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View Full Version : Professor (IVY school) tells me no chance at TOP 5 for following reassons. Thoughts?



pursuit
11-03-2010, 03:12 PM
I graduated last year and a professor at my college (Top 3, IVY) tells me I have no or a very slim chance at Top 5 econ programs for following reasons (which I mostly agree with). I just wanted to hear your thoughts and possibly some advice on how I can address them, although I think that there is little I can do at this point....

1) Poor grades in econ classes
B+ in Intro Macro, B+ in Game theory, B in Finance.
All other econ classes such as econometrics, intermediate micro/macro, labor econ, development econ, etc: Mostly A-'s with some A's
Major GPA: 3.72, Overall: 3.78

2) 2 years of RA experience in college + 1 year of full-time RA experience post-college BUT NO PUBLICATIONS or coauthored paper

3) NO writing sample: I did do a senior project but didn't get a chance to revise it or anything. I'd rather not send it because I'm not very happy with the quality.

I did take up to real analysis and got all As in my math courses except for an A- in analysis. But his thinking is that competition is fierce nowadays and from what he's seen in recent years, it's people with close to 4.0 GPAs and some solid publications who get into Top 5... HMMMMM...

rthunder27
11-03-2010, 04:06 PM
I'm no expert, but I think he's probably right based on #1 alone, those grades are good, but not top 5 good. 2 is only relevant because of #1, as in a publication could have helped mitigate poor grades. I also doubt that an unpublished optional writing sample would have much of an impact either way.

dreck
11-03-2010, 04:18 PM
it's people with close to 4.0 GPAs and some solid publications who get into Top 5... HMMMMM...

This is false. See the recent thread called "Don't worry about Publications!".

However, low grades are difficult to overcome, and there's no denying that. With excellent LOR's from credible economists, however, you may be able to overcome it. But if this professor is your LOR-writer as well, then his/her advice may be an implicit signal about what he/she will write about you.

I'm not saying you have a shot, but I don't think this list of shortcomings alone constitutes a sufficient condition for rejection.

taurenchieftain
11-03-2010, 05:22 PM
I'm no expert, but I think he's probably right based on #1 alone, those grades are good, but not top 5 good. 2 is only relevant because of #1, as in a publication could have helped mitigate poor grades. I also doubt that an unpublished optional writing sample would have much of an impact either way.

Sorry but I look at it a little differently. You have a 3.7 in econ, and say a 3.95 in math. Well, usually that is not good enough for a top 5. But the OP is coming from a top 3 ivy. This means either harvard or princeton (and since you didn't mention top 2 I guess its princeton), which sends quite a lot undergrads to top econ grad programs every year. So #1 alone should not reject you out (yes, you will have a disadvantage based on this alone). Also math grades are somewhat more important than the economics grades.

I don't know why your professor is mentioning #2, but I don't think its possible (few outliers excluded) to coauthor a paper with a princeton professor at this point. As for the writing sample, every school except chicago doesn't require it, and many school doesn't accept it at all. Even in Chicago, I read in previous posts that somebody submitted his philosophy or engineering paper or something and still got in. Where does he think you should apply?

That said, top 5 econ is very competitive (maybe more competitive than top bus-school programs like accounting & finance). So most of it comes down to the letters. You had 3 years of RA experience. That should help you alot in getting lors. What relationship did you have with the professor who gave you this advice? Usually if you had a good relationship with the professor and he thinks you are smart, he should be enthusiastic and somewhat over-optimistic about your opportunity to grad school. Afterall, if your letter writers don't think you can get in, how are they going to persuade the admins to let you in.

petecheese
11-03-2010, 06:08 PM
Yeah, but LOR is everything. And i think his professor is basically trying to hell him "my letter won't be good enough to get you into a top 5 ". Because X and Y came to me before you and they both have better profiles. Maybe you can try other LOR writers and see how they place your chances.

taurenchieftain
11-03-2010, 07:36 PM
Yes, this is exactly what I think. Given you are from top 3, if your LORS are excellent and you have one known professor there very fond of you and is enthusiastic to strongly back you up, you are definitely in the running for a top 5.


Yeah, but LOR is everything. And i think his professor is basically trying to hell him "my letter won't be good enough to get you into a top 5 ". Because X and Y came to me before you and they both have better profiles. Maybe you can try other LOR writers and see how they place your chances.

Team3
11-03-2010, 11:16 PM
If one believes that there are categories within the applicant pool (say Econ UG, Math UG, Foreign Econ MA, work experience, etc.), then your professor is right to say that the competition amongst undergraduates applying directly is certainly pretty fierce. That said, P{admission at really well regarded programs} > 0, and the publication "requirement" is dubious at best.

It doesn't seem like this should stop you from applying to the schools you desire (since this is invariably a personal decision). However, if your professor is a letter writer for you, then many writers do have tiers associated with their recommendations. For their letters to have validity, they need to protect their signatures to some degree. And you want to let them be as earnest as possible so that you end up with the right match. If this is your case, then you'll want to use a different recommender, readjust your goal, or take another year to build your candidacy a bit.

Good luck.