Chances?

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

ChriJoll
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:20 pm

Chances?

Postby ChriJoll » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:28 pm

Hi, I'm new to this site and I was wondering if some people could shed some light on a couple of areas that are puzzling me.
I am about to be a Junior at a respectable state university.
I am a double major in Physics and Mathematics and currently have a 3.6/3.8 General/major GPA.
However when I was in high school I attended a dual college/high school for a year and a half and battling a lot of issues left me with less than stellar grades in that year and a half (3.0). Naturally my credits transferred but the grades did not. A couple classes that I got some bad grades in I retook at my new university. When I apply to graduate school I'm expecting to be require to include both transcripts. So my question is how much do you see the earlier grades hurting my chances at a top university? Thanks for the help.

kangaroo
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:31 am

Re: Chances?

Postby kangaroo » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:38 pm

Yes you're doomed. Now go find a job at Goldman Sachs.

ChriJoll
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:20 pm

Re: Chances?

Postby ChriJoll » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:19 am

Alright so clearly I wasn't specific enough with my question.
I am rather confident about my prospects on grad school.
But more in flux about Tier 1 schools.
To be more specific, how will admissions people see that year and a half?
Will it look like I've been in college for six years and raise red flags?
Thanks.

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Chances?

Postby TakeruK » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:39 am

Hi,

I think you are getting sarcastic responses / being ignored because this forum receives a lot of questions from students like you. That is, people who generally have good/great records overall but are overly worried about small things, especially those from early on in their academic career. Then they ask questions similar to you.

The answer is, and you can see this too if you look at other threads posted in the last couple of weeks (not to mention in previous years):

1. Your application is looked at as a whole. There is no way anyone can know how much one factor can affect anything.

2. Your GPA is also looked at as a whole. Schools care about how the GPA changes over time as well as the value. Upward trends are good things. Courses in 3rd and 4th year are probably weighed more, even if they don't say it on their websites. They might ask for an average for applications to help them sort things, but there's a reason why they want full transcripts. They want to see / judge for themselves your academic ability based on whatever skills they happen to be looking for that year.

3. Top tier schools are very tough to get in and it's never a sure thing. None of us here can give you a satisfactory answer on "how much of a chance" you (or anyone) has. Students who do well (good GPA, research, etc.) should definitely apply to the top schools. If you get rejected, no big deal, the application fee is a small price to pay to know that you didn't sell yourself short and denied yourself an opportunity.

Specifically for you, since you are starting as a Junior, hopefully you have plans on finding (or already have found) research opportunities for the summer between your junior/senior year. Also, you would be starting the last 2 years of courses now, which are what actually matters. I think your priorities should be ensuring you get research experience AND getting your grades as high as possible. One of my friends has an almost 4.0 GPA and no research experience and made it into a top tier grad school but that's rare and it's much easier (and more useful in my opinion) to get ~3.8 and lots of research experience.

ChriJoll
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:20 pm

Re: Chances?

Postby ChriJoll » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:06 am

Haha, I was looking for an answer as to how an admissions person would respond to an extra 1.5 years of college in addition to the four years I'm spending at my current University. The 1.5 will appear on a normal college transcript. My question then was if it would look like I spent six years in college so it would be something I would need to clarify. If you have had this question before I apologize, I didn't bother looking because I figured this situation was unique, if I was wrong in my assumption I apologize for wasting people's time.

blighter
Posts: 256
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Chances?

Postby blighter » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:49 am

I am really glad I'm not you! Forget about Harvard. The only place that will take you now is Howard University. Don't even bother applying to other places.

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

Re: Chances?

Postby bfollinprm » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:35 pm

ChriJoll wrote:Haha, I was looking for an answer as to how an admissions person would respond to an extra 1.5 years of college in addition to the four years I'm spending at my current University. The 1.5 will appear on a normal college transcript. My question then was if it would look like I spent six years in college so it would be something I would need to clarify. If you have had this question before I apologize, I didn't bother looking because I figured this situation was unique, if I was wrong in my assumption I apologize for wasting people's time.


This is a very common situation (I definitely took classes at a community college as a high school student). Take the time to look through the profiles.

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Chances?

Postby TakeruK » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:14 pm

ChriJoll wrote:Haha, I was looking for an answer as to how an admissions person would respond to an extra 1.5 years of college in addition to the four years I'm spending at my current University. The 1.5 will appear on a normal college transcript. My question then was if it would look like I spent six years in college so it would be something I would need to clarify. If you have had this question before I apologize, I didn't bother looking because I figured this situation was unique, if I was wrong in my assumption I apologize for wasting people's time.


I meant for my answer to include your question. That is, they will look at your transcript as a whole and like I said, they will likely weigh the relevant parts (i.e. the last couple of years of courses in your field) more.

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quizivex
Posts: 1029
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:13 am

Re: Chances?

Postby quizivex » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:10 pm

ChriJoll wrote:Naturally my credits transferred but the grades did not. A couple classes that I got some bad grades in I retook at my new university. When I apply to graduate school I'm expecting to be require to include both transcripts.
Why do you expect to have to include both transcripts? (Does anyone else here know if he will really need to?) I forget what the exact wording was on my applications regarding transcripts. But I remember I technically took college classes in high school (AP) and got college credits for that, but nobody asked to see what scores I got on the AP tests.

As an example, here's what Princeton's website says about transcripts:
One transcript from every college or university from which you have earned, or expect to earn, a degree must be uploaded with your electronic application in the space provided.
So since you didn't get a degree from that HS/college hybrid program, you probably wouldn't need to send those records. Similar rules may apply to other schools.

Furthermore, if you do not use any of those old HS courses towards graduation at your real undergrad school, then you shouldn't need to include those records for any application, (even if they demand "all transcripts from all for year colleges attended" because the hybrid program was not a real college.) Since you've already retaken all the classes you got bad grades in, maybe you can retake the rest and completely purge all the past credits off your record. Or if you do use some of those credits, maybe they'd only need to see the grades of the ones you actually used for graduation (not your entire HS transcript)... and you could selectively pick them out.

As for whether it would hurt your chances if you had to send the records: Grades in serious major courses like quantum, E&M etc are much more important than freshman physics and core crap (which is probably the stuff you were transferring in). Also, recent years are much more important than early years. If I were you, I'd try to avoid having to include those records if you can. But I really don't think it would kill you if you have good research experience, GRE scores and high grades for the rest of your time before you apply. There are plenty of stories of users on this forum who flopped around aimlessly for a few years with "issues" and then got inspired, or dropped out or started working in fields other than physics and came back after 10+ years out of school, or started at a community college etc... and successfully went on to grad school in physics.

ChriJoll
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:20 pm

Re: Chances?

Postby ChriJoll » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:12 am

Thanks for the answer!
I have seen it say things like this "Transcript(s) We need only one original transcript from each school attended." From UIUC.
And it was technically a University (Imagine the opposite of AP where college classes transfer to high school credit instead of the other way around), so I can't get out that way. Like I said one of the main concerns is how it'll look to an admissions counselor when I send both transcripts and they start to wonder why I spent a year and a half at University A, and then four years at University B. Maybe I'll find some loophole in the coming year but I genuinely appreciate the answer.




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