View Full Version : Now that the NSF is in...what are the odds?

11-16-2007, 12:50 AM
While I'm working on my SOP, the thought occured to me that I went through all the effort of the NSF fellowship application without knowing an estimated probability of winning such a grant. How behavioralist of me! The payoff is known, but being the good student I am, I need some probabilities here to calculate expected payoff.

So, does anyone have any idea how many applications are reveived and how many awards are given? I read a figure somewhere that 10,000 people apply each year and 1,000 receive some type of financial aid, I think it read.

That number seems quite high to me. Does anyone have some hard figures?
Not to beat this topic to death, but considering I come from a small southern state are my odds that greatly enhanced? Should I start working on that application to MIT?

11-16-2007, 01:29 AM
2007 - 20 people received an NSF fellowship for economics
2006 - 23
2005 - 23

For undergraduate institution:
Of those 66 people,
14 went to Harvard.
5 went to Princeton.
4 went to Stanford.
4 went to Swarthmore.
3 went to Yale.
3 went to Williams.
3 went to MIT.

If you consider Harvard, MIT, Chicago, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley to be the top 7 schools, then 32 recipients came from top 7 schools, 48.5%.

Selected graduate institution:
Of those 66 people,
27 selected Harvard.
14 selected MIT.
7 selected Princeton.
6 selected Berkeley.
4 selected Stanford.

Again with the 7 schools listed above, 59 of the 66 recipients (89%) selected top 7 schools as their desired graduate institution.

Now that was just for fun. I suspect there is not a causal effect of undergraduate institution once you control for other unobserved factors, so these numbers won't help you estimate your probability. We still have about 16 weeks until the first decisions are made (for grad school that is) so you have a long time to think about it.

Addendum: I'm not sure of the specifics but region does matter, so it probably helps coming from somewhere besides the northeast. By the way, the south is awesome and y'all in the Big ten and the Pac-10 don't hold a candle to the SEC.

11-18-2007, 10:47 PM
Thanks for the information. Does anyone have any more info on number of applications submitted? I'm trying to get some objective probabilities here...

11-18-2007, 11:25 PM
Based on those numbers I'd say being south of the Mason-Dixon line is a pretty clear disadvantage.

11-18-2007, 11:39 PM
I sure wish this forum had a delete function...