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kobe
09-22-2015, 03:33 PM
Undergrad: Econ Major/Math Minor at a Public University, no Econ PhD program
Undergrad GPA: 3.75 (only one semester of all B's freshman year, otherwise would have a 4.0)
Grad: Early Admit to the same school's MS Econ
Grad GPA: currently starting classes, but rocking high A's so far
Research Experience: Currently working on a project with the department head and potentially working towards a publishing.
Work experience: Data analyst for 1 year at one of the top collegiate athletics departments. Not sure how relevant.
Math Courses: All Calc classes, Dif Eq, Linear Algebra, Graph Theory
GRE: 165Q / 164V / 4.5AWA

I finish my undergrad this spring and my masters in the spring of 2017, thus Fall 2016 is when I will be starting applying to graduate programs.
My main reason for this post is to try and get some guidance as to how to spend this next year to best position myself to gain acceptance into a solid program.
My MsEcon has had good placement at Vanderbilt, which is one of the schools I would love to attend. I am also highly interested in UVA, but have the impression that it is somewhat out of reach.
I am currently trying to find ways to gain research experience over this next summer and during the next school year will likely be a RA for one of the professors here. I also have room for one more math class in my schedule next semester. Aside from Real Analysis, are there any other courses that might be extremely helpful. I am definitely going to try and sign up for Real Analysis, but am curious on other options.

What schools should I be looking into mostly? Top 100? Top 50? Top 30 maybe?

Any and all advice and constructive criticism is accepted. I did not plan on pursuing a PhD early in my college career and made some mistakes along the way. I have recovered decently from them, but am still concerned about my ability to find a way into a solid program.