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Thread: What is considered a "top undergraduate" in the context of economics PhD admissions?

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    What is considered a "top undergraduate" in the context of economics PhD admissions?

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    I see the terms like "top undergraduate school" used quite a bit on forums and graduate school admissions guides. Does this refer to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, or does it include schools other schools like UChicago and MIT with strong reputations in economics? Does it also include Berkeley, Michigan, Columbia, UPenn, and Stanford?

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    I would guess it's the same as the top department rankings in general

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    Given the overlap and importance of graduate coursework and big-name LOR writers, I suppose that makes sense. Do schools like Northwestern and Berkeley fit the top schools category while others like Columbia and Cambridge fall out of it because of their graduate rankings?

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    Places like Dartmouth, BYU, and Tulane send lots of students to graduate school in Economics. However, they send them to different schools.

    Essentially, it's all relative, what constitutes a "top" undergraduate program is dependent on pool you are being compared to.

    Bottom line, if you want to go to Harvard for grad school it makes sense to go to an Ivy league undergrad if it is possible and money is not an issue. Going guarantees nothing and not going does not preclude admission to a top graduate program.

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    Ivy League is a lot more than Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It includes Dartmouth, which as you said, doesn't send people top economics graduate schools. Does the advice aimed "Ivy League students" only apply to students at HYP, or does it extend to people studying at the lower Ivies as well?

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    Given that the ranking is important primarily due to access to potential well-known LOR writers, etc., the economics rankings should be what matters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDMoo View Post
    Ivy League is a lot more than Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It includes Dartmouth, which as you said, doesn't send people top economics graduate schools. Does the advice aimed "Ivy League students" only apply to students at HYP, or does it extend to people studying at the lower Ivies as well?
    I find it difficult to believe that the sentiment "but he only went to Dartmouth" has ever been uttered as a sole justification for not offering admission to an applicant to any economics PHD program.
    Last edited by to2012; 05-10-2014 at 02:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDMoo View Post
    Ivy League is a lot more than Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It includes Dartmouth, which as you said, doesn't send people top economics graduate schools. Does the advice aimed "Ivy League students" only apply to students at HYP, or does it extend to people studying at the lower Ivies as well?
    I didn't say that at all.

    I said Dartmouth sends people to different schools than, say, Tulane. Dartmouth sends students to the very best schools.

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    I took a look at the outgoing Harvard PhD class. According to my quick count, of the 26 people 6 had undergraduate degrees from Harvard, 1 from Dartmouth, 1 from Columbia-no others from the Ivy league.

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    ^once you add in Stanford, MIT, Chicago and some top LACs, and remove the international students, I imagine the fraction that comes from Ivy or Ivy-level undergrads is pretty high. At least 70%.

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