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AmericanQuant

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About AmericanQuant

  • Rank
    Double Shot

Profile Information

  • Location
    Washington
  • Application Season
    2013 Fall
  • Program
    Political Science PhD

Recent Profile Visitors

2,076 profile views
  1. There's some wisdom here. If just one person would make or break a school for you, you shouldn't go. But if you are on the fence, knowing about the intentions of one person can make all the difference.
  2. This is a totally appropriate question to ask to anyone in the department. Mid-career people sometimes burn out on advising or go into administration, or learn that they are crappy advisers. Old people retire. Young people don't get tenure. It's always legit. Just make sure you ask in a polite way. I'd suggest, "Are you taking new students right now?" Or, "What sorts of working relationships do you develop with students?"
  3. AmericanQuant

    Chances for highly ranked programs/other quick questions

    You are definitely not disqualified from getting admitted to the best political science departments. They are willing to take a chance on good people, and are understanding that people have made mistakes. Unlike fields like physics, math, econ, etc., there aren't enough perfect applicants to go around, so compromises naturally arise. If you have very good GRE scores and take tough courses, you should be in good shape. For the GRE's, the better your quant score is the better. For most applicants, they're just looking for some minimum level of quant competence (probably about 160 ish), but since you are going to not the best university and your grades are mixed, really concrete signals of competence are important. Take lots of practice tests, and get study books if necessary. The good grades in econ courses and quant polisci courses are positive signs. Have you taken any math? American political behavior and elections are very quant-heavy areas, so knowing calculus (and even some linear algebra) will be valuable. Do you have any interest in political methodology (i.e. applied statistics for political science problems)? If so, a good grade in real analysis would help your case, AND be valuable for your career. Lastly, have you thought about taking some time off between college and grad school and working? Having your senior year grades available will probably help your case and a lot of people find it rewarding for other reasons. If you got a very good job in politics, it might also make you a better grad student.
  4. AmericanQuant

    Profile review: T10

    Agreed with above. You have a profile that top programs go crazy for. As long as your letters and personal statement are comparably good, you'll get into a lot of the top places.
  5. AmericanQuant

    Advice for an Outsider

    Ya, you'll be fine. People come from much weirder backgrounds than yours and you have a very competitive profile. Just make sure to convey in your statement of purpose that you understand the types of research questions posed in political science. Also, you should add Stanford to your list. Lots of good comparative work on Europe happening there. Scheve, Hainmueller, Rodden, Laitin etc.
  6. AmericanQuant

    Any Advice for Fall 2016 Applicant?

    All of the top programs emphasize quantitative research. The reputation for quant work and reputation overall are very highly correlated for the top 10 programs. If you're looking for a program that's a good fit, focus on finding professors whose interests dovetail with yours. They'll all be able to give you good quant training. Unless you want to be a methodologist, in which case Michigan and Berkeley are out.
  7. AmericanQuant

    Is it possible to complete a PhD in 4 years?

    It depends. What is your reason for wanting to finish unusually fast, and what do you want to do after the PhD?
  8. AmericanQuant

    Afraid of LOR fatigue

    Exactly. Once the letter is written, the marginal work is minimal. Plus, faculty think of it as their job. Especially if you're a good student, this just isn't a big deal. And to victorydance, OP has more recently done an MA in economics. That's going to be the most important part of the application. If he's a successful MA student, the fuckup 5 years ago just isn't gonna be a big deal. Might be good to have a letter-writer explain it, but if he just explains it in his statement, I'm sure that'd be fine.
  9. AmericanQuant

    Afraid of LOR fatigue

    I strongly agree with kameldinho, this is totally backwards. Many top political science professors see an econ degree as basically the best possible preparation for a Polisci PhD. And depending on the prominence of the recommenders, they may know the person. Moreover, the admissions committee will want to know what kind of a student you are now. Letters from 5 years ago won't be that informative.
  10. AmericanQuant

    Suggestions for websites and journals

    Find a paper you really like, read the articles they cite. Then go on google scholar and find out what the most-cited papers are that cite the new paper you found. Repeat. Pretty soon, you'll have encountered (and possibly read), the most important stuff. Take note of who the authors are and where they are teaching. You want to study with those people.
  11. AmericanQuant

    Program Specialties

    What kind of political economy? IPE or CPE? In any case, NYU, Caltech, WashU, Stanford GSB and Stanford Political Science would all be places to look at.
  12. As others have said, you're in pretty good shape. Having recommendation letters from well-known people seems to count for a lot, and you have them. Try to get the most out of your classes and your RA gig. I think you'd be well-served learning as much math and statistics as you can, not for admissions reasons, but because it'll help you once you're in.
  13. Hard to say what to take because what's taught in the first semester or second semester of calculus varies from university to university. Here are some college-level math topics, in order of importance for a social scientist: 1) Differentiation 2) Integration 3) Basic Linear Algebra (Matrix Ranks, matrix inversion, bases) 4) Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors, this is usually in the first linear algebra course, taught after 3. 5) Taylor Series, infinite series, convergence (usually a second semester calc topic) 6) Computational Linear Algebra Topics (SVD, QR Decomposition, etc.) 7) Multivariate Calc (div, grad, curl, surface integrals, etc.) 8) Real Analysis I'd strongly recommend learning 1-3 in college. They'll all come up in your first semester or two of methods classes in grad school, and they're sort of essential to reading the literature and understanding what's going on when you run a regression. Very possible that you can't do your problem sets without knowing them. After that, everything is relevant, but not essential. In a math department, partial differentiation is something that is taught in a multivariate calculus class, but you can teach it to yourself pretty easily. It's not any harder than regular differentiation and you'll want to learn how to do it at some point.
  14. Most of the programs you're applying to have some version of a math camp, where they'll go over all of the minimal math you need in grad school. It won't do it in much depth, and learning a bunch of math in 2 weeks isn't the best way to retain it. In particular, if you have any interest in quantitative research, you'll get a lot out of a linear algebra course. Also, some statistics courses will help you understand the literature better. If you want to be a methodologist, you basically can't take too many stats courses. If you're doing formal theory (i.e. game theory), you would benefit from real analysis. Have you taken any econ? In many respects, economics is the language of political science. Taking intermediate would be valuable, especially at NYU and Stanford, which have many people trained as economists on the faculty. Being a part-time student won't be a problem if you can show that you used your time well. But if you don't have much to show for it, then it could be an issue, particularly if other applicants will have more to show from there time in college. Have you asked your "distinguished" professors about these things? What do they say?
  15. AmericanQuant

    Advisers not able to help with Grad School questions.

    This troll was impressive.
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