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Thread: No Funding..Need help making a decision

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    No Funding..Need help making a decision

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    Hi everyone-
    This site has been very helpful throughout the application process and now I am in a very difficult situation and could use some insight from another perspective. I just graduated from undergrad and had applied to 7 different econ phd programs throughout the past year. I was told by my professors that I had a really strong application (lots of math, high scores, high gre scores) but only was accepted into 3 of the schools I applied to. Also, I did not get funding at any of the three schools. I accepted the admissions to UNC-Chapel Hill with hopes that something might end up working out and I'd get a late funding offer after other people accepted/declined offers around the deadline. Now I am stuck trying to get ready for school and facing $40,000 in student loans for this first year as I do not have the means to pay for grad school nor can my parents help me. I already have undergrad loans as well. I have been told by some to defer admission for a year and try to get funding next year..and I know FOR SURE that I want to graduate with a PhD and work in academia for the rest of my life. Any thoughts?? I really need to figure something out soon.

  2. #2
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    That's a lot of debt to pile on top of undergrad loans. If I were you, I'd try to defer, or just apply again in this cycle (assuming you at least marginally improved your profile since you applied). But you know your financial situation better than anyone else here.

  3. #3
    _nanashi
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    I would find out the prospects of second year funding at UNC. Is it guaranteed? I would also find out their attrition rate. I would talk to the people who just finished the first year students there and see how they like the environment. Is it super competitive inside the program, or was there collaboration.
    How many people fail qualifiers?



    Your decisions a tough one. UNC is a decent program, however any lower ranked I'd say to wait a cycle. It really doesn't look like you applied to enough schools. Why only 7? what are your other offers.

  4. #4
    Ok what yes, well...dunno dreck's Avatar
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    This is a tough decision. My concerns about debt were assuaged by the number of people I met who had come in unfunded and didn't seem too worried about it. I would make a point to see if you can track down current graduate students who were unfunded their first year, and see how they felt about it.

  5. #5
    I've been here. econjkt's Avatar
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    Yours is a similar situation to mine. Have you applied for any research assistantships? Have you considered perhaps even taking a job for the year while you take one or two more classes?

  6. #6
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    Unless it is a top 5, I'd defer, and even then, I wouldn't do it.

  7. #7
    Your mind makes it real AppliedEcon's Avatar
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    Did you apply by the funding deadline:

    The Graduate School recommends that you apply by December 15 to be assured of review for all University and departmental funding but the department will be able to review all applications received by January 11 for such funding.
    If you didn't, see if you can defer admissions a year since
    most of whom have financial aid from the Graduate School or the Department.
    If you did make the deadline then wait a year and apply to a broader range of programs. Your cost of attendance at UNC as an unfunded out-of-state student will be about $37k/year (//studentaid.unc.edu/studentaid/cost/ssa_ug_general.html) and the two year attrition for programs of UNC's rank is about 30-40% (//www.aeaweb.org/joe/articles/2006/attrition.pdf). That's a pretty risky investment.

    Whatever your situation, you shouldn't take the lack of funding to heart. Many state schools are having funding problems this year and have reduced the number of assistantships. For example, NC State offered about half as many this year as last.
    Attending Maryland AREC

  8. #8
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Thank you so much for all of your advice. I applied to 7 schools because I thought I had pretty good range of levels and the application fees add up very quickly. Also, I did apply by the early deadline (mid November actually). I have been trying not to take the lack of funding to heart and people keep telling me this was a difficult year for both students and schools alike. I've been looking for research assistantships but am getting stuck as not too many departments seem to be offering them. I've been in contact with the graduate program director and am looking into my other options.

    The other schools I got into were NC State and University of Colorado-Boulder. I thought UNC was my best option and was hoping for a late funding offer after the deadline for the others..but am finally allowing myself to realize it's a little late for anything like that.

  9. #9
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    With regard to an academic career, coming out of UNC will be tough. You'd have to be top of the class to make the market notice you. It's something to keep in mind as you decide whether to put a lot of money on the line for this. When people apply to PhD programs, they underestimate the fixation of the academic job market on the top 20 programs. Some don't even read applications that they haven't specifically requested. And they don't usually request applications from new UNC graduates, unless you're in a particular field where UNC is top.

  10. #10
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    UNC is very good in time-series, so it won't be too bad if the OP is pursuing that as a field.

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