So I got a C...

User avatar
Kaiser_Sose
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:20 pm

So I got a C...

Postby Kaiser_Sose » Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:44 pm

I got a C in differential equations folks. It sucks. Bad. My question is how do you compensate for a glaringly bad grade like this on a transcript. Retaking the class is largely out of the question due to my already packed schedule and the outrageous cost of summer school. How damaging is this when trying to get into schools like University of Maryland, Northwestern, and SUNY Stony Brook ?

Thanks in advance.

User avatar
dustdevil
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby dustdevil » Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:34 am

What year are you? I've heard that good grades in later courses that use the relevant material tend to make up for bad grades early on. I got a C+ in my multivar class but I've been ace-ing courses since.

Sometimes I would kill for annotated transcripts! My multivar class was taught an international visiting guest professor who was unfamiliar with American grading systems. The average in the class was a 70, and he just directly translated the number into the "traditional" American letter grade for that number. Oh, and he also did not believe in partial credit, which didn't help. Anyway, these things happen.

As long as it isn't a trend you'll probably be fine....!

tmc
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby tmc » Thu Dec 25, 2008 11:48 am

Isn't 70 a very normal average?

User avatar
dustdevil
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby dustdevil » Thu Dec 25, 2008 12:37 pm

Yeah! The average in the class was C, so he basically gave out tons of Cs and Ds and a few Bs for the really stellar people. But my good C+ still is a C+ (and a lovely 2.33 to my transcript). Suffice it to say.. he wasn't invited to teach anymore classes here...

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Thu Dec 25, 2008 5:29 pm

tmc wrote:Isn't 70 a very normal average?

Depends.
dustdevil wrote:Yeah! The average in the class was C, so he basically gave out tons of Cs and Ds and a few Bs for the really stellar people. But my good C+ still is a C+ (and a lovely 2.33 to my transcript). Suffice it to say.. he wasn't invited to teach anymore classes here...

That still doesn't sound like C was the average unless some people had an A.

tmc
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby tmc » Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:29 pm

What's wrong with a C average? Isn't that what most profs aim for? Why would a lecturer get fired for having an average of C?

User avatar
dustdevil
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby dustdevil » Thu Dec 25, 2008 10:17 pm

No, nobody received A's. He was a visiting guest for a year, so he wasn't fired per say; he just wasn't asked to teach anymore classes during the second semester because he seemed "out of touch" with the class. There were many other underlying issues (he never showed up to his own office hours, wasn't the best lecturer, etc. etc.) which came out in the student evaluations of the course. It was strange because you think the majority of people would receive B's, but instead there was a disproportionate amount of C's and only a couple of B's.

abeboparebop
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 11:26 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby abeboparebop » Fri Dec 26, 2008 12:01 am

tmc wrote:What's wrong with a C average? Isn't that what most profs aim for? Why would a lecturer get fired for having an average of C?


I think very few schools have C averages these days. B averages are typical at my school -- maybe slightly higher in the lib arts, slight lower in technical classes.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:01 am

http://chronicle.com/free/v47/i30/30b02401.htm
http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/ ... ades_N.htm

I think the 70's changed everything. Somebody must know more about the history of grades. Is there an article on that?

User avatar
dustdevil
Posts: 67
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby dustdevil » Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:04 pm

Those articles discuss the issue of grades being set by student's expectations (and hence, inflated), but what about shortcomings with individual professors? To get around variations in individual professor's teaching methods, the average at my school is typically set to a B- (2.66) in physics courses. A's and high B's are in no way guaranteed, and are actually quite hard to get. Our physics class is about 25 students, and I would say less than 5 or so receive A's and every last one of those A kids are quite extraordinary. We don't have any quotients to fill like Harvard (1/4 receive A's etc.). I've known of many to fail the various upper level physics courses. I don't know if a B- average is inflated, because to be average here requires a lot of work. I was just saying that basically an entire class of C's seemed to be a red flag that something just wasn't right, especially amongst kids (like myself) who have aced all of the other required math courses.

robertson
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby robertson » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:28 pm

mmm In Spain things are quite different. Instead of "I've known of many to fail the various upper level physics courses" I would say "I've known of some that pass all the physics courses". In my physics courses half of the students fail. Our degree is a five years one... I know people who has been studying physics for 10 years, and still have a long way to go (ok, these are the lazy ones). And there is a rule that says "The number of A (4.0) in a course can never be bigger than a 5% of the class", and sometimes the number of A's is exactly zero. The teacher that you were talking about could be Spanish! Don't worry too much about grades, no one would see a big difference between 4.0 or 3.8 or whatever. Good luck!

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:33 pm

I just meant to point out grades are distributed differently from school to school. It makes it harder for people to give you advice that have not gone to your school other than good luck and talk to your adviser.

User avatar
WontonBurritoMeals
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:43 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby WontonBurritoMeals » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:29 pm

A 70% average is not a 'C' average, becuase it's the lowest possible C. It's half-C's and half-D's. Since D's are oftentimes considered a failing grade, that's equivalent to failing half the class, or even more because the average grade is usually several points higher than the median grade. Personally, I don't see any problem with failing half the class if they suck (some classes suck), but if it's just a professorial anomely, they should learn to conform to the educational system that they're working in. I would never go to Spain and give all A's and B's for instance.

I've been told that an average is about a B- at my school but I've seen that fluxuate from a C to an A. I really hate grades. In this kind of environment, you are punishing people for taking difficult courses.

Think about it. In which case have you learned more: When you get a B+ in three courses, or getting an A in one? Our current system (@ least reffering to state schools in the US) strongly encourages the latter. When someone gets a D in the first semester of calculus but gets an A in the second quarter, it is strongly suggested that they know the material better than someone who gets a B for two quarters...

One of our studends failed a remedial math course, but he went on to be one of our best physics majors.

I just hope that people look at the whole of the transcript, not just one simplified number.

May the wind be always at your back,
-WontonBurritoMeals

dsperka
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:39 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby dsperka » Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:37 pm

With all the discussion on this board about the unfair PGRE, its about time there was a discussion about the, in my opinion, unfair consideration given to GPA. Of course GPA is important in the admissions process, but I have a suspicion that the institution a student went to is not being considered as much as we like to think. Yes, there are students from less reputed schools who are super candidates, I am not talking about these people. But I think its much easier to get a 3.9 at some schools than others, but that high of a GPA just has a sticker shock factor with it.

tmc
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: So I got a C...

Postby tmc » Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:14 pm

I'd be more concerned about how many GPAs are not calculated the same way, yet they're all on a 4.0 scale so people assume they're the same. For example, it's much easier to get a high GPA when there are no +/- given in courses, or when an A+ is 4.3 or stuff like that.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:59 pm

The system isnt entirely fair from GPA's to PGRE to Publications. Depending on the professor/school you could have no publications or be first author. If youre going to be published as an undergrad has a lot to do with the professor/school youre working under not your research. Does he like to support his undergrads in supporting publications. In schools with no +/- the student who could get all A- gets the biggest boost and the student with B+ gets the biggest screw. It makes grades high stakes in that range. There is a reason why it grad admissions seem like such a crapshoot because to some extent they are so get your lucky rabbit's foot, rosary or whatever you believe in and hope for the best. The reason people dont describe GPA's to be unfair is because there are lot more people with high GPA and low PGRE scores than low GPA and high PGRE or just high PGRE in general. The person who may benefit from some policy isnt going to complain about it. Dont bite the hand that feeds you

dsperka wrote:But I think its much easier to get a 3.9 at some schools than others, but that high of a GPA just has a sticker shock factor with it.

You cant do anything about that. The person with a 4.0 is going to get the benefit of that shock regardless of school and have a little boost to that with a 3.9 or 3.8. The person with a 990 is going to get a small boost over those with 980 or 970. That wow factor is a human response that may not be rational but will be there.
Last edited by cato88 on Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

nathan12343
Posts: 249
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:34 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby nathan12343 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:01 pm

Sadly, life isn't fair, and the admissions committees have to do their best with what they have available. All of the descriptions I've seen of the admissions process lead me to believe that it's distinctly possible to not do well academically and still make it to grad school based on outstanding research work and letters.

Applications are judged holistically, and there IS and effort to watch for 'diamonds in rough' or applications that fell through the cracks due to low grades/GREs

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:05 pm

nathan12343 wrote:Sadly, life isn't fair, and the admissions committees have to do their best with what they have available. All of the descriptions I've seen of the admissions process lead me to believe that it's distinctly possible to not do well academically and still make it to grad school based on outstanding research work and letters.

Applications are judged holistically, and there IS and effort to watch for 'diamonds in rough' or applications that fell through the cracks due to low grades/GREs


I think it is much more common for those with the some type of wow factor like a 4.0 or 990 receive a boost over those that have 3.8 or 960 .

valkyrie
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:50 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby valkyrie » Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:21 pm

cato88 wrote:
nathan12343 wrote:Sadly, life isn't fair, and the admissions committees have to do their best with what they have available. All of the descriptions I've seen of the admissions process lead me to believe that it's distinctly possible to not do well academically and still make it to grad school based on outstanding research work and letters.

Applications are judged holistically, and there IS and effort to watch for 'diamonds in rough' or applications that fell through the cracks due to low grades/GREs


I think it is much more common for those with the some type of wow factor like a 4.0 or 990 receive a boost over those that have 3.8 or 960 .


In part due to the differences in grading practices, and grade inflation in general, I honestly don't think a good GPA or test scores carry that much of a wow factor. The way our head of the Physics department described the application process, GPA and test scores are things that can keep you out, while letters and research experience are things that get you in. The difference between a 820 and 950, or 3.6 and 4.0, is almost negligible, in the sense that they're both good enough and beyond that pretty much meaningless. People complaining about getting an A-, or Princeton students grumbling they don't automatically get As like their collegues at Harvard in the article above, are to some extent missing the point.

That said, it does suck if someone's school has significantly stricter grading practices than the norm, and the GPA keeps someone's application from being considered. I guess ideally the PGRE would be one way to prove yourself in that case, or something like class rank or it mentioned in the letters would be useful.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:00 pm

valkyrie wrote:The difference between a 820 and 950, or 3.6 and 4.0, is almost negligible, in the sense that they're both good enough and beyond that pretty much meaningless.

I dont know if that many people would agree with you on this. I also think though the difference might be negligible it discourages alot of people from applying if you look at profiles on the site. It does have an effect that isnt undone by the admissions process.

valkyrie
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:50 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby valkyrie » Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:30 pm

cato88 wrote:
valkyrie wrote:The difference between a 820 and 950, or 3.6 and 4.0, is almost negligible, in the sense that they're both good enough and beyond that pretty much meaningless.

I dont know if that many people would agree with you on this. I also think though the difference might be negligible it discourages alot of people from applying if you look at profiles on the site. It does have an effect that isnt undone by the admissions process.


Of course, I can only speak for the admission process at my school (Ivy w/ great graduate Physics program) and the advice I was given; it's completely possible that grades/scores are given greater emphasis other places at the expense of letters/research. At least here, as long as your grades/scores are good enough that your application is seriously considered, letters and research experience are far more important than your stellar GPA or PGRE.

I do agree that there seems to be a self-selecting effect in that people with great research and slightly worse scores/GPA don't apply to top places where they'd probably have a better shot then they think.

cato88
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:46 am

Re: So I got a C...

Postby cato88 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:59 pm

Despite PGRE and GPA as described as being the be all and end all I doubt anyone could figure out which ivy it is.




Return to “GPA and Transcripts”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest