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Thread: Profiles and Results 2011

  1. #61
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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No
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    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BA International Economics, unknown Eastern European school
    Undergrad GPA: 3.4/4
    Type of Grad: MSc Economics, Barcelona GSE
    Grad GPA: 6.78/10
    GRE: 780Q, 560V, 3.5AW
    Math Courses: Advanced math for economists(B) – one year course which includes uni- and multivariate calclulus, linear algebra, difference and differential equations, set theory and basic topology, intro to real analysis; Probability and Statistics (B), Theoretical Statistics (A), Optimization (A)
    Econ Courses (grad-level): Micro theory (D ), Advanced Micro theory (A – some improvement over micro ), Econometrics (B), Advanced Econometrics I (C), Macroeconomics (A), International Economics (B), Experimental Economics (B), Econ growth (A).
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Microeconomics (B), Macroeconomics (B), other standard courses
    Letters of Recommendation: All from BGSE, should have been quite good.
    Research Experience: Macroeconomic research analyst at an investment bank (2.5 years)
    Teaching Experience: none
    Research Interests: Macroeconomics, international economics and finance, economics of information
    SOP: Standard, focused on research interests and ideas
    Concerns: Many… My profile has many drawbacks as you can see.

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: U Houston ($$), Warwick (no $)
    Rejections: Maryland, Carnegie Mellon, Emory, LSE MSc, UBC MA, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, McGill, Simon Fraser, WUSTL, USC
    Attending: University of Houston

    COMMENTS:
    I realized that I want to do a PhD only after I finished my BA and started working. If I knew this since my first year of undergrad I would study much harder and would have a much better GPA. To some extent getting an MSc from a top European school helped me, though my performance there was quite mediocre (due to poor undergrad preparation). I have made a large progress by now and studied a lot on my own, so now I am confident that now I am well prepared to study at a PhD level.

    Finally, given my terrible profile, it's good that I got into U of Houston, which could not be a top school, but fits my interests and has quite decent placement.

  2. #62
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    PROFILE:

    Type of Undergrad: BA Economics, top college for humanities and social sciences in my country (in South Asia), unknown internationally
    Undergrad GPA: Not yet complete. 76% so far-first class honours
    Type of Grad:-
    Grad GPA:-
    GRE: 800 Q 740 V 5.5 AWA
    Math Courses: Mathematical Methods for Economics, Linear Algebra and Calculus
    Econ Courses: Intermediate Macro and Micro, Development Theory, International Economics,Public Economics, Money and Finance, Political Economy, Introductory Econometrics
    Other Courses: Statistics for Economics, Formal Logic
    Letters of Recommendation: All from senior college professors who'd taught me for at least a year and knew me well, one of them also the head of the department. Very strong in all likelihood.
    Research Experience: None
    Teaching Experience: None
    Research Interests: Development Economics and International Economics. I'm also developing a belated liking for Public Economics. Behavioural Economics also sounds interesting, though I've never studied it. And Econometrics is one of my favourite subjects in college. I obviously need to figure this out.
    SOP: Managed to include all that I thought was relevant without making it too long. Was quite satisfied with it.

    RESULTS:

    Applied to: LSE (Msc Economics), Cambridge (Diploma+MPhil in Economics), Oxford (Mphil Economics),Warwick (Msc Economics), UCL (Msc Economics)
    Acceptances: LSE, Cambridge, Warwick
    Waitlists: -
    Rejections: Oxford
    Pending: UCL

    What would you have done differently? Not much. I'm very happy I got through LSE and Cambridge. Not surprised about Oxford, as they rarely take BA students from my university and the ones that do get in have exceptional grades. I don't, so of course there's always the feeling that I could have worked harder, both for my grades and on the essays that were required for the Oxford application. But the focus is now on doing really well in my Master's and getting some research experience so I can figure out what area to specialise in and have a stab at top PhD programmes.

  3. #63
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    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    Small but highly regarded LAC. Degree: BA, Economics
    Undergrad GPA: 3.91 in major, 3.89 overall
    Type of Grad: Large state school (highly ranked within the field). Degree: MA, Education
    Grad GPA: 4.0
    GRE: 720Q/800V/5.0W
    Math Courses: Embarrassingly little. Just one semester of calculus, stats (A in both)
    Econ Courses: The usual macro & micro (the latter was very math intensive), urban political economy, international trade, history of economic though, Marxism, various seminars (all A's, with a B+ in intermediate micro))
    Other Courses: Some math-intensive physics and environmental science courses
    Letters of Recommendation:
    Very strong and personal recommendations from three profs who know me very well, including one who was a graduate of UMass and pretty well known, as far as heterodox people go
    Research Experience: All in econ: independent study, grant-funded student/faculty collaborative research project, honors thesis (presented at an undergraduate conference/paper competition where it won 1st place in macroeconomics category)
    Teaching Experience: TA and/or tutor for several intro/intermediate micro/macro courses, taught high school econ (for whatever that’s worth—probably not much)
    Research Interests: History, philosophy, & methodology of economics, political economy, public economics, comparative economic systems
    SOP: Emphasized my strengths while acknowledging my shortcomings; talked about how I’ve worked to overcome them (a great deal of self-directed study in math). Emphasized research and teaching experience, originality of thesis. Made a case for my research interests as unique and worthwhile, and successfully (I assume) presented myself as a potential asset for the department.
    Other: College honors, department honors, Phi Beta Kappa, award in economics presented annually by the college
    RESULTS:

    Acceptances: UMKC ($$), Denver U (M.A.) ($), New School (meh), UUtah ($$), UMass Amherst ($$ + fellowship)
    Application withdrawn: LSE philosophy and economics (I always knew LSE was both a long shot and impractical for other personal reasons; once I got an offer from UMass in mid-February, I decided to bail on LSE)
    Waitlists: NA
    Rejections: UC-Riverside
    Attending: UMass Amherst
    What would you have done differently? UMass was by far my top choice, not just within the set of departments I applied to. I received a TA/Instructorship, plus a University Fellowship for at least the first year, which grants a larger stipend and frees me from teaching obligations, so I’m pretty pleased overall. Nonetheless, I do wish I had taken more math as an undergrad (at the time, I didn’t expect to be going on in economics). I had been very sick for several days when I took the GRE, which is what I'm blaming my low quant score on. I guess I was risk-averse and chose not to retake. I’m still not sure that was a good decision, but it didn’t hurt me, so oh well. If I'd gotten my act together, I would have applied to more UK/Continental schools.
    Last edited by HeyNomad; 04-20-2011 at 10:45 PM.

  4. #64
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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Top 100 LAC, Midwest
    Undergrad GPA: 2.83, 3.1 in Econ Major, CS minor
    Type of Grad: MS Applied Econ Illinois State University
    Grad GPA: 3.24
    GRE: 730 Q 650 V 4.0 AWA
    Math Courses: Calc I (A), Calc-II (B+), Stats and Data Analysis-I (A-), Adv Stats for Social Sciences: A, Discrete Math: C+
    Econ Courses (grad-level): Macro, Micro, Econometrics I, II, III; Advanced Public Finance, International Trade, International Finance
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Whole bunch, includes Math Econ, Intermediate Macro Micro
    Other Courses: Security Analysis
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 prof from Chicago, 1 a Harvard fellow from Colorado, 1 Stats professor from UIUC
    Research Experience: RA for Public Finance prof, Research Paper on Ricardian Equivalence published in 2nd tier journal
    Teaching Experience: TA for undergrad stats
    Research Interests: Energy economics, Macro, Econometrics
    SOP: Should be alright
    Concerns: Low GPA, GRE
    Other:

    Results:
    In: UKY (wl$, withdrew application), Clemson, UWyo ($$), Auburn, Utah State ($$), UGA ($), Western Michigan, UNM
    Out: GSU, Oregon State, West Virginia, Rhode Islan, RAND Pardee, MSU
    Attending: University of Wyoming
    What would I have done differently: I should have thought about graduate school during undergrad and about a PhD during my Masters. All in all, given my marginal grades and GRE scores, I am very happy how I ended up. I think letters of recommendation can do wonders for one's profile.
    Southern road trip!

  5. #65
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    Good post? Yes | No
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad:
    State flagship
    Undergrad GPA: 3.68
    Type of Grad: Non-degree (part time classes while working)
    Grad GPA: 3.66
    GRE: V650Q800W4.0
    Math Courses: Very limited; took AP Calc I&II in high school; intro statistics (A-) and into econometrics (A) only in college; and Calc III (A+), Math methods in Econ (B+), and linear algebra (right now) after college
    Econ Courses (grad-level): Macro, math methods
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): 2 micro, 2 macro, 2 environmental, 1 natural resources, 3 public finance, 1 developmental, among others
    Other Courses: Second major was French and Spanish; took 1 accounting class
    Letters of Recommendation: 2 professors from undergrad econ department and 1 from a former manager from a well-known financial services company
    Research Experience: was a volunteer at a medical lab
    Teaching Experience: taught classes at the company where I'm working
    Research Interests: local environmental regarding habitat destruction due to land/resource use, alternative energy, environmental legislation, open to secondary concentration in public finance and developmental economics
    SOP: Got a really bad review from one of the LOR writers which prompted a semi-rewrite. Realized what they are but couldn't part with some cheesy cliches that are too dear to me. One paragraph dedicated to justifying wanting to attend each school. Identified general learning and research goals. Identified unique situation (working while taking more math classes)
    Concerns: have 1 non-academic LOR; not enough math; so-so undergrad grades; typos in SOP sent to 2 schools; generally didn't research enough prior to applying
    Other: TOEFL ibt R30/L30/S30/W29 (only a couple schools required it despite undergrad in US); having been working FT for almost 3 years since undergrad; native of China
    Applying to: UTAustin, UPitt, Purdue, CUBoulder, UOregon

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances:
    CUBoulder (no$), Uoregon ($?)
    Waitlists: none
    Rejections: UTAustin, UPitt, Purdue
    Pending: none
    What would you have done differently?
    1. Should have applied to more schools. I picked 5 public schools on a ranking gradient from the Association of American Universities and thought it would have sufficed. I wasn't wrong, but I probably would have had a much better chance at funding if I applied to at least 10.
    2. More math! I took Calc I & II in high school and didn't take Calc 3 until 2 years after graduating college. The only math class I took during my undergrad was statistics, and at the time I was applying I didn't even have a grade for either Calc III or Linear Algebra, which are requisites for almost all schools.
    3. Should have done a lot more research before applying. I pretty much just winged it; had I known about this forum when I was applying I think I would have done better as well.

  6. #66
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    Good post? Yes | No
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Top 10 University (Overall, Econ, Math) (top 5 depending on the ranking system)
    Undergrad GPA: 3.8 Math + Econ
    GRE: 780M/750V/5.5A
    Math Courses: Calculus (honors), Analysis (real and complex), Algebra (honors), ODE (mostly A's, couple A-/B+), some other logic type stuff
    Econ Courses: Micro (Intermediate), Macro (Intermediate and Advanced), Econometrics (Honors, Topics, Advanced), some random joke topic classes (Population economics, econ of crime, etc) (mostly A's, couple A-)
    Other Courses: Statistical Modeling, Probability Theory, Intermediate level CS courses
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 Stanford PhD, 1 Harvard PhD, 1 Berkeley PhD (All both supervisors and professors, 2 well known, the 3rd very very well known)
    Research Experience: Undergrad Thesis, 3 years as an U-Grad RA, 1.5 year econ consulting (I've heard others complain about this, but I actually run regressions, plan pricing surveys, etc...)
    Teaching Experience: Math TA (3 years) for Calculus
    Research Interests: IO/Micro/Dev
    SOP: Generic (was told to make it as bland as possible by my profs)
    Concerns: the couple B+ grades; spent waaay too much time on non-academic activities in college (but I did have a blast)
    Other: Facing the academic two-body problem.
    Applying to: Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Chicago, Chicago(Booth), Northwestern(Kellogg), Berkeley, NYU, UPenn(Wharton), NYU(Stern)
    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Yale ($$$$), Northwestern Kellogg ($$$), NYU Stern ($$$), Chicago Booth (accepted off wait list)
    Waitlists: MIT (eventually rejected), Chicago (removed self from w/l), Columbia (removed self from w/l), UPenn Wharton (removed self from w/l)
    Rejections: Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley
    Attending: Yale
    What would I have done differently/recap:
    A 3.8 (including grad/honors sequences) is common among applicants to top 5 schools. However I had the benefit of going to a major research institution, a place where anyone who shows even an iota of interest immediately gets placed into a research assistant position with a professor. And not just any schmuck who is bound to be bounced when he or she is up for tenure. Rather an average position may entail working directly under a Bates Clark winner, Nobel prize winner or senior Obama appointee (or a combination of thereof). Thanks to this, my recommendations came from highly visible economics and business faculty. While my grades were sufficient to keep me in the running, my research and recommendation letters likely put me over the top.

    So I may have not been admitted to the top 2 (Harvard, MIT), but I clearly broke the ranks of the top 5 and top 10. How could I have broken the "super-elite" ceiling (yes, I'm calling MIT and Harvard the "super-elite" - I can already hear the whining of the "elite")?

    Now keep in mind my sample size is extremely small (it includes just me, the noise inherent in graduate admissions may have been what kept me out)

    I could have gotten better grades. For those coming from undergraduate studies at a top research school (e.g. Berkeley, Stanford, Chicago, Northwestern, MIT, or an Ivy) - I suggest spending more time on the books and less on non-economic extracurricular activities. I spent easily 40/hrs a week on such "useless in terms of econ PhD admission" activities (for me these included debate-style events in addition to student artistic productions); this meant there was less than 25-30 hrs/week for classes, studying and homework. I should have reversed the two. A grade range of 3.8-3.9 isn't too difficult to achieve. A 3.95 does however stand out. [Note: People talk about a gentleman's C; today it really is a gentleman's B+. Put in a couple more hours of work and that becomes a marginal A-. This is excluding some of my math and stat classes. I had a couple of "old school" bad-asses that stuck to a rigid grading scale that was both fair and had a C+/B- tendency.]

    However I have no regrets. Hell, I'm going to a top school. I had a great time as an undergrad, both doing econ research and running debate. If getting into a better grad school meant cutting out one of the things I really loved doing (and where I made some of my best friends and met my girlfriend), forget the grad school.
    Last edited by frozenchip; 04-26-2011 at 09:52 PM.

  7. #67
    On cruise control... barkles's Avatar
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    Good post? Yes | No
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: B.S. double major in Mathematics and Economics from large public US university (top 15 econ)
    Undergrad GPA: 3.80 - will graduate summa cum laude
    Type of Grad: N/A
    Grad GPA:
    GRE: 770Q/630V/4.5AWA
    Math Courses: Calc I-III, Lin. Algebra and Diff. Eqs. Applied Linear Algebra, Real Analysis I & II, Abstract Algebra I & II, Probability and Statistics I & II, Topology, Stochastic Processes (gpa ~ 3.80)
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): 4 intro courses, International Trade, Financial Economics, Econometrics, Game Theory, Industrial Organization, Cost-Benefit Analysis (IP), Macroeconomic Policy (IP) (gpa = 4.00)
    Other Courses: 1 class in C++ programming
    Letters of Recommendation: 2 econ profs, one senior faculty who I took a course with and one junior faculty who I'm doing research with right now, plus a math professor who is my adviser for my honors thesis and who I did a bunch of research for.
    Research Experience: Did research in the math department (at first just to do it, ended up being the material for my honors thesis) for a professor at my school. We will try to get the work published eventually; we're working on a draft right now. Also am an RA for an economics professor which began right before I started applying.
    Teaching Experience: Just some tutoring, nothing major. Didn't mention it on any apps
    Research Interests: Macro (?) Really don't know actually.
    SOP: Pretty standard I think. I didn't feel that great about it, but my LOR writers said they thought it was strong FWIW

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Carnegie Mellon ($$$), UCSD($), UIUC ($$), Iowa ($$), UPitt($$)
    Waitlists: Wisconsin*, Princeton (later rejected)
    Rejections: MIT, Yale, Northwestern, NYU, Michigan, Rochester
    Attending: Carnegie Mellon University


    *Based on my short email conversations with the department, I believe I would have been made an offer if I had still been interested. However, I was pretty set on CMU at that point and asked them to withdraw me from their waitlist.

    What would you have done differently?
    I think there are two main things that hindered me from breaking the top 10. The first was my relatively low GRE quant score of 770. I only took the test once, and by the time I realized that the median accepted student had an 800 GRE Q score at basically every school I was applying to it was too late to try to retake it. The second thing was a couple of mediocre math scores that could easily have been higher: a B in topology and a B+ in Abstract Algebra II. I took both of these spring semester of my junior year, and for some reason I decided to go into mega-slacking mode right before finals. Here's a continuous bijection for you: finals: A -> B. Wah wah. Those were the two biggest "warning flags" on my transcript I think; if I could go back and change any two grades, those would be the ones.

    I also wish I would have taken a couple of grad school classes, either in math or in econ. Undergraduate econ classes are for the most part mind-numbingly boring in my experience, with only precious few exceptions.

    Overall, though, I'm perfectly happy with my results and with the prospect of attending Carnegie Mellon in the fall.
    Attending Carnegie Mellon University!

  8. #68
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BA, Major Economics, Minor Mathematics one of the top schools in Middle East
    Undergrad GPA: 3.7/4
    Type of Grad: MA Economics, same university
    Grad GPA: 3.85 /4
    GRE: 790Q, 600V, 4.5AW
    TOEFL:116/120
    Math Courses: UG Level: Calculus Sequence, Linear Algebra, Probability, Statistics, Discrete Mathematics
    Grad Level: Real Analysis, Measure Theory, Stochastic Calculus, Abstract Algebra
    Econ Courses (grad-level): Micro I-II (Taken at senior year in UG), Matching and Auction Theory (Taken at senior year in UG), Macro I-II, Metrics I-II, Advanced Topics in Macro Theory, Advanced Topics in Game Theory
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Way too many to list.
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 Minnesota PhD, 1 Rochester PhD, 1 BU PhD, all should be very good,
    Research Experience: Co-authoring a paper with one of the LoR writers, which had incredibly good feedback from a few conferences, going to submit it pretty soon.
    Teaching Experience: 8 semester of TA for a variety of classes, (intro to Micro, intro to Game Theory, etc.) Instructed the math camp for incoming graduate students at our university.
    Research Interests: Game Theory
    SOP: Pretty standard, I actually forgot to change the phrase "university X" to the name of the university in a few cases
    Concerns: My GPA in the first two-years in undergrad where I took the majority of the ug level math courses was lowish (around 3.4) Got a C+ plus from linear algebra as I had to skip an exam due to a medical condition(did not mention the reason in my sop), 790Q in GRE

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: NYU, Kellogg Mecs, Minnesota, Michigan, Caltech, CMU, Boston U, Rochester, JHU, WL from WUSTL
    Rejections: Yale, Brown, Columbia GSB

    COMMENTS:
    I decided to do a PhD only around my junior year or so, I wasn't even actually planning to study economics when I entered university. I did pretty stupid things in my first two years, I think my overall attendance was around %10 or so of the classes, entered some exams after night-outs without sleeping etc. On the other hand I took quite a bit of grad courses in my last two years as an undergraduate, as a result I had a chance focus on research on my masters. I actually came up with my own idea for the current paper we are writing pretty early in my masters. Then again due to a death in the family I couldn't get it published before the admission season started, hence didn't bother to apply to top 5. In retrospect, I think I should have given it a shot. And if I had the opportunity I would slap my younger self for my behavior in my first two-years.

  9. #69
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    Good post? Yes | No
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BS Business Economics, relatively unknown university in Southeast Asia
    Undergrad GPA: no idea how to convert it, but I graduated magna cum laude (Rank: 7/150)
    GRE: 800Q, 590V, 5.0AW
    TOEFL:112/120
    Math Courses: Calc I-III, Abstract Algebra, Linear Algebra, Real Analysis and Math Stats
    Econ Courses: the standard Econ courses, nothing special
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 Northwestern PhD, 1 Ohio State PhD, 1 PhD from my uni
    Research Experience: undergrad thesis (won an award, forthcoming in local journal), RA for six months
    Research Interests: Health Economics, Industrial Organization
    SOP: Pretty standard
    Concerns: I shifted from Accounting to Economics, and I took a leave for a year to take a break; first to apply as an undergrad from my school (never been done ever)

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Georgetown, LSE EME, BGSE MS Economics, CEMFI MSc Economics and Finance, PSU (from waitlist)
    Waitlists: PSU (eventually admitted, but without funding), Michigan (rejected off the WL though)
    Rejections: Northwestern, Columbia, Brown, Penn, Virginia, Stanford, Duke, Singapore Management

    COMMENTS:
    I wasn't an economics major when I entered college, and I left school for a year after sophomore year (since something happened to me) to evaluate myself, and the direction I was going. I accidentally stumbled upon economics, and I found out that I loved it. Like the previous poster, however, I decided to do a PhD only around my junior year, so I had to cram a lot of math during my last two years, plus take the economics classes. I knew it was a huge risk, applying with only an undergrad degree, as most students from my university had at least a year of graduate coursework before applying to even European masters. I am very pleased with my results, though, and I look forward to attending the program that I chose. The only things that I probably would've done differently are: (1) I would've probably majored in math when I first thought about it (since my Math average is significantly higher than my Business average), or that I would've done my undergrad in the US when I had the chance and (2) I would've probably applied to mainly masters programs.

    I guess I'll be back again for Fall 2013 PhD admissions.

  10. #70
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    Good post? Yes | No
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Rank 3 University in China (Fudan), B.A. of econonmics, with one semester exchange experience in UC Davis.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.57 in Fudan, top 10%; 4.0 in UC Davis (courses with * below).
    Type of Grad: N/A.
    Grad GPA: N/A.
    GRE: 800Q 540V 3.0 AWA, TOEFL 105.
    Math Courses: Advanced Math (differential calculus, integrals, a little differential equations)(B&A-), Linear Algebra(B+), Probability Theory(A), Statistics(A-).
    Econ Courses (grad-level): N/A.
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Political Economics(A), Micro(A), Macro(B+), International Trade(B+), History of Economic Thoughts(A), Econometrics(A+*), Macro Development(A*), Money and Banking(A+*), Financial Management(A-), Industrial Economics(A), Investment(B), Economic History of China(A), Accounting(B), Contemporary Chinese Economy(B+), Theory on Capital(C+).
    Other Courses: C programming(A).
    Letters of Recommendation: 2 from UC Davis, 1 from Fudan.
    Research Experience: RA for a term, one independent project and one team project in progress.
    Teaching Experience: Representative for a course.
    Research Interests: Labor, Development, IO.
    SOP: So so.
    Other: Awarded the National Scholarship in China (for top 1% students).

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: BU MA, UC Davis ARE MS.
    Waitlists:
    Rejections: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Northwestern, UPenn, Columbia, NYU, Cornell, Duke, CMU, Rochester, Maryland, Berkeley AREC, BU, JHU, UC Davis, Georgetown, U Colorado - Boulder, UC Davis ARE PhD.
    Pending: Syracuse, Columbia QMSS.

    What would you have done differently?
    I would apply to Canadian master programs, Duke master and Tufts master.
    Attending UC Davis ARE MS Program.

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