Are the Micro/macro classes intro-intermediate level? If so, I think it would make sense to take Advanced Micro/macro or if you are really ambitious PhD Micro I and PhD Metrics I. What do your LOR writers say?
My most up to date profile:
Type of Undergrad: B.A. Economics with Honors (Top 5 Econ research University)
Undergrad GPA: 3.29 overall, 3.55 Econ
Type of Grad:N/A
Grad GPA: N/A
GRE: N/A (studying currently)
Math Courses: Multivariable Calculus (P - took on pass/fail for fear of bad grade), Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (C), Stats (C), Stats retake under different course name (A-)
Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Macro (C+), Micro(B+), Metrics (A-), Independent Research Seminar (A), Honors Thesis (A), Case Studies in Economic Development (A-), Poverty and Impact Evaluation (A-), Intro Econ (A)
Other Courses: Computing with Data (Basically an R class)
Taken After Undergrad: Real Analysis & Linear Algebra I (A-), Real Analysis, Convexity, and Optimization (A-)
Letters of Recommendation: Thesis advisor (very prominent development economist), current job (another very prominent development economist) , 3rd letter probably one of the co-authors I work closely with, up and coming well-known AP's.
Research Experience: Currently a full time RA at a top econ department with a top tenured faculty member. Doing a two year term (1.5 years will be completed when I submit apps). Previously full time RA for 1 year at a top policy department (working on economics research for an economist professor); Two independent development papers written, one published in an undergraduate journal and other was a thesis with potential to get published in a minor journal; undergrad RA position with a prominent economist 1 semester; undergrad RA position with a PhD candidate in econ department 1 semester; undergrad RA position with a top Poli Sci professor 1 semester; co-author with prominent economist on two-pager policy brief.
Teaching Experience: N/A
Research Interests: Development, Poverty, Inequality, Environment
Concerns: Obviously my math grades. Also what GRE threshold I should shoot for as a non-negotiable.
Other: Interned at a prestigious development organization on less analytical things, completed many niche Global Poverty and Inequality courses and did very well.Coding skills: Stata, R, LaTex, ArcGIS, QGIS
Applying to: Some top 10, mostly top 20, maybe top 30 and master's if necessary
I think you should focus more heavily on top 25 - 40, and not be surprised if you don't get an offer at a top 25 place. The RA definitely helps, but there are so many RAs now, and I'm not sure it will attenuate the large number of poor grades on your transcript in key courses.
A masters in math is a terrible idea. It's a waste of money since the material covered in graduate level mathematics have virtually no uses in modern economics right now. It's significantly cheaper and more beneficial to just take PhD micro and metrics I as a non-degree student and get good grades for them. You should be able to take them at wherever you're currently RA-ing at.
There isn't much that can be done to cover up the string of bad grades, except maybe good grades in PhD courses. The As that you got in real analysis helps a little bit, though.
You should ask your letter writers what kind of range is feasible for someone with your profile. Your current range seems a bit too optimistic, in my opinion, especially given the multiple deficiencies in your profile as it is right now.
With regards to GRE, try to get above 165 for Q.
I think if OP's stats course is an algebra based one (i.e business stats) and their micro/macro classes are intro/intermediate then they can take the PhD ones and his/her sins would be forgiven. But those Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra grades raise huge red flags. It is fine to screw up lower level classes but in this case these two classes (Multi-calc, LA) might be unforgivable for top 20 . Linear Algebra is a tool one must be very comfortable with, and the A- on the second linear algebra attempt (which I presume it to be 3.7) does not send a particular strong signal in this case. If you are a good researcher OP, you would strive in top 25-40 programs just fine. So don't get too hanged up on rankings
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