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Thread: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

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    Math grades vs Grad econ grades

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    This question has been bugging me for quite a while now. Hope someone can shed some light on this.

    Hypothetically, will a candidate be marked down if he doesn't have enough - or bad - math grades on his transcript, but has As in PhD micro I, macro I, econometrics I?

    The reason for this is because math courses are taken to signal the ability to at least survive the first year sequence. However, if said candidate gets As for all the first PhD sequence, will that be sufficient to speak for his ability?

    I ask this because I strongly believe that intersection between people who enjoy and can manage grad econ & the people who hate pure math classes is strictly non-empty.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    Anyone?

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    I'd say it's all relative to competing candidates with a benefit of the doubt given to others who have excelled at either one of those tracks with no mention of the other.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    Grad econ grades weight more.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    I agree that grad econ theory grades should weigh a lot more because it's strictly more relevant. But my guess is they're somewhat discounted in admissions because there's some variance in content and grading across departments. I had a good example of that because I took grad micro twice: the one I took at a HRM program was both technically easier, and more leniently graded (80% A range), than the same course I took at a MRM place (30% A range). On the other hand, undergrad math courses are quite consistent across U.S. colleges.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    What if said candidate isn't from the US system, but from the UK system? Grading system is A, B, C, etc, with no + - in between.

    If there's a chance that one/two of the 5 math course will result in a B instead of an A, should those grades be reported? The reason for this is the math courses are taken as a non degree student, and thus, are on a separate transcript, so there's the flexibility of not reporting if optimal. Not reporting these courses = profile only has multivariable calculus on transcript, while reporting these courses = profile has up to analysis on transcript.

    So should the math courses be reported even if he achieves As in all the first year sequence? Or is it best not to report since it'll paint a bad light?

    No surprises that the hypothetical student is me. There's a chance that I might not get straight As for the math courses since I'm juggling my 5 math courses + 2 RA projects + masters coursework.

    The bad math grades, if submitted, won't be addressed in my SOP since it'll be akin to me making excuses.

    I'm applying for the Fall 20 cycle so it's still a long way to go. The only problem with my profile - so far - is that I'm not optimistic that I can get straight As for all the math nonsense that I'm taking this year.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    Seems fine. AFAIK something like 65-69 in a British university is closer to an A- than a B+ in an U.S. liberal arts university, in terms of percentiles. Even if adcoms don't know about the UK system specifically, I think all foreign students get leeway with occasional "bad" grades; their marks/ranking within their master's program gives a much better idea of their academic ability.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    That's reassuring. I'm not necessarily worried about perception of academic ability since I ranked 3rd in my cohort of 700+ students (not in Econ though, which is why I'm loading up on the math courses + doing a masters to signal with good grades in PhD coursework). Of course, if I end up with all As for my math courses, then all is well and good but it's better to prepare for all eventualities.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    I personally think it would be better for you to mention why you didn't do well in all of your math courses. If someone has a doubt and you have a good reason (which seems to be the case), more information is better here.

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    Re: Math grades vs Grad econ grades

    Quote Originally Posted by Spookiz View Post
    I personally think it would be better for you to mention why you didn't do well in all of your math courses. If someone has a doubt and you have a good reason (which seems to be the case), more information is better here.

    No, that's just dumb. Adcoms compile a file on each applicant past the first round. There will be some kind of a summary report or excel file. Those files will include some indicator of your math grades. And nobody is going to put an asterisk * underneath your grades and write "student explained that this is because he doesn't like the material." and put less weight on it as a result.

    SOP is for stating your interests. Your stated interest may or may not be cited in the final admissions process. Other things like excuses for bad grades in your SOP have absolutely no value.

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