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tbe last won the day on January 11

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  1. Yes, this is economics. But you might also look at programs in urban planning, geography, or public policy to find one that is a good fit for your.
  2. Take them wherever you can; online, community college, nearby university, etc. Doesn't really matter. Choose based on the quality of the course. i.e. if you can't concentrate in an online class, take an in-person one. Many, many applicants are in the same position as you are. It's very common to take math classes after you graduate college.
  3. Really depends on what field you are interested in. Don't put too much weight on rankings. Gather real data on the programs. Talk with current students. etc.
  4. Daniele Passerman is also very good.
  5. Congratulations on your current offers. I'm not sure why you think your SOP and recommendation letters aren't good. The value of the letter doesn't come from the CV of the writer. A good reference is someone who can speak to your ability to do well in a PhD program. I also don't think a mediocre statement of purpose will have that much effect. GRE might, but it really depends on your score. You didn't discuss your grades and math background; those are really import too. My advice is to talk with your letter writers and economists at the Fed and get their feedback. They know you and while they cannot guarantee anything, they are best situated to advise you on whether an additional year as an RA will have much effect. Why are you not excited about the two programs that accepted you? Is it because US News put them at #20? Or is it because they aren't a good match for your research interests?
  6. No one is rejecting an applicant because they are “too good” or won’t come. There really is no reason to be strategic. I usually ask admitted students where else they are considering. Mostly it is to help get to know them and help think through what they are looking for in a school.
  7. I think getting Bs in these math classes at top tier schools is not necessarily a sign of weak math skills. The grades may affect which programs you get accepted to, but don't necessarily suggest you cannot get through the math/theory in the first year of graduate school. You don't say what fields of economics interest you. Some fields are much more math and statistics intensive than others. We really can't and shouldn't tell you which schools to target. Your letter writers are your best guides for this. They know you best, their letters will carry a lot of weight, and they hopefully have experience with past students to guide you. In any case, you should target a diverse range of schools and focus on schools that are a good match for your research interests. I wouldn't drop Analysis II just because you got a B+ in Analysis I (unless you feel like you are really struggling in the course). However, if you have room for additional classes, I would consider a class in statistics. I assume the probability class you took is the standard one-semester class in probability theory. It is usually followed by a one semester class in statistics.
  8. You are right that your letter writers are best positioned to answer your question. There isn't much value in us speculating. In addition tutonic's good suggestion, my additional piece of advice is to apply to a diverse range of schools and, outside of the top 10 or 15 (or whatever), focus on programs that are particularly strong in your areas of interest.
  9. This is a fine score and I wouldn't worry about it.
  10. As tutonic said, your letter writers are far better positioned to answer your question than we are. What they write in their letters is much more important than many other aspects of your application. We don't have that information. Your letter writers should be people who can both speak to your potential (i.e. write a letter for you) and also give you advice on where to apply and how to evaluate your options. You shouldn't be taking advice on these things from anonymous people who don't know.
  11. It isn't taboo to apply to transfer. (As startz said, you aren't "transferring," just starting over.) I would talk with the Director of Graduate Studies and at least one of your fall semester professors about your situation. I wouldn't start with your desire to transfer, but let them know that socially and emotionally you aren't doing well and aren't happy (if I read your OP correctly). You can talk to them both about strategies to improve your life in the current situation and also get their advice about transferring to a new program. They aren't therapists, but they (esp the DGS) should be used to discussing these issues with PhD students. If you do choose to apply to new programs, you should try to get at least one letter from your current department. PhD admissions is about your ability to do graduate level work and your current professors are best able to speak to that. Ideally you want letters that say that you are doing well (and they hope to keep you), but they understand and support your desire to seek a change of scenery.
  12. ^^This is my reaction also. Why do you want the degree? Are you trying to change careers or just improve your research? You can learn the skills without doing the degree.
  13. I agree with the advice that you'll likely use many of these software packages in your work and so good to learn them. But in terms of preparing specifically for the first year, these are good questions to ask your program director and some of the current students. We send our incoming students some suggestions for how to prepare for the first year, but I'm sure some programs don't. In any case, it is fairly straightforward for them to tell you that, for example, it is incredibly helpful to know Stata, or Latex, or whatever, for first year coursework. Enjoy the summer, though, is definitely the best advice. Everything else is second order.
  14. This is a very good idea. I'd add a few columns to that list. For each faculty member, indicate whether they teach graduate classes, whether they advise graduate students, and whether they are actively publishing. (Also, be sure you are looking at actual tenure track/tenured professors and not adjuncts, visitors, etc.) Some of this you can get from the web, but these are also good questions to ask current students or your faculty contacts.
  15. Your two Michigan advisors are much better placed to answer those questions than we are. Their recommendation letters carry enormous weight. Yes, the classes, grades, etc. matter too. While your advisers can't guarantee anything, they are the ones with experience getting people like you into graduate school. I'm not saying that you should do what they say without questioning it, but I'd put a lot of weight on their advice and no weight on definitive statements by people on an anonymous message board. Here are some questions you can ask your advisers to help guide your decision process: what range of PhD programs they would expect you can get into this fall? Kind of think of this as a floor, ceiling, and best guesses at where you would get in. In their experience, how much would your admissions chances change if you did the MA first? Does this depend on what field you want to go into? How much is the benefit of the MA is in getting into a better program versus doing well in a program? Any classes you could take this summer, such as real analysis or a class in mathematical statistics? Also, you can certainly apply to both MA and PhD programs and see what you get.
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