Sponsored Ad:
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    4
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Sponsored Ad:
    Hello all,

    I am writing this post with the admissions season not complete, as I am wondering if there are any actions which I should take in the coming weeks. I have applied to programs this cycle, but it is looking increasingly likely that I won't be admitted anywhere. Apologies for the long post --- trying to provide as much information as possible. Before I get into this, I'll post my profile in the standard format.

    Profile:
    Type of Undergrad: Top 10 LAC, Econ major, math minor, poverty studies minor.
    Undergrad GPA: 3.63
    Type of Grad: N/A
    Grad GPA: N/A
    GRE: 165 V, 167 Q, 5.5 W
    Math Courses: Real Analysis II (A), Real Analysis I (A), Mathematical Statistics (A-), ODEs (A-), Introduction to Analysis (A), Linear Algebra (A), Multivariable Calculus (C), Calculus I (n/a), Calculus II (n/a)
    Econ Courses: Advanced Micro/Macro Theory (A), Research Seminar in Economics (A), Advanced Labor Economics (A), Advanced Macroforecasting (A-), Health Economics (A), Microtheory (A-), Macrotheory (A-), Econometrics (B+), Intro Macro (A), Intro Micro (B), a slew of other economics electives (all A or A-)
    Other Courses: Thesis written for poverty studies minor which was supervised by an economist and used an applied micro framework.
    Letters of Recommendation: (1) First letter from undergrad advisor/mentor, professor in two courses, and RA'ship supervisor. This writer is a tenured faculty with a PhD from a top school, but not particularly well known. Writer specifically recommended schools ranked 10-15 as a good landing spot for me and stated that they would write strong letter.
    (2) Second letter writer has supervised my predoc for two years, and we are in the process of coauthoring a publication together. He also mentioned several 10-15 schools as a good landing spot (especially Michigan). This letter writer is not particularly well known either, but am confident that he wrote an enthusiastic letter.
    (3) Third letter writer has also worked with me during my predoc; we have published a paper together in a top journal within the realm of public finance/tax economics. He is a more prolific researcher than the other two (and likely more well known), but doesn't know me quite as well. I still expect a strong letter from him.
    Research Experience: RA'ships for economists during two separate summers of undergrad. Two theses written through my final year of undergrad (one pure econ, one poverty studies). Two year predoc for an organization within the federal government (but not a fed bank).
    Teaching Experience: N/A
    Research Interests: Primarily labor economics and public economics/public finance. Also very interested in any applied micro type research.
    SOP: Lightly tailored for each school. Outlines research interests, a (very broad) potential research agenda, and each of the items listed in the "other" category. Very little room is left for narrative information (i.e. why economics, how I got here).
    Other: My current position is able to provide me with full funding (but only in years 2-5, not very valuable I know). More importantly, my current position also allows access to some unique and confidential data throughout my graduate studies. These data are identical to the SSA data which have been leveraged very successfully for research by those who can access it.

    My situation is as follows. This cycle, I applied to nearly 30 graduate schools. All of these are pure econ programs (the kind of schooling which I am most interested in), and they are ranked anywhere from 10-60 (think a uniform distribution between 10 and 60 with some attention paid to department specialty). The goal, here, was to be admitted to a top 60 program, and I would be absolutely thrilled to gain admission to any of the programs to which I applied.

    But, part way through this process, I have already been rejected from most of the less competitive programs to which I applied and am running out of hope to be admitted to any one program. If I am not admitted, I intend to try again next year. My questions for this forum are:

    1) Was I unrealistic about my chances at a top 60 program? I did extremely poorly during my first year of undergrad (<2.5 GPA, that's where the C in calc III and B in intro micro comes from), but very well after (~3.85 GPA). I address this in my SOP (combination of lack of maturity and illness affected my performance. Both are remedied). Does that first year wound my profile too much? I also took as much math as I could fit in at my LAC, but I've noticed that my math background lags behind many on this forum.

    2) If I am not admitted anywhere, which seems likely, what would be the best next step for next year's admissions season? My most clear options are to (a) stay with my predoc for 1 more year, hopefully publish another paper that I've been working on, and take another class or two (phd micro/macro or functional analysis?); or (b) enroll in a full time masters program to more substantially improve my math background. If it is possible to do (a) and be admitted next year, I have a strong preference for that. How do these two options compare regarding my admissions chances?

    3) In the event that I do not get in anywhere, should I contact a few admissions committees after April 15 and ask for any feedback? Is it considered rude to do so?

    Any advice/feedback would be very appreciated --- even if the feedback is that I'm not qualified and should look into other careers. Congrats to all admitted, and I wish everyone else who is still waiting the best of luck.

  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    6
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Hi,
    I am also applying this season and don't have much more insight than you do on your profile. You should talk with your advisors/letter writers to establish a strategy if you want to reapply. Here are some comments anyway, but take them with a grain of salt.

    (1) I am not sure. I think your profile is strongly affected by the not-so-good first years of undergrads. There are a lot good things in your profile too (research+clear progression at the end of your undergrad), but those first bad signals makes your profile "risky" from the point of view of ad. comittee. Given the number of applications they get, risky profiles can quickly be set aside.

    (2) Unfortunately I don't think that there are simple things that you can do. You should ask yourself (1) what would be the ideal way to perfect your application (2) is it realistically feasible. Doing another year of RA can keep you occupied but I don't think it would add anything to your profile. Having another paper would certainly help, but since those are co-authored some ad. comittee could dismiss your contribution (this is something to talk about with your letter writers - make sure they highlight your contribution). A solo authored paper could probably help you a lot more, but I don't know if this possible (to be convincing this paper should probably be submitted by application deadlines). Taking more advanced math classes and getting extremely good grades (I mean being in the super top of the class) + maybe informal letters from math professors that you performed exceptionally would help make up for calculus (those could be attached to the letters sent by your main recommanders). I am think more Measure Theory or Advanced Probability Theory kind of classes (i.e. advanced proof-oriented classes). A math class with average grade will not help that much in my opinion.
    As for (b), talk with your advisors but I am not sure that (american) masters performs noticely better that predocs. I would go with (a) not for the predoc but to have time to strenghten other aspects of the application. You could also try to get a better GRE score, I feel like stricly above of 167 can sometimes make a difference.
    => Overall I am rehashing advices that was given to me (I am also considering reapplying): the best way to up your profile is to get 2 to 3 unequivocally strong signals that can outshine the "risky" aspect of your profile. But I mean very strong signals that may not be realistic - you'll be the judge of that: exceptionnally good performance in advance math classes, solo authored working paper, etc.
    Also, if you reapply you should ask your recommanders to explain more your somewhat poor performance in the beggining of undergrad. The circonstances you describe are completely understandable, but ad. com. are more likely to "understand" them if the explantations come from your letter writers.

    (3) I don't think it is rude to ask, but don't except any positive response - they get so many applications they don't keep track why people are rejected.

    Finally keep in my mind that this year is special. Even if you don't manage to up your profile, it can be worth it to try again next year - maybe trying some lower ranked schools. This is of course if this is not too costly for you to reapply, because your chances would only be marginally better (but this might be enough to get one offer).
    Once again, I have no special authority to comment on your profile. I am just rehashing advices that was given to me, and maybe they don't apply.
    Last edited by dargorn; 02-25-2021 at 07:19 PM. Reason: forgot some words in sentences

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    10
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    My opinion is that continuing to do predoc research with your current bosses might not do much for you, though if covid downsizes are reversed next year the extra gap may be sufficient to get you in.

    Since it seems you have a lot of research experience in public/labor/applied micro, I would recommend you to apply to other predoc positions, such as OI, SIEPR, Tobin etc. While there is intense competition for these places, I think they are a bit more flexible regarding grades, and I think your research experience can be leveraged as an asset for apps for these.

    I also think you are one of those candidates who would benefit from a rigorous masters program (like the European Master's or stats MA programs), since, despite your upward trajectory, your early grades may unfortunately have been a drag (econ admissions have become so competitive and ruthless that even early mistakes like this could be punished). I don't think taking individual difficult math classes will help unfortunately, as you've already taken two semesters of analysis and done well; for you I think you need a master's at a known rigorous program and blow it out of the water.

    I know that the usual advice here is to do RA'ship or MA, but I do think the specifics of your profile point to these two options are particularly beneficial for your profile.

    Hang in there, this is a very tough admissions season. I am very sorry that you are going through this and please prioritize your health.

  4. #4
    economist
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    850
    Rep Power
    13


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Nearly 30 applications is a lot. Could you share more on what you've heard back so far.

  5. #5
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    4
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    Nearly 30 applications is a lot. Could you share more on what you've heard back so far.
    Of course. Among the less competitive schools to which I applied, I've already been rejected by Rice, GW, Vanderbilt, and a couple others. Additionally, I'm assuming that several other less competitive schools are IRs at this point. My struggles to get into these leads me to be very pessimistic about my chances at others schools.

    I tried to webscrape data from grad cafe and here to develop a good target range for me, but it looks like that information did not work. If anyone could provide me feedback on a more appropriate target range given my profile as it stands now in a typical year, that could prove very useful.

    Also, I'm very appreciative of the thoughtful responses from everyone in this thread. I had feared that my first two semesters may substantially disadvantage me. Hopefully I can remedy that somehow.

  6. #6
    economist
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    850
    Rep Power
    13


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Quote Originally Posted by twilli4 View Post
    Of course. Among the less competitive schools to which I applied, I've already been rejected by Rice, GW, Vanderbilt, and a couple others. Additionally, I'm assuming that several other less competitive schools are IRs at this point. My struggles to get into these leads me to be very pessimistic about my chances at others schools.

    I tried to webscrape data from grad cafe and here to develop a good target range for me, but it looks like that information did not work. If anyone could provide me feedback on a more appropriate target range given my profile as it stands now in a typical year, that could prove very useful.

    Also, I'm very appreciative of the thoughtful responses from everyone in this thread. I had feared that my first two semesters may substantially disadvantage me. Hopefully I can remedy that somehow.
    Guessing where someone is going to get in from the information posted here is very hard. In particular, letters of recommendation matter a lot.

    Having said that, in a normal year I would be very surprised if you didn't get in some place between 10-60 with 30 applications. This year will be particularly difficult. But don't panic quite yet.

  7. #7
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    4
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Quote Originally Posted by startz View Post
    Guessing where someone is going to get in from the information posted here is very hard. In particular, letters of recommendation matter a lot.

    Having said that, in a normal year I would be very surprised if you didn't get in some place between 10-60 with 30 applications. This year will be particularly difficult. But don't panic quite yet.
    I understand the difficulty of projecting on this forum; still extremely grateful for your feedback.

  8. #8
    economist
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    850
    Rep Power
    13


    3 out of 3 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    I should have said one more thing: You've gotten a record that most people would be jealous of. However this year turns out, you should be proud of yourself.

  9. #9
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    10
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Also one more thing, while the range of T10-T60 makes sense to me, I wonder if applying to thirty programs was too much in the sense that you weren't able to curate personal statements specific to the program; made mistakes that give off a bad impression, not adhering to word limits etc.

    I applied to thirteen and looking back I made some mistakes on a few of the application forms, like typos, grammatical errors, misunderstanding/forgetting to answer some questions or not curating personal statements to the strengths of the particular programs. You may be far more diligent than me but something to think about as well. (Maybe those who have experience sitting on adcoms can let us know how important it is for the application packet to have this property.)

  10. #10
    economist
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    850
    Rep Power
    13


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Review and Potential Second Admissions Season

    Quote Originally Posted by T5mafia View Post

    I applied to thirteen and looking back I made some mistakes on a few of the application forms, like typos, grammatical errors, misunderstanding/forgetting to answer some questions or not curating personal statements to the strengths of the particular programs. You may be far more diligent than me but something to think about as well. (Maybe those who have experience sitting on adcoms can let us know how important it is for the application packet to have this property.)
    Not very important to us. "Curating" applications almost always shows and looks fake. Good for a few laughs though when an applicant screws up the copy-and-paste and mentions another university.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Some food for thought before admissions season gets going...
    By tm_member in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-07-2014, 11:08 AM
  2. Profile Evaluation for 2015 Season
    By ColonelForbin in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-15-2013, 03:16 PM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-29-2013, 08:25 PM
  4. Really Random admissions season!
    By tm_member in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 02-28-2010, 05:51 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •