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Should I wait a year to apply to grad school?

EustruriaEustruria 21 replies14 threads Junior Member
edited October 24 in Graduate School
Hello, I am currently a sophomore undergrad attending a top 20 state university and double majoring in applied mathematics (BS) and economics (BS). I came as a freshman with around 60 credits(all graded and mostly in math, so I started with ~3.9 cum. gpa) with the intention of perusing an economics PhD after college. I have been conducting research with an environmental engineering professor for a multi-year interdisciplinary project since the very start of my freshman year. I finished a research assistantship with an economics professor my second semester freshman year, and now I am starting research with a geography professor. I have not taken my GRE yet, but I plan to do so over the summer break. I am already attending a graduate level economics courses and plan on doing more next semester. My current cum. GPA is a 3.8 (should go up after this semester) and I could graduate as early as the end of next year. I am wondering if I should graduate early and immediately apply for a PhD program or take my time doing more research and apply after my full four years of college?

Thanks in advance.
edited October 24
4 replies
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Replies to: Should I wait a year to apply to grad school?

  • bluebayoubluebayou 26939 replies175 threads Senior Member
    I'd suggest that you try to get a year of Econ research on your cv. Not only is it relevant to your goals, but it will give you a rec from an Econ prof. Win-win.
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  • rosered55rosered55 4165 replies124 threads Senior Member
    I suggest that you consider not only spending four years in undergrad but also working for at least one year before applying for Ph.D. programs. One of my children is in an economics Ph.D. program, and it is my impression that work experience is highly valued for prospective students, along with a high GPA, high GRE score, and great recommendations.
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  • juilletjuillet 12690 replies161 threads Super Moderator
    There's really no right answer to this question. I asked dozens of people before I went to a PhD program whether I should go after college or take time off, and I got a different answer from everybody. There are so many factors that influence your choice, and honestly, there's no real wrong way to go.

    If you graduate early, it may be a good idea to take some time between - just because many other competitive applicants will have more research experience than you. Then again, beginning research in the freshman year is less common so you may find that you're on par with a lot of applicants. Just kind of depends.

    Taking time also helps you get experiences that both make you more competitive AND help you get a foundation that supports your career. For example, you can get some work experience at the nexus between research and practice in economics, and that may help you think about whether you want to do applied work or more theoretical work. It can also help you think more practically about the outcomes of your work, which can help when you're applying for grants or whatnot.

    But if you have all the experiences you need to be competitive, there's nothing wrong with going straight out of college, either.
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3439 replies11 threads Senior Member
    You can go right out of college or work for a while, but some of the best jobs are at Federal Reserve banks or some think tanks or consulting firms where you would be involved with research. As a math major, you should be set for grad school preparation wise. It is useful to take some calculus-based statistics courses if you haven’t already.
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