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buffaloWing
11-11-2010, 03:14 PM
PROFILE:
Type of Undergrad: B.A. in economic and mathematics at SUNY
Undergrad GPA: 3.96/4.0
GRE: 690/800/3.0
Math Courses: cal1,2,3(A), linear algebra(A), ODE(A), Intro to Real variable(A), Prob theory(A), Statistical inference(B+), stochastic processes(A), mathematical finance(A)
Econ Courses: micro(A), macro(A), econometrics(A-), econ forecasting and fluctuation(A), labor(A)
Letters of Recommendation: 2 from math dept, 1 from econ dept. lukewarm? strong? no idea.
Research Experience: 1 yr computational mathematics, 3 conference on applied mathematics
Research Interests: development, trade
SOP: standard
Other: applied for 2010 Fall in top 30, but failed getting into any place. Probably my application was sent in trash box because of my low GRE score(460/760/3.0)
Applying to: Northwestern, Columbia, Minnesota, NYU, Michigan, UCLA, UCSD, Wisconsin, Cornell, Brown, CMU, Duke, Maryland, Texas, PSU, OSU, Virginia, Washu, Davis, UNC, UW, Vanderbilt, ASU

I am going to applying for Fall 2011. Here are my questions:

1. What do you think of my chance of getting into top 30? Do I have to avoid schools turned me down last year? Nothing has improved except GRE score.

2. How do you know whether your lor is strong or not. Should I ask them how strong it is? I am not sure whether it is rude or not.

3. Will my writing score hurt me so much though I am an international student?

4. Would you trim my school range or add some schools might fit for me?

Any comments or suggestions are welcome! Thank for your time on this! :)

moneyandcredit
11-11-2010, 05:26 PM
1. No, you don't have to avoid the schools that rejected you last year. They'll take your money anytime.

2. Strongest: The strongest LOR is one from a professor who has recommended another student to a school in the past, preferably one who was successful as a PhD student, and compare you to that student. You may not have that luxury, so what you want is a professor who can explain your ability to succeed as an economic researcher. This professor should be able to discuss any economic research you have already done, and what makes it unique. My biggest concern is that you don't have much economics experience, and so you are relying on math professors. Understand that strong mathematical talent is necessary, but not sufficient for success in a PhD program. You may gain lots from an extra year taking more economics courses and attempting a research paper.

3. With your fairly strong Quantitative and Verbal scores, maybe not. But many schools do have a cutoff, even for international students.

buffaloWing
11-11-2010, 11:16 PM
Thank you moneyandcredit.
I am concerned that they will turn me down again because nothing has improved except GRE. I think they will look at my application as long as I was rejected by low quantitative GRE score last year.
I have an experience in a leading think tank in my home country for 6 months. However, it has nothing to do with economic research but economic education. So I don't think it will count for it :( I am a returning student, so it is not likely for me to spend another year just for a research paper.

moneyandcredit
11-12-2010, 12:21 AM
Don't get too concerned about rank. I say go ahead and apply to the Top 30's of your choice, but supplement them with some "safeties," or more realistic options, as I have. You can do a lot of good research even with a "lesser" PhD.

buffaloWing
11-13-2010, 12:32 AM
Thank you for your advice. I can study in a "lesser PHD" program. Why I stick to top 30 is that they are likely to fund student and have less attrition rate.