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Antonio
11-06-2007, 03:25 PM
Hello,

is there anybody who is going to apply to Chicago for next fall?

I think you must agree with me that chicago's application procedure is the nastiest one!
They have the highest TOEFL requirement (104/120) and they are the onlyone who ask for a writing sample.
Now, I am traducing from italian to english my bachelor dissertation.
Could you give me some suggestion about the kind of writing sample that they look for?
I mean: how long? how technical?

Any help is grategully acknowledged.

Cheers,

Antonio.

polkaparty
11-06-2007, 03:57 PM
Just to be a bit picky, it's University of Chicago or just `Chicago'. There could be a completely different school out there called Chicago University (although I couldn't find reference of one), but the placement of `University' is sometimes a very important difference. (BTW I understand there could be a language thing going on in translation, I know at least one language where U Chicago gets translated to Chicago U, I don't know about Italian though.)

Anyway, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oxford all require writing samples as well.

I have absolutely no idea what kind of sample these schools are looking for. I have opinions of course.... Unless you have a master's degree, I can't imagine they expect something theoretical. I mean, how can you write a non-trivial theoretical paper before taking first year grad micro?? Besides, not everyone wants to be a theorist.

Personally I think they'd like to see that you know what economics is, how to think about it, and that you have interesting ideas and questions (which you'll be able to answer after they train you). You'll get technical skills in grad school, but it's a little more difficult to learn how to think of good ideas.

For my samples, I am submitting a course term paper. It's 8 pages total with references and charts. It's got a little bit of data and a lot of me speculating, but I think it shows that I can usefully think about economics. My thesis is nowhere near ready for submission (i.e., hasn't been written yet, lol).

econyun
11-06-2007, 04:56 PM
Anyway, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oxford all require writing samples as well.
(i.e., hasn't been written yet, lol).


Just a quick question: Does Minnesota Econ Phd require us to submit the writing sample?? :rolleyes:

polkaparty
11-06-2007, 05:03 PM
Just a quick question: Does Minnesota Econ Phd require us to submit the writing sample??

Ack, sorry if I caused any unnecessary confusion. I don't know if they require a writing sample this year. I was planning on applying there but they got cut from my list, so I haven't seen their application. I just remembered seeing somewhere that they required a writing sample....

This page (http://www.econ.umn.edu/graduate/admitprocess.html) indicates that the sample is optional. Sorry about that again....

trentnin
11-06-2007, 06:21 PM
Could you give me some suggestion about the kind of writing sample that they look for?
I mean: how long? how technical?


I asked this question to my thesis advisor yesterday. I asked him if I should turn in my thesis, which is about 40-page long. He said it is too much and I just need to submit its abstract and introduction that would give the admission committee a sense about what my research paper is like. Hope this helps.

Thesus
11-06-2007, 08:36 PM
I'm applying to Minnesota and haven't found any requirement for a writing sample.

Antonio
11-07-2007, 11:56 AM
Sorry,

I think it was quite obvious...I was speaking about the University, in Chicago, in which you can find some funny guys like: Gary Becker, Roger Myerson and Robert Lucas.....

zeira
11-07-2007, 02:12 PM
My writing sample to Chicago last year was about 25 pages. It was a final paper that I wrote for an undergraduate econ class. It was pretty well received. I know people who got in that sent papers in philosophy, math, etc. People have asked about this before so you should be able to find other opinions if you do a search on the forum.

macroeconomicus
11-08-2007, 05:53 AM
Does anyone on adcoms actually bother to read those abstracts, much less the entire writing samples? Or are they just being used as a filtering device?

ChicagoChicagoChicago
11-08-2007, 07:46 AM
i know they did......at least read them a bit.

Sammy6
11-08-2007, 10:59 AM
Do you think it is alright to send in a co-authored paper?

asquare
11-08-2007, 04:15 PM
I doubt it is a good idea. The idea is to get an idea of how you think and communicate. With a coauthored paper, the admissions committee doesn't know what represents your work and what represents the co-author's work.

jazzcon
11-08-2007, 06:18 PM
Although it is only two pages, do you think sending in your NSF research proposal is a good idea?

Chicunomics
11-08-2007, 11:37 PM
I doubt it is a good idea. The idea is to get an idea of how you think and communicate. With a coauthored paper, the admissions committee doesn't know what represents your work and what represents the co-author's work.

I have a bit of a dilemma with this. I'm not applying to Chicago, but to Wisconsin and Columbia where they require writing samples. Both of them are extremely unspecific with what they request. I have 2 things I could send really. The first option is my honours dissertation which got the top mark, but is a) long (nearly 60 pages including proofs) and b) has a couple of minor errors and is not as 'tight' as it could be.

a) and b) are apparent to me because I have been working on it this year with my advisor from last year preparing it for publication. So there will be another 'final' copy soon available in which the model and writing is tightened up, and in which the proofs are more elegant/complete. The downside is that it's co-authored. Now the thing is that every single piece of mathematics in there is my own creation, and I assume that this is what the committees, all things being equal, care about more than the actual english expression which they can pick up from my statement of purpose and AWA section of the GRE. But they don't have that information (I doubt my advisor commented about it in her letter of recommendation simply because for 90% of universities its not necessary, and I didn't flag it for her...)

I would feel kind of uncomfortable submitting the honours dissertation since I know how it could be improved, so it's no longer my 'best' work.

Perhaps the final option is to work on my honours dissertation a bit and create some document that is shorter and has the corrections. Alternatively, I could submit some modified (perhaps shorter) version of the paper to be submitted for publication and make it not co-authored...no one is ever going to know to tell my advisor that I didn't include her name on a butchered version of the paper we submit to a journal in the near future are they...not when it's a writing sample for a PhD application that may never get looked at closely anyway...

Anyone got an opinion on this?

asianecon
11-09-2007, 12:21 AM
John List participates in this forum so it might be good idea to refer him to this thread.

polkaparty
11-09-2007, 02:43 PM
Haha, I guess none of us bothered to check Chicago's FAQ (http://economics.uchicago.edu/graduate_apply_faq.shtml):

What kind of writing sample do you want in my application?
A writing sample is required in the application for admission to graduate study in this department. Ideally the writing sample would be an economics research paper, such as a term paper for a course or an undergraduate or master's thesis. The writing sample could also be something that you wrote as a homework assignment or as research in another field. A good writing sample could be anything that you have written which shows something about your interest in research and your ability to do research. The writing sample must be in English and preferably on 8 1/2" x 11" paper.