Undergrad RA for applied micro faculty (also my thesis advisor)
Undergrad RA for theorist
Two other irrelevant summer RA jobs
Teaching Experience: none
PI from full-time RA job (well-known; they said it was strong)
Primary thesis advisor (well-known; probably my best letter)
ďUnofficialĒ thesis advisor / prof from metrics theory course (junior, but strong letter)
SOP: Typical cover letter. Did not customize by school.
Accepted: Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, Yale, Chicago, Northwestern, Columbia, Penn Waitlisted: MIT (rejected) Rejected: Harvard + B-school programs
Comments: Urch is great overall, but itís a good idea to cross-check opinions here with other sources, especially with your faculty advisors. They are in the best position to give you advice thatís specific to your situation. Talk with multiple faculty members just in case someone gives you idiosyncratic advice.
Type of Undergrad: US Top 70 Econ Dept. Undergrad GPA: 3.4 Type of Grad: MS Econ: US Top 15 Econ Dept. Grad GPA: 3.5 GRE: 166Q, 163V, 5.0W Math Courses: Calc I-III, Linear Algebra, Intro to Proofs, Analysis I (grad), Math for Econ (grad) Econ Courses: Grad: Micro Theory I-II, Macro Theory I, Econometric Theory I-III, Int. Political Econ Other Courses: Grad: Formal Models (PhD), Political Inequality (PhD), Letters of Recommendation: 3 faculty from graduate school, all well known. RA for one. Took a class with another who was also my thesis supervisor. Took a PhD class with the third. Research Experience: Writing a paper with two economist colleagues and submitted it as part of my application. Graduate RA student for a semester. Undergraduate RA for 1.25 years. Work Experience: 3 years in industry. 1.5 years as an RA at an international organization Teaching Experience:
Research Interests: Political Econ / Macro and Public Econ SOP: Stated my interests, explained my qualifications and highlighted my research experience. Slightly modified for each school. Made sure it was cogent and well written. Other: The bad: average grades. The good: The paper Iím writing was already accepted to conferences. Pretty strong programming background. RESULTS:
Acceptances: Georgetown, UC-Irvine, UT-Austin (off-waitlist), UVA (off-waitlist) Rejections: Maryland (off-waitlist), BU, BC, UCSD, UWash-Seattle, JHU, CMU, UCDavis, UCSB, NYU-Stern, UCLA-Anderson, Chicago-Booth, USC Pending:
Attending: Georgetown Comments: Excited about Georgetown. I only applied to schools in/near large cities, so my partner could find a job. My list would probably have looked differently otherwise.
What would you have done differently?
I made sure to get into a masterís program that would give me the option of pursuing a PhD afterwards if I wanted to. Most of my decisions after starting my MS such as what classes to take, when to take the GRE, where to work, when to start a paper etc., were done with the goal of strengthening some part of my application. So plan ahead, but donít stress too much. It doesnít take a perfect application to get into a good program. Also, apply widely, itís a crapshoot. Good luck.
Type of Undergrad: B.A. in Mathematics & B.A. in Economics (with high honors) from a top 15 US College.
Undergrad GPA: 3.83
GRE: 162(V), 170 (Q), 4(W)
Math Courses: Linear Algebra (A-), Multivariable Calculus (A-), Differential Equations (A), Real Analysis (B+), Applicable Algebra (B+), High-level Linear Algebra (B+), Statistics and Probability (A), Graduate Probability Theory (A-)
Econ Courses: Intro to micro (A+), Intro to macro (A-), Intermediate micro (A), Intermediate macro (A-), Econometrics (B+), Behavioral econ (A-), Development econ (A), Money & credit (A-), Intertemporal econ (A-), Seminar and macro and financial stability (A), Game theory (A-), Graduate Micro (Satisfactory), Honors program (A+)
Letters of Recommendation: My thesis advisor (senior lecturer in econ department), RA professor (professor of economics in business school), work supervisor (has PhD in math)
Research Experience: 1. Worked as a research analyst for two years at an economic consulting firm after graduation.
2. Completed an undergraduate honors thesis in economics and won an award.
3. Worked as summer research assistant in my sophomore year for two months.
None, but worked as an economics tutor for 2 years at undergraduate institution.
Research Interests: Role of private sector in development, labor economics, education.
RESULTS: Acceptances: None of the economics programs I applied to in 2019. Waitlists: Wharton Applied Micro. Rejections: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT (Econ + Sloan labor track), Stanford (Econ + business school), UPenn Econ, Columbia (Econ + business school) Attending: I worked for another year and got into the PhD in Strategy program at Harvard Business School in 2020. Comments: I didn't expect getting into HBS after being rejected by the top Econ programs a year ago, but I'm glad that I remained flexible and continued to learn and improve myself.
What would you have done differently?
1. Do better in the math courses and econometric courses and gain solid understanding of fundamental concepts and methodology.
2. Explore wider range of research interest at undergraduate level and gain research experiences in areas that interest me most.
Type of Undergrad: Econ BA, Business minor at a relatively unknown, mid size, second teir state school in northeast usa Undergrad GPA: 3.87 (bachelors) 3.67 (associates) Type of Grad: n/a Grad GPA: n/a GRE: 160Q/163V/4.5AWA Math Courses: college algrebra A, essentials of calculus A, applied regression analysis A, econometrics A, business and econ stats A, math for economics and business A Econ Courses: intro micro A, intro macro A, intermediate micro B+, intermediate macro A, labor economics B+, econometrics A, environmental economics A Other Courses: n/a Letters of Recommendation: One professor emeritus, somewhat well known in south asian development, two relatively unknown, one supplemental letter from university dean (non-econ) Research Experience: one paper published in an undergraduate journal, two under review in other journals, one in progress (working with department chair) Teaching Experience: prison GED classes (left off of applications) Research Interests: fisheries, environmental, natural resources, renewable energy, water quality and scarcity SOP: pretty well written, talked about how I came to my research interests from diverse work experiences Other: I was in regular contact with faculty at the two universities that offered me funding
RESULTS: Acceptances: West Virginia University ARE PhD- fully funded
University of Rhode Island ENRE PhD - fully funded Oregon State University Applied Econ MS- no funding
University of Hawaii Econ MA- no funding Waitlists: n/a Rejections: n/a Pending: n/a Attending: WVU or URI Comments:
What would you have done differently? Well, I am an adult returning student. So if I had more time, I definitely would have done things different. I crammed all of the math and econ, and degree requirements into less than two years while working alot (so to get everything ready in time for applications). I would have liked to have had more math and more research experience. But I am happy with where I ended up. Despite a limited math background, I was able to get to a decent funded position in a university that's a good fit. Really overall I wouldn't have wasted years of my life running around like an ******* doing nothing and wouldn't have gone to prison for years. But hey, it happens.
Math Courses: Calculus I-III and Linear Algebra in high school (A), one-year sequence course covering topics in real analysis and calculus (B+ & A-), one-year sequence course in mathematical statistics (A & A)
Econ Courses: UG: principles of macro (A), intermediate micro (A), intermediate macro (A-), econometrics (A-) PhD: micro theory 1 (A-), micro theory 2 (B), econometrics 1 (A), econometrics 2 (A), macro theory 1 (A), labor (A)
Letters of Recommendation: 3 econ professors
Research Experience: 1. Research intern over the summer for city capital
2. Research for master's thesis for 2 years during undergrad
Teaching Experience: 1. Econometrics TA
2. Freshman seminar TA
3. Econ tutor
Research Interests: Applied micro
RESULTS: Acceptances: Penn, Johns Hopkins, UT Austin, Boston University, Rice, University of Virginia, Michigan State University, Vanderbilt Rejections: Princeton, Duke, Northwestern, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Michigan Attending: Penn Comments: Rejection is hard - especially when they all come in a week. Try not to put your self-worth into these outcomes. Some parts of your application are impossible to control. Sell yourself the best you can.
What would you have done differently?
1. Probably taken more math classes, specifically real analysis. I didn't take it and had to spend a paragraph in my SOP explaining why that was okay.
2. Applied to more schools. 15 felt like a lot but sitting on one acceptance from my safety for the bulk of the process was scary.
3. Not bothered with applying to programs ranked #1; focusing more on the 10s and 20s