What GPAs do schools look at most closely?(an dpublic school

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greeezy
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 9:29 pm

What GPAs do schools look at most closely?(an dpublic school

Postby greeezy » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:04 am

Do they look at upper divison, all physics, or total courses.

My first year of college i switched my degree around a few times and got Cs in a few classes, (those have been surprisingly difficult to work off- it was only like 4 classes at most) and it took me a while to really get going. My cumulative GPA is just above 3.0 and my total physics is 3.3+. I go to a CSU school in, well, california state, so its not the most recognized for physics. I want to retake the last quarter of chemistry, since i was absent one week and missed an exam and got a C, and I am pretty sure i could easily pull off an A in that class.

Anyway, every month or so I get really nervous about not getting into grad school and start looking at my options of double majoring in Computer Science, or just becoming a High School teacher.
I love physics and really want to get to a decent grad school. I have always wanted to go to a nice school since i saved so much for undergrad(practically free schooling at public schools :); i didnt really apply anywhere out of HS since my english teacher loved getting on my case about how worthless i am.

I need some reassurance that I have a future in physics. Is going to a not very well known for physics public college going to hurt me and what kind of grades should i strive for to be competitive. I would like to be competitive at schools like UCSD/LA or some UC school.
Anyway, thanks for the help/advice.

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dlenmn
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:19 pm

Re: What GPAs do schools look at most closely?(an dpublic school

Postby dlenmn » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:18 am

What year are you? Anything special that admissions committees might care about? (Female, minority, etc.)

IIRC, many UC schools claim to require a 3.0/4.0 undergrad GPA, so certainly don't run afoul of that cutoff...

I think the general consensus is that upper level courses get more attention than lower level ones, but no one can really tell you exactly how they're weighted.

As for your odds at places, look in the profiles -- your GPA isn't in uncharted territory, but it doesn't look so great as far as UCLA and UCSD go. If you've got a couple of years to bring it up, that would help (again, look in the profiles to see what's competitive... obviously you should strive for 'A's :wink: ). Some people with low undergrad GPAs (or similar issues) get a Masters first to make themselves more appealing when applying to PhD programs. Based on the profiles, that approach can be fairly successful.

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grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: What GPAs do schools look at most closely?(an dpublic school

Postby grae313 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:30 pm

greeezy wrote:Do they look at upper divison, all physics, or total courses.

My first year of college i switched my degree around a few times and got Cs in a few classes, (those have been surprisingly difficult to work off- it was only like 4 classes at most) and it took me a while to really get going. My cumulative GPA is just above 3.0 and my total physics is 3.3+. I go to a CSU school in, well, california state, so its not the most recognized for physics. I want to retake the last quarter of chemistry, since i was absent one week and missed an exam and got a C, and I am pretty sure i could easily pull off an A in that class.

Anyway, every month or so I get really nervous about not getting into grad school and start looking at my options of double majoring in Computer Science, or just becoming a High School teacher.
I love physics and really want to get to a decent grad school. I have always wanted to go to a nice school since i saved so much for undergrad(practically free schooling at public schools :); i didnt really apply anywhere out of HS since my english teacher loved getting on my case about how worthless i am.

I need some reassurance that I have a future in physics. Is going to a not very well known for physics public college going to hurt me and what kind of grades should i strive for to be competitive. I would like to be competitive at schools like UCSD/LA or some UC school.
Anyway, thanks for the help/advice.


I went to San Jose State and turned down Stanford and Berkeley to go to Cornell next year. Your school name won't hold you back, but your grades will. In my opinion, you'll only have a *good* shot at places like UCSD/LA with a 3.3 physics GPA if other aspects of your application are remarkable, as in excellent research experience with publications, very enthusiastic recommendations, and solid test scores.

As for your question, upper division physics and math courses are looked at most closely, then all of your physics classes, then your overall GPA.

As Dlenmn said, if you are already in your last year or two, you can always apply for a Master's, get good grades, then apply to a PhD program. Study for the physics GRE.




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