Okay. So I want to pursue a Ph.D. after I get my bachelor's degree next spring (I will have a BS in Economics with minors in Math and Business Admin.), since I am not really that well suited to performing dull, repetitive tasks in a corporate setting. I want to do my Ph.D in Economics, or in Finance (I apparently have a mind for Finance, and several profs keep telling me that I would do just as well if not better in a Finance program, even though my passion lies in Economics). If I go towards Economics, I would like to do a major field in Industrial Organization Economics, or Microeconomic theory. If I go towards Finance, I would be very interested in asset valuation, financial modeling, mathematical Finance, or Financial Microeconomics.

Now here is the thing. I am a smart guy and all, its just that in some classes I really don't test well. So my GPA is a bit low (3.07 and I graduate in SPR 2007). My in major GPA is about 3.25, and the GPA in my math minor is holding at a comfortable 3.09 (I don't have an accurate figure for my Bus Admin minor because so many of its classes are cross-listed with my major). By just the numbers I am an average student, but several of my professors have seen my potential to go further, and have envouraged to pursue grad school if I wasnt to. And really, being a Ph.D. is a good fit for me. I get to reasearch what I want and get paid for it; I get paid to teach (which I am also good at); and of course I get paid to think and continuously learn.


The thing is, I don't know what my chances are of getting into any of the schools I am applying to. I am not sure of whether I would be able to get into them or not, even if I did make a very good score on the GRE. Then compounding everything is that my college isn't particularly well known outside of Georgia.
Economics
1. The University of Michigan- It is the number 11 Econ graduate program in the country, so it is good, but tough. My boyfriend has told me that they have an extremely difficult Macro program (he took the Macro prelim three times before exiting with a Masters), and it looks like its Micro program is awesome. I took a look, and they have a center for research on the Japanese economy, which appeals right to my research interests in IO (the cartel power of Japanese Keiretsu type firms). But since it is essentially a tier one school, I would have a difficult time getting in (they have a regression formula which estimates the probability you would be able to complete the program, given your GRE, undergrad GPA, and SAT scores). There would be so many people who are quantitatively more qualified for admissions than I am.
2. The University of Maryland- My advisor recommended UMD to me if I was interested in Microeconomics, and it seems to have an extremely strong Ph.D. program, and great placements of graduates. This would be fairly difficult for me to get into I think, even though I would love to be here.
3. The Johns Hopkins University. Small department, IO concentration, emphasis on teaching, I think I would be able to do well here, though again there would be more qualified persons vying for spots.
4. The University of Georgia- A good Ph.D. program which offers IO. Not the best, but it is a good, solid school. Here I have some things working on my side. Not only am I a Georgia resident, but Berry is known by the UGA people as producing solid and smart graduates. There is also the fact that its entry requirements are a bit lower than some fo the other schools I am looking at. So in this program I could almost be a big fish in a small pond (and I could use this to my advantage to produce some great research). AS much as I want to get the hell out of the South, I could stand being at UGA.
5. The Ohio State University- A good solid program, has a solid foundation in Microeconomics and in mathematical Economics.
6. Georgia Institute of Technology- Not a Ph.D. program in Econ, but a masters program. In the event I didn't get into any of my schools I am confident I could get into this program, especially since Berry gives them tons of good students for their 3-2 dual degree engineering program, so the quality of the school is known. Then I could go onto a Ph.D. somewhere.

Finance
Keep in mind that while I would like to get the hell out of Georgia, I don't know too much about business Ph.D. programs outside of Georgia and the South.
1. Emory University- It is an up and coming program in a tier 1 graduate business school, with a lot of space. I have talked over e-mail with the dept. chair and he said that they take all aspects of a cndidate into account when making an admissions decision. So this is either good or bad for me. But the program looks good an solid. Plus the stipends are amazing.
2. University of Georgia- Another solid graduate business program. It looks essentially like the Ph.D. program in Economics though, except easier (no graduate Macro classes to contend with).
3. Georgia State University- One of the best graduate business programs in the country from what I have heard. GSU has ties to Berry, so I am sure that it wouldn't be extremely hard to get in. They have a terriffic Econometrics program in the Econ department, which would help me immensely if I do financial modeling.
4. The Ohio State University- Their graduate business programs are supposed to be on par with the likes of Harvard, Wharton, and Yale. It looks great, except that I get the impression that it would be difficult to get a graduate assistantship (and there is no way in hell I am payin 34k out of state tuition), and that stipends aren't as much as at other schools.

So that is it. What types of advice/reality checks do any of ya'll have for me as I start my senior year?
Brad