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Thread: Worth it to transfer?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Worth it to transfer?

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    Hello all
    First time poster here. This forum has been crushing my dreams for the past month, so I figured I should at least post something as well. I am currently a sophomore double majoring in math and economics at a mid sized, un-ranked, non-econ-PhD, public university. Lately, I have been considering obtaining a PhD after graduation (ideally at a T10 to T30). Also, given the fact that my school is un-ranked, I've been considering transferring (to CU Boulder to be specific). I'm wondering if this is worth it or not. I'll list some pros and cons just to give an idea of how I currently feel about doing this.
    -Better ranking
    -Tuition is likely the same as where I'm at right now
    -Better connections/ opportunity for research
    -Throw away the relationships I have with my current professors (which are all very good)
    -Dealing with the bullshit of transferring
    -CU Boulder's undergrad program still isn't ranked that high. Not sure if it would really impact my profile that much.
    -CU Boulder is much larger than my current school. I probably wouldn't have close relations with my professors as I do now.
    I don't want to get into my current profile, but I am qualified for much more selective schools and was accepted to a couple decent colleges out of high school; I just have a hard time justifying paying the amount they were asking for tuition (I think undergrad degrees are currently very over valued), even after some substantial scholarships.
    Obviously, there is no way to value these pros and cons, so its hard for me to judge this decision. I guess this comes down to how much institution rank is weighted in the application process relative to other factors. Any advice would be very helpful.

  2. #2
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Worth it to transfer?

    Look at the past Profiles & Results thread. You'll notice that institution ranking plays a somewhat major role in the admission process, especially for American undergrads. One obvious explanation is that the lower you go down the ranking (more so for unranked, since most ranked programmes have people who are still decently active), the faculty might no longer be research active, and as such, their letters will hold less weight, regardless of how much of a glowing recommendation they end up writing for you. It also becomes difficult for you to get meaningful RA experience there, so it's a double whammy.

  3. #3
    An Urch Guru Pundit Swami Sage
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    Re: Worth it to transfer?

    CU Boulder might not be that well-ranked in undergrad, but its econ department is significantly better than any non-PhD granting department.

    Your close relationships with professors at a non-PhD granting department won't count for much, in part because they have less credibility when talking about your chances of succeeding in a PhD program. That said, it isn't wrong to put some value in these relationships; at this stage, it's very helpful to have mentors who are willing to invest into you or stir your interest in economics research.

    I'd lean towards transferring. But keep in mind there's a fairly large proportion of undergrads who think they're interested in a PhD but eventually change their minds. You should transfer if you think it's a justifiable decision even if you end up going on non-PhD career paths. One cost of transferring is that it typically takes transfer students at least an extra semester to finish their degree.

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