Good GRE, bad GPA

questionman
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Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby questionman » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:02 pm

If every other part of the application is just average, what places may take you if you get a 950 PGRE, 800 Math, 750 Verbal, 5+ writing, and 3.0 GPA? How about if you're female? I have checked out the stickies from past years and it seems that females have a significant advantage in getting in with lower scores, so I assume you get even more bonus points for getting something very high?

I am guessing that it is more common to get more good GPA / bad GRE applications than the other way around so I wonder if there is any sort of "wow" factor if you submit a good GRE / bad GPA. Do you think the application above is equivalent to a 3.9+ GPA with a 600 GRE?

geshi
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby geshi » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:35 pm

I'm sorry if this seems like a useless response, but I hope it helps anyway ...

I think the way it will work out for 1 good and 1 bad is a balancing out. Some programs (don't have any offhand) say something along the lines of "a good physics GRE can balance out a bad GPA" and vice versa. Being female seems to help a reasonable bit. I had two friends (they were dating actually) graduate from the same university with similar GPAs. The male had a much higher PGRE than the female. They also had very similar research experience. The female ended up getting into basically everywhere she applied. The male got into good places, but not some of the top places (For example, I think she got into MIT and he didn't). The PGRE difference was pretty large; it was something around a 20 percentile difference.

To be honest, I imagine the better situation would be awesome GRE and mediocre GPA. Last year I had a decent GPA (3.5ish) and a terrible PGRE (550-21%). I ended up getting all rejections. You will probably be good to get into some decent programs, especially if you have some decent research experience. You probably won't get into top 10 programs since they have applications with perfect GPA and GRE scores it seems.

questionman
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby questionman » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:28 pm

That's what I thought too but this seems so rare that I'm not sure. Ironic though if you read the blog that someone posted a bit earlier and read the all the comments saying how useless the PGRE is. Though I think that most people who claim the GRE is useless aren't actually the ones deciding whether to accept you or not.

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grae313
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby grae313 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:55 am

I think you have a chance at top 10 if you have good research experience.

t3chn0n3rd
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Boost GPA through community college

Postby t3chn0n3rd » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:34 pm

Some schools are harder than others.

Hypothetically you could go to the local community college for an associates in physics.

Then transfer to a 4 year school.. Then you would have a super high GPA.

So if you want a super high gpa. First go to a community college for all undergraduate work, and then transfer at the last minute to a 4 years school.

To further boost your gpa, choose a community college in an urban area , where the teachers are easier. Then transfer to an easy 4 year college.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Boost GPA through community college

Postby HappyQuark » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:00 pm

t3chn0n3rd wrote:Some schools are harder than others.

Hypothetically you could go to the local community college for an associates in physics.

Then transfer to a 4 year school.. Then you would have a super high GPA.

So if you want a super high gpa. First go to a community college for all undergraduate work, and then transfer at the last minute to a 4 years school.

To further boost your gpa, choose a community college in an urban area , where the teachers are easier. Then transfer to an easy 4 year college.


This is a good point. Although the PGRE is a multiple choice physics test (which frankly sounds like a laughable concept), it has the benefit of being more objective than a GPA. That is to say, everyone takes the same PGRE so a 850 can be said to be objectively better than a 720. With ones GPA, there is a significant amount of subjectivity, for example comparing those who completed a bunch of lower division work at a community college vs those who took all 4 years at a more intensive university.

PirateJohn
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby PirateJohn » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:17 am

I'm potentially in the same boat. My GPA was an unspectacular 3.14 but that was from 1997, so I'd have to imagine the PGRE would weigh more.

kroner
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby kroner » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:08 pm

Having a mediocre GPA definitely hurts. There's no way around it. You can certainly make yourself look attractive in other areas of your application, but GPA is big, and without that you can't compete with people who have the full package (except in some extraordinary cases).

I should first mention that I majored in math and applied to math programs rather than physics but it's probably mostly the same. I graduated from an ivy league school which does not have a reputation for being easy, and I took a lot of hard class, but my GPA was just under 3.4. My scores were good: 800/710/4.5 on the general and 860 (94th percentile) on the math subject GRE (which is only scored out of 900), and also a 990 on the PGRE (although I don't know if anyone really cared). I applied 7 schools for the 2008 school year and then 12 for 2010. I got rejected from every top 30 program that I applied to (7 each time).

That said, GPA wasn't the only weakness in my application since I also didn't have any research experience, although this probably matters more for physics than for math. I should also say that I'm still really happy with the school I ended up at. I don't mean to imply that if you don't have a 4.0 GPA that you're doomed to a life of rejection and failure. But also don't delude yourself into thinking there's a quick fix to replace 4 years of hard work. Particularly if you're straight out of undergrad, your grades are one of the few insights schools get into the quality of your work to come. If you blew that, some doors may now be closed.
Last edited by kroner on Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kroner
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby kroner » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:16 pm

...so study hard children and also say no to drugs!

adriana252
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby adriana252 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:02 am

My understanding is that decisions are based on your GPA, your GRE scores, your letters of recommendation/research experience, and your personal statement. A low GPA can be offset by great GRE scores/good letters of recommendation from your professors, at least that's what I was told. This will surely vary from institution to institution, however.

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Andromeda
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby Andromeda » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:14 am

I honestly think it also depends on just how your transcript looks- if it's a 3.0 with bad grades in the beginning/ upward swing later then I doubt anyone will care about the GPA, if your grades have been steadily slipping that's a lot more concerning. Or if it's literally just straight Bs.

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HappyQuark
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:26 am

adriana252 wrote:My understanding is that decisions are based on your GPA, your GRE scores, your letters of recommendation/research experience, and your personal statement. A low GPA can be offset by great GRE scores/good letters of recommendation from your professors, at least that's what I was told. This will surely vary from institution to institution, however.


My understanding is that you are more than a full year late to this party.

kenya15
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Re: Good GRE, bad GPA

Postby kenya15 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:46 am

From what I hear, GRE matters very little for engineering grad schools. It's used only to flush out the totally unqualified candidates and will definitely not help offset a low GPA. However, if you have great research experiences and recommendation letters, your GPA will matter very little.




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