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wilrunner

Help me help my girl!

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My dd was accepted into an economics program for her undergrad. She can complete it in 2.5 years by taking classes this summer and graduating in December. Or she can graduate in June, but she can only take classes part time. She wants to work in the economics field, but to do so, she needs a masters and eventually probably a doctorate. The problem is that in graduating so early, she hasn't had time to build her cv or do any internships. Internships weren't on her radar last summer because it was the summer after her first year of college and she didn't realize what she needed to do. She is currently working hard doing some research for a professor so she can put that on her application, but she doesn't think it will be enough to be accepted to a Master's program. Her dream school is the London School of Economics.

She's going to apply to several Master's programs this fall, but is concerned she won't be accepted because she doesn't have an internship. Her GPA is a 3.55, so a very good one, but it's not high enough to compensate for her lack of internship.

I feel like in encouraging her to take so many AP's and test out of her gen ed's that we caused her problems. Financially, going to school fewer years is a benefit, but that seems to be a small one when she doesn't feel like she's had enough time to really make a decision about the direction she would like to go. She is feeling very discouraged and isn't close enough I can go give her a big hug.

Do you have any ideas/suggestions/comments about how she can move towards getting her Master's in Economics? I'm especially interested in hearing from people who may have already been down this path or work in the field. I don't know enough about it yet to know how to encourage her. Thank you.

 

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Is she trying to graduate early? Is the uni forcing her to graduate early? Is there anything she is interested in doing a minor in that uni? Maybe data science, statistics, math, accounting?

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I don't really understand--Can she do an internship after graduating? Can she pause school and "insert" one then finish? I know it is different for different majors and in different countries, but I have a friend from London whose son did a year-long internship then went back to finish his last year (well, he is going back this fall). It is actually in his POS through the uni so I know that is different than your situation.  I'm just wondering why she can't do an internship now. 

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Intern means different things to different people.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the full-time internship, that is frequently done in the summer. Some companies offer full-time internships in other terms also.

Some places also offer internships that are part-time and done while also taking classes. My oldest did this while studying abroad; took 3 classes and worked part-time for a company programming.

It is late, of course, to find an internship for this summer, but things happen.

She needs to talk to a professor or person who helps with internships and also to the person/professor who helps Wirth grad school applications.

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7 hours ago, calbear said:

Is she trying to graduate early? Is the uni forcing her to graduate early? Is there anything she is interested in doing a minor in that uni? Maybe data science, statistics, math, accounting?

She's not trying to graduate early, but last year, she had to determine which AP's/dual credit classes she wanted to accept on for credit. She won't have any scholarship money if she drops below full time. She doesn't want to take classes just for the sake of taking classes, but we hadn't considered adding a minor. Thank you!

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5 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

I don't really understand--Can she do an internship after graduating? Can she pause school and "insert" one then finish? I know it is different for different majors and in different countries, but I have a friend from London whose son did a year-long internship then went back to finish his last year (well, he is going back this fall). It is actually in his POS through the uni so I know that is different than your situation.  I'm just wondering why she can't do an internship now. 

It's too late to do an internship at this point for this summer; most applications are not being accepted anymore. However, finding a semester long internship after she graduates might work. She mentioned those are available. She's really hoping to go to grad school fall of 2020, so a year long internship would be too long. However, I can suggest she find one for the spring semester. Thank you!

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1 hour ago, *LC said:

Intern means different things to different people.

The first thing that comes to my mind is the full-time internship, that is frequently done in the summer. Some companies offer full-time internships in other terms also.

Some places also offer internships that are part-time and done while also taking classes. My oldest did this while studying abroad; took 3 classes and worked part-time for a company programming.

It is late, of course, to find an internship for this summer, but things happen.

She needs to talk to a professor or person who helps with internships and also to the person/professor who helps Wirth grad school applications.

The bolded is what I've been encouraging her to do. She was hoping to have the same professor for a couple of her classes, but the university program is big enough that hasn't happened. I'll suggest she find someone to talk to irt grad school. The university has a one year master's program, but the deadline has passed and she opted not to apply because she wants to go to LSE. Some of this is of her making and some of it is not having someone to guide her.

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5 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

It's too late to do an internship at this point for this summer; most applications are not being accepted anymore. However, finding a semester long internship after she graduates might work. She mentioned those are available. She's really hoping to go to grad school fall of 2020, so a year long internship would be too long. However, I can suggest she find one for the spring semester. Thank you!

My dd's school has a program to do semester (or in this college's case, quarter) long internships. Maybe there is a program like that? It is for college credit which I am assuming she doesn't need, but it's only 1-2 classes worth and the benefit is the college helps with placement.  

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5 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

My dd's school has a program to do semester (or in this college's case, quarter) long internships. Maybe there is a program like that? It is for college credit which I am assuming she doesn't need, but it's only 1-2 classes worth and the benefit is the college helps with placement.  

She hasn't mentioned a program like that, but it would be worth pursuing further. It would not surprise me if the university has something like this.

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2 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

She hasn't mentioned a program like that, but it would be worth pursuing further. It would not surprise me if the university has something like this.

It's sometimes so hard to get our college kids to go the extra mile when they are still adjusting to living away from home, classes, etc.  I did a lot of my own research with my dd whose executive functioning is not the best -- she has been on top of the things that are immediate (classes, work) but is really good at putting off the other things (looking into internships, asking for letters of rec) .   

Not sure what graduate program she is going for, but maybe there is a way to find out what the admitted student profile is? I was just library science, but I did my internship for grad school credit, not undergrad.  I know there are a lot of graduate internships out there -- as I've been helping my daughter look for internships I keep seeing them and saying "Argh! Another graduate school internship!"

One other small thing -- is she "officially" a rising senior?  A lot of internships give preference to rising seniors so it would help to have that designation on her transcript. I was never actually a senior at my school when I graduated early  -- just freshman, sophomore, junior, then graduated. 

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Does her university have a Career Center or the like? 

My son's school has a "Career" Center that helps students transition to their next step...whatever that is. They help with resumes, internships, research opportunities, grad school applications, and of course, job searches. They are constantly sending out notices with "We Will Help!" 😁

My son is in a similar position, albeit not as quick. He could have graduated this spring if the course offerings had worked out, but unlike most stories you hear, he was VERY relieved when they didn't! lol! He was scared to death when the reality of possibly graduating in 3 years hit him. He is already on track to get two degrees...a BS in math and a BA in earth science, so I feel like he has spread his wings enough. Your daughter may be close to a strong minor without even realizing it. That would be nice to add to her resume!

So ds has to go one more semester (next fall) to finish his undergrad. He is doing an undergrad "honors thesis", too, in the fall to help build his resume (and to bring him to full-time student hours), and he is currently talking to a professor about a research opportunity this summer. That would be an awesome boost if it works out!

We have advised him to "keep doing what you are doing" since he is so unsure what direction he should go in. So I expect that he will remain at his current university and get his masters while being more proactive in planing what to do after that.

 

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8 hours ago, calbear said:

Is she trying to graduate early? Is the uni forcing her to graduate early? Is there anything she is interested in doing a minor in that uni? Maybe data science, statistics, math, accounting?

I think this is the most important question.  Does she have to graduate early?  It isn't a matter of taking classes that she doesnt need; it is about creating a marketable skill set and learning the most she can during her UG yrs.  I have kids who could have graduated in 2 yrs but it would have definitely NOT been in their best interests to do so precisely bc of what you describe.  UG is more than simply taking classes and being handed a diploma with that major completed, especially if grad school is a goal.

If she were my child, I would tell her she shouldn't plan on graduating early.  She needs on-campus academic yr research.  She needs summer research. She should see if she can take grad level courses or work with a prof for advanced level coursework via an independent study.  She should add a minor that will enhance her current long-term goals, etc.

To give you an example, my ds entered UG already having completed 5 in-major physics and 5 in-major math courses.  He could have graduated with his double in both in 2 yrs.  But, he wouldn't have had the UG research, prof recommendations, and additional coursework to make him competitive for grad school.  By staying an UG for 4 yrs, he was competitive for top grad programs.  Graduating early would have meant only being eligible for programs like the one at the UG he was attending.

FWIW, grad PhD programs are usually fully funded.  Masters are not.  Somost likely financially she won't be further ahead pursuing a masters.

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Agree with others about visiting the career services office.

Also, depending on what is covered/required in her particular program of Econ, I would encourage adding on some additional quant/statistics/math/data analysis classes.  Math skills can be a key differentiator for employment, in particular.  Can’t hurt for grad school either. 

On the scholarship money - as long as she goes full-time, does she still receive that?  I understand the idea of not wanting to take classes just for the sake of taking classes, but broadening her skill base might be helpful in the long run. 

Lastlly, I would spend a lot of time researching the LSE to understand what they are looking for if that is the end goal.  Depending on where she is currently enrolled, there may be little to no knowledge on her campus about it. 

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3 hours ago, wilrunner said:

She's not trying to graduate early, but last year, she had to determine which AP's/dual credit classes she wanted to accept on for credit. She won't have any scholarship money if she drops below full time. She doesn't want to take classes just for the sake of taking classes, but we hadn't considered adding a minor. Thank you!


A minor would absolutely help expand her "marketability", both for a job, but also for getting in to a Master's program. A foreign language is often highly desired for business-related jobs. And would be very useful if she is interested in an overseas school for the Master's degree. Other very useful minors are ones CalBear mentioned above, or possibly Managerial Accounting, Finance, or Computer Programming. Definitely look in to what *area* of Economics DD is interested in, or how she wants to use her degree, to get a feel for what would be the most useful minor.

If the scholarship will be renewable for 1-2 years more than what just a basic Economics degree would require, perhaps consider a double major, or two minors, since she'd have the $$ from the scholarship, and that would give her more summers for internships, which would make her more marketable for jobs and/or a master's program.

BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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I'm at work right now, so I don't have time to respond individually to each of you. Thank you for your suggestions! That gives me a direction to encourage her to move.

If I'm understanding DD correctly, she may not be able to take too many extra classes. Texas has a law that after X number of credit hours (I don't remember the number), the university has to charge out of state tuition. It's meant to encourage students to graduate on time and not become professional students. I need to ask her where she is on credit hours. I'll follow up with her.

Thank each of you!

 

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I’m an LSE alum, and knew several kids in the Masters of Econ program.  Here are my thoughts:  1) It’s a great program.  You will have amazing classmates.  Top US departments have their students do a Masters there before a PhD program, even if they could have easily been admitted directly to a PhD program in the States.  I had a friend who did her undergrad at Harvard, her Econ Masters at LSE and then her PhD at Berkeley.  She’s now an Econ professor.  2)  It’s a very international program.  Foreign languages, overseas experience the norm. I had an American friend who did Peace Corps between undergrad and his Econ masters.  3). There is no rush.  European students, which make up a big part of the program, tend to be a bit older than American students when they finish undergrad.  (More years of high school, more internships, more structured degree programs that can’t be accelerated, maybe mandatory national service.)   I started LSE at 21, most of my classmates were 22, 23. 4)  You don’t want to do just enough to be admitted, you want to be a contender.  LSE offers a one year taught Masters.  With that much annual turnover, there are a lot of slots to fill.  Some kids were just taking the classes, other kids were also doing research with professors, doing internships, planning their next stage of graduate applications... Just like with undergrad, for some the Masters is the end of the road, for some they are just getting started.  The more you bring to the program, the more you can get out of it.

 

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5 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

I'm at work right now, so I don't have time to respond individually to each of you. Thank you for your suggestions! That gives me a direction to encourage her to move.

If I'm understanding DD correctly, she may not be able to take too many extra classes. Texas has a law that after X number of credit hours (I don't remember the number), the university has to charge out of state tuition. It's meant to encourage students to graduate on time and not become professional students. I need to ask her where she is on credit hours. I'll follow up with her.

Thank each of you!

 

 

Read the fine print carefully, these credit limits typically exclude AP and dual enrollment credits prior to high school graduation. It’s meant to limit the time you spend at the University itself. 

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21 minutes ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

 

Read the fine print carefully, these credit limits typically exclude AP and dual enrollment credits prior to high school graduation. It’s meant to limit the time you spend at the University itself. 

Good call!! I did a quick google and you are correct.  @wilrunner Your dd might have misunderstood the law.  https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/ED/htm/ED.61.htm#61.0595  She should make sure to get the following clarified by the FA dept.

Quote

The following are not counted for purposes of determining whether the student has previously earned the number of semester credit hours specified by Subsection (a):

(1) semester credit hours earned by the student before receiving a baccalaureate degree that has previously been awarded to the student;

(2) semester credit hours earned by the student by examination or under any other procedure by which credit is earned without registering for a course for which tuition is charged;

(3) credit for a remedial education course, a technical course, a workforce education course funded according to contact hours, or another course that does not count toward a degree program at the institution;

(4) semester credit hours earned by the student at a private institution or an out-of-state institution;

(5) semester credit hours earned by the student before graduating from high school and used to satisfy high school graduation requirements

 

32 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

I'm at work right now, so I don't have time to respond individually to each of you. Thank you for your suggestions! That gives me a direction to encourage her to move.

If I'm understanding DD correctly, she may not be able to take too many extra classes. Texas has a law that after X number of credit hours (I don't remember the number), the university has to charge out of state tuition. It's meant to encourage students to graduate on time and not become professional students. I need to ask her where she is on credit hours. I'll follow up with her.

Thank each of you!

 

 

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I would probably suggest to my dd that she look into a semester abroad to London/England for spring term. It would give her a chance to check out the college she is considering, get to know the school and city a bit. There may not be an exchange program for economics specifically, but international business or something would be fine too.

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If she wants to eventually get a PhD, doing just a Master’s first likely means she would have to pay for it. But the PhD program would likely be free and include a living stipend and maybe even health insurance. For a PhD program, research experience is probably more important than an internship. And from the many people I know who did Econ PhDs, she will want to have very strong math skills and really like math. Sometimes people enter a PhD program and decide it’s not for them and stop after a Master’s degree. Of the people I work with who have graduate Econ degrees, this was more common than actually finishing the PhD. Most stopped either because they decided they did not like teaching and therefore were not going to pursue a career in academia or they did not like that after a point it was primarily math and theory rather than applied economics.

I have two colleagues who did Master’s at LSE, although in less competitive programs than Economics. They were both 4.0 students in undergrad with multiple majors/minors and international study experience, but I don’t think much in the way of internships.

If possible, I would encourage your daughter to stay in school longer and do things to enhance her application. She should also think seriously about whether or not she wants to pursue a Master’s degree and a PhD separately or just go straight into a PhD program.

 

Edited by Frances
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I have nothing to add but think you really brought up an important topic. Homeschoolers in particular get really excited about dual enrollment and saving on college costs with credits from high school. There can be value though in the additional time spent at the school.

A minor was mentioned, but she could also possibly double major with her additional time there.

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5 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

I have nothing to add but think you really brought up an important topic. Homeschoolers in particular get really excited about dual enrollment and saving on college costs with credits from high school. There can be value though in the additional time spent at the school.

A minor was mentioned, but she could also possibly double major with her additional time there.

This is what my daughter has decided to do.  She had a year (or more!) of AP credit, but she is staying all four years --she is working on the newspaper and wants to work her way up to an editor position, and she wants to double major.  Also that first she was floundering so much, that she didn't really get into her groove until this year!

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OP, this might be helpful:

Bridging Disciplines Program combines internship or research opportunities with specific coursework (only a couple of classes) to expand learning outside the classroom. This looks like a fabulous way to get some real world experience.

https://ugs.utexas.edu/bdp

The Applied Statistical Modeling Certificate combines theory and applications in data analysis. Lots of ECO classes count for this, so its easy to combine with a major.

http://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/natural-sciences/minor-and-certificate-programs/

If your dd attends a different TX school, they often offer similar things under different names. For example, TAMU offers math minors that would be similar to the certificate at UT.

Good luck!

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I sent dd this link so she could read what you all have suggested. She found it very helpful and decided to add a second major, which will allow her to graduate Dec., 2020.

On 4/3/2019 at 12:18 PM, Melissa B said:

I would probably suggest to my dd that she look into a semester abroad to London/England for spring term. It would give her a chance to check out the college she is considering, get to know the school and city a bit. There may not be an exchange program for economics specifically, but international business or something would be fine too.

This is a great idea! Unfortunately, she has to have one more semester at her university after she returns and the deadlines for applying have already passed.

 

17 hours ago, Frances said:

If she wants to eventually get a PhD, doing just a Master’s first likely means she would have to pay for it. But the PhD program would likely be free and include a living stipend and maybe even health insurance. For a PhD program, research experience is probably more important than an internship. And from the many people I know who did Econ PhDs, she will want to have very strong math skills and really like math. Sometimes people enter a PhD program and decide it’s not for them and stop after a Master’s degree. Of the people I work with who have graduate Econ degrees, this was more common than actually finishing the PhD. Most stopped either because they decided they did not like teaching and therefore were not going to pursue a career in academia or they did not like that after a point it was primarily math and theory rather than applied economics.

I have two colleagues who did Master’s at LSE, although in less competitive programs than Economics. They were both 4.0 students in undergrad with multiple majors/minors and international study experience, but I don’t think much in the way of internships.

If possible, I would encourage your daughter to stay in school longer and do things to enhance her application. She should also think seriously about whether or not she wants to pursue a Master’s degree and a PhD separately or just go straight into a PhD program.

 

This is what our goal was. I was thinking about our older dd. When she was an undergrad student, it took her until her sophomore (2nd) year to really have the hang of college and start formulating her goals. She had an idea when she started college what she wanted to do, but the first year was settling in to college.

Our younger dd is just now in her second year, but because of all the AP's/dual credits she accepted, she's listed as a junior. That doesn't leave much time for attaining goals if she graduates in December.

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An update: DD spoke with an adviser and decided to double major, which will have her graduating next December instead of this December. The double major will dovetail nicely with how she wants to use Econ as a career. Thank you for all your ideas and suggestions! They gave us a different thoughts to ponder and ideas to discuss.

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Glad to hear your dd has solid plan.  She may also want to consider taking some computer programming classes and maybe learn how to use some statistical packages like R.  Or maybe study up on machine learning.  Depending on her field of economics, our society is collecting tons of data now that require people who are equipped to analyze it.  Good luck to her!  

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I also think it's a good idea to take more math and computer science classes, whatever the actual double major she chooses: there can be quite a lot of mathematical modeling in economics.  And being truly proficient in these things is a leg up :-). 

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Curious as to why she is choosing to graduate in Dec versus doing some sort of work/study program in there as well to beef up her CV? It looks like she has time in her schedule to do so.

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12 hours ago, daijobu said:

Glad to hear your dd has solid plan.  She may also want to consider taking some computer programming classes and maybe learn how to use some statistical packages like R.  Or maybe study up on machine learning.  Depending on her field of economics, our society is collecting tons of data now that require people who are equipped to analyze it.  Good luck to her!  

She has been working on finding something at her university. Unfortunately, the uni has a policy that students who are classified as seniors (and possibly juniors. I don't remember) may not take 100 or 200 level classes. She isn't qualified to take upper level computer programming without the prereqs, but she can't get the prereqs without taking a lower level course, which she can't take because she's classified as a senior. The computer programming college has had other students ask to take these lower level courses, so they realize there's a need. They met this week to determine if they could offer something to the upper level students, probably for fall. She is also starting to look online at the local cc to see if they offer something. If anyone has any suggestions this direction, we would love to hear them!

What is R? What is a statistical package? 

I may not have replied to everyone who contributed to this thread, but I would like to thank you all. The insight from those who had an econ major, the ones with LSE experience, and those who can see the bigger picture have all benefited my daughter. Thank you!

Edited by wilrunner
Added bolding and a question.
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12 hours ago, calbear said:

Curious as to why she is choosing to graduate in Dec versus doing some sort of work/study program in there as well to beef up her CV? It looks like she has time in her schedule to do so.

I think there are several reasons. She didn't want to take classes just for the sake of taking classes and couldn't think of anything that would benefit her. She wants to be able to travel through Europe for several weeks with her UK roommate and couldn't figure out a timeline to do so. She doesn't seem to have anyone with whom she can bounce ideas at school; even the advisers both asked her if she was sure she didn't want to graduate early. I also think she has had some pressure from others who have thought it would be cool to graduate so early. Mostly, she wasn't prepared to make the kinds of decisions necessary to prepare for grad school in her first year of college and when she realized she needed to make the decisions, she had very little time left to make them. 

She now has time to do what she needs to do to have a successful move into grad school. She will still graduate a semester early and can take the time to fill out her cv with meaningful experiences. She has already done some research and is waiting on the professor to see if she will be accepted for further research. All of us (my dd, me, my dh) feel very good about her decision.

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12 hours ago, square_25 said:

I also think it's a good idea to take more math and computer science classes, whatever the actual double major she chooses: there can be quite a lot of mathematical modeling in economics.  And being truly proficient in these things is a leg up :-). 

She mentioned to her dad that she is looking forward to taking more math, so I think she's thinking that direction. 

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On 4/4/2019 at 7:45 AM, chiguirre said:

OP, this might be helpful:

Bridging Disciplines Program combines internship or research opportunities with specific coursework (only a couple of classes) to expand learning outside the classroom. This looks like a fabulous way to get some real world experience.

https://ugs.utexas.edu/bdp

The Applied Statistical Modeling Certificate combines theory and applications in data analysis. Lots of ECO classes count for this, so its easy to combine with a major.

http://catalog.utexas.edu/undergraduate/natural-sciences/minor-and-certificate-programs/

If your dd attends a different TX school, they often offer similar things under different names. For example, TAMU offers math minors that would be similar to the certificate at UT.

Good luck!

This is very interesting. I'll ask dd if she's seen it and suggest she think about pursuing it. Thank you!

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1 hour ago, wilrunner said:

She has been working on finding something at her university. Unfortunately, the uni has a policy that students who are classified as seniors (and possibly juniors. I don't remember) may not take 100 or 200 level classes. She isn't qualified to take upper level computer programming without the prereqs, but she can't get the prereqs without taking a lower level course, which she can't take because she's classified as a senior. The computer programming college has had other students ask to take these lower level courses, so they realize there's a need. They met this week to determine if they could offer something to the upper level students, probably for fall. She is also starting to look online at the local cc to see if they offer something. If anyone has any suggestions this direction, we would love to hear them!

What is R? What is a statistical package? 

I may not have replied to everyone who contributed to this thread, but I would like to thank you all. The insight from those who had an econ major, the ones with LSE experience, and those who can see the bigger picture have all benefited my daughter. Thank you!

She can also look for classes where programming or statistical packages will be used. Besides those already mentioned, SAS and SPSS are common. If her college has a Statistics major or Stats classes in the Math department or elsewhere, she can look for those that will use some of these applied tools. Because grad students from so many fields often take Statistics classes, she can probably find some 400 level classes that are still somewhat introductory and don’t have prerequisites, but are likely smaller and better suited to her needs. There are also tons of online resources for learning basic programming, although others would know better than I do about the best ones. Any real life exposure through either research or internships that she could get working with large data sets would be very beneficial for future job prospects. Data analytics is booming.

 

 

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What does she want to do with her economics degree?  That will have a great impact on what type of graduate program she should be looking at.  If her current school has a masters program, can she enroll in some of the classes as an undergraduate?  Or, is there a way to arrange to do an independent study with a faculty member and sit in on the class to fulfill the independent study requirements?

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