juliaanne wrote:I'm a junior looking to go to grad school, but I'm worried that my grades are too low. I've got a 3.27 GPA, with a 3.14 major GPA (darned math courses!). I haven't taken the GRE yet, so I don't know about that, but I've got a couple years of research experience. I've co-authored one paper so far, and will soon be submitting another as a first author (hopefully it will be accepted). I've also presented at a couple of regional conferences, and will be presenting at a national one in April. I'm hoping my research experience will make up for my poor GPA, but my research adviser said it's a bit iffy because of my grades (and if he doesn't believe in me, who will?) SO is it even worth trying? I'm looking into acoustics at Penn State, Washington, and UT-Austin. Also thinking about Arizona State for biophysics, but I don't have much experience in that.
A general principle I've observed from monitoring this forum, its profiles section, speaking to professors, etc, is that your admissions will consist of 4 main pieces: GPA, PGRE (and to a significantly lesser extent the general GRE), Research and Letters of Recommendation. Of those 4 things, you can only do poorly on one of them because a poor grade on on the PGRE might be a fluke or a bad GPA may simply be a result of a difficult faculty or the school you went to. However, if you are doing poorly in many areas, say you have a low GPA and you bomb the PGRE or you have no research experience and all of your letters of recommendation aren't particularly flattering, then the general reflection is that you probably aren't cut out for grad school.
With that in mind, I would say that doing very well on the PGRE, getting good recommendations from your professors and stressing your past research experience will be your ticket into a decent school.
As a side note, engineering and bio-physics programs (which is what seems to be your interests) are easier to get into. A friend of mine graduated with a GPA of around 3.4-3.6, a little bit of research and no PGRE and got accepted to a bio-physics program at Dartmouth.