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low GPA and grad. school

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:56 pm
by horologium
Hello all,

I'm hoping for an honest answer here... I'm a senior undergrad. at a state univ. majoring in physics, with a particular affinity to astrophysics. However, I have really poor grades and thus, a low GPA; interestingly, my grades are the same whether it is a difficult course in my major, or a random silly course I took to fulfill the state general requirements. The only place I've excelled is in my main interest (x-ray astronomy), as I was lucky enough to get two opportunities in undergraduate research. Realistically, what kind of chance do I have in attending graduate school? I, of course, cannot predict the future, but I do expect to do well on my gre and pgre (since I've always done well on exams) and I do have that bit of undergrad. research... but my gpa is *killing* me. What am I to do? This is really straining me as all I want to do is have the opportunity to continue in astrophysics.

Thanks in advance

Re: low GPA and grad. school

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:12 pm
by dlenmn
How bad is this GPA of yours? (Some people around here have strange definitions of bad when it comes to the numbers that determine your future).

If you're a domestic student, then I'd say that your odds of getting in to somewhere are good (if you are a domestic student and have a pulse, somewhere will probably admit you, especially if you can get good recs from the people you did research for and a decent PGRE score). The chances of getting in to the places you want to go may not be so good. Without more information from you, what more can be said?

Re: low GPA and grad. school

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 6:59 pm
by horologium
dlenmn wrote:How bad is this GPA of yours? (Some people around here have strange definitions of bad when it comes to the numbers that determine your future).

If you're a domestic student, then I'd say that your odds of getting in to somewhere are good (if you are a domestic student and have a pulse, somewhere will probably admit you, especially if you can get good recs from the people you did research for and a decent PGRE score). The chances of getting in to the places you want to go may not be so good. Without more information from you, what more can be said?



I can assure you I have a strong grip on reality when I say I have a bad GPA ( 2.5 !!!)
And yes, I'm American, but I didn't realize that has anything to do with admittance to graduate school?
I can't, however, travel to a school outside of the state as I also have a local business.

Re: low GPA and grad. school

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:44 pm
by dlenmn
Yeah, that GPA isn't gonna help.

Higher standards seem to be set for international students, so it's relatively easier for domestic students.

Not being able to leave the state certainly limits your choices (unless your in a state like CA where there are a ton of choices anyway). Certainly apply to as many as you can. Some places set minimum GPAs for applicants (often set by the school, not the department), so be aware of that.

Another option is to apply to masters programs to improve your credentials (easier to get in to, harder to get funding for), do well in it, and then apply to PhD programs with your higher GPA from masters classes.

All that said, you're going to be taking classes in grad school, and most places have a minimum GPA to remain in good standing (often a B). If your grades are as invariant as you claim, maybe this isn't what you should be looking to do. If you know that you can do better and you really want to do this, go for it.