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Thread: 2021 profile evaluation

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    2021 profile evaluation

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    Hey guys. I will be applying to PhD programs this year for the fall 2021 year. I will graduate with a economics major and math minor. Here's my profile:

    Undergrad: 3.65 GPA from large state school.
    Grad course: Grad level Public finance econ course and issues in american economic history which included a research paper.
    GRE: 166 Quant
    Research: Not really much to be honest. Multiple classes that involved research projects but no RA experience.
    LOR: I can get three that will be good from economic professors at my school. Two should be very good, but it isn't an incredible economics department so they won't be from the types of professors who teach at harvard obviously.
    econ courses: econometrics, intermediate micro and macro, labor, plus some others. all A's
    math courses: Calc 1-4, linear algebra, differential equations, and real analysis. A's in all except a B in real analysis.

    I know I am not going to Harvard or Yale or that type of school, but what type of schools do you think I could fit at. I will also apply to RA jobs so I could do that for a couple years and then go to PhD. Be honest with me. Thanks

    Edited to add that I have knowledge of stata. Primarily taught myself but also used some in classes.

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    You need to take Real Analysis II to compensate for the B in RA1. Aside from that, it seems like you do not have any math stats courses? To compensate for the lack of research experience, I would recommend to take PhD metrics. If you do well (that is if you get an A), this would open up for better LOR opportunities and a better chance at being an RA for a prof at your Econ department.

    Large state school is ambiguous. Can you give us a rank based on USNEWS economics rankings?

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayes View Post
    You need to take Real Analysis II to compensate for the B in RA1. Aside from that, it seems like you do not have any math stats courses? To compensate for the lack of research experience, I would recommend to take PhD metrics. If you do well (that is if you get an A), this would open up for better LOR opportunities and a better chance at being an RA for a prof at your Econ department.

    Large state school is ambiguous. Can you give us a rank based on USNEWS economics rankings?
    Thanks for the response. I didn't include this for some reason but I actually did take a statistics class through the math department as well as economic statistics 1 and 2. The school actually has an RNP on usnews economics rankings (rank not published).

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by econstudent1452 View Post
    Thanks for the response. I didn't include this for some reason but I actually did take a statistics class through the math department as well as economic statistics 1 and 2. The school actually has an RNP on usnews economics rankings (rank not published).
    I see, the situation is clearer now. Since you have one more year, I would encourage you to just ask around and try to be an RA. You should also consider applying for paid RA positions (think Fed or other PhD granting institutions) rather than applying right away to PhD. This again all depends on how high you want to go in terms of rankings.

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    I don't think you'd be competitive for T30 yet; I'd say that you would probably get into T50-60 programs. Especially if your goal is to go into academia, it would be wise to position yourself for a couple of years so you can get into a better-placing program. Some advice, if I was in your shoes (and again - you don't necessarily have to follow what *I* would do):

    1. Take on an RA position under a professor during your last year, and opt to apply out to full-time RA positions (at the Fed, at other universities, etc.) There are a couple benefits here, the first of which is simply knowing whether or not you really want to pursue a PhD (which should be because you want to conduct original research), in addition to opportunities for excellent letters, especially coming from an unranked institution.

    2. While at university, take a yearlong Probability and Statistics (in the Math Department). Do some studying so that when you RA, you can retake Real Analysis and do well in it. Alternatively (and perhaps more optimally), you could take Real Analysis II (in addition to Prob/Stat) at your university (an A is key), and then try to take a graduate Micro course (and maybe Metrics too) while you are RAing. Fed RA positions will reimburse you quite generously to take courses while you work full-time.

    If you follow these steps and receive high marks in your academics and in your RA work, I see no reason why you wouldn't have a decent shot at the Top-30.

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayes View Post
    I see, the situation is clearer now. Since you have one more year, I would encourage you to just ask around and try to be an RA. You should also consider applying for paid RA positions (think Fed or other PhD granting institutions) rather than applying right away to PhD. This again all depends on how high you want to go in terms of rankings.
    Thank you for your thoughts. Is this (Research Assistant Positions not at the NBER) the best place to look for non fed RA jobs?

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    Note that NBER is not the Fed, but that is a good resource. Beefing up your programming skills will be key, as RA positions often require you complete a coding task. Econ_ra on twitter is a good place to look as well - but not everything on there will necessarily be the best - filter through and ask your mentors.

    I'm biased, but I think the Fed (especially its stronger branches) provides some excellent opportunities and support, and helps students really decide whether or not an Economics PhD is for them. I do think it is probably easier to get an RA position at a Fed Bank / the Board as opposed to top universities. But talk to your mentors to hear their thoughts.

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by coloradoecon View Post
    I don't think you'd be competitive for T30 yet; I'd say that you would probably get into T50-60 programs. Especially if your goal is to go into academia, it would be wise to position yourself for a couple of years so you can get into a better-placing program. Some advice, if I was in your shoes (and again - you don't necessarily have to follow what *I* would do):

    1. Take on an RA position under a professor during your last year, and opt to apply out to full-time RA positions (at the Fed, at other universities, etc.) There are a couple benefits here, the first of which is simply knowing whether or not you really want to pursue a PhD (which should be because you want to conduct original research), in addition to opportunities for excellent letters, especially coming from an unranked institution.

    2. While at university, take a yearlong Probability and Statistics (in the Math Department). Do some studying so that when you RA, you can retake Real Analysis and do well in it. Alternatively (and perhaps more optimally), you could take Real Analysis II (in addition to Prob/Stat) at your university (an A is key), and then try to take a graduate Micro course (and maybe Metrics too) while you are RAing. Fed RA positions will reimburse you quite generously to take courses while you work full-time.

    If you follow these steps and receive high marks in your academics and in your RA work, I see no reason why you wouldn't have a decent shot at the Top-30.
    Thank you so much for all the advice! It all seems reasonable and good to me.

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    Re: 2021 profile evaluation

    Quote Originally Posted by coloradoecon View Post
    I don't think you'd be competitive for T30 yet; I'd say that you would probably get into T50-60 programs. Especially if your goal is to go into academia, it would be wise to position yourself for a couple of years so you can get into a better-placing program. Some advice, if I was in your shoes (and again - you don't necessarily have to follow what *I* would do):

    1. Take on an RA position under a professor during your last year, and opt to apply out to full-time RA positions (at the Fed, at other universities, etc.) There are a couple benefits here, the first of which is simply knowing whether or not you really want to pursue a PhD (which should be because you want to conduct original research), in addition to opportunities for excellent letters, especially coming from an unranked institution.

    2. While at university, take a yearlong Probability and Statistics (in the Math Department). Do some studying so that when you RA, you can retake Real Analysis and do well in it. Alternatively (and perhaps more optimally), you could take Real Analysis II (in addition to Prob/Stat) at your university (an A is key), and then try to take a graduate Micro course (and maybe Metrics too) while you are RAing. Fed RA positions will reimburse you quite generously to take courses while you work full-time.

    If you follow these steps and receive high marks in your academics and in your RA work, I see no reason why you wouldn't have a decent shot at the Top-30.
    Retaking a course is not going to send a good signal and is a waste of time. OP received a B, not a D in Real Analysis I. B->A the second time around is a marginal improvement. Most RA positions are going to ask for your math grades. You do not want to apply with a B in Real Analysis (as it can hinder you from obtaining better RAships).Your time would be better spent taking Real Analysis II while still in college. During RA, your time would be best spent by taking PhD Economics courses.

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