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Thread: Fields of LOR writer and fields of interest

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    Fields of LOR writer and fields of interest

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    In general, how would LOR writer's specialty impact the influence of the letter? For example, if I am interested in doing macro or finance, how would a strong letter from a professor in fields like labor or micro theory be viewed differently comparing to a semi-strong letter from a professor in macro-finance?

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    Re: Fields of LOR writer and fields of interest

    No impact in general. Most grad econ programs don't admit by field, nor do they have quotas by field. Even if they do, it might not be the case that anyone on the admissions committee is in your field. Even if someone in your admissions committee happens to be in your field, it might not be the case that (s)he recognizes your letter-writer or hold him/her in high esteem.

    There are exceptions - in my application season, the above actually happened - but I suspect it is extremely rare and it's best to maximize letter quality.
    Last edited by chateauheart; 01-08-2019 at 12:25 PM.

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    Re: Fields of LOR writer and fields of interest

    I echo what chateauheart said. My strongest letter writer was a prominent macroeconomist but I had listed my interests as empirical. The best school I got into had an admissions committee filed with microeconomists.

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    Re: Fields of LOR writer and fields of interest

    I think the field itself doesn't matter. But I guess it's more related to your RA experience. You tend to get letters from someone you have worked as an RA for. Most of the time, the letter will be really strong if you have intellectual contribution during your RA experience, which happens more often when the field of the professor aligns with your interest.
    But I do notice that the fly out list(for prospective grad students) from one of the top 10 schools have a column indicating field of interest. Not sure if that indicates anything.

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    Re: Fields of LOR writer and fields of interest

    Quote Originally Posted by magicahan View Post
    I think the field itself doesn't matter. But I guess it's more related to your RA experience. You tend to get letters from someone you have worked as an RA for. Most of the time, the letter will be really strong if you have intellectual contribution during your RA experience, which happens more often when the field of the professor aligns with your interest.
    But I do notice that the fly out list(for prospective grad students) from one of the top 10 schools have a column indicating field of interest. Not sure if that indicates anything.
    That's probably only so that they can line up current PhD students who work in similar fields to receive you during the campus visit.

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