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Bad Start?

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 4:58 pm
by kamikazeren
Hey everyone. I know that this is the billionth post about bad freshman grades but I felt like I needed a bit perspective on my case. I am currently a first year attending a decent public university in the west coast. My school runs on the quarter system. I had a good first quarter because I got an A+ in my first physics class and was one of the two people who set the curve for the final (we tied). I did pretty bad in my winter quarter due to personal problems (police had to be involved but I'm not a perpetrator) so i got a B in CS, a B+ in ODE, and a B+ in my EM class. I also had to take a W on my transcript for a calc class because of that quarter. I am currently taking my third physics class, an English class, a vector calc class, and I'm retaking that dumb calc class. So far I am acing the hell out of vector calc and English. Physics is going pretty good and I'm getting back on my feet so I might get an A- at the very least. I recently got my midterm back for that calc class and did really bad. The best I can do is get a B- or B at this point if everything goes exactly as needed. I just feel really discouraged right now because this was supposed to be my Rocky come back quarter so to speak. New personal issues arose in my family so my two younger siblings might be living with me until I graduate. I might be able to pull my GPA to a 3.4 at the very best by the end of this year. It just seems like grad school is getting more and more competitive each year, and it seems like my chances of going to the school of my choice is dwindling down. The only thing that is keeping me going is a prof I am working with at the moment. I am doing research in theoretical particle physics and the work reminds me of why I want to be a physicist. I know that I am only 18 but I can't see myself doing anything else. I can't see myself doing anything else and feeling fulfilled. I'm going to start studying for the pgres this summer and I'm going to do my best to pull my GPA up as much as possible. Is there any way I can explain to grad schools about these two quarters?

Sorry for the long post and typos. Wrote this on my tablet.

Re: Bad Start?

Posted: Sun May 10, 2015 5:40 pm
by damdum
First of all, relax. This is not the end of the world.

You're only in your freshman year and if you can pull off a GPA of 3.4 by the end of your first year, that's great. Try to do your best. You still have 2 more years to go before you seriously start thinking about grad school. In those 2 years, try to do the best you can in all your classes and put in a lot of effort.

You already have a school of choice? In my opinion, it's too early to start looking at specific schools since this will depend a lot on what you actually want to do in grad school. I cannot emphasize this enough: get involved in research! If you are seriously considering grad school (sounds like you are), you need to get involved in research as soon as possible. A person with a GPA of 3.6 with an amazing research record is way more impressive than someone with a 3.8 and little/no research (as far as I know).

Just try your hardest to pull your GPA above a 3.5/3.6 by the end of junior year and try to get involved in research. Good luck!