Doesn't seem like there are any Roll Call threads anymore, but I'll still use the format from the old ones. I'm finishing my final year of undergrad and will be applying to PhD programs for Fall 2022 start dates. I will likely be attending a 1 year masters of economics at the same university I did my undergraduate at next year. I tried and failed to find a predoc position for next year, however with the decision deadline looming for the masters program I've been accepted to, it looks like I'm going to go with that and give up on being a predoc. Anyway, here's my profile:
Type of Undergrad: Honours Economics and Minor Mathematics at a Top 3 Canadian University
Undergrad GPA: 3.5/4.0, 3.8/4.0 for Econ
Type of Grad: MA Econ from the same school I did my undergrad at, starting next year.
Grad GPA: N/A
GRE: 168 Quant (92nd percentile), 166 Verbal (97th percentile), 5.0 writing (92nd percentile)
Math Courses: Calc 1 (B), Calc 2 (B-), Calc 3 (D, B+, I'll explain later), Differential equations (C), Linear Algebra 1 (B+), Honours Applied Linear Algebra (A, it's a more advanced course than the first linear algebra), Intro to Statistics (A), Probability (A), Statistics (In Progress, probably an A), Analysis I (A).
Econ Courses (grad-level that I took as an undergrad): Game Theory (A-), Micro I (B+)
Econ Courses (undergrad-level): Honours Micro, Macro, and Stats (A- in all 4, all full year/two semester courses); Honours Econometrics I (A); Honours Econometrics II, Honours Advanced Micro, Honours Advanced Macro (In Progress); Independent Research Project (A); various econ courses outside the core classes, some honours some not (All A- or A).
Other Courses: Foundations of Programming (A), Intro to Computer Science (A)
Letters of Recommendation: One very well known metrics prof from our school, one prof who I am a research assistant to currently, then one of the ones I used for my masters admissions: Well known prof that barely knows me or very young prof who supervised my independent research project.
Research Experience: two internships in economic policy with well known think tanks in Washington DC, independent research project, undergrad research assistant x2.
Teaching Experience: N/A
Research Interests: Urban, Public, Applied Micro, Econometrics
SOP: The two things I want to talk about are my strong upward trend in my undergrad grades (particularly with math courses) and my late realization that I am interested in pursuing an econ PhD. I had a 3.2ish GPA after my first three semesters of undergrad. In my three since I've gotten a 3.77, 3.94, and 3.86, leaving my GPA at a 3.51. Also, my bad grades in Calc 1 and 2 came when I was in high school and they let us take community college courses. For Calc 3 and ODEs, they came as a second year. I think I've matured a bit as a student since then, and went on to get As in Analysis, Honours Applied Linear Algebra, Probability, and (hopefully) Statistics. As for my late interest in an econ PhD, I originally wanted to go into the public policy world, however after my two internships I pivoted to academic economics, thus I didn't get my first RAship until my last semester of undergrad. If there's a way to frame my policy experience as a good thing I'll take it, but I've heard that PhD admissions don't really care about it.
Concerns: My grades in computational mathematics suck. I got a D in Calc 3 during the first semester of my second year. I took a supplemental exam (essentially counts as retaking the class in one exam) and got a B+, which is decent I suppose. C in ODEs is tough, but the class average (which is given on my transcript) was also a C so I pray schools take that into account. I'm hoping my As in Analysis, Honours Applied Linear Algebra, Probability, and (hopefully) Statistics can lessen that blow, but I've accepted it will hold me back. I am contemplating retaking ODEs or taking another math class at a community college this summer to get a better grade, if people think that would help.
Other: Published quite a few policy papers in housing and tax policy during my internships, one even had a regression in it!.Self or co-author on all.
Applying to: Please tell me where I should be looking. So much of the advice out there seems geared toward people applying to top 10 schools and I don't think I'm at that level, even if I got straight As during my masters program next year. Fine with anywhere in the US, Canada, or Europe. I speak English fluently and French intermediately if that helps.
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