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Thread: how are grades for non math and economics courses valued by grad admission folks?

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    how are grades for non math and economics courses valued by grad admission folks?

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    even tho it seem like econ grad school care mostly about the math and econ core, how would mediocre grade for those pesky "need for diplomma but not really interested" class affect your chances? would admission ppl take time to separate out those grades? or should we take those classes pass fail whenever possible?

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    They matter on the margins good math and econ grades will get them ignored, but your weakly better off by doing well in everything because it shows you are an all around good student. At the end of the day economists understand comparitive advantage.

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    I'm not sure if this is true at all so definitely take it with a grain of salt, but I would guess that many adcoms might sort applications partially by GPA or might have filters that include GPA (along with your GRE score). So if you've got near perfect math and econ grades, but Cs in all your other classes you might not get looked at too closely. Plus having bad grades in other classes probably would give them a bad overall impression. I wouldn't stress about the difference between an A versus an A- in an English lit course, but I think low grades could hurt you.

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    i think u guys are right. would taking those classes pass fail be worse than say getting a B?

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    Something I've been wondering actually is that I was absolutely a bad student in undergrad. I put forth almost no effort at all other than on my undergrad thesis (which was a combined Poli-Sci Philosophy thesis). But I was smart enough that 0 effort got me mostly B's and some A's. After I graduated and worked for 3 years I decided to go back to school and with hopes of getting a PhD in Economics. Since going back I've never received anything less than an A in any class I've taken (both undergrad pre-reqs and masters courses).

    Are most programs going to be willing to overlook the bad habbits as an undergrad? Should I outline them in my statement of purpose? Should I ask my LOR writers to address it? Would having high GRE scores offset it?

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    Taking a few non-related classes P/NP as an undergrad won't hurt you. WAG is that 12-16 units won't cause any adcom to flinch.
    "I took Baroque Art History and a class and Hegel because it was really interesting even though I knew that I'd be in over my head"
    or something like that.

    But having a raft of B's with a sprinkling of C's in non-Econ/Math classes contra A's in the latter is just going to label you a selective
    slacker or something.

    @RS: I would emphatically *not* mention in your bad habbits [sic] as undergrad in a statement of purpose. Nothing sounds more
    defensive than being defensive and that's the wrong venue. You've done exactly what I would have advised anyone to have done:
    rehabilitated your GPA; the fact that you've got some masters classes in the mix is an added plus. High GRE scores won't
    compensate, they'll be expected...at least in the Top Programs. Send your apps in and let the post-undergrad grades speak
    for themselves. And suck it up to acknowledge to yourself that your youthful indiscretions may in fact exact a penalty in some
    cases but that you've done the best you can to compensate. You might score some very high admissions, you might get knocked
    down a tier. You don't know until the dust settles. Fwiw, people like "redemption" stories. They might like seeing what they see
    of yours on paper.

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