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Thread: Please Help! Fall 2021 Econ PhD Eval

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Jun 2020
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    Please Help! Fall 2021 Econ PhD Eval

    Sponsored Ad:
    Type of Undergrad: B.S. in Quantitative Economics with Math minor and graduate certificate in Data Analytics from MBA program. Top 125 Liberal Arts schools (US News). Well known/connected in the deep south, but otherwise unheard of.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.85 overall, 3.98 in Econ
    No grad school
    GRE: 164 Q/163 V, AWA 5

    Econ courses:
    Principles of Economics (combined 1000 level Micro and Macro in one semester)- A
    International Econ- A
    Intermediate Macro- A-
    Intermediate Micro- A
    Econometrics- A
    Industrial Organization- A
    Labor Economics- A
    Banking Systems- A
    Honors in Econ I- A
    Honors in Econ II- A
    Senior Capstone- A

    Math Courses:
    Calc I-III -A, B+, B+
    Intro to Stats- A
    Introductory Proof Writing- A-
    Linear Algebra- A
    ODE- B+ (had pneumonia this semester)
    Math Stats- B (had pneumonia this semester)
    Real Analysis- TBD

    Grad level courses: (MBA courses)
    Analytics- A
    Computational Stats with R- A
    Data Mining with R- A
    Data Visualization with Tableau- A

    1. Econometrics prof and thesis/other research advisor. Should be very strong in her wording.
    2. Chair of Econ dept and thesis advisor, has promised very strong letter in terms of research ability.
    3. Associate prof (Micro) and TA for, will speak very strongly to teaching ability and classwork I've done with him.

    Research/Teaching Experience:
    1. Honors thesis in health econ, will be presented to state health dept and possibly CDC
    2. Econometrics paper turned side research in education econ, presenting at regional conference in fall
    3. Senior thesis, TBD, possibly rational choice theory
    4. 2 coauthored papers on combinatorics, 1 published in undergraduate math journal
    5. Served as a fellow for Principles of Econ (1000) for x3 classes. Graded papers, presented in class x2 a semester, and had office hours as a tutoring service.

    Research Interests: Health Econ or Education Econ- Applied Micro in general

    Other: Lots of leadership positions and well-respected honoraries, intern at U.S. Capitol

    Applying to: T 25-T100 for PhD US, T20 for Masters in Europe/ Canada

    Concerns: My school hasn't had an Econ phd applicant in many, many years... also worrying about GRE/Math grades. And possibly losing any advantage due to corona. Wondering if I should take a year and try to get an RA position?

    Thank y'all so much

  2. #2
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    Re: Please Help! Fall 2021 Econ PhD Eval

    You do seem to have very solid research experience as it stands, and you definitely seem competitive for T25-100 for sure, but if you have the time and resources to pursue an RA that would likely only improve your profile and potentially sweeten the deal... I don't think you need to RA but I'm no expert and if you think you're better off by doing so then it's a wise move assuming you are accepted into an RA program. Overall your record looks excellent though!

  3. #3
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    Re: Please Help! Fall 2021 Econ PhD Eval

    I'd disagree with dogbones. I do think, based on past profiles and examples, that you would generally be competitive for programs ranked between 50-100, with programs in the 35-50 range being a reach. I don't think you'd be competitive for T30.

    Couple points of advice:
    1. I would highly consider retaking the GRE to get a higher Quant score. Some (T30) schools will not admit students with <90 percentile on the Quant GRE (e.g. UNC). Others just note that essentially every applicant has >90 percentile (and I assume that the exceptions have some large spike from another area in the application). A 164 places you at 87th percentile.
    2. An RAship would improve your portfolio. Especially coming from a lower-ranked LA school, this is a great way to especially improve your letters (and potentially bolster your coursework, both from more classes at your current institution and potentially a few classes during your RAship). There is some room for concern with some of your math grades and low Quant GRE score, especially coming from a lower-ranked institution, so additional coursework may help.

  4. #4
    Within my grasp!
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    Re: Please Help! Fall 2021 Econ PhD Eval

    Just a comment. Strong letters typically refer to letters that can inform others on your potential to do academic research, not about how 'smart' you are. A stellar letter stating that you are a brilliant student doesn't add much to your application package since that same information can be obtained when adcoms look at your transcripts. A strong letter that informs adcoms of your ability to do research will add something not found in your application package. That is what's valuable, not one that simply restates information that can be obtained from the transcripts.

    That being said, if you look through past profiles & results, the unfortunate truth is that school ranking matters. Coming from a low ranked school that has not had a PhD applicant in a few years will hurt you. You should look through the Profile & Results threads from the past 5 years to get a sense of which places are feasible. From what I recall, there were a number of applicants in the past who also came from low ranked schools.

    Like what's mentioned above, an RA stint at a good place will definitely help since you'll be able to get some RA experience, as well as better letters that can speak to your ability to do research.

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