astroboy08 wrote:Now that I have your attention, I would love your advice. I have one more semester left as an undergrad and have decided to try to persue grad school. The problem is that I won't meet the minimum gpa requirement for most schools even if I ace everything. I'm less then a point off. I was going trough a rough time( I was coming to terms with my sexuality and coming out) and completley failed a semseter. If I tell them this in my statment and my gre scores are good do I stand a chance? If not what steps can I take to get into a grad school. If it helps, I am a minority,and come from a top 5 physics department with a lot of research. I know its awkward to say but I hear it helps.Thanks in advanced.
It really depends on what the schools mean when they say minimum GPA requirement. For a lot of programs, the published minimum GPA requirement is the minimum allowed by the University Faculty of Graduate Studies (or equivalent) to be admitted, and so the actual GPA of people admitted may be much higher. (For example, one school's minimum is a 65% average but the actual averages for admitted students range in 85%-90%). In this case, if you are barely going to make the minimum, you may be severely below the applicant pool.
However, sometimes the "minimum" means the lowest GPA they have admitted. Your chances would be much better if this was the definition.
You say you have a lot of research experience and I think this will be your strongest factor that will help you get admitted despite being near the minimum. I think at most places, people will appreciate the extra difficulty you faced being a minority (perhaps in more ways than one), and you should discuss this in the right place in your application. My advice would be to keep your SOP focussed on your research experience, academic background and future career plans, and discuss the personal difficulties you faced in achieving what you did in a "Personal History Statement" (or similarly named essay). For schools that only ask for a SOP, then I think this should be included in the SOP too, but I would also take it as a sign that this program wants to hear more about your research/academic experience than your personal experience so make sure the focus is on the former.