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Optimizer
02-16-2011, 05:46 AM
Hi all, I'm new to this forum and this is my first post. I really need some advice and suggestions on which econ PhD programs I should apply this upcoming fall 2011 based on my credentials. Any honest comments/suggestions will be appreciated!

Type of Undergrad: BA Joint Econ & Math from a top 20 US university
Undergrad GPA: 3.90/4.00 Overall, 3.95/4.00 Major GPA
Type of Grad: N/A
Grad GPA: N/A
GRE:710Q/620V/4.0AW ( Realy bad Quant GRE, but retaking it this summer)
Undergrad Math Courses: Calculus I, II, III (A's), Linear Algebra (A) , Differential equations (A), Introductory proof (A), mathematical prob (pass/fail grading), mathematical statistics (Pass/Fail Grading), Mathematical economics (A).
Undergrad Econ Courses: Intro Micro(A), Intro Macro(A), Intermediate Micro(A), Intermediate Macro(A), Stocks Bonds Financial Markets(A), Statistical Methods(A), Social Economics(A), Managerial Economics(A), Econometrics(A), International Trade(A), International Finance(A), independent study on optimization in economics(A).
Grad Econ Courses: Micro Theory (Pass/Fail grading)
Letters of Recommendation: 3 from Econ professors (one very solid letter (star student), 1 from my thesis committee member (i expect should be pretty good), and 1 other one from my micro theory prof)
Research Experience: RA for one year, undergrad thesis (is in the process of being published in a ranked econ journal) - I am hopeful as this is potentially my only niche..
Teaching Experience: Tutoring undergrad econ courses
Research Interests: microeconomics
SOP: Should be pretty good, had my professors looked over it
Concerns: not enough math courses, horrible GRE scores
Other: Got a consulting econ job working under PhD economists (will work for a year).

I'm applying to mostly the 25 and above ranked programs. Is this reasonable? Also, do I have any chance for the top 10 programs? (is it worth trying?)

Thanks a lot for your time!

_nanashi
02-16-2011, 11:00 AM
The GREQ must be greater than 760 or you probably won't get in anywhere in the top 25.

If you get a pub, it may put you to having a good shot 10. You look fine for top 15-25.

fp3690
02-16-2011, 05:10 PM
Forget the publications - in my year (27 initially) there is one guy with publications, but he worked in an institution for some years, and is much older than I guess you are. No is expecting you to have publicatiosn before your PhD. Most people coming out of PhDs don't have publications. I think you definitely have chances for some top ten places and you should definitely apply to most of them and try your luck.

asquare
02-16-2011, 07:44 PM
If you get a pub, it may put you to having a good shot 10. You look fine for top 15-25.
I don't agree with this assessment. Having a publication is not a major factor in admissions. It's not mentioned in advice that faculty offer in person or post on their websites, and it's extremely rare among incoming students at even top schools. There's a lot of good advice and discussion on this thread (http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/126078-dont-worry-about-publications.html).

_nanashi
02-17-2011, 02:36 AM
I don't agree with this assessment. Having a publication is not a major factor in admissions. It's not mentioned in advice that faculty offer in person or post on their websites, and it's extremely rare among incoming students at even top schools. There's a lot of good advice and discussion on this thread (http://www.urch.com/forums/phd-economics/126078-dont-worry-about-publications.html).

I read the thread, and agree with most of what is said. The poster hints that having a publication is very rare, and not common. I agree with this. IT is very difficult to publish anything in a ranked journal, the likelihood of you having anything published before graduate school is quite small. I don't think adcoms typically have to evaluate people who already have publications . That doesn't mean having one is valuable, on the contrary from what I've heard it is extremely valuable. It just doesn't happen, and the likelihood of being successful at the endeavor is small. So I wouldn't recommend to someone to waste time trying to publish as an undergrad. However, if you have a thesis that your professor thinks is publishable, then all means try to publish it. I do think that if does get published or even a revise and resubmit, it will have significant value. I just wouldn't hold my breadth.

I also still think the OP is in the top 15-25 range, factoring the rank of his school and strength of his letters.

Optimizer
02-17-2011, 03:30 AM
Thanks for your comments guys! Yes, I am not really expecting it to be published or anything, but since my professor told me that he really thinks that it can be published as a short note or some sort, gave me some hope, I guess.

Also, does the fact that I took those mathematical statistics course in pass/fail grading sends a bad signal?

I am considering taking real analysis as a non-degree student since I heard that it's highly recommended (i.e. Mankiw's blog)? Do you think it's worth taking more classes? I don't think I am naturally that talented in math, I need to work extra extra more hours to get the same grade that some other person gets without putting much effort. Its painful but if it really helps my chances, maybe I'll do it.

Btw, what does OP stands for? :D

_nanashi
02-17-2011, 08:24 AM
OP = Original Poster. The person who created the thread.

The fact you are taking pass fail is a neutral signal. I wouldn't be all worried. I'm making my projections based on the fact I attended a similar school, of a slightly lower rank (top 35 global public university, top 25-30 econ dept), and where students have ended up.


1. I don't think the adcoms are going to really scrutinize how much math you've taken, because you've done well in other courses that are scene as foundational at a reputable school. My observation is that once you took Cal III, Linear Algebra and some sort of proofs course (usually real analysis, but intro to proof often is enough), the marginal benefit from the additional courses was vague. I think there is a value to continue taking math for your own prep, but I haven't seen strong evidence of its value as a signal. This makes a lot of sense to me, for most programs having perfect algebra, linear algebra, and absolute fluency differential calculus is what will get you through coursework. Theorists are going to benefit from math, but empiricists outnumber theorists by a large margin.

2. Letters are the deal breakers if the rest of your profile is good. Most everyone who got to top universities had one feature in common. They all had really good profiles, that were fairly similar (similarity is due to structure of honours program). The ones who got into top 15 funded usually had a good letter from someone very well established.

3. Real Analysis - conventional wisdom is take it for a grade and get an A. Some adcoms will look explicitly for your grade in that course, since its viewed as being challenging anywhere. Also microtheory draws on ideas from analysis and having it makes text accessible. You won't need it explicitly, but it helps with constructing proofs. I do know some departments separate applications based on who took R.A. and who did not. That being said most people from my university didn't take it, and some of those people are in top 5. I also know of one person who did poorly (low B) and is at a top 5. I think in your case doing well as a grade will have some value, but the value won't be as great as it would be someone whose from a much lower ranked institution. I think not taking it for a grade will probably just send a mild positive, or a neutral signal.

Optimizer
02-20-2011, 09:00 PM
Thank you very much Nanashi! Your comments are extremely useful. I feel much more informed now :)