View Full Version : New and in need of advice

05-25-2006, 04:03 AM
Good day to everyone. First off, let me say that I am newer than new at this, greener than green. I still have a substantial amount of time left in my undergrad education but getting a PhD in econ is what I want to do eventually. I decided after looking around for a while that simply asking stupid questions of extremely knowledgeable and very well informed people such as yourselves was a good thing to do since it is obvious that a number of you know a great deal about a variety of programs. I have several questions that I feel will come across as dumb and/or naive, so I hope you will forgive me for that, but I thought it would be best to ask them in this forum, at the risk of looking dumb, since everyone seems to give such excellent advice.

A little background on me and what I want to do. First, as I said, I currently have a substantial amount of time left at my undergrad insititution which is ranked I believe somewhat highly. Next, I have no intention of getting into a top 10 program--I believe the vast majority of you out there and those in my applicant pool are and will be better suited to this. I would very much like to get into a 30-100 school (this is where the dumb part comes in because as far as I can tell, not many others in this forum have that as their goal). I would eventually like to end up as a Professor at a small private college--not a big research university. By the time I graduate, I will have had diff and integ calc, linear algebra and two courses of dynamic analysis specifically designed for mathematical econ majors at my undergrad school. I will also have obviously had through intermediate micro and macro and some other possibly tangential econ electives.

So here is where the extremely knowledgeable people permeating this forum come in--assuming of course that you have sufficient information to render the sound advice that I have seen so many other times. What should I be aiming for as far as grad schools go? My current list (which is very tentative to say the least) consists of South Carolina, Clemsom, UNC CH, Georgia, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Florida. Are those schools consistent with my goals or am I aiming too low? Too high? Could anyone suggest some schools to add to that list? To strike from that list? Also, my final question--here is where the naivety comes in. Does anyone know anything about Notre Dame's grad program? I can't seem to find very much information on it at all, which I assume means it is not necessarily highly ranked. The school's website is of little help, and very few other places give any information on it. Do you think Notre Dame is consistent with my goals or way out of my league?

Thanks for any advice and/or input anyone is willing to give, and I apologize if anything I said/asked was completely dumb, but as I said, I am new.

05-25-2006, 04:11 PM
Notre Dame is anything but out of your league. If anything it is probably closer to a 'safety' school more than anything else.

05-25-2006, 06:07 PM
Snappy may be correct, but I think you haven't given enough specifics for people to really give you any useful advice. GPA, math grades, GRE (if available) etc. would be helpful.

05-26-2006, 05:05 AM
I do apologize for leaving that out, but as I said I am new. I also said, I have a substantial amount of undergrad left, but so far my econ GPA is 3.8 and my math is 3.5. I have yet to take the GRE, so I am afraid I cannot give you that information. Thanks for any advice you may be able to give with this new information.

07-04-2006, 04:24 PM
IMO, if your goal is to eventually teach at a "small private college", then I am sure you can graduate from an "average" econ program and still achieve that. You can even go lower than the 30 - 100 ranking and still achieve your goal of becoming a professor at a small college. Of course, I don't mean to encourage aiming low, because you should always aim as high as you can and see where life takes you. Don't worry about ranking when it comes to private sector jobs. Productivity is all that matters. That is also true in academia (although the name of the school matters a lot). There are people who got out from U Wyoming and ended up at Chicago.

07-04-2006, 05:11 PM
I would also try to take multivariable/vector Calc at some point.

07-04-2006, 06:40 PM
There are people who got out from U Wyoming and ended up at Chicago.

Wouldn't it be far more accurate to say there is ONE person who went to U Wyoming and ended up at Chicago???

I don't have time to go through their whole faculty, but I know that even at my non-PhD granting university, the vast majority of econ professors had degress from top 25 if not top 10 schools.

PhDs for the first few entries on Chicago faculty page (professors, NOT lecturers):
Chicago (Becker)
Hopkins (Fogel)
Stanford GSB
Princeton (Heckman)
... and then we get to List

07-04-2006, 10:57 PM
Here's my take: you don't have to go to MIT to get a good education, but especially outside of the top few schools, you should go to a school that you think will be able to support your research interests. If you have a few fields of primary interest, and a few others that you think might potentially interest you in grad school, that's where I would start working from.

Since you have time left in your undergrad, I think the standard advice still applies: consider carefully which courses you're going to take so as to best prepare yourself for grad school (consider math courses, advanced micro, etc); try to be an RA or do some independent study at some point to figure out your interests, esp if you're unsure right now. Since you still have a few years to decide, I'd focus on what you're doing now - taking the right classes, doing well, discovering research interests, etc, knowing that these steps will help you make a better choice when you finally have to.
Sorry for not answering the question, but I really do think that in a year from now, if you get some research experience or high-level field courses , you'll have a better idea of what you're looking for, and what caliber of school you should be aiming for, as the schools you mentioned spanned the whole range. All the best.

07-05-2006, 06:08 PM
Yes, and than also apply to two "reach" schools in top20 range...you never know!