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Applications, Applications, Applications

Posted by on Friday, December 3, 2010 in Academics, College Life, Economics, Grad School.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been doing applications for law schools and economics schools.  My dream is to be able to do both and end up as a professor, whose specialty is economics and law; with these degrees, I’d also be a very powerful public policy consultant.  I just finished my batch of law schools and am now onto finish my economics grad schools.

[Also, while we’re talking about law and economics, I’d like to do a little advertisement for Vanderbilt Law School’s Law and Economics Ph.D. program.  It’s the only integrated one of its kind in the nation and has some SUPER faculty members!  It’s a great program.  I know a couple of graduate students in the program, and they just LOVE it!  If you’re a reader looking at potentially combining law and economics, Vanderbilt would be a great place to come.]

I think the hardest part about writing applications is trying to convey your passion for your future goals down on paper.  It’s difficult to present a coherent picture of yourself with just one story or just talking about your academic interests in statements of purpose and personal statements.  It takes a lot of skill and time to sit down and craft a good piece.

Just for the readers, I’d like to do a graduate school “What I Wish I had Done Differently” for you guys:

1.  I wish I had taken my standardized tests earlier. As a sophomore, I was enthusiastic about business and wanted to go into banking.  Sophomore year summer, my interests changed, and I knew I did not want to end up at an 8-5 job.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work hard; I did want to work hard, but I wanted to work hard for something I was passionate about.  I ended up discovering my passion in January 2010.  Then, I decided to take my LSAT first in June.  However, I ended up forgetting my ID (yes, I was that girl), so I had to take my LSAT in October.  Because I was preparing for the LSAT at the same time as the GRE (which I took in September), it was a lot more time-consuming and less focused preparation.  Thus, if I could turn the clock back, I’d have planned to take the GRE in fall of my junior year (when I wasn’t sure about grad school).  That way, I could have saved time in preparation and had my heart concentrated on one thing at a time.

2.  I wish I had talked to professors earlier about the entire graduate school process. Even if you’re not sure, I would consult with professors your junior year.  It gets awkwardness out of the way for senior year letters of recommendations, and you’d be surprised how knowledgeable they are about admissions to graduate schools, especially subject – specific admissions.

3.  Finally, I wish I had keyed my parents in earlier on this whole process. Once I finally shared all of my plans with them over Thanksgiving, they helped SO MUCH.  My dad is now taking care of my GRE reports and keeping me updated about deadlines and such.  Especially when you’re applying to a subject specific graduate school (economics Ph.D. programs for me), you might get a bit overwhelmed with applications (typically 8 schools).  Also, besides physics and engineering, economics is the one of the hardest disciplines to get into graduate school, so you’d have to shoot for more graduate schools than the typical applicant.

So readers, hope that helps you get a sense of things to keep in mind as you’re trying to figure out what to do!

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