Improving GPA by doing Master's Degree?

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Blinky
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:22 pm

Improving GPA by doing Master's Degree?

Postby Blinky » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:33 pm

I want to take a shot at applying to some of the higher ranked universities of the US. Currently I am attending a Canadian university and I'm going to do a Master's degree at the same university. It's not anywhere near U of Toronto or, say, McGill, but my observations tell me that it doesn't matter where you do your undergrad. degree, I've seen people from my university go everywhere for grad studies. My current grades are not the best, perhaps not the worst, maybe around 3.1-3.2 on the 4 scale. While I do realize that any good grades will improve my chances, I'm still gonna ask this: are the graudate level courses weighted more than the undergraduate ones? Considering that they will be the most recent ones as well.

Thank you

P.S. In reality I think I should just stop thinking about it and just work hard, but I do enjoy dreaming and thinking about these things :)

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

Re: Improving GPA by doing Master's Degree?

Postby grae313 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:36 pm

I think the more advanced and more recent coursework is always given more weight than the less advanced and less recent coursework, however it gets a bit more tricky when you start looking at grad vs. undergrad courses because the grading changes. Because the average in most grad classes is an A- or A-/B+, a B in a grad course means you are below average and is more like a C in an undergrad course. But then again, the grading is this way because grades aren't emphasized as much, perhaps because it is no longer so important to distinguish between students as they are all pretty good at the grad level, and because other things like research become more important at this level.

I think a strong graduate transcript can do a lot for you. It may not completely erase the 3.2, but you can at least assure people that you can do well in graduate coursework. Combine that with some good research and good letters and I'd imagine you'll be in good shape.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Improving GPA by doing Master's Degree?

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:44 pm

Blinky wrote:My current grades are not the best, perhaps not the worst, maybe around 3.1-3.2 on the 4 scale. While I do realize that any good grades will improve my chances, I'm still gonna ask this: are the graudate level courses weighted more than the undergraduate ones? Considering that they will be the most recent ones as well.


I wouldn't think of it as a number's game. Masters programs will allow you to (1) pursue more research, (2) prove your intellectual ability and curiousity, and (3) potentially gather another strong recommendation from a different institution (fyi, it's better to leave and go somewhere else). None of this happens on a transcript, but is rather a product of hard work and go-getting. Just a 4.0 in a masters program isn't that useful in applying to a top school, but a glowing recommendation from your QFT instructor about the insightful questions you asked in class, combined with the incredible work you did in compiling your Master's thesis on numerical simulations of CLAS collisions (see the first-author paper on the arxiv, Mr. CalTech admissions man), will do loads.

EDIT: I just realized that came across as a little pedantic. Sorry. I guess that comes from trying to bash math concepts into student's heads all day, a process that resembles quantum tunneling yourself through Mt. Everest.




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