That's what I figured.
I guess every school that admitted me saw my best letter first or something
Ok guys!For a long time I wanted to post that. Let us discuss how selections are been done in several schools.Those include UCLA,Princeton,Harvard ,Columbia, NYU, Marylaland ,UCI, and many others....mostly about the top 20!
I have know many academics from those schools and by asking them I understood the following.My sources:
UCLA Roger Farmer
Columbia ;Mike Woodford
UCI Fabio Milani
Harvard :Alberto Alesina
It was rely funny when talking about this with Mike(Woodford) I used a term largely used among Central Bank Economists :"The Segrets of the Temple"!!!
I will proceed with an example as it will be more comprehensive. Suppose we have 800 applicants as it happens frequently to be the case in the top 10
The first thing they look is the Quantitative GRE score!If you are below a certain cut off standard (UCB states if 760 test should be retaken) then you are OUT ! No one will ever see your complete file even if you have excellent records and LORs
Suppose now we are left with 200 applicants. Now is time for the most important thing;THE REFERENCE LETTER
As Roger Farmer told me he first looks at the NAME and he asks him self: Do I know him?Then of course he reads it.If it is a good letter you 're still in the game.Other wise........Note that if among your referees you have only one that is well know then they will put a part the other letters and you will end up with one letter in your file:Here is the question;From who do you ask the letters?
At stage 3 now we are left with only 100 applicants.Life is more easy now!
Now they look at the file.I you already have a Masters then you have an advantage ....except from the case you come from a US university or a very good undergraduate program.
Stage 4 candidates now are say 50.We want to admit 25 plus a waiting-listed, ok? What comes next?A direct email/phone call to the referee to ask additional information :Those could be the character,if the things stated in the letter of recommendation are true,grades and other.
S/he replies and that's it.Is done!
To sum up as both Mendoza and Milani told me the MOST important thing is the LETTER!!!!!!This is what makes you admitted or rejected!
So now you know everything!
Last edited by italos; 03-10-2008 at 05:38 PM. Reason: misstyping
Pretty much what I thought as well. However, from what we were told in a phd application information session, they don't really care how famous the guy is, as long as he/she did a good phd. For instance, my certain letter of recommendation writer is a Harvard PhD, as well as a potential one. Although they're quite unknown, they both know what it takes to do a top PhD, as so are quite credible
It seems to me that everything on your CV is a necessary condition for entry to the top ten but not sufficient. Especially for internationals and at the top 5. The letter of recommendation is by far the most important aspect. However, it is non trivial to get somebody credible to stick his/her neck out for you, but then again getting a chance to show your stuff to such a person is in some way determined by luck.
Not sure where italos is hanging out on the weekends but hes had more top economist face time than I expect to get during my entire phd.
gone for comps...
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