I'm a senior economics major and math minor. My GPA at graduation should be at least a 3.5. At the end of my senior year, I'll have taken multivariable calculus, two semesters of linear algebra (one applied and one more theoretical), two semesters of differential equations, probability, an introduction to proofs class, and I will take real analysis during the fall of next year (doing a gap year). I've also taken a basic stats course, econometrics, and intermediate micro and macro. I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I expect to do well as I've always performed well on standardized tests.
I've gotten A's in my advanced math courses, but during my sophomore year when I was going through a period of depression and a lack of motivation I slipped up and received a C in Calc 2 and a B in vector calc (after withdrawing from the course and retaking it). I realize this is a pretty big red flag considering the importance of calculus to economics, but how much will it hurt me given it was confined to one year and I've excelled since then?
I also haven't had any RA experience (I reached out to tons of professors but none were interested)
Given all of this, what are my chances of getting into a decent program? I'm realistic enough to know that Harvard, Stanford, etc. are out of reach, but what about other schools? I'd be perfectly happy getting into a school like NC State or Clemson. If my chances of getting into even schools of that caliber are low, what would you recommend doing to boost my chances? I've heard conflicting advice from various sources. Some strongly suggest doing a masters and using that to make up for any blemishes on my undergrad record while others say that's a complete waste of time and money. Others say the best way to boost my chances is to find an RA job. Any advice would be really appreciated since I'm pretty much undecided as to what to do after graduating.
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