Failed Class

Hysterics
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:22 am

Failed Class

Postby Hysterics » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:32 am

During my sophomore year, I had a really bad semester in which I ended up failing two classes (multivari calc and E&M) both of which I retook and got A's in (That semester actually helped me resolve to do better in my classes so I am actually kind of thankful ). My question is this. How much will this end up effecting my grad school applications? I have gotten all A's in my physics and math courses since, including electrodynamics and upper divisional calc classes and have two more semesters before I graduate with degrees in astronomy and physics, along with two publications, one in the ApJ. My GPA isn't great (3.5ish) but I go to a fairly reputable research university where the physics, math, and astronomy courses are intense. Am I out of the running for a top 10 school b/c of this? Please, any response is great. Cheers.

[On a side note, my university does not replace grades in retaken classes so my transcript will show both grades.]

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trani
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Failed Class

Postby trani » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:59 am

It is possible to get in a good school. Definitely top 20. For a top 10 you are gonna have to do some work.
*I am making the assumption here that everything else about your application is great*

What to do?
For instance, make at least one recommender emphasize the fact that you have been doing excellent ever since that semester.
If your recommenders are well known maybe they know people at the university that you want to apply? Explain your situation to them and ask them what they think?
I don't know how much time you've got for networking though...I thought most of these schools have Dec 15 deadline.

In the end if you've got money to apply it's always worth it to give it a try :D

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secander2!
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:25 pm

Re: Failed Class

Postby secander2! » Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:54 am

I agree with trani, however, as publications can oftentimes look extremely good, I would definitely give some top 10 schools a try. If other than just those two failed classes, you've gotten As in everything else, I don't think it will adversely affect you too much, that grade pattern looks like "had a bad semester but improved and is now a great student."

Hysterics
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:22 am

Re: Failed Class

Postby Hysterics » Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:59 pm

trani wrote:It is possible to get in a good school. Definitely top 20. For a top 10 you are gonna have to do some work.
*I am making the assumption here that everything else about your application is great*

What to do?
For instance, make at least one recommender emphasize the fact that you have been doing excellent ever since that semester.
If your recommenders are well known maybe they know people at the university that you want to apply? Explain your situation to them and ask them what they think?
I don't know how much time you've got for networking though...I thought most of these schools have Dec 15 deadline.

In the end if you've got money to apply it's always worth it to give it a try :D


Hi Trani,

I would say the rest of my application is fairly competitive. I have had 3 years of research, two in theoretical and one in computational astrophysics, both of which led to publications and both of the prof's I did them with are respected within their field. I'm not applying until next year and there is a possibility the research I am doing now will lead to a conference if the results are interesting but I am not putting big money on it. The only thing I truly see detrimental to my application was my first two years in lower division, where my GPA was not as good as it could have been. I am thinking of taking a couple of grad classes my last semester to help prove my point, I just don't know how much it will actually help.

Again, thanks for the response,

Hysterics

Hysterics
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:22 am

Re: Failed Class

Postby Hysterics » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:08 pm

secander2! wrote:I agree with trani, however, as publications can oftentimes look extremely good, I would definitely give some top 10 schools a try. If other than just those two failed classes, you've gotten As in everything else, I don't think it will adversely affect you too much, that grade pattern looks like "had a bad semester but improved and is now a great student."


Hi Secander,

Thanks for the reply. I was planning on applying to two top ten schools (one of which is my home university, at least for astro, and I have made a lot of friends here that could potentially be on the admissions board) I just didn't really know how much weight my application would actually carry with those courses on there. Without those classes, my major GPA would be ~3.75 for physics (I really have gotten A's in all of the courses but our school does it where A- = 3.667, not a 4.0) which kind of hurts because a lot of schools don't do that. In either case, all I can really do is apply and hope for the best.

Thanks again,

Hysterics

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trani
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:04 am

Re: Failed Class

Postby trani » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:39 pm

In that case you have got plenty of time to build a good app for top 10 schools. You research sounds great. And two publications. Oh yeah, darlin', you are going places :D
What you need to do then is make sure you do great on the PGRE!!! Do not underestimate it.




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