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Thread: Are online courses in mathematics worth it?

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    Eager! MemphisMike's Avatar
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    Are online courses in mathematics worth it?

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    Hey everybody,

    I have a particular situation as I work full-time, and I live in Rome, Italy where there are relatively few math courses and absolutely none that fit the typical US sequences. My undergraduate uni (in the US) recently began offering Real Analysis, Probability and some other upper-division math courses online that I think could strengthen my skills and obviously application. Unfortunately, I clearly don't have time to complete them for this cycle. I am applying to Purdue, Uni of Missouri, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Uni of Illinois-Urbana, and Minnesota's (all ARE and applied programs) programs for this cycle, but am not really sure what to expect.

    My question is if I complete the online course in Real Analysis plus a few other courses (assuming As), and get my GRE ~164 Q, then do I have a shot at some higher ranking programs like UC-Davis, Cornell, Maryland, Wisconsin, (staying with ARE and applied programs) etc? OR, if I get accepted to a lower ranked program this year, should I take it?

    Thanks!

    (see profile below)

    BA in Economics from a US second tier state school
    GPA: 3.7/4.00
    MA in Development Economics from very well nationally ranked Italian University
    GPA: equiv. to about a 3.0
    GRE: 160 Q, 158 V, AWA (waiting)

    Math classes: Mathematical Economics course that was 9 credits (Italian system probably ~5 US credits) that covered A LOT of Linear Algebra, multivariate calculus, very basic topology, and ordinary differential equations (B),
    Mathematical Economics course that was part of the MA that covered basic linear algebra, differential calculus, single variable and multivariate optimization (A+)
    Graduate Economics: Microeconomics (A), Macro Economics (A), Econometrics (A), and a mixed bag of sorts including Welfare Economics, Growth Theory, etc.
    Undergraduate Economics: Honor Principles of Macro (B+), Honor Principles of Micro (A+), Int. Micro (A), Int. Macro (A), International Trade (B+), Development Economics (B), Money and Banking (A+)...and a few more, all As and Bs.

    LORs: 1 from undergraduate Micro theory professor, 1 from graduate econometrics professor, 1 from who has overseen my conducting of economic research. I imagine luke warm from the profs b/c itís been a while, and a nice one from my boss.

    Research experience: I've been working for 3 years for an international think tank that is extremely well respected in the field of ag economics. I have published a few papers through the organization and also have experience working in the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN. My interests are in impact evaluation and ag policy.

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    Try LSE External System's Math Diploma.

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    If I were you, I'd definitely apply to a couple of the Ag/Applied Econ schools you mentioned. Do any of your LOR writers/ supervisors / co-authors know faculty at Ag/Applied Econ programs? That can make a huge difference.
    P.S.: I don't know much about the Italian university system so not sure how good/bad the GPA is
    Last edited by econdevelopment; 11-28-2012 at 02:35 PM.

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    Eager! MemphisMike's Avatar
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    Hey thanks for the responses. We do have some contact with profs in the former set of programs and to a lesser extent the later. My question is really, will online courses in higher math classes such as Real Analysis help my CV enough to get into those better programs (assuming I get the GRE up to 164)? I just don't know how to weight them.

    Regarding the certificate at LSE, thanks for the suggestion, but there's simply no way I can complete that course work while working full-time.

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