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bowl176
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I have 3 options: UNC-Chapel Hill ($), IC Irvine ($$), and Rochester ($). I visited Irvine and loved it. Also as a note, I am very open to an industry position rather than academia in the future, might even prefer it. Interests are applied micro, metrics, and labor.

 

So, apart from choosing a school, I am worried I will not make it at Rochester, which seems like the obvious choice. I am a 3rd-year undergrad majoring in statistics and economics, with a minor in math (up to real analysis and diffeqs). The admissions person warned me that many Americans who come straight from their undergrad do not make it, and that worries me. Does anyone have any advice on what to do and whether or not I would make it?

 

Also, with not being deadset on academia, I am not sure how much rankings truly matter.

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The advice I've been told is that they wouldn't accept you if they didn't think you would make it. However, that comment is a huge red flag to me.

 

If you're really keen on industry, you loved UC Irvine, and they're paying you more, I really don't think this is much of a decision.

 

If the program thinks there's a chance you won't make it, are you willing to risk that possibility?

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I think you're right that if you are happy doing industry, ranking is certainly less important. With that in mind, and given the explicit warning from Rochester, if I was in your position I would almost certainly choose Irvine. Take a look here: Graduate Student Placements | Economics | UCI Social Sciences

If that sort of placement record looks like what you would want to do, keeping in mind that you have a t least some power to direct your interests, then that seems like a no-brainer.

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1 thing that might be useful to add is that they said they think I have the drive and motivation to get through it, and gave me stuff in the summer too. Next week is the visitation day, which conveniently falls over spring break for me. Should I even go at this point? I want to say yes, since I think there is a lot of information I need and a lot of questions to ask.
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Yea, as long as it's not too costly in terms of time or money I think that going to as many visit days as possible is a good idea. Even if you're pretty sure you won't attend, it's good to have a point of comparison for other schools. And like you say, it's the best place to ask those kinds of questions and get straight answers (it might be nice to as current students, for example, what they think about Americans coming straight out of undergrad). It's just a question of opportunity cost, of course!
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