First-time poster here -- sorry in advance if I'm lacking in proper etiquette. I decided pretty late in my college career that I wanted to do a PhD, and my profile reflects that. At this point though, I'm just wondering what can be considered realistic goals (PhD programs in the top 20? 50?), and what next steps should be (apply for PhDs, or apply for full-time RA jobs, or else for masters programs in Europe or something).
Here's my profile:
School: Top 10 US (overall and econ)
Major: Econ, comp-sci minor
Math courses: Calc 3 (B), Multivariable Calc (B-), Linear Algebra (A), Abstract Linear Algebra (A-), Introduction to Analysis (A), Real Analysis I and II (A), Discrete Math (A-)
Econ Courses: Intro Micro (B+), Intro Macro (B+), Intermediate Micro (B+), Intermediate Macro (A), Econometrics I (A), Econometrics II (B+), Applied Econometrics (A-), two Behavioral Econ/Public Policy-related electives (A).
A bunch of CS courses too, but it's the same general trend; lots of B+'s in the intro sequences and A/A-'s in the upper-level electives once I got my act together.
No grad courses.
Research Experience: Two part-time RA jobs, one for a marketing professor at the business school and the other for a PhD researcher in the economics department. I've been at both jobs since September. No undergrad thesis.
GRE/SOP not done yet.
1 from each of the aforementioned RA jobs, both of which are under faculty at my prestigious uni who I think are not too well known. The last from a lecturer who has been with the university for a long time, whose class I took and excelled in.
I've lurked around a bit, and I know this isn't the strongest profile. I mostly want to know what I can realistically expect. Are there chances I could be admitted to a 20-30 program? A 10-20?
Since I wasn't completely sure what I wanted to do, I have already accepted a position in the research division of a finance company (working on white papers and the like under PhDs). I wasn't originally planning on applying until Fall 2019, but I'm now wondering if I shouldn't just apply Fall 2018.
Would I be better served trying to make up for a weaker transcript with a masters program, applying to a full-time RA position starting in 2019 to get better LORs, or just applying for PhDs right away? I'm considering both Econ PhD programs and Public Policy PhD programs, but the general impression I've gotten is that an Econ program is the more pragmatic choice since it would leave me with more options at the end.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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