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Thread: A- s in fist two college math classes, should I still pursue a PHD in economics.

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    A- s in fist two college math classes, should I still pursue a PHD in economics.

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    I want to pursue a PHD in economics, however, I received a grade of A- in my first two college math courses (advanced calc and multivariable calc) I am planning on taking linear next semester, but multi kind of kicked my butt (my class had a very difficult professor, and many of my classmates said linear was easier for them to understand than multi due to this). I go to a top 5 liberal arts school and am in my sophomore year. I get A's in all my econ courses and have some research lined up for next semester and a TA position, but I am still very worried that these two A-s may indicate that I am not good enough at math for econ grad school. Am I right to be worried?

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    Re: A- s in fist two college math classes, should I still pursue a PHD in economics.

    I failed a statistics course in first year, got severely depressed and got really bad marks in two subsequent courses (a linear algebra course and second year micro). I thought my life was going to end. It did not. It did present challenges afterwards, but my trajectory definitely did not significantly change (that I know of).

    The most important thing you can do for yourself is to understand that bad marks happen, understand why it happened, and pick yourself and move on. It'll be okay. You're not defined by your grades.

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    Re: A- s in fist two college math classes, should I still pursue a PHD in economics.

    Moreover, A- is not a bad grade. A point of reference: I also went to a top 5 liberal arts, ended with a ~3.6 GPA, RA'd full time afterward and now am at a top 5-ish PhD. My undergrad GPA is probably below median in my current cohort, but it didn't rule me out of admissions. I.e. You don't need a 3.96.

    You have nothing to stress about. You're already far ahead of many of your peers given your clear planning/preparation toward a PhD.

    Relax. Breathe.

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    Re: A- s in fist two college math classes, should I still pursue a PHD in economics.

    To add on to jirousseau's advice, spend a bit of time keeping abreast with your programming, since liberal arts undergrads arguably benefit the most from a full-time RA stint.

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    Re: A- s in fist two college math classes, should I still pursue a PHD in economics.

    If it helps, the transition from AP Calc to multivariable calc was more difficult for me than taking real analysis. Obviously the material is harder in real analysis, but perceived difficulty depends a lot on previous exposure to math. A lot of these intro classes also tend to have stricter curves (at least in my school). Donít be discouraged too quickly!

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