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

Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

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


    Good post? Yes | No

    Question Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    Sponsored Ad:
    Hi, everyone. It's been such a tough cycle. As someone who is going to apply this fall, I would love to know how you guys think my chances are for T20. Thank you everyone for your comments.

    Type of Undergrad: Small private undergrad USNEWS T20 (T50 grad econ department tho)
    Undergrad
    GPA: 3.78
    Type of Grad: NA
    Grad GPA: NA
    GRE: 165v+170q+4.5aw
    Math Courses: Analysis I and II (both As), Econ Stats(A), Intro to Proofs (A), Linear Algebra(A-), Cal I-III (As), Regression Analysis (A), Grad level Real Analysis (plan for next semester)
    Econ Courses: Intermediate Micro and Macro (both As), Econometrics (A), Labor(A), International Trade(A-), International Finance(A-), Game Theory(A-), Independent Research Course(A), Senior Thesis(A), PhD level Micro and Metrics (plan for next semester)
    Other Courses: many government/political economy courses
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 math department chair prof (took analysis courses for 3 semesters), 1 IMF economist I ra for, 1 labor econ prof
    Research Experience: 2 independent research (1 from independent research course, 1 for senior thesis), RA for IMF International Economist, 2 non-econ social sciences ra
    Teaching Experience: 1.5 years of language TA
    Research Interests: Labor Econ/ International Econ/ Political Econ

    Coming from a school that specializes in political econ, I am worried about the math background, so I feel like I should ask my math prof to write one rec letter. I would also love to hear how you guys think. Besides, do you guys think a 2 year predoc is worth it if aiming for T10?

    Thank you everyone for your comments!

  2. #2
    Eager!
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    33
    Rep Power
    6


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    1. I don't think schools are going to be doubtful about the quality of your math courses unless your school is ranked very low or is unknown. Given your RAships, I suspect I know which university you attend, and I'd be skeptical that people would think that university's math department is significantly subpar. Further, you've completed two semesters of analysis with As. That should be strong enough of a signal that you're sufficiently prepared in math, especially if you're not thinking about studying very technical micro theory.

    2. Based on the admit classes of the places I was admitted, it is very difficult to land a T5 spot without a predoc. Most admits from undergrad were either "connected" or theory oriented. I highly suspect that those admits who did not fall into one of these two buckets had absolutely fantastic letters. Based on what you've stated, it doesn't sound like your letters are going to be that outstanding compared to other applicants'. Unless you have strong personal reasons for applying immediately to grad school (e.g. a significant other) and you want to maximize your shots at a T10, I think you should do a predoc.

    Especially if you want to enter academia, you should be making your decisions from here on out in terms of how it might benefit your "long-term" research career outcomes. It is not clear to me (based on discussion with faculty and other professional economists) that going straight to grad school has large long-term benefits unless you want to study micro theory, in which case you want your math skills to be very sharp. Taking 1-2 years to focus exclusively on research may be very helpful in fleshing out your research interests as well as developing the know-how for approaching research projects. Once you enter grad school, you have 5-6 years to complete a JMP, followed by 5-7 years for your tenure clock. Better to spend time outside of grad school figuring out all the nuts and bolts of research than spending precious months during grad school on that.
    .
    Of course, you should take my advice with a big grain of salt, since I was an applicant this cycle . . . plenty of people still think that if you're prepared to go to grad school, there isn't that much a benefit from a predoc. Plus, the ability of predocs to land you a spot at a T10 seems fairly heterogeneous, at least based on this application cycle.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    11
    Rep Power
    1


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    Iím currently going through the application process and not on an adcom, so Iíll draw from the advice that Iíve gotten.

    Your math background seems plenty sufficient for a top 20 school. Honestly, it seems like admissions committees want students to excel in at least one or two rigorous math classes but donít necessarily need them to excel in many.

    Getting a letter from a math professor is fine as long as itís glowing. A letter from an economist is generally preferred though. Many students ask an economics professor to also discuss their math background some in a letter (they can usually do this with your transcript).

    I would apply to both predocs and PhD programs if I were you. A predoc can often cut a year off from the PhD program if you develop a strong research agenda during it (need a good supervisor for this), so the opportunity cost of the predoc isnít as steep as it may seem initially. Apply to a wide range of schools. If youíre not pretty excited about the PhD program that you get into but get hired at a good predoc that does interesting research, take the predoc, save some money before grad school, and have fun as a young person.

    Getting into a top 10 school can be difficult and opaque, but your application seems qualified. You will still need to stand out among a large pool of qualified applicants. Many of the students who get in stand out through famous recommenders writing glowing letters for them (I donít know if this is true in your case). Otherwise, the best you can do is to present your credentials honestly and be extremely clear about a potential research agenda in your SOP and the rest of your application (the SOP isnít a big deal typically but is used as a tie breaker, thatís important for ultra competitive admissions). Your #1 job is to convince the adcom that you can produce high quality research with only a moderate amount of training. Discussing department fit and your research agenda will also help you understand which departments work for you.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Within my grasp!
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    131
    Rep Power
    10


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    Talk to your labor economics professor about all this. That person is best situated to give you advice. A big part of your application is what your letters say about you. Letter writers who have PhDs in economics are the strongest advocates for you (and by 'advocate' I don't mean that they oversell you; they sell you to the places that would be a good fit for you.) Even better if the letter writers have experience writing letters for past students who are at good graduate schools.

    Having said that, I don't think letters from math professors are all that useful. We can see your courses and grades; we know you did well. A math professor usually can't speak to your ability to do graduate level economics, write a thesis, etc.

    If you are able to, you might supplement your math background with a proper sequence in probability theory and mathematical statistics. At most universities this is a two semester sequence in the math or statistics department.

    Another thing I would add is to look for departments that are a good fit for your research interests. Ranking mask a lot of things. A so-called Top 20 school can be better than many "top 10s" in some fields and weaker than some "top 50s" in others. Applications take time and money and you so you want to do some research and be selective about where you apply. Talk to your letter writers about this.

  5. #5
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    18
    Rep Power
    7


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    Quote Originally Posted by arieconomy View Post

    Type of Undergrad: Small private undergrad USNEWS T20 (T50 grad econ department tho)
    Coming from a school that specializes in political econ, I am worried about the math background, so I feel like I should ask my math prof to write one rec letter. I would also love to hear how you guys think.

    Thank you everyone for your comments!
    Just to respond to this point: even if your school is more known for political economy, if you attend an R1 University with a reputable PhD program admissions committees will be confident your math coursework is rigorous. You have a strong math background in terms of courses and good grades, so there is probably not any utility from having a recommendation from a math professor vs an economics professor who can speak to your research potential directly.

  6. #6
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    10
    Rep Power
    1


    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    I will be a little more harsh than the other posters so you can calibrate your expectations and plan accordingly. Your math background is good (read necessary but not sufficient) but I applied this year, with similar GPA and coursework at a T15 (both usnews and econ), and I am a current full-time predoc at a T3. My three rec writers are all top 0.5% ideas repec, and I have done extensive research with all three or took grad classes with them. I got rejected from all T10's I applied to, and got into 1/4 of the 10-16 range of schools I applied to. The fact that your program is a T50 usnews econ grad program does not bode well for you, even if you have glowing letters. (of course, there are always exceptions, and there exist many great faculty with good connections/name recognition at lower ranked schools). Unless the IMF economist is very well known, I'm also not sure that will hold too much sway. And it is unclear from your post what kind of research relationship you have with the labor econ prof.

    Now of course, I expect next year admissions to be easier, but it is unclear by how much since a lot of the predocs in my cohort are thinking of deferring for another year because they did not hit their admission targets, and there is a secular trend towards more and more predocs making it harder to get in each passing year. Your letter writers may be excellent and well-known. And your interests may be more valued than mine at certain departments. But absent this info I do not think you are competitive for T15; you are basically competing with predocs, and ~3.9 math-econ undergrads, usually with research experience, from T5-T10 econ programs.

    Definitely apply to T20 programs, you never know where you'll get in, but I would also heavily encourage you to apply to more schools in the 20-50 range, and/or apply to predocs. On predocs, while there are many serious issues with the system (not least the power differential bw your supervisor and you), it also gives you a very deep glimpse into the nuts and bolts of research. It's one thing to be able to read and parse papers, but actually seeing how the sausage is made will give you a big boost in writing your JMP in the PhD program. Converting a dataset to a full fledged econometric analysis is a difficult task. You're a bit lucky that you have a labor interest, as there are many predocs available in this subfield.

  7. #7
    Eager!
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    48
    Rep Power
    1


    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    I had a similar profile as yours 2 years ago, but with slightly higher gpa and more math from a us news top 30/35/40 school(econ top 70), also I'm international from China.My main letter is from an applied math PI, with whom I worked on a game theory project. When I applied for Fall 2019, I got rejected from all top 20, and I was luckily accepted by a top 3 RA.
    This year proved to be a shitshow, but i'm waitlisted by 4 top 15 atm, and have several other offers/waitlist from top 25.(Or I just suck at this and I should view this as a sign from above to stop dreaming about Econ PhD lmao)
    The point is as T5mafia mentioned, my 2 LOR years ago(potentially your LOR this year) were not going to fully cut it for top schools, even though they might be glowing. Also, doing a pre-doc will help you if you realize that Econ PhD is not what you want to do, and prevent you from wasting more time while earning more than first 2 year's stipend.
    I would def suggest doing a pre-doc if you want to go to top. Your profile should guarantee you to the coding test at most pre-doc places, and they will be a very good boost for your application, and you will get a very good LOR from the people you work for. Good pre-doc programs usually start recruiting really early(I reviewed my replacement hire last October, way before my phd app deadline).

    At last, don't take phd level real analysis if you are not that into math. You already have enough math to go to further econ graduate studies. Functional analysis is really not going to help you in your future research direction, and if the prof is harsh, you are risking your GPA.

  8. #8
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    11
    Rep Power
    1


    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Profile Evaluation: T20 chance

    Quote Originally Posted by arieconomy View Post
    Hi, everyone. It's been such a tough cycle. As someone who is going to apply this fall, I would love to know how you guys think my chances are for T20. Thank you everyone for your comments.

    Type of Undergrad: Small private undergrad USNEWS T20 (T50 grad econ department tho)
    Undergrad
    GPA: 3.78
    Type of Grad: NA
    Grad GPA: NA
    GRE: 165v+170q+4.5aw
    Math Courses: Analysis I and II (both As), Econ Stats(A), Intro to Proofs (A), Linear Algebra(A-), Cal I-III (As), Regression Analysis (A), Grad level Real Analysis (plan for next semester)
    Econ Courses: Intermediate Micro and Macro (both As), Econometrics (A), Labor(A), International Trade(A-), International Finance(A-), Game Theory(A-), Independent Research Course(A), Senior Thesis(A), PhD level Micro and Metrics (plan for next semester)
    Other Courses: many government/political economy courses
    Letters of Recommendation: 1 math department chair prof (took analysis courses for 3 semesters), 1 IMF economist I ra for, 1 labor econ prof
    Research Experience: 2 independent research (1 from independent research course, 1 for senior thesis), RA for IMF International Economist, 2 non-econ social sciences ra
    Teaching Experience: 1.5 years of language TA
    Research Interests: Labor Econ/ International Econ/ Political Econ

    Coming from a school that specializes in political econ, I am worried about the math background, so I feel like I should ask my math prof to write one rec letter. I would also love to hear how you guys think. Besides, do you guys think a 2 year predoc is worth it if aiming for T10?

    Thank you everyone for your comments!
    Iíll say too, to add to othersí points, that I had a materially worse profile than yours coming out of undergrad. I had no grad coursework, a little less math, went to a small (but competitive) LAC, and a GPA a full tenth of a point worse than yours, but I did a predoc (not even a prestigious one), and Iím stuck in waitlist purgatory at a couple top 10s and have a top 20 acceptance.

    Iím certain that the predoc helped my outcomes substantially, and I have a much more clear research agenda before hitting grad school.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 13
    Last Post: 02-11-2020, 04:16 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-11-2012, 02:24 AM
  3. Profile evaluation. Any chance?
    By restranga in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-16-2010, 05:16 PM
  4. Here's my profile; where would I have a chance?
    By disposition in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-10-2006, 03:19 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
  •