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Sam_Jackson
09-04-2007, 06:18 PM
Hi all,

I would like your opinion on my chances for US grad school admissions.

Undergrad: BSc Econ.
Undergrad school: top 50 in world overall; top 100 for economics.
Undergrad GPA: 3.76.

Grad: MSc Math.
Grad school: top 15 in world overall; top 15 for economics.
Grad GPA: Results aren't out yet but i expect 3.7+.
I completed a disseration as well. I really enjoyed this part, and and I believe I have handed in a very good disseration. It involved using a common programming language (the code I wrote was longer than the disseration, and my dissertation was 50 pages!) and it really helped me get to grips with programming: creating objects, constructors, writing methods, etc. I think this should help me alot. I sincerely expect an A in this disseration. I will definately get a good recommendation from my supervisor.

Now I will be starting another MSc. It is in economics, and from a top 15 school.

GRE: Q790; V670; A6.0.

My recommendations are good. The supevisor will write a good reference. An economics professor will write the second, while another mathematician will write the third. I think they will all be very strong, especially the first two.

So what are my chances? For Chicago especially (i suspect they would be happy to see my disseration as a writing sample, and I hope that clinches the deal!). I'm interested in macro/finance.

One thing though. Is a mild reference from a well-published professor better than a strong reference from a decent professor. My take is that the later is better but i'm sure i'll hear otherwise from your side. Is it important that the reference be from an economics professor? I would appreciate your opinion on these issues.

Thanks,

Sam.

asquare
09-04-2007, 06:28 PM
It is better to have a strong reference from a decent professor; a "mild" or lukewarm recommendation can work against you. It is important to have at least one, preferably two or all three, of your recommendations from economics professors. Recommendations from other people who are closely enough involved in the economics field to credibly know what is required of graduate students in economics, and how you compare to other applicants to graduate economics programs, are acceptable but probably do not carry as much weight as recommendations from academic economists.

kkitkat
09-05-2007, 12:35 AM
Recommendations from other people who are closely enough involved in the economics field to credibly know what is required of graduate students in economics, and how you compare to other applicants to graduate economics programs, are acceptable but probably do not carry as much weight as recommendations from academic economists.

Unless they are math professors. I was always under the impression that LORs from math profs are just as good as from econ profs provided you have at least one LOR from econ prof.

asquare
09-05-2007, 12:40 AM
Unless they are math professors. I was always under the impression that LORs from math profs are just as good as from econ profs provided you have at least one LOR from econ prof.
I wouldn't agree with that unless they are math professors who have a large pool of econ applicants with whom to compare you, and who are well informed about or well connected to economic research. Econ departments are not looking for future mathematicians; they are looking for future economists. They want evidence that you can do the necessary math to succeed, but also testimonial that you have good economic intuition, creativity, and other characteristics correlated with doing good economic research. Math professors can provide convincing arguments that you are smart and well prepared on the mathematical side, but they can't provide the rest. If your transcript shows sufficient mathematical preparation, then I would guess you are better with a letter of given quality from an econ professor than a letter of the same quality from a math professor.

But of course this is all just speculation since I'm not on the admissions committee!! :rolleyes:

Sam_Jackson
09-05-2007, 05:58 AM
Thanks for all the insights. I'll definately have to make sure I pick the right professors. However what about my profile? Does it stand a chance with Chicago, etc?

econdreamer
09-05-2007, 08:30 AM
You definitely have a good chance for Chicago. Anyway ,the textbook answer is to talk with your LOR writers and their assessments are assumed to be more credible. Just for curiosity, why do you have a strong preference for Chicago (rather than any other top10 depts)? Any particular reason or *insider information*?