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View Full Version : Post your backup plans in here! (what will you do if 0 admits?)



Olm
02-09-2008, 06:38 PM
Okay, April rolls around and you find out you've been rejected anywhere. What is your backup plan? Wait a year and try again? More math courses or RA work?

:2cents:

I plan to teach economics while taking more math courses. I have no formal math beyond Cal 1... everything else came in an informal "math for economists" kind of course or part of the curriculum in the regular core courses. I was thinking of doing a 2 year Honors degree in math... at the end I should have math right up the bum and be a far more appealing candidate for a top 20.

How about you guys (and girls)?

AstralTraveller
02-09-2008, 06:44 PM
I think I would enroll in a local grad program in Math for the first year, finishing the sequence in order to reapply.

The other alternative is try applying late to some of the late-admit programs (like Bonn, that accepts applications until late April, IIRC). I don't know if that would succeed, but I would give it a try.

But I trust I will get in right now ;)

werther
02-09-2008, 06:45 PM
Okay, April rolls around and you find out you've been rejected anywhere. What is your backup plan? Wait a year and try again? More math courses or RA work?

:2cents:

I plan to teach economics while taking more math courses. I have no formal math beyond Cal 1... everything else came in an informal "math for economists" kind of course or part of the curriculum in the regular core courses. I was thinking of doing a 2 year Honors degree in math... at the end I should have math right up the bum and be a far more appealing candidate for a top 20.

How about you guys (and girls)?

you have no formal math beyond cal 1 and managed a 4.0 M.A. GPA? wow. i took up to real analysis and my M.A. GPA is nowhere close to that. (but then.. i rarely used RA here). consequently, PhD looks nearly out of question for me. i'm slacking off like crazy, and i think i will try learning some programming over the summer before i force myself into private/public industry. (sigh)

Hypercube
02-09-2008, 06:53 PM
I might end up getting a job and publish at least two more papers in the area of graph labeling on the side.

filroz
02-09-2008, 06:57 PM
I would stay in our central bank and start phd at local university

Bayern
02-09-2008, 07:06 PM
I think I will realize then, that maybe PhD is not for me and just join the private sector... atleast make some money :)

Mr.Keen
02-09-2008, 07:14 PM
I would take one more math course (graduate analysis), reapply to more schools in the 15-35 range and totally forget about the top 10-15.

kinesis
02-09-2008, 07:29 PM
My back up plan if I get rejected everywhere is to join the Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things! :p

Or maybe I will get a better job and try again next year...what I can't do is live a life without learning. This "being a student" thing got to me, now I can't stop.

buckykatt
02-09-2008, 07:45 PM
This year I only applied to a few master's programs at a local university, and I think the odds of not getting accepted to one of them are low. But the real question is, what will I do if I don't get offered enough funding? Probably finish up the four courses I'd need to earn a second BA in math and then just apply for Ph.D. programs for next year. I can't afford to study full-time without funding. :(

Olm
02-09-2008, 08:41 PM
you have no formal math beyond cal 1 and managed a 4.0 M.A. GPA? wow. i took up to real analysis and my M.A. GPA is nowhere close to that. (but then.. i rarely used RA here). consequently, PhD looks nearly out of question for me. i'm slacking off like crazy, and i think i will try learning some programming over the summer before i force myself into private/public industry. (sigh)

I did learn some topics from cal 2, cal 3, linear, analysis, and probability, but they all came in econ classes and for the most part the coverage was spotty (they only covered what was needed). I'm no Gauss...

Don't be discouraged. I'm sure you'll do fine this admissions cycle. So long as you don't have a recommender tell you that you don't have a chance you should be okay :2cents:


Probably finish up the four courses I'd need to earn a second BA in math

A lot of people are doing this... I have a friend actually that is doing this right now.

C152dude
02-09-2008, 10:07 PM
I will apply for Teach For America. Although, that is no backup in its own right. Nonetheless, it is something I would want to do if I did not get any admits.

Valhalla
02-09-2008, 10:20 PM
I will try to become the next "American Idol".. I really enjoy those competitive multistage application processes :)

Luckykid
02-09-2008, 10:35 PM
My back up plan was another year of math then reapply; or masters at local school and get a real Jerb...Luckily its no longer needed.

I am surprised there are no cutters responding. With some of these profiles I would think grad admission is life or death for those people...

Roy

macroeconomicus
02-09-2008, 10:57 PM
I'd apply to less competitive schools next year or move on.

Thesus
02-09-2008, 11:12 PM
Do local grad program, take a couple math courses on the side.

Cry. :P

econphilomath
02-09-2008, 11:18 PM
M
I am surprised there are no cutters responding. With some of these profiles I would think grad admission is life or death for those people...

Roy


It is life and death for me.:crazy:

Lets try not to think about a goose-egg result.

trjohnson
02-09-2008, 11:23 PM
It is life and death for me.:crazy:

Lets try not to think about a goose-egg result.

I would think you would punch cow carcasses, much like in your avatar.

Olm
02-09-2008, 11:30 PM
It is life and death for me.:crazy:

Lets try not to think about a goose-egg result.

Oh please mr. lim n-> infinity : (n^n)/(n!) GPA, if you get anything less than a $500,000 scholarship to Harvard I would be very surprised. :notworthy

econphilomath
02-09-2008, 11:31 PM
I would think you would punch cow carcasses, much like in your avatar.


Thats for just training...;)

However now that I think about it, Rocky actually lost the fight... he only became the champ in the sequel. Maybe I should change my avatar....

econphilomath
02-09-2008, 11:33 PM
Oh please mr. lim n-> infinity : (n^n)/(n!) GPA, if you get anything less than a $500,000 scholarship to Harvard I would be very surprised. :notworthy

I wish you were on the adcom!:tup:

tangsiuje
02-10-2008, 12:33 AM
get married; embark on my housewife career. ;)

Sammy6
02-10-2008, 01:35 AM
I have a running joke with my friends that I will move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and become a waitress at a truck stop...

YoungEconomist
02-10-2008, 02:16 AM
I can't afford to study full-time without funding. :(

Can't you just take out student loans for the first year? Is that really not worth it?

pevdoki1
02-10-2008, 02:27 AM
Well, I did apply for an RA job at the Fed (Board of Governors), but thankfully I won't bee needing a job next year :)

Karina 07
02-10-2008, 02:31 AM
get married; embark on my housewife career. ;)

This reminds me of my boyfriend's family. When I did my master's program, they were like geez, what do you need that for? By now, they've just accepted that I'm (to them) loony, but harmless -- they're like "oh, go ahead, indulge yourself, get that worthless PhD; it won't matter a whit when you become a housewife, as clearly all women must, but go ahead." :rolleyes:

AstralTraveller
02-10-2008, 02:33 AM
Okay, April rolls around and you find out you've been rejected anywhere. What is your backup plan? Wait a year and try again? More math courses or RA work?

Oh, I had forgotten! I plan to find me a girlfriend/wife. I had avoided steadiness in this subject considering I would be leaving so soon. If I don't get admitted, I will address this situation. Hey, I'm 25 -- I will need a lifelong partner to love and care for rather sooner than later.

polkaparty
02-10-2008, 02:40 AM
"oh, go ahead, indulge yourself, get that worthless PhD; it won't matter a whit when you become a housewife, as clearly all women must, but go ahead."

It's too bad many people still think this way. I guess it'll be a bit better once a few more generations die out.

claudsinthesky
02-10-2008, 03:21 AM
cry, sulk, then become an actuary

Luckykid
02-10-2008, 03:30 AM
anyone thinking about the dark side (MBA)???

Andronicus
02-10-2008, 03:41 AM
It's too bad many people still think this way. I guess it'll be a bit better once a few more generations die out.

That's an interesting approach to social change.

AstralTraveller
02-10-2008, 03:43 AM
anyone thinking about the dark side (MBA)?

After working at B-schools as TA first, and as RA later (i.e., now)...all I can say about me pursuing a MBA is...not in this lifetime!!!. I lost respect for such programs. :(

Sure, you can make really big bucks with a MBA, but if I wanted to pursue private sector jobs, I'd go there with my Econ M.A. If I had to pick up an additional master's degree, I'd study Stats or Applied Math abroad, not a MBA.

Equilibrium
02-10-2008, 05:18 AM
Delay graduation(if they'll let me), Turn my econ major/ math minor into a double major( ie take 3 math classes a semester for two semesters plus 1 or 2 this summer)

Say good riddance to the PhD thing at least for now, do an M.A. and see if i wanna keep going(applying to two MA programs anyway this time so it should be an option, i hope)

Reapply next year WAY earlier and to WAAAAY more schools and actually some top 10s. I'm the redheaded stepchild of the typical TM applicant<5 schools applied to and didn't bother with a reach into the top 10 even though I should have. So don't despair all of you who do not have 4.0 800Q and a schools list a mile long. I am reasonably sure I will earn an offer into a top 30, FULLY FUNDED PhD program with only 3.6/780 plus 3.81 econ 3.4 math(just now doing Real Analysis, result may only be a B)

Ancalagon The Black
02-10-2008, 05:30 AM
Finish my Math courses which are all in progress this semester like RA, NA, Discrete Maths, Advanced Calculus, Differential Equations, Mathematical Modeling, Linear Programming, Linear and Algebra Algebra.

YoungEconomist
02-10-2008, 05:35 AM
I'd study Stats or Applied Math abroad, not a MBA.

Maybe I'm naive, but I've always thought that a masters in Econ + a masters in Stats would be a very marketable degree. In fact, if I don't pass prelims I would seriously considering getting a masters in Stats. I guess I might also consider a JD, or possibly a MBA.

What's with an Applied Math masters? What kind of jobs are available to those with this degree?

Olm
02-10-2008, 05:57 AM
MA in stats + an MA in economics is kind of redundant if you ask me, especially if you take as many econometrics courses as possible in your MA (which is what I did).

And google is your friend, YE: Mathematicians (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos043.htm)

Valhalla
02-10-2008, 10:29 AM
The following words should adress olm:

I realized that you started this new thread and that you mentioned already in other threads that you are quite pessimistic concerning your chances for a decent admission. Stop this please! It's really frustrating and I truly believe that you'll get an admission offer. It's your dream to get an admission right? So go for it and think positive. You can get it if you really want. Believe in yourself! Go to the church, gym or do something to be distracted from this whole process. You will be admitted somewhere I am really sure! I think it was necessary that someone tells you that and I am more that just convinced about it.

macroeconomicus
02-10-2008, 12:10 PM
To address the OP's concerns, I would say, based on my observations on this forum, that realistically one with a "bad" undergraduate GPA but a 4.0 even from a relatively mediocre American Masters program still has a good shot at getting into an American PhD program ranked below 25 on US news. Getting into higher ranked programs is still possible but that's kind of random (for example last year someone got into Brown with something like 3.3 undergrad but a good masters GPA, without funding). So, in the worst case, if you don't have any offers this year, take a good look at PhD programs ranked below 25 on usnews and pick 10 or so that match your interests (most of PhD programs in that range are more or less specialized, so it doesn't make much sense to go by rank below top 20-25 or so).

Now, things might work differently with non-US programs, who knows. I don't know anything about them.

Smileysquared
02-10-2008, 01:17 PM
I also need funding especially considering that I want to study in the UK. I think I would get some actuarial exams done if I have to wait a year again but next time I would only apply to PhD programs. I think that staying a year again in my job will add an additional year of research experience to my application. I also think I will find a boyfriend-seeing that I am a single 23 year old single girl....lol

YoungEconomist
02-10-2008, 03:44 PM
To address the OP's concerns, I would say, based on my observations on this forum, that realistically one with a "bad" undergraduate GPA but a 4.0 even from a relatively mediocre American Masters program still has a good shot at getting into an American PhD program ranked below 25 on US news. Getting into higher ranked programs is still possible but that's kind of random (for example last year someone got into Brown with something like 3.3 undergrad but a good masters GPA, without funding).

Well Duke's masters program has had some solid placements.

The info below is straight from the FAQs section.

I might apply there if I don't get admitted to PhD on my first round.



To which other PhD programs have Duke Master’s students gone in recent years?
In the past three years, MA graduates also have gone on to Arizona State (finance), California – Davis, Michigan, Northwestern, Ohio State (statistics), Penn State, Stanford (accounting), UCLA, Washington University – St. Louis (finance), and Wisconsin.

kinesis
02-10-2008, 04:44 PM
On a more deeper note, this question made me wonder if any of us can picture him/herself doing something other than a PhD in an economics related field...forget admissions for a second, if you could not become an economist (or whatever else you want to become), what would you do?

Also, besides thinking about rejections or different life dreams, what if we don't like graduate school? And what if we stop liking economics in lieu of what we experience in graduate school? I admit these are very open ended questions and I don't know where I am going with them, but these are things I ask myself and I am afraid of...

YoungEconomist
02-10-2008, 05:08 PM
On a more deeper note, this question made me wonder if any of us can picture him/herself doing something other than a PhD in an economics related field...forget admissions for a second, if you could not become an economist (or whatever else you want to become), what would you do?

I currently cannot picture myself doing anything outside of economics. I guess if I had to do something else, I might choose Law School, Business School, or Grad School in Stats.


Also, besides thinking about rejections or different life dreams, what if we don't like graduate school? And what if we stop liking economics in lieu of what we experience in graduate school? I admit these are very open ended questions and I don't know where I am going with them, but these are things I ask myself and I am afraid of...

Well, I would say that it's unlikely for me personally to dislike economics grad school, because I just keep liking it more and more as I go on. I had taken many econ classes before I wanted to go for a PhD, and part of what made me interested in the PhD is because the discipline keeps getting more and more exciting and interesting to me (and I really want to understand it on a deeper level and spend my life studying this stuff in one way or another).

But there is always the possibility that I will not like it during grad school. If this happens I wouldn't worry about it though, because you'd be making a decision that makes you happy. Let's face it, if you don't like econ grad school, you don't like econ grad school, and that's not a thing to fear. You can leave the program and find something that you like better (in which case, whatever it is your economics background will probably help you with it).

werther
02-10-2008, 07:15 PM
I also think I will find a boyfriend-seeing that I am a single 23 year old single girl....lol

likewise; i'm a single 22 yr old and if nothing works out ill just find myself a s/o, get married, hopefully someone with MBA or JD so i won't have to work so hard with my useless MA Econ degree

ocean2
02-10-2008, 08:23 PM
On a more deeper note, this question made me wonder if any of us can picture him/herself doing something other than a PhD in an economics related field...forget admissions for a second, if you could not become an economist (or whatever else you want to become), what would you do?

Also, besides thinking about rejections or different life dreams, what if we don't like graduate school? And what if we stop liking economics in lieu of what we experience in graduate school? I admit these are very open ended questions and I don't know where I am going with them, but these are things I ask myself and I am afraid of...


I'm so glad that you brought this up. I have been thinking of the same thing for a while. I have applied for a few MA programs this year but I keep thinking what if I won't like graduate work in economics or the career options that I'm going to have. I wonder if I can start on a completely different path afterwards because unfortunately I don't like law or business which could be easily pursued with an MA in economics. Anyone know anyone who changed careers from economics to a completely different field?

Thanks

pevdoki1
02-10-2008, 08:37 PM
I know someone who graduated with a BS from economics, but is planning to enter a PhD program in neuroscience next fall :) I believe he already has an interview with Duke, but he also applied to places like Columbia etc. So yes, it's possible to switch fields

GymShorts
02-10-2008, 08:45 PM
I'm probably the only one in this forum, but I'd look into getting a PhD in Classical Rhetoric or English. I'm a Rhetoric and Writing minor, so I could probably pull it off.

Olm
02-10-2008, 08:50 PM
You will be admitted somewhere I am really sure! I think it was necessary that someone tells you that and I am more that just convinced about it.

Thank you for the kind words, but I am not as optimistic as you. And both of my schools (ugrad and grad) are second-tier Canadian schools, both with poor placement records.


Also, besides thinking about rejections or different life dreams, what if we don't like graduate school?

Those of us who have done master's degrees with PhD courses know what graduate school is like. We have taken the courses, we have done the research. I doubt there will be any surprises waiting for me at the PhD level.

asquare
02-10-2008, 10:28 PM
Also, besides thinking about rejections or different life dreams, what if we don't like graduate school? And what if we stop liking economics in lieu of what we experience in graduate school? I admit these are very open ended questions and I don't know where I am going with them, but these are things I ask myself and I am afraid of...
With probability approaching one, you WILL stop liking economics at some point during graduate school! Especially because graduate economics is very different than the things people often like about undergraduate economics, or applied economics people see in policy environments. You should know that it's normal to decide you hate economics at some point -- and that most people eventually return to appreciating and liking it.

Also, there's a difference between disliking the some material or methods or professors -- or disliking the experience of graduate school -- and disliking the field of economics. People have described econ PhD programs as trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose. It's a hard and imperfect way to learn economics, but in the end, you get out of it what you need.

But if you do decide that graduate economics really isn't for you, that's ok too. Most people who leave either do so very early in the program (these tend to be people who were poorly informed about what to expect, or who face other extenuating circumstances) or after they receive their masters degrees. And leaving with an MA gives you options, too. Despite what it seems like when you are in the middle of the program, there are lots of happy, successful people who don't have PhDs ;) Starting the PhD isn't the path of no return, but it is a path with a lot of obstacles and you should come in knowing that, so you aren't surprised and tempted to give up the first time you run into a brick wall.

Olm
02-11-2008, 01:03 AM
Starting the PhD isn't the path of no return, but it is a path with a lot of obstacles and you should come in knowing that, so you aren't surprised and tempted to give up the first time you run into a brick wall.

This is true, especially with the attrition rate being around 50% in some programs. (I don't know what it is for economics, don't ask. Some schools post their numbers, I think Chicago's is 30% or so)