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Thread: Where to apply to grad school (Phd Economics)

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    Where to apply to grad school (Phd Economics)

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    Hi all,

    I am hoping for guidance in applying for my Phd in Economics. I would also appreciate feedback on how to strengthen my profile. I am still in school and will take more classes than I have listed below

    A little about me:
    • Double Major in Math and Econ from a top 30 public school.
    • High GPA (3.93)
    • Math Coursework: Calc I, Calc II, Vector Calc, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra, Discrete Math, Number Theory, Stochastic Processes I and II, Analysis I and II, Topology I and II, grad probability, Applied Number Theory
    • Econ Coursework: Intro Micro and Macro, Intermediate Micro and Macro, Econ Stats, Econometrics I and II, Game Theory
    • Will complete an honors thesis in econ department.
    • Research in economics with guidance from math faculty
    • GRE Scores: 162 Quant, 167 Verbal, 5.0 Writing
    • Programming experience

    I still have time to improve my test scores, but I am worried that I won't be able to raise my quant score by much.
    Please respond with advice on where to think about applying and what to do to strengthen my profile. I am interested in studying mathematical economics and econometrics and would like to work with policy economics.

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    Re: Where to apply to grad school (Phd Economics)

    I don't understand... you have a 3.93 GPA in a math/econ double major and took grad classes, and you don't think you can raise your GRE quant scores above 162? This is the 80th percentile. Although people in this forum generally agree that GRE scores aren't used as strict cutoffs, I still think you can help yourself tremendously by raising your GRE quant score.

    Otherwise, your profile looks great- what do your letters of recommendation look like? If you have had limited interaction with faculty, you can consider applying to full time RA positions: they recruit throughout the whole year, but mostly in Sep-Nov and Feb-May.

    (disclaimer: I'm also an applicant this year, not a grad student or faculty)

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    Re: Where to apply to grad school (Phd Economics)

    Thanks so much for the input. I don't understand either! I am certainly working hard to improve, but I am a super slow test taker.
    My letters should look good, although not spectacular. I think I have made a good impression on the math faculty at my school and have been complemented on my research from econ professors.

    Do you have any on input on which tier of schools I should expect to be admitted to?

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    Re: Where to apply to grad school (Phd Economics)

    Echoing what was mentioned regarding the GRE, you should aim to get at least 165 for Q.

    Wirh regards to letter writers, you should aim to get economics faculty members to write your letters. If they are familiar with the process or have sent people to PhD programmes in the past, they'll give you the fairest assessment on what range of schools to apply to.

    From the look of things, you seem to have a shoe-in for at least a top 30 admit (very very conservative estimate). You should try for some top 10s, with the bulk of your application being in the top 20s. If you don't get in, you should take a gap year and RA full-time since that seems to be the only thing lacking in your profile. The gap year can greatly improve your chances the next time round.

    You can also check out the past profiles and results to have a feel of where you stand, relative to others who've gotten in, in the past.

    The last cycle : http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/160036-profiles-results-2018-a.html

    Older batches: http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/144323-old-roll-calls-profiles-results.html

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    Re: Where to apply to grad school (Phd Economics)

    If you're getting letters from at least some math faculty, and you haven't worked as a RA for any of your econ writers either, you should consider your letters to be in the bottom quartile in terms of the applicant pool at top 20 programs. There are almost no exceptions to this principle; the opinions of people who aren't familiar with grad econ or haven't seen you in a research/thesis-writing capacity will be perceived as essentially worthless during admissions, regardless of how enthusiastic they are.

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