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Re: advice needed (undergrad)
3.62-ish GPA from top 10 liberal arts here, applied this cycle and in at UMichigan, UBC, Cornell, and a handful of programs in the 20-30 range. However, I have been shut out of top 10, unless Berkeley breaks the trend.
Where are the weaknesses in your GPA? What's your econ GPA, and your math GPA? I'm asking these rhetorically for you to deal with. If your weaker grades are outside of econ/math, you probably have much less to worry about. For me, I had econ about 3.55 or 3.6 and math about 3.8. Also, how have you performed in upper-level econ and math courses? Have you demonstrated you can handle the material? Again, rhetorical.
Frankly, I think choosing a 5th year would require a lot of justification. As it stands, if you get an RA job with a well-known prof as you say (assuming they are at a strong institution and have sent RA's to strong programs before), you can end up with a very good shot at 20-30 range programs, good shot at 10-20 programs, and some nonzero chance at top 10 with a bit of luck. In the meantime, you can *earn money* and possibly take awesome classes with awesome profs and awesome classmates while an RA, rather than spend (maybe your parents') money and time being a 5th year. To justify a 5th year, you'd need to be dead set on top 10 and/or see money as little to no object.
And, bear in mind, research background is very important in the admissions process. You have some experience going now, but it's not like you're at a point of minimal returns there. In other words, it's also not clear that boosting your GPA at the expense of a very strong and thorough full time RA experience would actually result in a better admissions outcome, while being an RA comes with a host of benefits in the near term.
In short: RA.
Edit: Maybe worth noting I also did 2yrs at the Fed, plus my current 2yrs with well-known Cambridge-area profs. Your mileage may vary depending on who you work with etc. Nevertheless, given that you're coming from a top 20 institution, I think that your expected outcome is similar to mine following an RAship. Note also you should have math through linear/calc3/stats&prob/analysis, and basically anything beyond this is conventionally thought of as overkill.