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ECON PhD Profile Evaluation (poor math grades)


ohmygrades
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When you say you're from an Australian top uni, you must be from one of UNSW, ANU or UniMelb. Top 30 schools would already have the expectation that the graduate measure theory in one of these schools is very tough. A pass grade for that course is for sure not a positive signal, but may not be as bad as you think.

 

The minimum mathematics is up to real analysis. Measure theory is more "advanced" than real analysis so it does not carry too much weight to begin with. Your research experience however, will carry more weights than a single measure theory course. Your advisor is from one of the three schools ,you have a great Honours thesis at one of these schools and you're RAed for your advisor. I think you're fine.

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When you say you're from an Australian top uni, you must be from one of UNSW, ANU or UniMelb. Top 30 schools would already have the expectation that the graduate measure theory in one of these schools is very tough. A pass grade for that course is for sure not a positive signal, but may not be as bad as you think.

 

The minimum mathematics is up to real analysis. Measure theory is more "advanced" than real analysis so it does not carry too much weight to begin with. Your research experience however, will carry more weights than a single measure theory course. Your advisor is from one of the three schools ,you have a great Honours thesis at one of these schools and you're RAed for your advisor. I think you're fine.

 

 

Thanks! My primary degree is from ANU and I did those math courses there. But my honors is from USYD as there was no mid-year entry in ANU, is this important? I thought USYD should be one of the top unis in Australia....

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Thanks! My primary degree is from ANU and I did those math courses there. But my honors is from USYD as there was no mid-year entry in ANU, is this important? I thought USYD should be one of the top unis in Australia....

 

Sorry, from your previous description I thought you were from the "top of the top schools" which were inarguably those three. And I was even thinking how could you get your Honours grade so early with February entry into the program.

 

Of course, USYD and Monash are two best schools after those three. In my opinion, if you are heading towards Top 5 then you really should do your Honours in those top three schools (and get good grades for sure). But your target is Top 30, so an Honours from USYD should be good enough.

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Sorry, from your previous description I thought you were from the "top of the top schools" which were inarguably those three. And I was even thinking how could you get your Honours grade so early with February entry into the program.

 

Of course, USYD and Monash are two best schools after those three. In my opinion, if you are heading towards Top 5 then you really should do your Honours in those top three schools (and get good grades for sure). But your target is Top 30, so an Honours from USYD should be good enough.

 

Apart from letter writer availability (about which I don't know much), the piece of paper from USYD is just as good as the others. USYD placed someone at Harvard this year, for example. There is no upper bound.

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Apart from letter writer availability (about which I don't know much), the piece of paper from USYD is just as good as the others. USYD placed someone at Harvard this year, for example. There is no upper bound.

 

But I don’t have a university medal, and this makes a big difference. Besides, my letter writers are not that well known. Now I don’t think I have a chance for top15 or even top20. Probably a medal is a must for top15.

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But I don’t have a university medal, and this makes a big difference. Besides, my letter writers are not that well known. Now I don’t think I have a chance for top15 or even top20. Probably a medal is a must for top15.

How many university medals are given out in Economics in a year?

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I’m not sure, sometimes one or two, sometimes up to five. And some of them don’t apply for PhD. I know that two students with medals from last year will apply for 2020 fall and their target is top5.

 

There have been 5 in one year at Sydney Uni? That sounds extremely high. I thought two was the absolute upper limit.

 

In any case, I don't completely buy into this obsession with uni medals that people assign to getting into graduate programs.

 

Also consider that (at least in UNSW's case) uni medals were only awarded a few months after applications were due. So if you are graduating this year, given this can't be known until maybe January or February, perhaps it is less of an issue.

 

But one thing that is a bit unclear from your original post: what are you counting as an A/B/C etc? ANU grades out of 100 with HD/D/etc I thought.

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There have been 5 in one year at Sydney Uni? That sounds extremely high. I thought two was the absolute upper limit.

 

In any case, I don't completely buy into this obsession with uni medals that people assign to getting into graduate programs.

 

Also consider that (at least in UNSW's case) uni medals were only awarded a few months after applications were due. So if you are graduating this year, given this can't be known until maybe January or February, perhaps it is less of an issue.

 

But one thing that is a bit unclear from your original post: what are you counting as an A/B/C etc? ANU grades out of 100 with HD/D/etc I thought.

 

A is HD and B is D, I was thinking that people here might not be familiar with HD/D.

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A is HD and B is D, I was thinking that people here might not be familiar with HD/D.

 

Alright I see. The advice commonly given on this forum is still true: ask your letter writers where they think you might get in / should apply.

 

Potential for quite high variance so I would apply quite widely.

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Alright I see. The advice commonly given on this forum is still true: ask your letter writers where they think you might get in / should apply.

 

Potential for quite high variance so I would apply quite widely.

I’ll apply to up to 15 schools, probably USC is the bottom line. My letter writers also told me to apply widely as there would be much noise. I know ANU sent students to UW Madison, Maryland and Queen’s last year but still it’s very hard to make predictions.

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I’ll apply to up to 15 schools, probably USC is the bottom line. My letter writers also told me to apply widely as there would be much noise. I know ANU sent students to UW Madison, Maryland and Queen’s last year but still it’s very hard to make predictions.

This is a good strategy. One more suggestion that I often give to my students. Make up a preliminary list of schools. Then ask your letter writers if they suggest either striking some or adding some at either the top or the bottom. This lets them politely say not to bother applying to Harvard...or to tell you that you have too many safety schools and should be being more aggressive.

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This is a good strategy. One more suggestion that I often give to my students. Make up a preliminary list of schools. Then ask your letter writers if they suggest either striking some or adding some at either the top or the bottom. This lets them politely say not to bother applying to Harvard...or to tell you that you have too many safety schools and should be being more aggressive.

Actually I did make a list and below is a summary of what my letter writers said:

 

Prof1: You should also consider Yale. Me: I should add USC. Prof1: Yes you should add some safe schools.

 

Prof2: This is a good list, maybe you should pick a few safe schools: a, USC , c...

 

Prof3: Don’t apply to Yale. Me: I’ll add some safer schools like Davis and a, b. Prof3: They are not safe, you should add Boston College. (?)

 

So at the end of the day, I’ll just apply widely after having a look at their faculties and placement records.....

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Actually I did make a list and below is a summary of what my letter writers said:

 

Prof1: You should also consider Yale. Me: I should add USC. Prof1: Yes you should add some safe schools.

 

Prof2: This is a good list, maybe you should pick a few safe schools: a, USC , c...

 

Prof3: Don’t apply to Yale. Me: I’ll add some safer schools like Davis and a, b. Prof3: They are not safe, you should add Boston College. (?)

 

So at the end of the day, I’ll just apply widely after having a look at their faculties and placement records.....

 

I am not sure what the outside option is, but perhaps Prof3's letter won't be all that amazing...

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I know that... but probably letters for different schools would be different.

Don't count on that.

 

Because letters are all done electronically, it is quite common for the same letter to go to all schools. That can be a problem if you apply to Yale after being discouraged from doing so. You're in a bit of an awkward situation with different faculty giving you different advice. If you have good relations with Prof3 you may want to say "Prof1 suggested Yale, although you discouraged it. Is that going to be a problem in terms of the letter?"

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Don't count on that.

 

Because letters are all done electronically, it is quite common for the same letter to go to all schools. That can be a problem if you apply to Yale after being discouraged from doing so. You're in a bit of an awkward situation with different faculty giving you different advice. If you have good relations with Prof3 you may want to say "Prof1 suggested Yale, although you discouraged it. Is that going to be a problem in terms of the letter?"

 

Actually I said that and Prof3 agreed to write a letter for Yale. But obviously this letter will not be strong. It seems like that those schools will ask letter writers to rank me, and likely I will not get the highest one.

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