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Type of Undergrad: Top 5 Chinese university with top 2 econ&poli sci departments in the country
Major: Economics
Undergrad GPA: 3.51
Type of Grad: Top 2 IR programs in the US, strong econ focus
Grad GPA: 3.83
GRE: 169 V, 167 Q, 4.5 W
Any Special Courses: Grad-level - Econometrics, Applied Econometrics (Cross-Sectional), Advanced International Macroeconomics, and a series of China studies courses
Likely Letters of Recommendation: One from program advisor (a highly renowned, though policy-oriented China expert, whom I worked with as an RA for one year); one from another professor in China field (got an A and impressed her with the final paper); one from undergraduate econ professor (co-authored two econ papers)
Research Experience: One year RA in China studies as metioned above; three published dissertations in Chinese journals (one pure econ, one political economy, one political theory)
Research Interests: Comparative, Chinese politics, Methodology
Quantitative Skills: STATA, SPSS, planning to learn R before application

Other: Currently working in China to fulfill a two-year home residency requirement stipulated by the scholarship I received for graduate studies (working in the financial industry, completely irrelavent to poli sci); will have two-year full-time work experience plus several professional internships presented on CV by 18Fall

 

My main concerns:

1. Professional rather than truly academic training at grad school, as well as several years of work experience in non-academic/politics areas: will these hurt my chances and should I use a full section in SOP to stress on the explanation?

2. Writing sample: choose between several course papers during graduate years (better polished and formatted, but few quant method applied) and the undergraduate thesis (published, with basic econometric analysis, but the methodology could be somewhat flawed if it was subjected to greater scrutiny)

Any thoughts/comments/advice would be much appreciated!

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Your profile looks very strong. Regarding your concerns:

1. I think you should try to frame your professional background as an asset, focusing on the skills you gained and projects you completed, and explain how your time in the professional world motivated the academic questions that you are interested in exploring. Make a strong case for why you are actually an academic, but certainly don't waste time explaining your initial motivations for pursuing professional training; I don't think admissions committees would care.

2. Seek advice from your letter writers on this, but I would imagine that academic writing > non-academic writing.

 

 

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12 hours ago, dagnabbit said:

Your profile looks very strong. Regarding your concerns:

1. I think you should try to frame your professional background as an asset, focusing on the skills you gained and projects you completed, and explain how your time in the professional world motivated the academic questions that you are interested in exploring. Make a strong case for why you are actually an academic, but certainly don't waste time explaining your initial motivations for pursuing professional training; I don't think admissions committees would care.

2. Seek advice from your letter writers on this, but I would imagine that academic writing > non-academic writing.

 

 

Thanks a lot. Very helpful advice.

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