poor GPA, dissability

Cosmojo
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:33 pm

poor GPA, dissability

Postby Cosmojo » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:44 pm

Alright lets be honest here, my GPA is not excellent, I mean not terrible (like a 3.3 or 3.4) but I'm a female and I have a dissablity, majoring in astrophysics. I've been really sick and missed up to 5 weeks of classes in one semester being in the hospital, and this happened over like 3 semesters so all those semesters my grades were sorta bad. But I still have taken challenging classes, and am a double major. My PGRE scores aren't back yet so I don't know what those are, I have research experience- I do have a decent chance of getting into places yet, I don't need to get in top 10, but a top 50 would be nice. Do you think they can look past my GPA because of the circumstances? I am getting better so the grad schools don't need to worry about it affecting my performance once I'm there. I don't really doubt that I can get into a low ranked school, I'm applying to like 10 programs all over the board
Columbia
Yale
Harvard
New Hampshire
Boston University
Montana State
Colorado, Boulder
Delaware
Hawaii
realistically I have a decent shot a few of these right?
Darmouth

Rorschach
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:23 pm

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby Rorschach » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:04 am

You're a woman with a disability. That's like being a poor black kid from New Orleans applying right after Katrina hit. The programs will be all over you.

User avatar
YodaT
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 2:01 am

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby YodaT » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:31 am

I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. I've had a history of a genetic defect with the electrical activities of my heart (condition worsens under stress and my school, in their infinite wisdom, refuses special circumstances during midterms and finals week). I've also undergone multiple surgeries before and during my tenure as an undergraduate. My gpa is about a 3.5, with my upper-level courses being about a 3.8. My research is above average. I have one publication in Phys. Rev. D and will have a preprint up on arxiv by the end of January (about the time it'll be submitted to either Phys. Rev D or Phys. Lett. B). My senior thesis also has high potential to turn into a publication.

I'm reluctant to apply to some top graduate programs due to my below average gpa, despite the encouragement I get from classmates and the blank stares from professors.

I will not be applying to physics grad programs this year, but will instead try some applied math programs. If I'm hit with insufficient funding or I get denied due to my lack of a proper mathematics degree (and a low gpa), then I'll most likely try a full barrage of physics grad programs next year. By then I'll have two, if not three, publications in some decent physics journals and hopefully a yearlong experience at a national lab or DoD sponsored research lab.

I'll have to point out that I am also a minority in physics, thus in accords with Rorschach's opinion I'm also guaranteed admission. But you can never be too skeptical and realistic with graduate programs. I've always envisioned admissions committees as being heartless individuals that numerically score various portions of an application (what they call looking at the application as a "whole") and tallying up the scores at the end, where they admit the highest cumulative scores. I know not all programs do this, but it's just how I see them working.

Regardless, I may not be of direct assistance but there are people where you're at. I'm interested in seeing how things turn out for you. My main focus is classical general relativity, gravitational waves, and differential geometry. Some areas of cosmology are also of great interest. I've conservatively considered the following programs for me:
Top 2 Choices
University of Chicago
University of Maryland, College Park
Very Plausible Choices
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Texas, Austin
Penn State
Safety Schools
Indiana University
Arizona State University
University of Arizona

I just hope that I'm not aiming too high if I end up applying to grad programs.

asdfuogh
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:21 pm

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby asdfuogh » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:54 pm

Wait, YodaT, I don't understand.. is your PGRE completely shitty, or did someone switch the 3 and the 2 on your keyboard? :( I don't think it matters that much for your GPA if it's above a 3.5 already. At the least, you could think about it in a different way: if you never try, you'll never know whether or not you could have done it.

blighter
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby blighter » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:47 pm

asdfuogh wrote:Wait, YodaT, I don't understand.. is your PGRE completely shitty, or did someone switch the 3 and the 2 on your keyboard? :( I don't think it matters that much for your GPA if it's above a 3.5 already. At the least, you could think about it in a different way: if you never try, you'll never know whether or not you could have done it.


I totally agree. It sucks having to read people complaining about how bad their GPA is when they have over 3.4 and especially when they also have published in reputed journals! A part of me dies every time I read one.

User avatar
InquilineKea
Posts: 301
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:07 pm

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby InquilineKea » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:53 pm

Cosmojo wrote:Alright lets be honest here, my GPA is not excellent, I mean not terrible (like a 3.3 or 3.4) but I'm a female and I have a dissablity, majoring in astrophysics. I've been really sick and missed up to 5 weeks of classes in one semester being in the hospital, and this happened over like 3 semesters so all those semesters my grades were sorta bad. But I still have taken challenging classes, and am a double major. My PGRE scores aren't back yet so I don't know what those are, I have research experience- I do have a decent chance of getting into places yet, I don't need to get in top 10, but a top 50 would be nice. Do you think they can look past my GPA because of the circumstances? I am getting better so the grad schools don't need to worry about it affecting my performance once I'm there. I don't really doubt that I can get into a low ranked school, I'm applying to like 10 programs all over the board
Columbia
Yale
Harvard
New Hampshire
Boston University
Montana State
Colorado, Boulder
Delaware
Hawaii
realistically I have a decent shot a few of these right?
Darmouth


Hey - I'm in almost the exact situation as you are, and I can say - if you're *really* passionate about what you're doing, then yes, getting into top programs IS possible.

It depends on what your interests in astrophysics are though. The earth science/planetary science programs do tend to be more forgiving of low GPAs and low GRE scores (as long as you have research and as long as you *know* what you're doing). My overall GPA is around your level (though it's due to a huge number of grad-lvl courses), and I screwed up my PGRE, but I still managed to win a top student fellowship from UChicago Geophysical Sciences (you can do a forum search for geophysical - there was someone else in a similar [but possibly worse] position as you who also got into the department).

Out of all the programs you're applying for, I think that Columbia's Astro department is probably the most forgiving of them (it doesn't have problem-based quals). I actually emailed my transcript and PGRE scores to them (along with the strongest parts of my app), and in spite of that, they said that I was a very strong candidate [1]. One of the people there even managed to get special permission for me to apply to two Columbia departments.

Yale also invites many applicants to their campus, so that's where passion can really get through (and where the people who don't have passion get weeded out). And New Hampshire's Physics program has like a 50% acceptance rate.

My impression is that Brown's Geological Sciences department also seems to be pretty forgiving (I'll learn more when I visit in 2 weeks).

[1] Of course, they might say it to everyone, but that wasn't the response I got from other schools.

User avatar
YodaT
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 2:01 am

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby YodaT » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:31 am

asdfuogh wrote:Wait, YodaT, I don't understand.. is your PGRE completely shitty, or did someone switch the 3 and the 2 on your keyboard? :( I don't think it matters that much for your GPA if it's above a 3.5 already. At the least, you could think about it in a different way: if you never try, you'll never know whether or not you could have done it.


I actually meant to push a 3 on that one. Also, I have not taken the PGRE. I'll consider it after I figure out my living situation and available funds when I graduate... if I haven't gotten 3 kids, a high paying job at a financial firm, or a chronic meth addiction (or all of the above) by that time.

blighter wrote:I totally agree. It sucks having to read people complaining about how bad their GPA is when they have over 3.4 and especially when they also have published in reputed journals! A part of me dies every time I read one.


Some people just expect more from themselves and shame themselves for not trying harder.

blighter
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: poor GPA, dissability

Postby blighter » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:56 pm

YodaT wrote:Some people just expect more from themselves and shame themselves for not trying harder.


I'd say some people are just too up themselves.




Return to “GPA and Transcripts”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest