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I'm entering my final year of undergrad, what can I do to improve my chances of getting into grad school?


workinghard
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My bachelor's is a three year course, and I'm entering the third. I desperately want to get into a good grad school for behavioral economics. Here are my details:

- GPA: Indian equivalent of 2:1 is stated as 3.3, and that is the requirement for most schools. My GPA is currently 3.51, but it will dip significantly because of a terrible semester owing to health issues and hospitalization (down to 3.0-ish, I assume). My college doesn't offer semester retakes. I have a year to build it back up, so I'm hoping to do well now.

- TOEFL/GRE: Haven't taken yet

- Subjects: Major in economics, minors in psychology and sociology, and my two semester electives are quant and physics.

- Work: I've done one research assistantship under a renowned Indian economist, and one research project for an NGO. Both incorporated some aspect of Behavioral Economics and were great experiences. I have the time to do one more internship before I apply.

- Academic projects: I have 6 unpublished projects in economics and psychology. (our college makes us work like crazy)

- Publications: I have 2 journal publications, 2 op-eds, and I co-authored a chapter in a PhD. 

- Extra curriculars: I do not have any awards but I have been featured and recognized extensively for my music and social activism, and I co-founded a web based social activism portal.

 

What can I do better? How do I move forward? Do I have the chance to get into a top school despite my GPA? 

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workinghard It sounds like you have good experience so far--it will maybe come down to how you showcase these recognitions in your application statement/how you ask your letter writers to address your strengths. I'm in a different field, but I asked one to address my research and activism, one to address my creativity, and one to address my professional aptitude. Other internships are always good, and so is volunteer work related to your field and independent research projects to demonstrate independence and self-reliance outside the college setting. Not sure what it's like in your field, but I typically think of GPA as a necessary evil to consider, but can be outshined by your non-academic passions. Good test scores are always a plus!

Good luck!

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It seems like you will have 1 strong letter of recommendation from you person you did the research with. Talk to him about your interest in grad school and ask for advice.

See who else could write you letters and approach them about being their RA. It is better to get people that did their PhD in the US (if that is where you want to do your PhD).

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