I would accept and apply simultaneously for other places. This is an excellent offer and admissions to top10 US places are not guaranteed (it's also very unlikely that 1 recommendation letter was the main reason for rejecting you this year).
Should I accept the LSE offer ?
I must decide if I accept or not an offer from LSE for the PhD in Economics. Although a lot of people tell me I shoudn't hesitate, I am deeply in doubt because other people that know me very well tell me that I could get into better programs in USA.
The trade-off is wait another year and apply for the big schools in USA and start the PhD at LSE in September this year.
I have applied for the big universities this year in USA. My problem was that I had only two very strong recommendations, but the third one was not so strong. Actually, the professor that wrote me that letter pretended that he would write a very good recommandation, but, for political reasons, he didn't do so. (the only university that he didn't recommend me was LSE, and I am in)
Anyway, I can have three very strong letters this year - this time for sure - (I was best student from best school in a latin-american country). Do you recommend me to take LSE this year on wait another year for the big universities in USA? Is it worth waiting another year only to be in a top5? Does LSE give a very good researcher in potential all the necessary tools to become a good researcher in practice?
Evaluate my profile please!! Thanks economicus. Sorry, I really think it was only because of one recommandation letter that my application was not so good. Please, see my profile and tell me what you think!!!
Everybody in my Econ Dept said that I was in Princeton, due to my profile (it had been 10 years that my dept had put at least one student a year in Princeton; and they were always my profile: best macro student of dept)
look at my profile and tell me what you think, please:
Gre: 800 Q, 470 V, 4.5 A
GPA: Overall: 8.3 / 10 - ranked 3rd in a class of 50 (Engineer Undergrad). 8.5 / 10 in MA in Economics (top program in a LA Country). Ranked 2nd in my graduating class.
Graduate: Probability, Real Analysis, Linear Algebra, Statistics, Econometrics, Time Series, Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance, Monetary Economics, International Finance, Microeconomics, Dynamic Optimization, Macroeconomics
Type of Undergrad: top 5 french engineer 'grande ecole' and top 5 brazilian engineer school (double diploma program)
Research Experience: RA in Macroeconomics for a very well known Economist / research in undergrad for Computational Vision; Master Thesis completed in MA in Economics
Teaching Experience: Maths TA (Graduate Level)
LORs: Three strong econ profs (2 MIT, 1 Princeton) in my field at a top US school; one of them former chairman of Central Bank ; another a former deputy Central Bank; these two were very very strong about me;
the third one put me behind the person that ranked 1st in my class: he wrote in the letter that I was very strong for quantitative reasoning but that I hadn't still showed research ability
SoP & Interests: Macroeconomics, Monetary Economics
Other: Lived in a foreign country for 3 years; worked as an intern for two big french carmakers; worked as an intern for an investment bank
Chicago GSB- rejected
Columbia GSB- rejected
NYU Stern- rejected
NYU - waitlisted and rejected
LSE - accepted (no $, waiting for a funding decision for an agency)
What should I have done differently: I shoud have alternated my third letter. For the Economics PhD School, the only one that I didn't sent the 'bomb letter', I was accepted; I talked to the three recommendors after the results and then I confirmed. The two 'good' recomendors told that I was excellent and best student. The third 'bomb-letter' recomendor put me behind another guy in my class and wrote that althoug I was very strong in quantitative reasoning, I had not yet shown up my research skills. That kills an application. So, if you are not 100% sure about what your recommendor will write about you, forget it!!! ? And try to have four letters, so as to alternate the third one.
Honest advice: If you truly want to become a professor in the US, accept a one-year position as research assistant in the US immediately and re-apply this winter (with more research experience and another recommender).
If you want to get a PhD to enter some non-academic organization, accept the LSE offer.
Accept LSE and then apply to the US programs in the Fall. If you get in you can decide to stay or go. If you don't get into your dream program you're already in LSE's program and they never even have to know that you applied. If they want to keep you and you want to stay the US offers will put you in a good position to negotiate for better funding. I know several people who applied to US schools while in the first year of the MRes and are now in top 10 US schools (partly because they wanted to get into a US school and partially as insurance because LSE has been known to cut their PhD classes).
LSE is very Chicago-esq, not just in the class cutting, but also the star-system philosophy (ie we decide early who our top few students are and invest in them and everyone else has a hard time getting advising, etc).
Most US programs will let you test out of micro and econometrics (or give you credit outright) so you probably won't have to repeat most of the coursework if you do move to a US program.
if i were in your situation, i'll accept the LSE offer, spend a year and be the best student, find an RA position in a top 5 US programme for the summer then apply for Fall 2009 admissions...but that's just me since i'm very risk averse in the sense that i'll do almost every preparation i can to boost my chances in getting into a top school, even if people tell me that my profile's already good enough.
(i know of at least one person in this message board that roughly is doing what I just said)
fp3690 and betahat,
are you sure this strategy of going to LSE and then applying in Fall to US Schools is conceivable? Don't you think my recommendors will be upset about that? Because if they recommended me to LSE and then recommend to a US School in fall, aren't they breaking up the rules with LSE, which could make their future recommandations not worthy ? Won't they think about that if I ask them so ?
Otherwise, if it is a normal situation, it really seems to me a good strategy, because I wouldn't wait another year and could still get into a US School in the state of the nature they accept my application. Wait another year and risk being rejected could be very very devastating to me!!!
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