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ironman6788
11-18-2010, 12:28 AM
sorry for a repost but my profile has changed and I have yet more questions! I really appreciate the help guys. Be brutally honest with me, I need it.
PROFILE:
Type of Undergrad: BA Double Major in Economics + International Relations at a Private Liberal Arts College ranked in the 40s (it dropped :( )
Undergrad GPA: 3.23/4.0 (cumulative and econ are close if not the same, recent math and Grad Econ not included)
Type of Grad: N/A
Grad GPA: N/A
GRE: 750Q/590V/4.5AW
Math Courses: Statistics (4 on AP), Calc I (A at LAC), rest of math at local community college since May 2010: Calc II (A), Multivariable (A), Linear Algebra (A)
Econ Courses: Intermediate Micro (A-) and Macro (B+), Industrial Organizations (B), Managerial Economics (B+), Behavioral Economics (B), Econometrics (B), International Economics (A), Topics in Advanced Macro (B-)
Graduate Econ: Microeconomic Theory (98% before final, 1st in class, uses Nicholson and Snyder)
Other Courses: Spanish (fluent), International Law, Economic Development (taken abroad, more political science than econ)
Letters of Recommendation: 1 professor that i took 2 classes with (author of a widely used undergrad textbook), 1 professor i took 1 class with + my advisor + did research with, 1 math professor
Research Experience: worked on analysis of survey and Census data using STATA, also assisted with finding and reviewing scholarly work connected with the topic
Teaching Experience: None
Research Interests: Microtheory and IO. Also interested in Game Theory.
SOP: Got an outline but I find it difficult to discuss research interests because I'm worried about coming across naive or ignorant (which I may be)
Other: My GPA is low because I played NCAA football my freshman and sophomore year and then crammed a double major, learning spanish and studying abroad into my last two years. I'd say I'm exceptional at math, the only reason I haven't taken much was because I couldn't fit it in at undergrad.

1. I'm applying to some schools for Fall 2011 in a long shot but I feel my profile looks bleak. One of my LOR writers suggested to apply to a ton of schools but I have a hard time figuring out what's in my range. What I have right now. Should I add more schools in my range or just leave it as is and hope I get lucky and if not just take another year of high math.
Reaches: UofA, BU, USC, Purdue
Possibles: UofOregon, UofFlorida, UCIrvine
Definite: Master's at state university (basically using the econ department's aid and TA work to fund more advanced math classes and a few core econ classes. They said they may have me teach a 101 class.)
2. What is the best way to salvage my horrendous undergrad? In Spring I am going to take Discrete, Probability and Master's level Applied Micro. Next year I want to take Real Analysis I and II and two more advanced math classes in addition to a small econ course load. The state university is well-known but not extremely prestigious. Considering how poor my undergrad performance was I'm not sure what other options I have.

corolla09
11-18-2010, 04:05 PM
I would have to say that UA and BU are highly unlikely to admit you with the low GRE and lack of math (no real analysis, math stats etc.). If you want to get into a decently ranked school you may be better to get a master's degree first to bulster your GPA and add more math. You have many B's in econ classes which will not help. That being said I would say Oregon is possible, but unlikely to get funding, maybe UF is possible as well. If you like the UC's check out Riverside. You could check out some schools ranked a little lower as well, say FSU, Kentucky, West Virginia, ... that would be more likely to admit you. Also speak with your faculty to see what they think your chances at admit are (although sometimes they are overly optimistic).

buzios
11-18-2010, 07:18 PM
I personally think the masters is your best bet right now. TBH I think you have little to no chance at your reaches (The GPA + GRE will definitely kill your app at BU, at least) . If you don't care at all about rankings, then I think you might find some success down the list. But if you do, I'd recommend doing the masters, doing some research, working on your math courses, retaking the GRE, and definitely getting better econ grades (you have an alarming number of Bs in econ coursework, both core and field)...

If you think your performance during your undergrad was more a function of circumstance rather than ability, you might want to spend some time working on your profile and then apply to a better set of grad schools, rather than settle right now. Just my opinion though.

I think moneyandcredit (if he/she doesn't mind being referenced here) had a similar profile to yours and really built it up through a masters. Maybe he/she'd like to chime in?

ironman6788
11-18-2010, 11:39 PM
@corolla09: Thanks for the school suggestions. I gave them a quick perusal already (some didn't have the fields I'm interested in but others did).

@art_vandelay: Thank you for the honesty and constructive criticism, it's what I wanted. The parlay between settling for a low-end program now and going to a master's program to beef up is what I've been considering (edit: and of course go for 800Q on GRE this time around). My undergrad GPA, in my opinion, was definitely a due to circumstance rather than ability (college football is a time glutton, and i spent a lot of time at the frat house senior year :rolleyes:).

That being said, app fees are being covered by parents and the professors I have discussed my situation with suggest taking a shot now anyways and see what happens, no reason not to. In the way of master's programs however I am also unsure where else to look at programs. Like I said I believe the local program I am taking a class at currently would offer me a lot of aid (it is available and the fact that i'm #1 in the class i've taken with them has pulled weight) and I would have more time to take more upper-level math since in Fall 2011 I'll have 2 of 6 core classes already done. But would it be beneficial to look for more prestigious programs (no chance at LSE, Duke and NYU are expensive!)? Would I be able to get in to anywhere better? It boils down to two options.
1. Local Masters; take more advanced math, have aid and also get some teaching and/or research experience, econ part of the program maybe not as prestigious (although I'm confident I can do 3.8+)
2. More prestigious Master's; won't fit in as much math, pay a lot more money, very little teaching/research opportunities, econ work would be more recognized but in the end it still has the stigma that goes with MA Econ.

enginecon
11-19-2010, 11:23 PM
Undergrad GPA: 3.23/4.0 (cumulative and econ are close if not the same, recent math and Grad Econ not included)
GRE: 750Q/590V/4.5AW

Letters of Recommendation: 1 professor that i took 2 classes with (author of a widely used undergrad textbook), 1 professor i took 1 class with + my advisor + did research with, 1 math professor
Research Experience: worked on analysis of survey and Census data using STATA, also assisted with finding and reviewing scholarly work connected with the topic
Research Interests: Microtheory and IO. Also interested in Game Theory.
SOP: Got an outline but I find it difficult to discuss research interests because I'm worried about coming across naive or ignorant (which I may be)
Other: My GPA is low because I played NCAA football my freshman and sophomore year and then crammed a double major, learning spanish and studying abroad into my last two years.
Reaches: UofA, BU, USC, Purdue
Possibles: UofOregon, UofFlorida, UCIrvine
Definite: Master's at state university (basically using the econ department's aid and TA work to fund more advanced math classes and a few core econ classes. They said they may have me teach a 101 class.)
Given your profile and interest, you want to put in your list VATech, SUNY-SB (great in GT), and TX A&M... If you apply to these 3, you have a great shot at getting aid from at least one of them.