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pevdoki1
11-20-2007, 11:41 PM
So I'm going to be applying to some Canadian MA programs (U Toronto, Queen's, UWO), but I think I should give some U.S. PhD programs a shot, as well.

My interests include macro and growth theory (also some monetary stuff), though I'll probably have to BS my way through the SOP, as I'm not quite set on what I want to study yet.

State University of New York at Binghamton
GPA: 3.975 (overall), 4.0 (math). I think it will be lower after this semester, however. 8AM is waaaay to early for me to take statistics exams :(

BS Economic Analysis, BA Mathematics

Math: Calc 1-3, Linear Algebra, Complex Analysis, Differential Equations, Real Analysis 1-2, Calc-based Statistics 1-2, Abstract Algebra
Econ: everything you would expect, but no grad courses

GRE: taking next week. Expecting 780-800 on the Q.

TA Experience: 1 semester intermediate macroeconomics

LOR: 2 from math professors (analysis and algebra), 1 from an economics professor who knows me really well (I TAd for him etc)



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As I don't have any research experience and very limited funds, I don't think I want to waste my time with applying to Top 10 programs.

What schools should I be aiming for?

I was thinking ASU, John's Hopkins, University of Virginia, University of Maryland... Seems about right? In the end, I want to apply to 6-7 schools, so I want to make sure they are smart choices.

Olm
11-20-2007, 11:56 PM
Forget the MA, it's a waste of time for you. You have no deficiencies to correct (4.0 GPA, lots of advanced math including analysis).

Your application is as good as any for the top schools, yes this includes harvard mit etc. If you hit 770Q or higher on your GRE, go ahead and send your applications to the top schools. For you, places like Duke and UCSD would be safeties.

Take a bank loan or borrow from family if you need money to apply to schools. You are going to get this right the first time. You should apply to 10-15 schools. In your position, I would have two safeties, and the rest as the top 10 or so programs.

If you absolutely must have a super safety MA program, well I suggest Queen's in that case. UWO doesn't have a terminal MA program anymore, you will have to apply for the PhD there in that case.

taka_sukunami
11-21-2007, 02:06 AM
LOR: 2 from math professors (analysis and algebra), 1 from an economics professor who knows me really well (I TAd for him etc)
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As I don't have any research experience and very limited funds, I don't think I want to waste my time with applying to Top 10 programs.

What schools should I be aiming for?

I was thinking ASU, John's Hopkins, University of Virginia, University of Maryland... Seems about right? In the end, I want to apply to 6-7 schools, so I want to make sure they are smart choices.

I don't think you should rule out the top 10 altogether. Like Olm said, your profile's pretty good and there are no glaring deficiencies. Depending on your area of interest, I would say apply to 1-2 schools in the top 10.

The one thing I want to ask is this: why choose 2 math profs as references? Given your excellent math GPA I don't think there are any doubts as far as your math skills are concerned. Getting recommendations from published economists might be more useful. Just my two cents, feel free to ignore. :)

ekonomiks
11-21-2007, 02:10 AM
Getting letters from econ professors with connections is the best thing you can do. You should have a shot at the top 10.

pevdoki1
11-27-2007, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the encouraging words, guys!

I just took the GRE. Results?
800Q/470V

Verbal is lower than expected. Though I'm not a native English speaker, I scored 530 on the first and 630 on the second practice test, and I think I can use the language well (I took graduate level courses in philosophy, for example). Regardless, memorizing words is a complete waste of my time, so I'll take this score.

I think I did very well on the essays; I got some inspiration as I was writing them :D

VERY happy about the 800. The test was NOT easy; you actually had to think about the questions.

I told them to send scores to U Toronto/UBC/UWO/Queen's, but I think I'll apply to some top schools now, as well. Perhaps Cornell and NYU... Couldn't hurt, right?

I guess I should get to writing my SOP :)

pevdoki1
11-28-2007, 02:35 AM
As far as letters from economists, though I always did good in my classes I never got to know too many people at the department WELL.

There are some that I know - one, for example, is the director of the honors program. And, well, I started writing a thesis last year and... didn't finish, simply because I got bored with it. I got my regressions to the point where they "looked right", but I simply felt like I wasn't doing interesting enough work and ended up abandoning it. Though, looking back at it, I probably should have completed the thing, with all the time I've invested in it...

Moreover, this year I've been so loaded with math classes that I simply have no time left to work on a research project. So I'm afraid that the honors program director probably wouldn't write a very good letter about me, even though I'm really looking forward to working on graduate-level research.

Keeping that in mind, I will have one excellent letter from an economist (my thesis adviser, actually ,and a person who knows me well). I'm still considering getting a letter from a person in the economics department who barely knows me, but I don't know if they can write anything interesting about me.

polkaparty
11-28-2007, 03:04 AM
looking back at it, I probably should have completed the thing, with all the time I've invested in it...

The old adage: sunk costs aren't relevant. Sometimes you gotta know when to shut things down and move on, no matter what you've done so far.

Dannyb19
11-29-2007, 04:49 AM
OLM: I think you drastically underestimate the quality of applicants applying to the top 5 programs. I would encourage you to look at the stickied profiles and results threads to see how many people with amazing profiles get rejected from top 5 schools. The quality of candidate accepted to MIT/Harvard is truly staggering. While the OP's profile is indeed impressive, it would probably be average at best in the MIT application pile - which is a testament to the quality of the MIT program and not in any way a knock on Pevdoki1.

Pevdoki1: If your end goal is the PhD, your profile is certainly strong enough to apply directly to PhD programs. I agree with the others that the MA will not be a very valuable degree for you. I see also you have chosen to apply to Cornell and NYU, both are fanstastic schools. However, Cornell's admissions appear (at least to me) to be quite hard to pin down, I think last year there were people who got into top 5 and top 10 programs who were rejected by Cornell. NYU is also EXTREMELY competitive. While I think your profile is strong enough to have a shot at either, if you add a few more schools in the 10-20 range, I think you should be very happy come mid-march. That is, assuming you don't have to be in Canada or New York. Good luck!!!

pevdoki1
11-29-2007, 01:24 PM
Yeah, Dannyb19: I decided not to bother with NYU. Cornell might be worth a shot because it is only a 30 minutes drive from my school, and they know Binghamton fairly well/have connections with it. So it makes more sense to apply there than Harvard and MIT. As it is, this is my final list as of now:

UBC
U Toronto
Cornell
Brown
Maryland
Johns Hopkins
ASU
Ohio State
U Virginia
University of Western Ontario
Washington St Louis
Colorado-Boulder (safety?? Mainly picked for nice views, hehe)


I tried to select schools with good macro people.

Do you think this is a reasonable list? As far as top 10 schools, another factor comes in: I don't think I'd appreciate a cut-throat environment of a program like Chicago. I would prefer to be in a department where everybody is a friend and the professors care about everybody, not just the superstar students.

Dannyb19
11-29-2007, 03:45 PM
I think that is a great list, maybe a little too conservative with UC-Boulder and ASU, but both are still very respectable programs. I would be shocked if you didn't get into Virginia, and think you have a great shot at Hopkins, Maryland, and Ohio State. Cornell and Brown will be somewhat of a reach, but not drastically so, I think you will be very competitive at each.

Have you considered Minnesota and Michigan? Good luck, if you have any questions about Hopkins just PM me, I'd be happy to share my experience (which has been great so far!).

pevdoki1
12-04-2007, 01:26 AM
OK, just finished writing my SOP. I think it came out well, though I didn't specify faculty I want to work with/tailor it to specific schools... Should I??

I am considering Minnesota, Dannyb19! In fact, I might apply there instead of Cornell...

This is quite an exciting process! Applying to grad schools, that is. Hopefully, everybody won't reject me.. :hmm:

pevdoki1
12-24-2007, 06:28 PM
Well, this ended up being my final list, applications submitted at all. I kind of messed up the SOP for Cornell and WUSTL (the research sections might be a bit too vague, and not very well-structured :()


Rutgers
WUSTL
Texas-Austin
Indiana
U Virginia
Purdue
Cornell
U British Columbia (MA)
University of Western Ontario (MA)
U Toronto (MA)

Keeping fingers crossed for the others!!! I would apply to Johns Hopkins and Minnesota, but frankly I'm a bit tired of this whole thing + it would mean I have to request more transcripts, GRE scores etc.

IntEcon80
12-25-2007, 01:02 AM
frankly you have a good profile that could get you into Minnesota. Many people probably never heard of SUNY Binghamton but its a good undergraduate school. Your profile is as good as those who were admitted to the Top programs in the past. Be careful some on testmagic will use one minor flaw on a profile to shoot down your chances at some of the best programs.

pevdoki1
12-25-2007, 03:43 AM
IntEcon80 - I just realized that I already made a request for my school to send transcripts out to Minnesota, and that I can still make the deadline. I think I will apply, after all... though there is not much hope :)

Just out of curiosity, what programs are you applying to? other than Rutgers, that is.

Good luck!