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AstralTraveller
02-08-2008, 09:21 PM
Just to make me more nervous/anxious....

Are there any stories of "unsuccess" from previous years? For this I mean people with decent profiles who, after receiveing rejection after rejection, didn't get accepted anywhere in the past application seasons.

We all are used to stories of individuals who at least got in one of their backups. From last year I remember "recordman" Cassin (IIRC, getting in almost everywhere), Ms. BrothersKaramazov going to UCSC, and Skipper who got accepted at Northwestern after waiting two months from the first round of rejects (!).

Anybody cares to remember somebody? There must be quite a few ones who didn't get anywhere, despite their seemingly good credentials. I mean, this isn't dreamland, and candidates with GPAs 4.0/4.0, GRE 800Q/700V/5.5AWA, proof-based math, fresh from Undergrad, and super LoRs will probably end up at least at one good institution (and probably will get acceptances to several of those). Similarly, somebody with GPA 2.0/4.0, with no math whatsover, GRE 700Q/300V/2.0AWA only aiming at the Big Five plus Northwestern and Cornell will have a almost sure failure.

I want to hear about a guy/girl who had some flaws on their application, but who apparently diversified their application portfolio enough, and who had a profile that wouldn't sound out of place if admitted to any school ranked between 10-30, but ultimately ended up rejected by everyone.

Finally, I'm not interested in gossip, but in undertanding why he/she had possibly failed to get in anywhere.

Anybody? Maybe someone who waited a year to "beef up" their application and reapplied succesfully the following year?

Thanks in advance

Olm
02-08-2008, 09:32 PM
Apparently this has happened a few times... but in every case that I have seen, such an applicant either: a) didn't pick enough backup schools (I would choose at least two); b) they applied to less than 10 schools total; c) they overestimated their chances of getting in their choice schools, or some combination of the three. And occurance a) occurs quite frequently because there are many who will not "bother with a PhD" unless they can get an admit to a top school.

Waiting a year is fine if you do it productively: you'll have the winter, summer, and fall semesters to pick up more math and maybe a PhD econ course or two. Or maybe you could work as an RA to a well-respected prof. Waiting a year and only finishing off your degree (assuming you had one semester's worth of courses left to do by the time you applied, as is the normal case with most) will do little unless you happen to cram enough math and grad econ courses in that one semester to make the difference. If you are an international student, the reality is that a master's degree with high standing is pretty much required of you in order to go to a top school (there are exceptions, of course).

Likely, I could be one of those people who will be accepted nowhere, simply because of the brand name of my institutions. We shall see.

buckykatt
02-08-2008, 09:49 PM
Great idea for a discussion. :)

macroeconomicus
02-08-2008, 11:02 PM
J

I want to hear about a guy/girl who had some flaws on their application, but who apparently diversified their application portfolio enough, and who had a profile that wouldn't sound out of place if admitted to any school ranked between 10-30, but ultimately ended up rejected by everyone.

How do you know that if you hear such a sad story, the applicant did indeed diversify the application portfolio "enough"? Even bottom top-30 programs will be wary of admitting applicants with some serious issues in parts of their profiles. I mean, they get in once in a while to those school, but doesn't happen too often. For example, while someone with solid background in math and economics, good LoRs, etc, but a GPA of only 3.3, or say good GPA but with minimal math background, from a good research university would not necessarily seem to be out of place at a university like say Michigan or Texas, it is also not completely unreasonable to see such applicant rejected from every single top 30 school this applicant applied to. I agree with Olm's post. Usually this happens when people applied to too many places clearly out of their league. Of course, if you still want to do PhD in economics really bad, apply next year to other schools with more reasonable expectations, or complete a masters degree first (where, depends on your background and goals), take some courses from a local university, etc.

08Applicant
02-09-2008, 12:23 AM
Right now I'm betting the odds of my getting accepted somewhere in the next 6 weeks are no better than the flip of a coin. So I'll share my sad story in full if it happens.

But basically here's the set up. My profile is good, but in no way exceptional. I applied to only very highly ranked schools or schools in places I would enjoy living for five years. There are a few schools where the two overlap and they are very much my favorites. I'm working a well paying RA job right now and fiendishly saving money so I can afford my first year with zero funding.

My goal: One admit to any of the schools I applied to regardless of funding. If I get that then I will consider myself lucky.

Equilibrium
02-09-2008, 04:13 AM
where did you apply by chance 08Applicant? I'm assuming you have a profile somewhere and I'll look, maybe you're giving yourself not quite enough credit. Good luck with the admissions, I have only applied to 2, going on 3 schools, one PhD, two M.A. programs so you could very well be in better shape.

AstralTraveller
03-24-2008, 06:17 PM
Just to make me more nervous/anxious....

Are there any stories of "unsuccess" from previous years? For this I mean people with decent profiles who, after receiveing rejection after rejection, didn't get accepted anywhere in the past application seasons.

[...snip...]

Anybody? Maybe someone who waited a year to "beef up" their application and reapplied succesfully the following year?

Dearest TM community,

First of all, I wanted to thank all the people at this forum who have been so helpful and supportive. Olm (with supporting banner and all), Ancalagon, Smiley^2, doubtful, Kelewele, Karina from Berkeley, IS-08, HopefulKid, Kuejai, and probably many many more I'm forgetting. I owe most people several PM's I haven't responded. I'll get back to all of you ASAP.

I'll provide a small update to my status. As many of you know, I switched from very active contributor to this forum to non-participant. It coincided with the avalanche of rejections I received, of which UCSD is the latest (and probably one of the most painful).

I have some news. I have been offered admission at a top-70 or top-100 university (public) via Fulbright, after the screw-up of my other applications with them. This university admitted me without an application, and the FB officer said they would send my documents soon, "but it is just a formality". So, does this mean I am only worthy of admission at a place that won't take a look at my credentials? Am I that stupid and worthless? Besides, there is not a SINGLE prof. working at any field that remotely interests me, except for a couple assistant profs who received their PhDs back in the early 90's (i.e., they don't publish).

Therefore, I decided to decline this offer, even if it the only thing I have so far. I was offered this chance, and I won't take it.

Other kinda-good news are that two of my B-school applications (one in Econ, other at Bus Econ) have put me on waiting lists. One is a "just outside the top 10" business school, and the other is a top-5 b-school with one of my top-3 most admired researchers, with coursework jointly with a top-10 econ program. I have to wait until others have declined their offers in order to stand a chance, but I have spoken at representatives at both institutions, and they have re-assured me they haven't admitted me only because they don't have enough slots available, but that they will be glad to make me an offer if the list rolls.

All my classmates that applied to PhD programs this year have been offered admission at top-10 programs, except for me. It certainly makes me sad, but since there is still hope, I will wait patiently until mid-April, knowing how low the odds are, and --since two top programs have shortlisted me--, I can be confident I am a "good-enough" candidate (i.e., I don't suck).

Meanwhile, I am taking a semester-long class on topology (the schedule of teaching senior's level econometric theory at one corner of the city, and travelling daily to study math at the other corner is really hard, but I hope it will be rewarding....I am really happy and comfortable with proof-based math). I am also applying at research assistant positions in Europe and the US, just in case nothing better shows up. I am convinced, more than ever, that I'm top-10 or top-20 worthy, and if my time wasn't due yet, it's OK with me. I'm nearly 26, so it's not like I am that old. I am certain that I have the full support of my family, and I keep noticing every day how much God loves me and protects me, so there's no need to worry.

Well, I'll be waiting on your comments. If anybody feels like sharing their stories of unsuccess so far, be my guest.

I'm glad to be back,
AT

kuejai
03-24-2008, 06:30 PM
AT,
I would ask yourself if you will be happy at top 70 schools. What kind of jobs are available after you graduate? I got admitted at Iowa State with funding, and I'm reluctant to go there (I probably go to UBC for master).
I'm sure that your profile is probably better than mine. I can see that you can get in top 30 school next year. If it's not too bad to wait, I would do so.

Karina 07
03-24-2008, 07:22 PM
Astral!! Good to see you back on the board! :) You know, maybe you will get in yet, off one of those waiting lists. I wouldn't be surprised. Definitely re-apply next year if the waiting lists don't work out. If you were this close this year, it's only a matter of time.

jenizaro
03-24-2008, 08:57 PM
Hello AT,

I am happy for your news and your positive attitude. I have a feeling you will make it to one of those schools that waitlisted you!

My situation is similar to your's only in that my only admit is also from a top 70 (to which I did apply through the regular procedure). I like some of the professors there and would likely accept their offer, but sometimes think I should wait. My problem is that my profile is not as strong as yours and so I would have to invest money and time doing another masters or something like that.

Best of luck!

doubtful
03-24-2008, 11:27 PM
AT you are gonna be fine.... if one those BS works better you be drunk for one month..

anyway remember that patience and perseverance pay.

AstralTraveller
03-25-2008, 01:03 AM
Hello AT,

I am happy for your news and your positive attitude. I have a feeling you will make it to one of those schools that waitlisted you!

My situation is similar to your's only in that my only admit is also from a top 70 (to which I did apply through the regular procedure). I like some of the professors there and would likely accept their offer, but sometimes think I should wait. My problem is that my profile is not as strong as yours and so I would have to invest money and time doing another masters or something like that.

Best of luck!

Jenizaro. Thanks for your ever-present support. There is one additional *ding* at our mutual comparison: the top-70 school that admitted you was chosen by you in the first place. I didn't choose the top-70 that admitted me; Fulbright chose it for me on the 11th hour and I accepted the late application during a very dark time of my life.

If I had applied to Virginia Tech, for instance, I would probably have taken that opportunity straight away if it was them who had admitted me. Why? Because I like the school, and I admire Prof. Aris Spanos. I would have had the killer combination of rigorous coursework + admired advisor. From that point on, I would have gladly followed the hard-working route of our very own Prof. John List.

But no. This other school admitted me out of compassion, and (much more importantly) they don't have faculty active on any of my fields of interest. This is why I didn't even consider them as potential for application in the first place! So, now I have their admit, I decided not to go there.

So, my friend, please consider seriously your top-70 admit if you are a hard worker and this university is a nice fit for your interests (i.e, they have a neat amount of people currently publishing research actively in your field). Otherwise, it might be wise to make your application better for the next year in order to succeed in your future applications.

Best of lucks :tup:
AT

AstralTraveller
03-25-2008, 01:31 AM
AT you are gonna be fine.... if one those BS works better you be drunk for one month..

anyway remember that patience and perseverance pay.

Thank you, Doubtful :tup:. The time to celebrate will come, eventually. I'm sure.

jeeves0923
03-25-2008, 01:37 AM
On the subject of Spanos, there have been rumors of Aris Spanos leaving for awhile now. He is at Cambridge in the UK this semester... I'm hoping he comes back. Virginia Tech's department has lost too many people in the last few years. I gotta have some love for my undergrad alma mater.

macroeconomicus
03-25-2008, 01:46 AM
This is very sad. Just live this year to the fullest, study more, have fun, travel. Then this year will not be "wasted" because you're not going to grad school in fall.


By the way, why did you apply to so many GSBs? I suspect many GSBs are more selective in the sense that not only they want people with strong background in general, but they also want people whose interests match closely the strength and interests of the faculty. Basically, they want people to know what they're doing and why they're applying there and not to regular econ department (maybe you were one of those, I don't know). Anyways, good luck next time around.

AstralTraveller
03-25-2008, 02:04 AM
By the way, why did you apply to so many GSBs? I suspect many GSBs are more selective in the sense that not only they want people with strong background in general, but they also want people whose interests match closely the strength and interests of the faculty. Basically, they want people to know what they're doing and why they're applying there and not to regular econ department (maybe you were one of those, I don't know). Anyways, good luck next time around.

In fact, I consider myself very well suited for business school econ programs. Given that I have very well defined research interests, I thought I would be a good fit for such programs. It's not that strange if we consider that, after all, out of my 10 applications, the closer I got to admissions are my two b-school program waitlists. Paradoxically, the Econ program that admitted me via Fulbright is also located at a b-school. :rolleyes:

I applied to several traditional econ programs at econ departments as well, but each and every one of them decided not to admit me.
:p

asianeconomist
03-25-2008, 03:11 AM
Hey AT,

Hang on there ! I am already nominating you as a potential candidate for the "Antichron" award in 2009 :>)

AstralTraveller
03-25-2008, 03:22 AM
Hey AT,

Hang on there ! I am already nominating you as a potential candidate for the "Antichron" award in 2009 :>)

Dear AsianEconomist,

While I truly appreciate your very early nomination for the "Antichron" award in 2009 (I am flattered, indeed), I'd pretty much prefer the "Skipper" award for 2008, as the underdog that waited until the very end of the process, and finally succeeded. I don't need a zillion admits. One will suffice ;)

.

Olm
03-25-2008, 04:34 AM
Hey AT,

I really do hope you manage to get picked up at the last second :luck2:. In fact, I would give Penn State and a few other places that are well-ranked and still accepting applications a call to see if they have any slots left for the coming academic year - if you can go unfunded the first year. Penn State has had a ridiculously good placement record in the past decade or so and is still on its way up.

There is nothing wrong with your profile. In fact, I was certain you would get an admit or two... you were just a victim of this stochastic process. I've never really believed people when they told me that you should apply to at least 15 schools with a handful of backups if you are absolutely certain you need an admit, but now we see why: a roll of the dice can land you an avalance of admits or a cornucopia of rejects.

I'm still praying for you, bud. Keep fighting the good fight.

And a friendly notice to other users: don't make the same mistake I did! The top 4 Canadian schools are not "backups". :idea:

darcie
03-25-2008, 05:35 AM
Hello AT,
I am really moved by your passion in the whole application process. But since it does not come to the last minute, there might be suprises for you.
I am also waitlisted by two great b schools after I had an econ offer.
Your perseverance and kind heart would bring to you great offers, good luck and never lose faith!

Ancalagon The Black
03-25-2008, 05:51 AM
Hey AT, have no fear, I remember your first thread titled post application panic and when we saw your profile we were all blown away. You have amongst the strongest profiles on this board and it just seems a strange quirk - as Olm puts it "a victim of the stochastic" process.

I sincerely wish that your waitlists admit you (mind telling us which schools they are?) Just wait and hang on and remember that there is always hope.

blues88
03-25-2008, 12:32 PM
Astral, believe me, my profile is REALLY strong, but it didnt help me a bit in the US, beacuse noone knew my undergrad nor recommenders...really stupid and annoying. and just because i saw, how this system actually works, I stopped bothering after first 3 rejections :D you should stop bothering as well and try again next year, maybe in europe. there they actually READ your application!

breakz
03-25-2008, 02:05 PM
AT, good luck with all of your applications now and in the future.

I just wanted to echo another poster's sentiments and say: don't get stuck in neutral if your waitlists don't pull through. I'm not too familiar with applications yet, but (1) living the year off to the fullest, (2) casting a wider application net, and (3) filling in your profile's small holes should be your biggest priorities if you're unlucky.

Worst case scenario? We'll be competing for the best spots this fall. Good luck!

AstralTraveller
03-25-2008, 02:31 PM
I really do hope you manage to get picked up at the last second :luck2:. In fact, I would give Penn State and a few other places that are well-ranked and still accepting applications a call to see if they have any slots left for the coming academic year - if you can go unfunded the first year. Penn State has had a ridiculously good placement record in the past decade or so and is still on its way up.

Olmie!!! :) I am so sorry about our fate at UCSD!!! :rolleyes:. How are you doing?

Well, I am about to find out if the screwed up application to Penn State can be somewhat fixed since they haven't sent me a rejection yet. You know, it's not April 4th yet, so maybe I can save it. My "application agency" won't like me bypassing them, but I still believe there is a slight chance of saving it. Penn State already has my letters, scores and transcripts, so maybe they'll let me fill in the gaps. Maybe not. I dunno.:whistle:

asianeconomist
03-25-2008, 04:57 PM
Dear AsianEconomist,

While I truly appreciate your very early nomination for the "Antichron" award in 2009 (I am flattered, indeed), I'd pretty much prefer the "Skipper" award for 2008, as the underdog that waited until the very end of the process, and finally succeeded. I don't need a zillion admits. One will suffice ;)

.

:) :D :tup:

Skipper is the guy who went to NWU, isn't it ! Man, we both have lurking in TM for so long :p. Hopefully you shall get your dream admit. :)

Never say die/ Die another day.

AstralTraveller
03-25-2008, 06:25 PM
Skipper is the guy who went to NWU, isn't it ! Man, we both have lurking in TM for so long :p. Hopefully you shall get your dream admit. :)

Never say die/ Die another day.

You are right. Skipper is the TM pal who got in at NWU after a loooong wait. We have been here for a really long time, indeed :blush:.

I can only wait :whistle:.

Ancalagon The Black
03-25-2008, 06:28 PM
I once played Gogo in Waiting for Godot. It was a pain. All we had to do was shout, "We are still waiting, waiting for Godot !!"

I feel the same now.

PS: AT, I called 'em but they refused to tell me. :( Sad, I have been rejected.

adam_smith
03-25-2008, 08:11 PM
It is sad that I got into all masters I could possibly want, i.e. UPF, NYU and Carlso III and still don't know what to do. And I am sad because of that.

08Applicant
03-25-2008, 10:42 PM
I'm out. Everywhere.

Applying right now to an 1-year economics M.A. program starting in the fall. If I get in under the conditions I'm asking for (take PhD courses with instructor consent in lieu of masters courses) I will attend.

I'm also considering Army OCS. Why the hell not? Half the reason I chose a PhD is because you only live once. Might as well have an interesting story to tell. I considered enlisting when I was 19, but decided to pursue my B.A. and see if I could compete with others for a Ph.D. That didn't work out so well.

AstralTraveller
03-26-2008, 01:52 AM
I'm out. Everywhere.

Applying right now to an 1-year economics M.A. program starting in the fall. If I get in under the conditions I'm asking for (take PhD courses with instructor consent in lieu of masters courses) I will attend.

I'm also considering Army OCS. Why the hell not? Half the reason I chose a PhD is because you only live once. Might as well have an interesting story to tell. I considered enlisting when I was 19, but decided to pursue my B.A. and see if I could compete with others for a Ph.D. That didn't work out so well.

I'm sad to hear that :(. I hope it all turns out well for you. Good luck with your masters. Seeing how my master's classmates all ended up at their PhD programs of choice have confirmed it was not a fault of the program itself. I am not willing to go for a master's route again.

Best of lucks to all of us still waiting for any kind of good news :luck2:

Ancalagon The Black
03-26-2008, 04:27 AM
08Applicant:

But you have a good profile no?

08Applicant
03-26-2008, 05:43 AM
08Applicant:

But you have a good profile no?

Good enough for the Army OCS I hope.

Good but not remarkable. I'm trying to reach the grad advisor at this school to ask him if I can take the PhD micro and econometrics series instead of the masters. All that remains is 1 class in masters level macro and 2 masters electives.

Basically I'll be getting an MA for 1 year of application padding. Not a bad way to earn an extra diploma. If I get a 3.9+ and good letters we'll see what happens. I probably won't reapply until fall 2009.

Olm
03-26-2008, 06:39 AM
Sorry to hear that you aren't having any luck either, 08Applicant. :( Keep us updated!

Ancalagon The Black
03-27-2008, 06:04 AM
I am a tad confused. Maybe someone can clear up my confusion. I thought that all graduate level courses were the same - as in both MS and PhD students took the same classes and that there was no difference in MS only classes and PhD only classes. I thought that the difference in PhD and MS was the 3 odd years of research after you get the MS. Hmm...

Am I wrong?

AstralTraveller
03-27-2008, 11:32 AM
I am a tad confused. Maybe someone can clear up my confusion. I thought that all graduate level courses were the same - as in both MS and PhD students took the same classes and that there was no difference in MS only classes and PhD only classes. I thought that the difference in PhD and MS was the 3 odd years of research after you get the MS. Hmm...

Am I wrong?

Well, buddy. It's all down whether the Master's you are studying is doctoral stream or not. It is my understanding that in the US (for economics at least, not quite sure about CS), master's coursework is generally a tad more applied than the more theoretically oriented PhD coursework. I have a friend (who is a doctoral candidate currently finishing his thesis for BU) who explained me that coursework is held separately for terminal MA and PhD students. At NYU it is similar.

However, at my home school's MA, we took all classes with PhD students, and if I returned there, I wouldn't have to handle again those classes I already passed for my MA, because I took them together for PhD level. There is only one exception, a course in Open Economy Macro, which is taught for master's and PhDs on first semesters, and for master's only on second semesters.

In conclusion, it is likely that the coursework for a master's differs from the coursework for the PhD in Econ, at least in the US, and when the master's degree is offered as terminal.

doubtful
03-27-2008, 03:15 PM
I am a tad confused. Maybe someone can clear up my confusion. I thought that all graduate level courses were the same - as in both MS and PhD students took the same classes and that there was no difference in MS only classes and PhD only classes. I thought that the difference in PhD and MS was the 3 odd years of research after you get the MS. Hmm...

Am I wrong?

at ucsc they are the same.. depends on the school and department.

joe_prajae
03-27-2008, 03:40 PM
Dear AT and those who are on the waitlists
I really want you to get accepted by some of the schools you are on the waiting list. Consider your profile, you should not have been in this situation. I think it beacuse of this admission process that put you here. I wish that somebody who got accepted by the school that waitlisted you got some better offers. I'll pray for you AT.http://www.urch.com/forums/images/icons/icon6.gif

Again, I really wish that you get accepted somewhere, as well as other people on other waiting lists who are waiting anxiously right now, especially olm and 08applicant.

However, if thing does not go in the way it should, Never Give Up!!!!
Never leave your dream as a good economist and all the things you have done behind.
If you do not have any other constraints, keep up a good work.

Ancalagon The Black
03-27-2008, 04:05 PM
Thanks guys.

08Applicant
03-27-2008, 04:28 PM
I am a tad confused. Maybe someone can clear up my confusion. I thought that all graduate level courses were the same - as in both MS and PhD students took the same classes and that there was no difference in MS only classes and PhD only classes. I thought that the difference in PhD and MS was the 3 odd years of research after you get the MS. Hmm...

Am I wrong?


The school I'm looking at doesn't offer an MS as a terminal degree. If they did you would probably be correct and the MS would look very similiar to the PhD's early coursework. Everyone I know that dropped out of their PhD got an MS when they left. I'm looking at an MA program.

The MA has 2 quarters on micro, 2 on econometrics, and 1 on macro. All very rudimentary and not much harder than undergraduate level work. The rest are electives. Mostly in finance and other applied work. It's not a very valuable degree by any means and does not hold a candle to an MS from a PhD program.

I still want the diploma that says MA, but those classes are crap. I want the PhD classes wherever possible.

Ancalagon The Black
03-27-2008, 06:24 PM
Aaah, understood !! But still, an additional degree doesn't hurt !! :D

bango
04-08-2008, 02:45 AM
hey AT, hope you got your place at a BS now. I am writing just to tell you my 'sad' story. I applied last year (december 2006 to start in September 2007) and had a very strong profile. I come from a University in Latin America that places on average 3 or 4 of its students in top-5 US schools every year. I was considered by my peers and some professors one of the 2 best students and best macro student. Everyone expected me to go to Princeton, as it is often the case for this type of profile.

My problem: one of my LoR was not good. The professor wrote that I had a very high potential, but that I was a 'raw diamond' in research. I was really angry at that time, because this professor had told me before that he would give me a good LoR, and I really had an alternative to his LoR. The matter was indeed a political internal problem of my Econ Department in Latin America, as this professor was trying to venge himself from the other 2 professors that wrote me the LoRs. (that is not only my opinion, he almost said me so!)

Anyway, my main mistake was not to diversify LoRs. the 2 other LoRs were very good, I know because the professors who wrote them were really shocked I didn't enter into a top-5. (and angry about the 3rd Professor). These 2 professors usually put their recommendants in Princeton and sometimes in Harvard or Chicago.

So, I got accepted to LSE MRes, the only university the 'bad' LoR was not sent. I was on a waitlist for funding, but finally didn't get it. I was profoundly depressed, but I then found out LSE had a Finance Department and their placement was even slightly better than the Econ Department. Of course, Finance was one of the fields that interested me (the other being Macro). So, I wrote to the Director of Phd in Finance at LSE, and, as they had a late application process, they considered my application and offered me a place with full funding.

I still hesitated because I could have the chance to make into a top-5 in US this year, but after talking to some friends who are in PhD top-5 and some professors at my home university, I decided to accept the LSE offer.
I will be frank, although I think the department is quite good and I am happy here at LSE, I still don't know if my decision was wise: exchange one more year and maybe a top-5 place for starting the PhD in a top-15 earlier.

That's it, I just wanted to share with you my 'sad' story.

doubtful
04-08-2008, 07:11 AM
frankly "raw diamond" is not really a bad thing... it should have been something else...

if you apply to a phd program people don't expect you to be a famous researcher already.. my guess is that the admission committees like raw diamonds that could be carved by excellent phd programs...

israelecon
04-08-2008, 07:39 AM
sounded like a pretty good LOR to me too, then again i don't sit on admission committees.

AstralTraveller
04-08-2008, 12:27 PM
The point about Bango is that we don't know how the "ticks chart" of his LoR form did go (maybe he doesn't neither). In particular, there is almost always a final question with several options that goes somewhat like this:
I strongly recommend this applicant
I recommend this applicant
I recommend this applicant with reservations
I do not recommend this applicantIf the recommender ticks any other box than the first one, it basically signals that you are out. I understand there is something about this.

It also seems there is quite a lot about lobbying, esp. when applicants come from Latin America. I'm not saying that every Latin American that gets admitted has had his/her recommenders to lobby in some way, but I know that it happens quite a lot. Especially when you come from a local program with a long tradition of placing their top students at top-US programs. Everybody aims at the same pool of programs, and, therefore, adcoms have to decide among all applicants (some of them even with the same recommenders!).

About me, I am still "waiting for the crumbs" at my two waitlists. Now I have learned something that, with all likelihood, must have been the real "catalyst" upon all my rejections. I'll let you all know once this process is over (i.e., early May).

asianeconomist
04-08-2008, 12:31 PM
Now I have learned something that, with all likelihood, must have been the real "catalyst" upon all my rejections.

I'm already intrigued :hmm:.

israelecon
04-08-2008, 01:16 PM
AT i can understand you don't want to tell us, what with adcoms lurking. but, at least, knowing this should give you hope for next year (i assume its fixable, most things are), unless of course the waitlists work out this year.

AstralTraveller
04-08-2008, 01:25 PM
AT i can understand you don't want to tell us, what with adcoms lurking.Biggest issue now, yes. Thanks for understanding :)
but, at least, knowing this should give you hope for next year (i assume its fixable, most things are), unless of course the waitlists work out this year.

Yep. You're extremely right. However, I most likely tainted my chances at my current applications (those that have rejected me so far, you know).

But the point is: I still have to compete with the next generation of applicants from my school ...and with the rest of the world! :ninja:

Anyway, I still will get rid of my "catalyst" problem, so there is hope, right?:tup:

Thanks Israelecon and everybody else for the nice wishes. I still think one of those waitlists will roll up to my place :luck2:.

bango
04-08-2008, 02:44 PM
hey AT, I hope everything will be ok for you. But I pretty much felt last year what you are feeling now. The only advise I can give you is to try to calm down and if necessary, wait another year for applying.

The problem with my LoR is kind of what AT has explained. This professor gave LoRs for 4 students. I was competing with another guy to see who was the 'star' of my department this year. This professor told me explictly: 'In you LoR, I wrote: 'if you do a good job, bango will be a good researcher'. In the other guy's LoR, I wrote: 'unless some catastrophe takes place, the other guy will be an excellent research'. I think this is a subtle way of giving someone a bad letter.

Do you think I should have waited another year or I did good in going to LSE?

Cheers

AstralTraveller
04-08-2008, 03:09 PM
Do you think I should have waited another year or I did good in going to LSE?
Look, Bango. Given that you are at LSE, I think it doesn't matter whether you made the right decision or not before. There's nothing you can do about it except torturing yourself. The important thing is that you re-optimize from the point you are at now (I'm thinking about optimal control here).

I think your optimal decision from your current point is to try to rock LSE's program, and try to either stay for their PhD, or to reapply.

I'm trying to decide whether to attend a university that made me an offer through Fulbright (which is a nice one, but don't do research on my area), or to wait another year and reapply. That is, if my two wait lists don't roll (I trust they will).

I'm hoping for the best for all of us. :grad:

08Applicant
04-08-2008, 03:30 PM
The point about Bango is that we don't know how the "ticks chart" of his LoR form did go (maybe he doesn't neither). In particular, there is almost always a final question with several options that goes somewhat like this:

I strongly recommend this applicant
I recommend this applicant
I recommend this applicant with reservations
I do not recommend this applicantIf the recommender ticks any other box than the first one, it basically signals that you are out. I understand there is something about this.

I'm sure we all discussed with our letter writers what schools we were applying to.

If I say, "I'm applying to Harvard."
And my professor says, "I think you have a decent chance, I'll write you a good letter."

That should guarantee he/she will only check the first box. I've seen professors write a couple LoRs and ask others to file it electronically for them. His instruction is to "just choose the best one for any of those questions."

Who would promise to write a "good" letter for a student applying to the highest schools and torpedo your chances like that? It's disingenuous in my opinion. They know damn well that can ruin an application.

israelecon
04-08-2008, 03:50 PM
I'm sure we all discussed with our letter writers what schools we were applying to.

If I say, "I'm applying to Harvard."
And my professor says, "I think you have a decent chance, I'll write you a good letter."

That should guarantee he/she will only check the first box. I've seen professors write a couple LoRs and ask others to file it electronically for them. His instruction is to "just choose the best one for any of those questions."

Who would promise to write a "good" letter for a student applying to the highest schools and torpedo your chances like that? It's disingenuous in my opinion. They know damn well that can ruin an application.
i don't think it ruins the application, its just that in his situation if the dept. decided that it just wants one guy from that school then it ruins his chances because he is second and they will take the first. but, if they are willing to take 2 from the same school then it shouldn't ruin his chances.

israelecon
04-08-2008, 03:51 PM
I'm trying to decide whether to attend a university that made me an offer through Fulbright (which is a nice one, but don't do research on my area), or to wait another year and reapply.
are these 2 options mutually exclusive?

nash12
04-08-2008, 03:58 PM
i don't think it ruins the application, its just that in his situation if the dept. decided that it just wants one guy from that school then it ruins his chances because he is second and they will take the first. but, if they are willing to take 2 from the same school then it shouldn't ruin his chances.

A thought:

Any sort of ranking could oust you from MIT and Harvard. They think they are the best and rightfully so. So, if you might have done better than the best guy from some other university, you might not get it becuse your are second best in your own.

This may not be that valid for US candidates but def. could be possible for the international students.

AstralTraveller
04-08-2008, 05:01 PM
are these 2 options mutually exclusive?
Probably. I believe it's unlikely to get a transfer, especially when you're on a J visa (i.e., the mandatory visa you get when you are a Fulbright scholar).

I know for certain that some schools lift their eyebrows with that. "So how is this person committed to research and professorial life in the US, but holds only a J visa that will get him deported as soon as the PhD ends? Can I believe this candidate?" (in other words: "ruining our placements because the candidate seems to want to return to his/her third world country after graduation")

I do want to live a professorial life of research at the US upon graduation. No question about that. I just wasn't aware (OK, my own fault) it was incompatible with Fulbright.

So, yes, I think that going to a Fulbright sponsored institution v/s reapplying are mutually exclusive. Any thoughts?

asianeconomist
04-08-2008, 05:24 PM
One of my Sr. lecturers (Finance) is a Fulbright-er. The other day, he was ruing over the fact that he had to pack his bags soon after his graduation (when his buddies were just beginning to get their hands on fantastic opportunities). He'll now have to wait for 2-3 years and then apply again for his PhD (he has done is MBA).

He tells me that he probably won't get into a good PhD because he lacks the necessary math background (imagine an instructor telling that to a student ! ). He would have liked to take the extra math courses by funding himself, but the visa condition entailed that his hands were tied.

Fulbright scholarships can be a great boon to one's applications (dept. won't have to fund him/her), but it also places a great constraint - especially for those who wish to remain in USA.

israelecon
04-08-2008, 05:39 PM
my opinion is that if it is important for you to stay in the US, then i would wait another year and not take the fulbright. this is said on the condition that you can be reasonably sure that once you rectify the problem you had in your application this year, you can be reasonably sure you will be accepted to a good program next year.
but, this may depend on how much disutility going back to your home country will cause you, and also the rankings gain you think you will get by waiting another year and fixing the application. i would think that jumping even into the top 50 next year is worth waiting for.

darwinian
04-09-2008, 02:00 AM
Finally, I'm not interested in gossip, but in undertanding why he/she had possibly failed to get in anywhere.

Anybody? Maybe someone who waited a year to "beef up" their application and reapplied succesfully the following year?

Thanks in advance

I want to really encourage anyone who had the tough luck not to get in anywhere this year to see it as a hidden opportunity. I first applied to PhD programs one year out of college, after majoring in government and econ, no math classes except Calc I, and a horrible C+ in Lin Algebra. I had a very mixed record and my GPA was not great: 3.5. But I had three professors who really believed in me, so I decided to apply anyway. I think I applied to 5 schools in the top 10, and another 5 in the top 2, and didn't get in anywhere (no real surprise to anyone on this forum, I'm sure).

I talked to a professor at Univ. of Maryland (Judy Hellerstein, who is awesome), who told me I needed to bite the bullet and take some math classes, and perhaps even do an MA in econ, since my econ background was very UN-quantitative. I really took her at her word, took diff eq and real analysis, probability, and statistics, and then decided to go ahead and do an MA at BU. After I finished the program I went back to the private sector for a year to pay off my student debt, but I still knew that academic economics was a better fit for me. I reapplied and got in to Wisconsin, with funding, which I would never have been able to do 3 years ago. However, I think my 3.5 undergrad GPA, and the fact that I have still never taken Calc II or Calc III prevented me from getting into NYU, UCLA, Northwestern, etc. So--obviously I didn't end up at Harvard, but I wouldn't change anything about the way things have played out.

I think the thing I want to get across is you should try to keep your perspective in all this--economics is not your whole life, although it is a great field to be in. And if you have to apply more than once, you should use the extra time to be well prepared, and think about whether or not you really want to invest the time and effort in a PhD.

kuejai
04-09-2008, 02:25 PM
Great post darwinian (http://www.urch.com/forums/../members/darwinian.html), that's really encouraging :)

AstralTraveller
04-09-2008, 02:28 PM
Great post darwinian (http://www.urch.com/forums/../members/darwinian.html), that's really encouraging :)
I second that. However, I really hope and dream I won't need to do it all over again ;). I'm exhausted to the core.

darwinian
04-09-2008, 10:10 PM
I hope so too, AT! I think we all have our fingers crossed for you, so keep us posted.

VGC
04-10-2008, 01:03 AM
Probably. I believe it's unlikely to get a transfer, especially when you're on a J visa (i.e., the mandatory visa you get when you are a Fulbright scholar).

I know for certain that some schools lift their eyebrows with that. "So how is this person committed to research and professorial life in the US, but holds only a J visa that will get him deported as soon as the PhD ends? Can I believe this candidate?" (in other words: "ruining our placements because the candidate seems to want to return to his/her third world country after graduation")

I do want to live a professorial life of research at the US upon graduation. No question about that. I just wasn't aware (OK, my own fault) it was incompatible with Fulbright.



I'm not 100% sure that this is true so take it with a grain of salt. I have heard that it is not impossible to scape from fulbright, it's expensive though. It seems that if you are good and you want to work in the USA you can do so. You'll have to pay back to fulbright, and may need to hire a lawyer for the visa, but you might be able remain working in the state.

iskonomist
04-10-2008, 07:50 AM
I'm not 100% sure that this is true so take it with a grain of salt. I have heard that it is not impossible to scape from fulbright, it's expensive though. It seems that if you are good and you want to work in the USA you can do so. You'll have to pay back to fulbright, and may need to hire a lawyer for the visa, but you might be able remain working in the state.

Yes, it's not impossible to escape from Fulbright (and J1 visa restrictions). There are five grounds for J1 waiver listed here:
Instructions for Applying for a Waiver (http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1288.html) ;)

Easiest way to escape would be to apply to an 'interested US government agency' or to get married to an American citizen and invoke the 'exceptional hardship' provision. IMO.

dr_Shpak
04-10-2008, 09:28 AM
Ever if you married an American citizen it will be extimaly hard to stay in US.

WellThen
04-28-2008, 09:04 PM
How is BU economics program? I might need to consider that.