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Thread: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

  1. #21
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    Re: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

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    Re: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

    Dogbones, let me be frank. I don't think you understand how PhD admissions work in economics. You are consistently giving advice that has an element of the truth, but the advice is often missing on the more important elements. I know that it is always well-meaning--I'm afraid you don't always know when the advice is helpful and when it isn't.

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    Re: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    Dogbones, let me be frank. I don't think you understand how PhD admissions work in economics. You are consistently giving advice that has an element of the truth, but the advice is often missing on the more important elements. I know that it is always well-meaning--I'm afraid you don't always know when the advice is helpful and when it isn't.
    There's definitely much more I can learn from watching others respond and from outside of this forum, and I intend to keep on improving my understanding of a lot of things. That being said, you're probably right that the way I present what I have gathered may not be aligned with best interests... I'm open-minded, but I just don't like to see negativity dominate without solutions and paths to improvement also being considered and shared.

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    Re: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

    Okay, Jesus Christ. I skimmed the last two pages of this thread, and I wanted to thank Tutonic and Laborsabre specifically for what seems to be solid advice: to take ODE and a proofs course failing a chance to take Advanced Calc/Real Analysis, and (maybe) trying for a couple of top-20 schools without expecting too much.

    I probably wasn't too clear in my original post, but I'm less concerned with what to do now than where to look at. I know more math would help; I know RAing would help (but hasn't been an option, really. If something comes up, I'll go for it); I know to not get my hopes up. I didn't mention a school except UC Irvine, and I'm in the information-gathering stage right now. If I was really committed to going to Yale or whatever, I wouldn't be planning to apply for PhD programs at all in the fall. I'd like to think I have at least some self-awareness!

    I guess top-20 institutions get the lion's share of everything, so I understand the concern with that. But there's not much I can do or change before the application process in the fall. And, that said, I'll talk to faculty at my school before applying. I have good relations with them, but I figured for my own research at this stage, it'd be okay not to bother them right now. Asking internet strangers is a crapshoot, of course.

    If anyone has a ballpark range of ranks I should look at, or maybe a seemingly-achievable school given my research interests, please say something! Thread's probably dead, but at least I got something out of it, and hopefully others can, too. Thanks to everyone for the advice.

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    Re: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

    Quote Originally Posted by alexanderplatz View Post
    Okay, Jesus Christ. I skimmed the last two pages of this thread, and I wanted to thank Tutonic and Laborsabre specifically for what seems to be solid advice: to take ODE and a proofs course failing a chance to take Advanced Calc/Real Analysis, and (maybe) trying for a couple of top-20 schools without expecting too much.

    I probably wasn't too clear in my original post, but I'm less concerned with what to do now than where to look at. I know more math would help; I know RAing would help (but hasn't been an option, really. If something comes up, I'll go for it); I know to not get my hopes up. I didn't mention a school except UC Irvine, and I'm in the information-gathering stage right now. If I was really committed to going to Yale or whatever, I wouldn't be planning to apply for PhD programs at all in the fall. I'd like to think I have at least some self-awareness!

    I guess top-20 institutions get the lion's share of everything, so I understand the concern with that. But there's not much I can do or change before the application process in the fall. And, that said, I'll talk to faculty at my school before applying. I have good relations with them, but I figured for my own research at this stage, it'd be okay not to bother them right now. Asking internet strangers is a crapshoot, of course.

    If anyone has a ballpark range of ranks I should look at, or maybe a seemingly-achievable school given my research interests, please say something! Thread's probably dead, but at least I got something out of it, and hopefully others can, too. Thanks to everyone for the advice.
    You should speak with your letter writers ASAP if you are applying this fall and ask them these questions. Based on where they sent their students in the recents years, only they can give a healthy ballpark on where to apply. You wouldn't bother them and not asking them at this point(and thus postponing) would be a grave mistake.

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    Re: Profile Eval & Where Should I Aim?

    With regards to the ranking, you can just use the USNEWS ranking of schools. That's the ranking that's most commonly referred to.

    With regards to which range of schools to apply, you should consult the past Profiles & Results threads from the last 5 years or so, and try to find comparable profiles (both in terms of grades, but more importantly, someone from a similarly ranked school). While some schools may overlook the lack of proper math classes if you have graduate classes, that is not the case for your profile. Furthermore, you are also lacking in research experience.

    Like what Bayes mentioned above, the best way to find out what range of schools you ought to apply to is to:
    1) find out where past applicants from your school have gotten into.
    2) either provide a list of schools to your letter writers, and ask their feedback on it, or straight-up just ask them what range of schools do they think you're competitive for.

    If you really wish to strive for a higher ranked school (Top 30 or maybe even higher), then a full-time RA position is the only way forward.

    Below are 3 profiles of past applicants from the 2016 Profiles & Results thread that come from similarly ranked schools. There is an abundance of information available in the threads that you should tap on. You can also learn from some of the mistakes others have made during past application season.

    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: Top 200 USNWR, very small PhD program, BA Economics, minors: Math and Health Systems Administration
    Undergrad GPA: 3.86
    Type of Grad: None
    Grad GPA:
    GRE: 163Q, 157V, 4.0AW
    Math Courses: Calc I-III(B+,A-,A) Multidimensional Mathematics A+, Diff Eq in progress, Linear Algebra in progress, Intro to Proofs in progress
    Econ Courses: UG: Intro Micro/Macro, Intermediate Micro/Macro, Undergraduate Math Econ, Econ/Business Stats, Health Econ, Money and Banking, Econometrics, Senior Seminar. Grad: Math Econ (All A or A+)
    Other Courses: a few Computer Science and Engineering software courses.
    Letters of Recommendation: I would imagine they would have to be fantastic for my profile to get accepted where I did, all were instructors I had from top 40 or better schools.
    Research Experience: None, outside of pretty extensive Health Econ paper
    Teaching Experience: Math tutor at a local high school (employed by district).
    Research Interests: Macro/Public
    SOP: Seemed pretty basic, explained how I came around to wanting a PhD late in the game, what drew me to get my PhD, career goals ect.
    Concerns: I would have to say my lack of math was my primary concern, my GRE wasn't great but I knew it wouldn't hold me back too much and I really didn't think it would have been worth it to try to get a couple more math questions right. Lack of research experience was also something that worried me.

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina
    Waitlists: Georgia? (Initially waitlisted, asked if interested and said I wasn't, not sure where to place it)
    Rejections: Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State, WUSTL
    Pending: Purdue
    Attending: Kentucky
    Comments: Alright it might sound crazy to pick Kentucky over North Carolina, but I really loved my visit there. Their faculty seemed great and I really liked the structure and size of the program.

    What would you have done differently? If I could go back and figure out this is what I wanted to do when I first went to college that would have been great, but with the way things progressed I really can't complain about the outcome. Maybe I could have tried harder to get a RA position and maybe have taken another math class or two, but I am extremely happy with my season.
    PROFILE:
    Type of Undergrad: BA in math, flagship state university ranked 80's in US News, no econ grad program.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.63
    Type of Grad: MA in Econ at a flagship state university in a different state with a masters but no doctoral program
    Grad GPA: 4.0
    GRE: 170V /168Q /5 AW
    Math Courses (undergrad level): Calc I/II/III (A-/B/B) Linear Algebra (B+) Fundamentals of Math (intro to proofs) (A) Ordinary Differential Equations (B+) Combinatorial Theory (A) Abstract Algebra I (A-) Applied Probability (A) Elementary Number Theory (A-) Mathematical Biology and Ecology (A) Graph Theory (A) Real Analysis I (A) Probability and Statistics I (A)
    Math Courses (masters level): Mathematical Statistics (A)
    Econ Courses (undergrad level): Intermediate micro (A)
    Econ Course (masters level): Micro I/II (A/A) Econometrics I/II (A/A) Macro (A)
    Letters of Recommendation: One from the prof I RA for, one from a micro prof and one from an econometrics prof. I think they were strong but probably not phenomenal.
    Research Experience: 2 years as an RA in my master’s program and master’s thesis, both completely unrelated to my stated research interests.
    Teaching experience: Taught high school math for a few years
    Research Interests: Public Economics, Health, Labor, Education … still figuring things out
    SOP: Decent I suppose. I'd like to believe I write well but lack of definite research interests made it difficult.
    Concerns: Because my husband and I were applying to PhD programs at the same time, my biggest concern was that we wouldn't receive any matching offers. I also had no idea where I'd be competitive since my masters program rarely sends anyone to pure econ PhDs. I have a bunch of math, but got B's in easy classes like Calc and Linear Algebra, and I wasn't sure how ad coms would value math classes that have nothing to do with econ (e.g. Abstract Algebra, Graph Theory).

    RESULTS:
    Acceptances: Ohio State, Michigan State, UIUC, Purdue, NC State, University of Oregon, Syracuse, Iowa State, UI Chicago, Georgia State, UConn, UMN Applied Econ
    Waitlists: None
    Rejections: Rice
    Pending: None
    Attending: Syracuse
    Comments: I realize it seems somewhat crazy to go with Syracuse over schools like MSU and OSU (particularly because MSU offered me a very generous fellowship), but I'm content with the decision. Things happened in my personal life this year that made staying close to my family (who are in New England) much more of a consideration. I also really liked the department at Syracuse when I visited, it seemed tight-knit and supportive, which is just what I'm looking for. It was tough to turn down MSU, as I had a great visit there and realize that I'm passing up a great opportunity.
    Type of Undergrad: B.S. Business Administration, Major in Economics from medium-sized Catholic school with no PhD program. Math classes have since been taken at a large state school, with an unranked PhD program. Both schools' undergrad ranked below top 100 US News.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.94 (Summa Cum Laude); Econ: 3.88; Math & Statistics: 3.66 (all A’s except C in Calc II); including all classes I’ve taken since my undergrad: 3.91
    Type of Grad: NA
    Grad GPA: NA
    GRE: Q-170, V-162, AW- 5.5
    Math Courses: Business Statistics I & II (A, A), Honors Calc I (A), Calc II (C), Calc III (A), Intro to Differential Equations (A+), Intro to Linear Algebra (A), Intro to Probability (A), Intro to Real Analysis I @ grad level (A)
    Econ Courses (grad-level): NA
    Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Micro (A), Macro (A), Money and Banking (A), Game Theory (A), Econometrics (A), Intermediate Micro (B+), Intermediate Macro (A-), Independent Study/Thesis (A), Economic Development (A-), Honors Econ Seminar (A), History of Economic Thought (A)
    Other Courses: Honors Program and Business Core Curriculum
    Letters of Recommendation: My thesis advisor (Econ PhD), game theory professor (Math PhD), and real analysis professor (Math PhD).
    Research Experience: Co-authored thesis with professor using 2000 and 2010 census and a variety of crime data, presented at a conference. Familiar with Stata and R.
    Teaching Experience: 2 years teaching with Teach For America.
    Research Interests: development, applied micro (labor, public finance, urban)
    SOP: Nothing noteworthy.
    Concerns: Not a lot of math and statistics, little research experience, undergrad institutions, intermediate micro grade.
    Other: Familiar with basic coding

    Results-

    Acceptances: OSU (University Fellowship), UNC (TA/RA), Pitt (tuition waiver + high on priority waitlist for fellowship), NC State (on the list for potential funding), George Washington (Initially waitlisted for funding, but got TA/RA before I declined), and George Mason (had already been accepted to OSU and I declined before any funding had been offered).
    Rejections: Duke, BU, and Maryland seem like they rejected me right away; Carnegie Mellon/Tepper, Georgetown, and BC were pretty late to let me know I was rejected (I think I made it to the last internal round).
    Attending: OSU.
    Comments: I got very lucky that some alumni from my undergrad did really well on the job market last year and that my thesis advisor has been publishing non-stop in the time since I graduated. I did not expect to break into the top 40 but got 3, mostly based on factors outside of my control (although I'm sure the GRE Q and graduate real analysis helped).
    What would you have done differently?: Applied to NSF (had too much going on and missed the deadline), taken some more rigorous computer/statistics courses to be competitive for RA work, and tried to take an advance micro class to make up for the B+ in intermediate micro.

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