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Thread: [Signalling] Course title VS Course content

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    [Signalling] Course title VS Course content

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    As far as I know, not many schools require us to upload the course outlines of relevant courses. Also, it is not always the case that schools give us a spreadsheet to indicate textbooks/contents of the coursework. Although I am sure we can emphasise the rigor of courses somewhere in our application, how can we signal ourselves EFFECTIVELY? I mean: how can we increase the probability that Adcom really understand our coursework without official course outlines? (I think for spreadsheet of coursework, Adcom cannot always know even if somebody lies.)

    It is especially true for international applicants studying in an international school with non-conventional course titles.
    Examples in my school:
    - Foundation of Morden Math --> Intro to Proof
    - Stochastic Calculus --> Measure Theory + Stochastic calculus
    - Quantitative Methods in Derivatives --> Stochastic calculus/Stochastic Differential Equation
    - Empirical Finance --> Financial Econometrics

    Indeed, these course titles are not wrong, but just fail to (fully) highlight their rigor. Any suggestion?

  2. #2
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: [Signalling] Course title VS Course content

    I don't know how important it is. But when I applied, I uploaded an unofficial transcript or course list whenever I could, and I added footnotes to indicate what the "standard" title of a course would be. The footnotes were visible enough that adcoms couldn't really miss the fact that I took real analysis and grad micro I and got an A in them, etc. (Both of those courses had an unusual name on my official transcript.)

    I think if you're an international student this might not matter as much, because the curriculum tends to be more rigid, and it's rare for a student to graduate without getting through a decent amount of math and math-econ (that puts them on par with a U.S. math minor, at least). U.S. adcoms are not going to carefully examine the math courses in your transcript. They are mostly going to rely on your school's reputation, your ranking among your class, and your writers' ranking with previous applicants from your school.

    For your examples, I don't think the distinctions are important enough to make a footnote. When I see "quantitative methods in derivatives" I have a pretty good idea that it's going to be a class exclusively focused on the math in stochastic calculus and SDEs.

  3. #3
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    Re: [Signalling] Course title VS Course content

    You should be able to upload additional documents (or create an appendix to your personal statement). You can use this document to describe these courses. This isn't that uncommon, esp among international applicants.

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