Low undergraduate GPA, but high master's GPA+high PGRE

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illbeback
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:44 pm

Low undergraduate GPA, but high master's GPA+high PGRE

Postby illbeback » Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:53 am

Hello folks,

I was looking for kind people who could advise me about my school choices.

As written in the subject line, I had a low GPA as an undergraduate student. This my last year in the master's program in astronomy and my master's GPA is high. Plus I have a perfect score on PGRE and a second author publication.

Do you think it is a good idea to aim for top schools in astronomy with such a profile? Or do you think that I should target the next tier due to the low undergraduate GPA?

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

Re: Low undergraduate GPA, but high master's GPA+high PGRE

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:19 pm

You should target both. A lot will depend on demonstrated research aptitude (they'll expect you to be closer a finished article coming from the master's program), which is hard to judge independently. Did you do a thesis masters? If not, push for a (first author) publication in your last year.

illbeback
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:44 pm

Re: Low undergraduate GPA, but high master's GPA+high PGRE

Postby illbeback » Wed Oct 19, 2016 1:18 am

bfollinprm wrote:You should target both. A lot will depend on demonstrated research aptitude (they'll expect you to be closer a finished article coming from the master's program), which is hard to judge independently. Did you do a thesis masters? If not, push for a (first author) publication in your last year.


Hey bfollinprm,

Thanks for the response! Unfortunately, I am not the first author. Although I am working on a thesis, I do not think I will publish a first author publication before the end of the semester.

Have you heard stories that relate to mine? I would really appreciate if readers shared their experiences or similar stories from other applicants.

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

Re: Low undergraduate GPA, but high master's GPA+high PGRE

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Oct 19, 2016 2:23 pm

Your thesis will be a first author "publication". That's important, as it shows research aptitude. Most of your variation is probably in the quality of the recommendation letter your thesis advisor writes. If he/she says that you're one of the best they've seen, you should apply everywhere. If it's good but not glowing, you'll get into top 25 schools with interest in grad students in the field of study you did your master's thesis in. You'll get in anywhere 25-50 likely on the strength of your PGRE/masters GPA. I don't have personal experience with this, but this is the path I see in most of my friends who took a masters before coming to a PhD program.

illbeback
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:44 pm

Re: Low undergraduate GPA, but high master's GPA+high PGRE

Postby illbeback » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:57 pm

bfollinprm wrote:Your thesis will be a first author "publication". That's important, as it shows research aptitude. Most of your variation is probably in the quality of the recommendation letter your thesis advisor writes. If he/she says that you're one of the best they've seen, you should apply everywhere. If it's good but not glowing, you'll get into top 25 schools with interest in grad students in the field of study you did your master's thesis in. You'll get in anywhere 25-50 likely on the strength of your PGRE/masters GPA. I don't have personal experience with this, but this is the path I see in most of my friends who took a masters before coming to a PhD program.


Thank you for your advice!




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