View Full Version : Profile Evaluation for soon to be senior, apply now or wait a year?

08-25-2007, 10:30 PM
Hey guys, I wish I had known about this place a while ago. I had no idea forums like this existed!

Anyway, I'm sort of at a loss. Before coming here, I thought I had a decent shot at a halfway decent Economics PHD program. But after seeing the mind boggling credentials/profiles of some here (as well as the schools they did not get in to), I am very worried. I'm beginning my 4th year in undergrad and I'm not sure if I should even bother applying right now.

So here goes my profile:
Type of Undergrad: UCSD, Combination Math/Econ Major
Undergrad GPA: Overall 3.52, Econ 3.76, Math 3.35
GRE: yet to take (but as you read the rest of my post, you'll guess that I won't score to highly on verbal)
Math Courses: all typical lower division math/calc courses, linear algebra, real analysis, complex analysis (don't know why lol), number theory, Intro To Mathematical Reasoning. Set to take ordinary diff equations this fall
Econ Courses: Intermediate Micro&Macro, econometrics (3 courses), economic stabilization
Other Courses: introduction to logic
Letters of Recommendation: who knows right now
Research Experience: currently enrolled in senior thesis
Teaching Experience: currently set to be a TA for beginning micro
Research Interests: micro/macro economic theory, who knows?
SOP: will write one
Other: mexican-american male (can I get a minority "bump"? lol)

So I guess my main question is, should I even bother applying anywhere straight out of undergrad? (if my aim is to go to a top 25 program). From reading this forum, I seem to be a well below average applicant.

The other thing that may crush my hopes of going to a phd program immediately out of undergrad is the fact that I have not made an effort to speak with many professors. For LOR's, this means that I would have to go to random professors who have taught classes in which I received A's/A+'s, but have no idea who I am. I could also probably get letters of rec from the professors I will TA for and research with, but that does not seem realistic because UCSD starts on the 9/28/07 and many applications are due in early december. I simply would not have time to get good letters, but could probably get some bland ones.

I guess the alternative is to wait, spend my senior year focusing on my research thesis and getting to know some of the famous faculty here, while taking as many math/computer science classes as I can and studying for the GRE. Basically spend my final year getting everything as tight as I can.

Opinions? Anyone?
Thanks a lot

08-25-2007, 10:49 PM
Okay, I have to decide whether to take topology or ordinary differential equations this fall. I've sort of set myself up such that I can take only one, not both (unless I stay a fifth year). Which class should I take?

08-29-2007, 06:54 PM

i guess i should really wait a year. does anyone have anything helpful for me?

any ucsd alumni wanna chime in?

Karina 07
08-29-2007, 07:00 PM
Research is probably the most important to you right now, of course, getting to know profs through it. See if there's any kind of independent research you can do under a prof aside from the research thesis you mention. I know you're undoubtedly looking into this already, but I just wanted to emphasize that it *is* probably the most important thing you can do.

08-29-2007, 07:36 PM
I think that you just don't have any susbtantial chance at top-25 with a math GPA of 3.35.

08-29-2007, 09:53 PM
My math GPA was probably lower than a 3.35, but I had research experience that helped me get into a top-25 program. Barring some sort of good 'hook,' then, you might be hard pressed to get into a top school.

08-30-2007, 04:00 AM
thanks for the feedback guys, I know I need a lot of work

i'll see how the first few weeks of TA'ing and research go, and if it doesnt look like i can pull a few letters of rec out of the sky by the deadline, i won't even bother applying.

regardless, i guess i will focus on math courses/math gpa my senior year, and do independent economic research after my senior thesis.

and of course, if anyone else wants to chime in, I am always open to advice.

08-30-2007, 05:20 PM
I think what you should do is walk into the econ grad student lounge and talk to some graduate students, particularly the first and second years. I'm sure they will be helpful (or at least happy to talk about their application experience), and you can learn a lot from them. Really, you are studying at a fabulous university with a fantastic econ program. Why are you on the internet asking these questions? You should also go talk to the graduate program director and see what he/she thinks. You have plenty of resources if you just put yourself out there.

Good Luck!

PS: Go with topology and get an A.

08-30-2007, 06:40 PM
KofC does have a point. :)