did well in my class, shows promise!"

    Not sure if the regional university aspect will overshadow that or not though. I'm a little fuzzy about what aspects admissions cares more about.

  10. #10
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    Re: Profile Evaluation for Fall 2019: Looking for Suggestions

    Just to re-iterate, there's virtually no reason for a well-prepared American undergrad to take a master's program. If you're prepared for PhD econometrics you're prepared to go into PhDs. U.S. econ master's are weak and generally cater to professional students.

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