Do grad schools care about which classes you take?

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Do grad schools care about which classes you take?

Postby deathinacan » Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:27 pm

My physics gpa isn't stellar (3.5-3.6) but I have consistently been taking a pretty heavy physics courseload, including upper level courses and labs that go significantly beyond what is required for a physics major. How much do grad schools care about that?

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Re: Do grad schools care about which classes you take?

Postby quizivex » Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:54 pm

Grad schools likely do not know much detail about the course offerings, the degree requirements and average number of courses per semester in undergrad programs at other schools. They'll want to make sure that you had quantum for instance and that you did ok in the other major courses... but it might not be obvious by looking at your transcript and the cryptic course numbers whether you took an unusually heavy course load or had a bunch of optional electives... So if you went way above and beyond, but it's best to have your recommender(s) point this out in their letters so that it gets noticed. It absolutely will count in your favor. It's also something you could also mention in your SOP. In my SOP I mentioned that I took every physics class in the department, one grad class and was getting a math major.

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Re: Do grad schools care about which classes you take?

Postby Andromeda » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:43 am

Another option is to get one of your letter writers from one of these super advanced courses that you did well in to explain how you've gone above and beyond what's typically required in the department, someone who you can be candid with in your situation and explain what you just told us. It's difficult to tell one transcript to another, but someone who taught you and knows your academic potential can explain things better than you can.

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