GPA from Ivy League

kemistree
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GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Tue May 31, 2011 3:12 pm

So, I just finished my freshman year at an Ivy, and ended up with a not-too-great GPA of 3.8, with an A- grade in couple of science classes. These classes were really difficult, and from what I've seen in the results threads from the past years, most students who got into HYSMPC grad school at near 4.0 in their subjects. I'm afraid that as classes get harder, I'm just going to do worse. Now, I was wondering, do grad schools understand if you went to a difficult institution, where although may be easy to get an B+ or A-, it's pretty difficult to make A's in hard sciences. Also, do grad schools care about A minuses? I do, however, have pretty good research (from before college, and hopefully now).

Sorry if this post was slightly petty. But i've recently been scared by looking at the previous results threads from this year and past years.
Last edited by kemistree on Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bfollinprm
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby bfollinprm » Tue May 31, 2011 6:50 pm

um.... a 3.5ish, with good research and PGRE scores, is plenty good enough to get in anywhere. Obviously, the better your grades, the better your chances (and a 4.0 is the only way to guarantee your best chances) but I wouldn't panic over it/worry about GPA over actually learning. Also, you probably wont do worse...the grade scale goes with the difficulty, and if you are really cut out for a top school, an undergraduate curriculum isn't ever going to bury you.

SSM
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby SSM » Tue May 31, 2011 7:08 pm

kemistree wrote: HYSMPC .

Harvard, Yale, Southern Methodist, Parkland College?

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midwestphysics
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby midwestphysics » Tue May 31, 2011 7:14 pm

Are you serious? I hate these kinds of questions. However, in any case you'll be more than fine with that GPA. Personally if I were on an admissions committee I would be more leery of admitting a 4.0 student than a 3.8-3.9 student. Seeing a bunch of 4.0 applications doesn't say to me that these people are superstars, that says to me that these schools have serious grade inflation. I'd be worried about what would happen when these people hit a wall, and how they would deal with it. Eventually at some point in life everybody gets stumped, be it in class or in research and it will happen more than once in your life so I'd rather see someone who knows how to recover than see someone who hasn't had to yet. To me, as crazy as wanting to see some struggle sounds, to not have had any is almost like a lack of seriously important experience.

TheBeast
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby TheBeast » Tue May 31, 2011 10:04 pm

kemistree wrote:a not-too-great GPA of 3.8

This is one of the few times I've heard someone preface a 3.8 GPA with the description "not-too-great." Chillax, dude (dudette). Work hard, get some research experience and do well on the PGREs and you'll be fine.

If you want to stack the deck in your favour, one thing I can recommend is culturing a relationship with your physics profs (primarily through research). Some are undoubtedly well connected to profs at other top institutions. You can use such connections to try to get summer research positions at other institutions that you may eventually choose to apply to for grad school. At the very least, you can leverage their connections by getting them to write you reference letters for schools where they have a connection (thus giving the reference more weight because it is by someone known by the admissions committee).

negru
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby negru » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:36 am

SSM wrote:
kemistree wrote: HYSMPC .

Harvard, Yale, Southern Methodist, Parkland College?


Yeah seriously how do you expect to get into a top grad school if you can't even spell HYPSM right?

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:59 pm

kemistree wrote:not-too-great GPA of 3.8


Let me re-establish that after you made this comment, 98% of this forum wanted to punch you in the face. Seriously, as a previous poster put it, you need to get your ass kicked more in order to realize the importance of "the struggle" (which is unfortunately the method of learning at graduate school). Keep it up and focus more on research, your 3.8 will be fine.

-Riley

physics123
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby physics123 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:13 pm

kemistree wrote:Sorry if this post was slightly petty. But i've recently been scared by looking at the previous results threads from this year and past years.


No, you are as scared as all of us were. You may notice graduate programs in physics & astronomy are not ranked by GPA averages, which is in stark contrast to other postgraduate programs. The process is much more involved, and you are likely to end up at a university where you will be most comfortable based on your overall profile (for domestic applicants).

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midwestphysics
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby midwestphysics » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:19 pm

negru wrote:
SSM wrote:
kemistree wrote: HYSMPC .

Harvard, Yale, Southern Methodist, Parkland College?


Yeah seriously how do you expect to get into a top grad school if you can't even spell HYPSM right?


The friggin' acronym police are all over you here for no reason. Guys I think he was referring to HYPSM plus CalTech (Or maybe Cornell, :lol: , but I would assume CalTech). He's a freshman, give him a break.

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:06 am

Um, thanks guys. Well, try going to a school where people whine about having 3.9's.

But back to one of my original question. Do grad school's weigh A minus grades the same as A's?
thx

bfollinprm
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby bfollinprm » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:54 pm

kemistree wrote:Um, thanks guys. Well, try going to a school where people whine about having 3.9's.

But back to one of my original question. Do grad school's weigh A minus grades the same as A's?
thx


No

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:05 pm

I see, and that seems fair. In general, how "negatively" are A minuses viewed as?

TheBeast
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby TheBeast » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:23 pm

kemistree wrote:I see, and that seems fair. In general, how "negatively" are A minuses viewed as?

Typically an A corresponds to a 4.0 on the GPA scale and an A- as a 3.7. So, if you wanted to quantify it, 7.5% less than an A. But, I don't think this is what you're asking.

If you had two hypothetical applicants that were the same in every respect except for transcript where one guy had straight A's and the other had straight A-'s, the guy with the straight A's would probably have the upper hand. However, if one guy had straight A's and the other had all A's except for one A-, I highly suspect that they would be considered identical.

A high GPA is a great thing to have in your application, but by itself it is insufficient to get you into a top program. A 3.8 GPA, 990 PGRE and strong recommendations will go a lot further than a 4.0 GPA, 600 PGRE and mediocre recommendations.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby WhoaNonstop » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:02 pm

kemistree wrote:Um, thanks guys. Well, try going to a school where people whine about having 3.9's.


Your fists should be sore from punching so much face.

-Riley

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:19 pm

I know. What's really annoying is when people automatically assume I get straight-A's because of the school I go to due to its alleged grade inflation, while not realizing that in some hard science classes, only 10 percent of the class (often olympiad level geniuses) will get A's. Right now I'm just hoping that the two A minuses I got freshman year won't hurt me too much.

*Sigh*

admissionprof
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby admissionprof » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:24 pm

kemistree wrote:I know. What's really annoying is when people automatically assume I get straight-A's because of the school I go to due to its alleged grade inflation, while not realizing that in some hard science classes, only 10 percent of the class (often olympiad level geniuses) will get A's. Right now I'm just hoping that the two A minuses I got freshman year won't hurt me too much.

*Sigh*


The difference between a couple of A minuses and A's is absolutely trivial and irrelevant and wouldn't make any difference. On the other hand, if a student tried to "explain" the A minuses in the SOP, that would badly hurt them - nobody wants a student who is so anal about precise grades.

SSM
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby SSM » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:25 pm

kemistree wrote: Well, try going to a school where people whine about having 3.9's.


Man that would drive me insane. There are a few at our school that make physics a pissing contest too. I'm so glad the distinction between an A- and an A doesn't matter any more for me.

EDIT: Or ever did.

And by the way, I remember what being a freshman/sophomore was like and how you might think about your grades constantly, just try not to worry and keep things in perspective. Try to get As, but definitely do not beat yourself up if you get an A- here or there.

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midwestphysics
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:27 pm

kemistree wrote: Right now I'm just hoping that the two A minuses I got freshman year won't hurt me too much.

*Sigh*


Buddy, if you look back through the posts on this site you'll see that there are people here who are either at or were accepted to top schools who failed, not A's, or B's, or even C's, but outright failed their first semester or even year. Your A-'s are a great start. I'd be more concerned with finishing strong than starting out slowly, and you didn't even start slowly. Don't stress over this or you'll never survive the whole degree, and grad school for that matter. You need to set your stress limit a lot higher than a situation like this, just saying.

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:42 pm

Thanks guys! And sorry if I came off sounding whiny...that was not at all my intention

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:56 am

Also, guys, where can I check the average gpa of accepted students for grad schools like HYPSMC and etc.? I feel like that would be a very useful source, but rarely have i found the data for individual departments on the sites. Any links would be highly appreciated.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby WhoaNonstop » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:05 pm

kemistree wrote:Also, guys, where can I check the average gpa of accepted students for grad schools like HYPSMC and etc.? I feel like that would be a very useful source, but rarely have i found the data for individual departments on the sites. Any links would be highly appreciated.


There are application profiles on this website that will give you a broad idea but I am going to continue to stress RESEARCH experience and Physics GRE scores over GPA. Seriously, the difference between a 3.8/3.9/4.0 isn't going to matter much at all.

-Riley

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midwestphysics
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby midwestphysics » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:27 pm

kemistree wrote:Also, guys, where can I check the average gpa of accepted students for grad schools like HYPSMC and etc.? I feel like that would be a very useful source, but rarely have i found the data for individual departments on the sites. Any links would be highly appreciated.


Yeah, other than the profiles here, and some of the starred results of grad cafe you won't find that info. Those schools never release that stuff because honesty GPA is the least of their concerns. I've said this before in another post concerning the PGRE but it holds true to GPA as well. The vast majority of people that get in have high scores (3.7-4.0), but the highest scorers in that group are not always the ones who get in. What that means is that its like a threshold, just get in that range. At schools like that research is extremely important, as are LOR's. A great GPA and GRE without good research experience and great LOR's means little. However, great research and LOR's with a respectable GPA and GRE means you've got a shot.

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quizivex
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby quizivex » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:07 pm

kemistree wrote:Also, guys, where can I check the average gpa of accepted students for grad schools like HYPSMC and etc.?
Y did you include Y?

negru
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby negru » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:26 pm

noob

a1613395
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby a1613395 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:36 pm

I liked the part where he/she mentioned research before college.

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:50 pm

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Last edited by kemistree on Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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HappyQuark
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby HappyQuark » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:42 pm

kemistree wrote:To the last couple of posters: how kind of you. (and I'm a she). For goodness sake, people coming to this forum ask questions because they don't know the answer(s). If I WERE knowledgeable about these things, certainly I wouldn't have taken the pain to actually post a thread asking for answers. And, like many, I'm sure you understand that grad school admissions process if far more nebulous than the admissions process for college, and as such, it's quite difficult to really assess how much weight that each component of the application (ie gpa, gre, research, recs) are really given, and different people will tell you different things. And I do not apologize for my curiosity.

And FYI, I'm not stupid and I'm perfectly aware that research before college counts for barely anything, unless published in a high quality journal. I know that competitions like Intel STS, Siemens are literally meaningless for grad school apps.


Don't take it personally, this forum is very informal and we like to tease each other.

Also...

Image

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grae313
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby grae313 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:39 am

kemistree wrote:Also, guys, where can I check the average gpa of accepted students for grad schools like HYPSMC and etc.? I feel like that would be a very useful source, but rarely have i found the data for individual departments on the sites. Any links would be highly appreciated.


http://www.gradschoolshopper.com for admitted-student averages

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:41 am

kemistree wrote:and I'm a she


I'm single and I'm a he.

-Riley

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midwestphysics
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby midwestphysics » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:02 pm

grae313 wrote:
kemistree wrote:Also, guys, where can I check the average gpa of accepted students for grad schools like HYPSMC and etc.? I feel like that would be a very useful source, but rarely have i found the data for individual departments on the sites. Any links would be highly appreciated.


http://www.gradschoolshopper.com for admitted-student averages


I can't remember them all, but I'm pretty sure most of the top 10 don't publish that info, which are pretty much the schools she's been asking about give or take. For most others though, grae313 is right, this site will list a lot of very useful info including acceptance rates.

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:29 am

Thanks, guys. And yeah, I went to gradschoolshopper,com...unfortunately they didn't have all of the colleges or program stats...I guess schools just don't like to release them, but the stats I found is rather encouraging (although harvard chemistry grad school the average gpa of admitted students is 3.88.....what the heck yikes).

As a completely random question, from you guys' experiences, how much do grades in humanities courses matter? I ask because English is my 3rd language, and partly due to that, compared to my classmates, I don't do as well (by that, I mean perhaps a low of an A minus, or maybe even a B plus in the future) in some of the required humanities writing courses at my school (well, at least not in the ones I've taken so far, anyway). By this, I'm including courses such as religions, literature, etc.

THANKS

bfollinprm
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:03 am

kemistree wrote:Thanks, guys. And yeah, I went to gradschoolshopper,com...unfortunately they didn't have all of the colleges or program stats...I guess schools just don't like to release them, but the stats I found is rather encouraging (although harvard chemistry grad school the average gpa of admitted students is 3.88.....what the heck yikes).

As a completely random question, from you guys' experiences, how much do grades in humanities courses matter? I ask because English is my 3rd language, and partly due to that, compared to my classmates, I don't do as well (by that, I mean perhaps a low of an A minus, or maybe even a B plus in the future) in some of the required humanities writing courses at my school (well, at least not in the ones I've taken so far, anyway). By this, I'm including courses such as religions, literature, etc.

THANKS


They probably don't matter much at all. Question, though: are you applying to chemistry grad schools? Your GPA matters more then--there is no Chemistry GRE, at least that people take. None of us are likely to know much about it--there's enough of a difference between grad school in physics and chemistry that you should look for advice from chem grad students.

kemistree
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby kemistree » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:20 pm

@bfollinprm: Well, I'm interested in chemical physics or physical chemistry, so there's basically a 50% chance that I'll indeed apply to chemistry graduate school versus physics (hence my username, haha). I was always under the impression that chemistry graduate schools (especially physical, not organic) was relatively easier to get into than physics? My impression, so far has been that for physics, pgre and grades matter far less than for, say, graduate school in molecular biology, and I would've expected the same for chemistry graduate schools to be more like physics.

But if accepted to comparable awesome physics or chemistry graduate schools, I'd choose the former in a picosecond.

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grae313
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby grae313 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:18 pm

kemistree wrote:As a completely random question, from you guys' experiences, how much do grades in humanities courses matter?


Admissionprof (a user on these forums who is a professor and on an admissions committee at a physics graduate school) has answered this question several times on these forums. You can find those responses by using the search function.

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby WhoaNonstop » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:44 pm

kemistree wrote:how much do grades in humanities courses matter?


What are these human ties you speak of?

-Riley

SSM
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Re: GPA from Ivy League

Postby SSM » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:57 am

kemistree wrote:But if accepted to comparable awesome physics or chemistry graduate schools, I'd choose the former in a picosecond.


I'd probably choose them in the femtosecond range, but that's just me.




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