View Full Version : What to do instead of worry...

02-23-2008, 02:06 AM
To all of you anxiously waiting to hear back from economics graduate programs, take a deep breath and relax. Decisions will be coming out like crazy over the next several weeks, just as they have during the past two weeks. The marginal benefit of fretting over an already submitted application is zero, so here are some more productive ways to kill time between now and receiving acceptances:

1. Look closely at the graduate programs. Now is a good time to read up on things such as continued financial support, teaching requirements, timetables, and the like. These are factors that can play into your decision as to where to attend, and you may not get as much time as you like to be able to make your decision.

2. Think carefully about questions to ask during the visit day/flyout. This old thread is a good one to look at:


3. Would you be happy at school X? As you hopefully know, academic reputation is not everything. You need to be at least reasonably happy in the city where you'll be spending the next five years. If you're going to go crazy without living in a megalopolis, think carefully about attending a Midwestern school; likewise, if you're a corn-fed Midwesterner, consider whether New York City will make you happy.

And if you love 87 inches of snow in a winter, Madison may be the place for you. :D

(A note to international students: Check with the international student office at your school of interest to see support networks. Even with most programs having a majority of international students, you may still want to get in touch with people from your home country.)

4. Do something really nice for your current professors/advisors. It's a great idea to keep in close contact with the people who have helped you get to where you are today. You never know if they can help you get a job interview sometime down the road, or can introduce you to someone really special. If nothing else, you can complain to them about never wanting to see a Cauchy sequence again.

If you're from a school that doesn't send many students to PhD programs, be sure to keep in touch with the faculty. They may not be fully aware of what it takes to get a student into a good PhD program nowadays.

5. Learn how to make an effective website. You're almost surely going to have to do this sometime down the road as a job market candidate or a professor. If you end up being a TA, undergraduates love a TA with a good website. It's also a good skill to have on a resume if the ol' PhD program doesn't work out.

6. Look at graduate student websites. The websites of current graduate students can provide insight into what a program is really like, as well as the current research being done by dissertators. If a student's website seems really friendly, you can even try sending him or her a short e-mail with questions. Some students may even respond if you're nice enough.

7. Start (or continue) a good habit that has nothing to do with economics. The best piece of advice my undergraduate economics professors told me is to keep on running every morning. While what keeps you sane may very well be different than me, you need to do something away from economics. And be open to picking up something new with some local flavor. For me, ice skating and photography were some new activities.

8. Be nice to the graduate secretaries. I'm lucky here to have a great graduate secretary here in Megan, and it seems like I'm not alone. The secretary can be your best friend and help you find your way around the area, the department, and financial aid. In my case, getting to know the secretary resulting in getting funding for my first year. So say hi and be awfully nice!

I hope that your waits are almost over! Good luck!

02-23-2008, 02:12 AM
Nice post!

02-23-2008, 02:29 AM
^^ agreed. great post!

02-23-2008, 03:07 AM
great post

02-23-2008, 03:08 AM
This post has "sticky" written all over it.

02-23-2008, 03:45 AM
9. Start smoking again..... At least that's what I did :P

Trapped In an EW Box
02-23-2008, 04:05 AM
Thanks for this!

02-23-2008, 08:33 AM
well, my smoking has doubled since all this started.

02-23-2008, 08:39 AM
What, me worry?

02-23-2008, 12:03 PM
9. Start smoking again..... At least that's what I did :P

Haha, or quit smoking if you already were smoking... that's what I did as I couldn't really increase my daily dosages (was on 1 1/2 pack a day..)... Started running and working out again too... worked like a charm..

... now if I could only stop visiting TM... :)

And be open to picking up something new with some local flavor. For me, ice skating and photography were some new activities.

How prescient!!! given that Madison is both picturesque, and pretty frozen.... ;)

02-27-2008, 12:30 PM
Two more things to add to my original list:

9. Make a backup plan. Almost everyone will get admitted, but now's the time to start thinking about other options if everyone says no. Is it worth taking an extra year of math? Can you get an RA job? Is it time to try a MBA instead? Start applying to programs/jobs with early deadlines. You can always back out.

10. Don't contact professors directly. It seems like most faculty don't really like getting inquiries from worried applicants. I would recommend either e-mailing the graduate secretary or graduate students in the professor's area of research to see whether any professors should be e-mailed. They know whether it would hurt you or not.

04-20-2008, 09:57 AM
11. Don't bug the graduate secretaries every day. They get it. You want funding. If you can get it, they'll get in touch with you.

04-20-2008, 09:16 PM
Hey I am also studying Econ at University of Wisconsin- Madison. Our school give out A,AB,B, instead of A, A-, B+, B. That really brought down my GPA..:doh: