View Full Version : Profile Evaluation and Suggestions Please.

02-07-2015, 06:45 AM
Hi! I am a 3-year international student studying at a Top3 U.S. public university right now, and I am preparing for grad school application. It would be great if I could have some of your opinions on my current background and possible ways to improve it. So, here we go:


Type of Undergrad: Top3 U.S. public research university (Top 15 Econ dept and top 5 math dept world-wide, according to various rankings).

Undergrad GPA: 3.976/4.000 Major GPA: roughly the same

GRE: 153V/170Q/3.5W (Took it a year ago)

Undergrad Math Courses: (Note: Grade A and A+ are usually the same in my university, but some professors do give out A+ in their classes. A and A+ are both 4.0 in GPA)
Single-Variable Calculus 1,2(A, A) Multi-Variable Calculus 1,2(A, A+) Intro to Linear Algebra (A+) Intro to Discrete Mathematics (A) Intro to Differential Equation (A)
Honors Linear Algebra (A+) Probability Theory 1(A) Honors Real Analysis 1 (A-)

Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Intro1/Intro2/Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (A+, A+, A+) Intro/Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (A+, A+)

Programming courses: C++ 1, 2 (A, A)

Classes will be taken before applying:
Probability Theory 2, Honors Real Analysis 2, Numerical Methods 1, Econometrics (Undergrad)

Letters of Recommendation: (I am considering asking some of these six professors for LOR)

1.4th Year econ thesis adviser (did not take any class with him)
2. An econ professor that I took a class with, and he has been my "mentor" for a long time. Will possibly do research with him over this summer
3. Probability Theory 2 professor who I am considering doing research with next quarter
4. Intermediate Macro Prof who I talked a lot to about PhD programs
5. Honors Real Analysis 2 Prof who I haven't met yet. But will take her class next quarter
6. Econometrics Prof. who I will take next quarter

Research Interests: Micro Economics Theory

P.s.: I would like to stay in academia and become a professor after my phd program. And I am 80% sure about this.

Now I am facing 2 options:
1. Do an econ masters program in my university (one additional year) before applying, no financial aid
2. Apply to PhD programs

1. I really don't think my rec letters are strong enough. But I am not sure how much doing the master's program (i.e. taking grad classes with PhD students in my university) would help with rec letters. Based on the description above, which three profs do you think I should ask for rec letters?

2. My GRE scores are not ideal. But that was a year ago. I am very sure I will get a much higher score when I re-take it this summer

3. Do I need the GRE Sub-math test?

4. Also, I talked to someone who did the MA/BA program last year, he advised me to go straight into a PhD program if I am sure about doing it, instead of spending an additional year and extra money (I'm an international student, so I pay a higher tuition)

5. I don't have grad econ classes b/c i'm not allowed to take them unless i am doing the MA/BA program

Please share your thoughts with me. Many many thanks :) !!!

02-07-2015, 07:54 AM
You do not need to take the math subject test.

With the very limited info you gave, I think it would be absurd to not have 1 and 2 write letters of rec for you. As for the other one, it depends. If you knock real analysis out of the park, maybe that prof. They could talk about how rigorous your mathematical training is and how well you have done relative to your peers. Although, a really strong letter from the econometrician would be good too.

At what rank of program would you be content in attending? If you are dead set on top 10, your definitely gonna want to retake the gre and might consider taking the PhD courses (and doing well) at your institution.

02-11-2015, 04:10 AM
Hi Food4Thought! Thank you for your advice, I feel more clear in terms of what to work on now. But could you also clarify a little on "taking PhD courses?" How many PhD classes would you say are good enough? Or should I take the whole Micro/Macro/Econometric sequences?

Also, I see sometimes some reputed Econ department recruit for their pre-doctoral fellowship programs. Do you think it is something worth much more than a master's in Econ (When I face the two options at the same time)?

02-13-2015, 03:24 PM
I would highly suggest that you go talk with #1 and #2 about your plans and ask them the same exact questions you are asking here. Besides that -- I think you have a very competitive profile. PhD courses would be great but if you're already poised for admission to the top-5, I think it would be a waste of time and money.