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Thread: A- in Grad Micro I. How to react? Alternatives to make up for it?

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    Question A- in Grad Micro I. How to react? Alternatives to make up for it?

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    First time poster, long time reader here.

    I am a junior and an international student at a top 15 undergrad program in the US (top 50 econ), and I started to prepare myself to apply to grad programs relatively early, and once I wanted to be competitive at the very top schools, I planned to have taken multiple Grad level courses by the time I apply in my senior year. Well, I had my final exam for Grad Micro I today and I ended up making a series of errors due to lack of sleep and not knowing when to take the hit and move on to the next question (no excuses, I could have prepared earlier/better, my fault) that dropped my course grade from 97% to 92% (A-)

    So, from what I have read here, an A- in Grad Micro I is not the end of the world (even though I am feeling like it is today), but it does not help me either. First, how affected were my chances at a Top 5 program? Is an A- something I need to make up for, or is it something that will simply not stand out and I need to work on other things?

    Also, I am still a junior, so I have 1 year until I apply. I was planning to take 5/6 math courses next Spring, and then take Grad Metrics/Macro + Senior thesis during the Fall of my senior year, but now I might consider taking Micro Theory II next Spring to make up for the A-. Any ideas on that?

    I will leave my standard profile below. Any thoughts/advice you can give me will be appreciated.

    PROFILE

    Type of Undergrad:
    US News Top 15 - Math and Econ Major
    Undergrad GPA:
    3.93
    GRE:
    N/A
    Math Courses:
    Calculus (I,II,III), Linear Algebra, ODE, Intro to Math Reasoning (A-), Scientific Computing, Real Analysis, Operations Research, Intro to Probability. All A unless indicated otherwise
    I was planning to take next semester: Numerical Analysis, Complex Variables, Math Methods in Fin Econ, Topology, Stochastic Modeling, Algebra (can cut one or two if useless)
    Econ Courses:
    Intro to Micro/Macro, Intermediate Micro/Macro, Stats for Econ, Metrics, Monetary Theory, PhD Micro Theory I (A-)
    All A unless indicated otherwise
    Letters of Recommendation:
    Still a little bit unclear, but I am currently doing separate research for 2 Full-time Professors both for 1 year. Started talking about a senior thesis with another professor recently.
    Research Experience:
    RA for the above professors for 2 semesters and 2 summers.
    Teaching Experience:
    Math Grader if it counts

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    Re: A- in Grad Micro I. How to react? Alternatives to make up for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by EconPadawanBR View Post
    First time poster, long time reader here.

    I am a junior and an international student at a top 15 undergrad program in the US (top 50 econ), and I started to prepare myself to apply to grad programs relatively early, and once I wanted to be competitive at the very top schools, I planned to have taken multiple Grad level courses by the time I apply in my senior year. Well, I had my final exam for Grad Micro I today and I ended up making a series of errors due to lack of sleep and not knowing when to take the hit and move on to the next question (no excuses, I could have prepared earlier/better, my fault) that dropped my course grade from 97% to 92% (A-)

    So, from what I have read here, an A- in Grad Micro I is not the end of the world (even though I am feeling like it is today), but it does not help me either. First, how affected were my chances at a Top 5 program? Is an A- something I need to make up for, or is it something that will simply not stand out and I need to work on other things?

    Also, I am still a junior, so I have 1 year until I apply. I was planning to take 5/6 math courses next Spring, and then take Grad Metrics/Macro + Senior thesis during the Fall of my senior year, but now I might consider taking Micro Theory II next Spring to make up for the A-. Any ideas on that?

    I will leave my standard profile below. Any thoughts/advice you can give me will be appreciated.

    PROFILE

    Type of Undergrad:
    US News Top 15 - Math and Econ Major
    Undergrad GPA:
    3.93
    GRE:
    N/A
    Math Courses:
    Calculus (I,II,III), Linear Algebra, ODE, Intro to Math Reasoning (A-), Scientific Computing, Real Analysis, Operations Research, Intro to Probability. All A unless indicated otherwise
    I was planning to take next semester: Numerical Analysis, Complex Variables, Math Methods in Fin Econ, Topology, Stochastic Modeling, Algebra (can cut one or two if useless)
    Econ Courses:
    Intro to Micro/Macro, Intermediate Micro/Macro, Stats for Econ, Metrics, Monetary Theory, PhD Micro Theory I (A-)
    All A unless indicated otherwise
    Letters of Recommendation:
    Still a little bit unclear, but I am currently doing separate research for 2 Full-time Professors both for 1 year. Started talking about a senior thesis with another professor recently.
    Research Experience:
    RA for the above professors for 2 semesters and 2 summers.
    Teaching Experience:
    Math Grader if it counts
    Given you go to a top school, adcoms know that these courses are often curved and that you are competing with PhD students for the A/A+. An A- is probably around the 60th percentile, and it's probably fine for conveying that you can not fail micro, which is the point of taking it in undergrad. I wouldn't worry at all. You can take micro 2 if you want, but it'll probably be of only marginal benefit. Honestly for you it's going to come down to the letters of rec and luck (everything is very noisy, especially with covid). If you were to invest in some aspect of your profile it's faculty letters. You want them to convey that you are talented (using some hard metric like percentage of undergrads they have advised) and a good fit for a PhD.

  3. #3
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    Re: A- in Grad Micro I. How to react? Alternatives to make up for it?

    Depends on the school you are at; some schools give the bulk of grades in the B range (like Yale which does H, HP, P, F grades).

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