Jump to content


Welcome to The GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)
Guest Message © 2014 DevFuse

Icon Notices

  • [March 2012] February (and January) Stats: Did you make it to the top ten posters? Check here


sub 3.0 GPAs


  • Please log in to reply
79 replies to this topic

#41 jacib

jacib

    Latte Macchiato

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 688 posts
  • Application Season:Already Attending
  • Program:Sociology

Posted 17 February 2010 - 07:11 PM

After reading this forum I feel like this should be adjusted to read "Replying to sub 3.5 GPAs" and all the bullet points still apply. Honestly is having a 3.2 or 3.3 really that different? They make you feel like unless you have at least a 3.5 you won't be looked at. We all know that just because you meet the minimum standards doesn't mean you have a snowballs chance in hell Posted Image


I want to disagree with you there. I just got into Columbia Sociology program with a 3.26 undergrad GPA (albeit from a well known school), and also my three W's (gasp). I didn't think either would be a problem and they weren't. Yes, some graduate programs do have a 3.0 cut off for applications, but it seems like from the posts above that even those can be waved. A low GPA (3.0-3.5) is definitely not the kiss of death if there are other strong parts of your application (my GRE scores were particularly good, but strong published papers or conference things, or prestigious awards or internships or whatever would do the trick equally well I suppose). My last two years GPA and my major GPA were both between 3.5-3.6, if that makes a difference in any of your estimations.

High numbers won't get you in. An interesting project at a good fit and mediocre numbers might.

Edited by jacib, 17 February 2010 - 07:12 PM.

  • 0

#42 captiv8ed

captiv8ed

    Mocha

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 399 posts
  • Program:Sociology

Posted 17 February 2010 - 08:44 PM

Well, you wouldn't really know since you retook and improved your quant score by around 200 points! Good for you ;)
And yes, I do think it would be below acceptable for any department. A 340 would be way less than 50% percentile..(correct me if I'm wrong. what was your percentile?) I know that a score of 780q was at the 90th percentile or so (only a vague memory but I think this is an accurate estimate from what I remember of my score). I wouldn't think top 50 schools would be really pleased with a 30%ile score on any section of the GRE.

It is definitely under 50. On my first round, I got a 410 which was something like 14th. I boosted it to 590 which was I think 48th.

Coya!! Where else did you get in. Man, after giving us such a wonderful picture of you life during the application process, don't leave us hanging now! We want to celebrate your successes :)
  • 0

#43 johndiligent

johndiligent

    Macchiato

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 509 posts
  • Program:Religion

Posted 17 February 2010 - 08:55 PM

I want to disagree with you there. I just got into Columbia Sociology program with a 3.26 undergrad GPA (albeit from a well known school), and also my three W's (gasp).


I'm so happy I can chime in with the disagreeing. I had a 3.3 GPA, 17 W's (that's not a typo, seriously, SEVENTEEN), and a smattering of bad grades IN MY MAJOR (including an F).

So far I have one acceptance with funding!
  • 1

#44 coyabean

coyabean

    Macchiato

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts
  • LocationGA
  • Application Season:Already Attending
  • Program:Private Almost Ivy

Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:38 PM

It is definitely under 50. On my first round, I got a 410 which was something like 14th. I boosted it to 590 which was I think 48th.

Coya!! Where else did you get in. Man, after giving us such a wonderful picture of you life during the application process, don't leave us hanging now! We want to celebrate your successes :)



It was a single digit, I remember that much. But, again, I know people in programs with similar quant scores. Granted they are in English and Anthro, respectively; both fields being light on quant. I was more concerned with an overall showing that met cutoff scores than about the percentile on the quant, however. But my verbal didn't have too much more room to improve so it had to come from that end.

And the second one is a safety, captiv8ed. Thus, the reason I keep forgetting to add it to the sig: UNC-G. But they'd have a hard time beating Emory. With Duke and USC down there are really only two programs left that I think could make me reconsider. We'll see.
  • 0
Counting down...

#45 red_crayons

red_crayons

    Latte

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 173 posts

Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:43 PM

High numbers won't get you in. An interesting project at a good fit and mediocre numbers might.


YES!

Awesome, fantastic department reacted to my application with enthusiasm and several profs saying, "I want to convince you to go here!" My research ideas were going in a direction that they wanted the department to go in anyway, both in methodology and subject area.

Specialized department at another school insulted my 2 Cs freshman year (organic chemistry and calculus, come on.) while still offering me a spot. My topic was related to 3 of the 4 faculty member's interests and recent publications, and I have the right kind of background to approach it more critically than a "traditional" applicant to the program.

The lesson I take from this is that even if a school is being snobby about stats, they still can't pass you over if you have a good idea.
  • 0

#46 kobe36

kobe36

    Double Shot

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 101 posts
  • Program:msw

Posted 18 February 2010 - 12:03 AM

wow glad to see this thread was revived. being on the gradcafe forum and looking at the result page definitely makes me feel that I am competing with a whole lot of 4.0 gpa-1600 gre-10 publications etc robots in here. LOL. no offense if you are one of them. it is just nice to know that there are other people like me who just screwed up in their undergrad (because they are young or for whatever reason) and are now seeking another chance to further their education.

My own stats is probably worse than most of you in here as well: seeking a Masters in Social Work, 2.32 in UG total, came from a state school, good LORs (i am pretty positive), a good PS (also I hope), 3 years of case management experience (hope this helps make up for part of my GPA) applied to "good" schools and state schools, really just aiming all over the board for a chance somewhere. I would be so happy if any one of them accepts me for the fall semester. But I am ready for all across the board rejection and is ready to try again next year after taking some class in the upcoming semster.

I don't think that having a below than average GPA is the ONLY thing that grad school looks for, yes I admit that its an important part of your application, but I think (and this is true especially for social work) that they really look for experience in the field and less emphasis on your grades and since most grad school don't ask for test scores, I think that they really place the value of your work experience and personal statement first and foremost. at least thats what I have been telling myself. ;)
  • 0
2010-2012
University of Washington MSW

#47 Medievalmaniac

Medievalmaniac

    Macchiato

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 524 posts
  • LocationSomewhere between the 12th century and now...
  • Program:English/ Medieval Studies

Posted 18 February 2010 - 12:57 AM

Sorry, yes, sensitive about my GPA, I have worked very hard to get a lot of other attributes that should make up for it. I worked to put myself through college, so I was either in class or at work and struggled to make enough, so I did not get a lot of time to study.

Damn my pride :-)


gad - I also worked my butt off to get through undergrad. Insult to injury? I transferred from a lesser school as a sophomore with a 3.7 GPA, as a lit major. Then I had to take extra science and Math classes, AND they didn't accept my transfer GPA. Then, I wanted to take so many classes I didn't have room for in my schedule b/c of their general ed requirements (which the general ed classes I had taken at the other school did not fulfill, for WHATever reason) that I petitioned for a schedule override for extra seat hours every term, taking 6 classes every term except my student teaching semester. Also, I was working over 40 hours a week and commuting 30 minutes. I'm amazed I graduated at all...but, I had a 4.0 my student teaching semester, and graduated with 176 credits as an undergrad. So, in retrospect, my 2.66 undergrad GPA isn't so bad after all.

I finished my MA last spring with a 4.0, incidentally...now, waiting on PhD programs to weigh in. Trying to keep from stressing too hard. But I wanted you to know that I also worked my tail off as an undergrad, ended up with a less-than-stellar GPA as a result, and did manage to continue on in graduate school - it can be done!! I am proof positive that they do look at everything, not JUST GPA.

You want the funny bit? I attended one Master's program for a year, and they did not bat an eye at my 2.66 undergrad GPA. I had to quit before I finished that degree, but ended up with a respectable 3.56 despite a lot of family issues at the time. Then when I applied to another program, they made me take two courses before admitting me because my undergraduate GPA was too low. They would not even consider the newer, and therefore more indicative of my abilities, graduate-level GPA. Nor did they consider the fact that I was overriding every term and had a higher GPA if you factored in my transfer numbers.

So, long story short, it really depends on the program you are applying to.
  • 0
"In this universe effect follows cause. I've complained about it but—" Gregory House
"The difference between genius and insanity is measured only by success". - Unknown
"I don't cause commotions, I am one." - Elphaba, Stephen Swartz's Wicked, The Musical
"The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation." Jonathan Larson
(Witty little sayings are to the English major what Pringles are to hoi polloi...no one can have just one.)

Attending UNC-Greensboro beginning Fall 2012, English PhD program, medieval concentration

#48 zilch

zilch

    Latte

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 182 posts
  • LocationUrbana-Champaign, IL (UIUC)
  • Application Season:Already Attending
  • Program:Electrical Engineering

Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:12 AM

sub 3.5 gpas can be a pretty big negative in some disciplines (engineering and applied science tend to frown upon them). During undergrad i had a 3.3 (3.4 in major), research experience, was on one publication and was about to submit for a another at the time of application, had lots of extra-curriculars, a 1440 GRE and most of the schools I applied to said that my GPA was 'worrying' or 'weaker than we'd like' or something to that effect.

The discipline/field has a large effect on how GPA is viewed and weighted.
  • 2

#49 hamster

hamster

    Espresso Shot

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 64 posts
  • Program:Clinical Psych

Posted 18 February 2010 - 03:54 AM

After reading this forum I feel like this should be adjusted to read "Replying to sub 3.5 GPAs" and all the bullet points still apply. Honestly is having a 3.2 or 3.3 really that different? They make you feel like unless you have at least a 3.5 you won't be looked at. We all know that just because you meet the minimum standards doesn't mean you have a snowballs chance in hell Posted Image


Yeah, I have a 3.3 undergrad and despite the fact it was 13 years ago I graduated, I have almost perfect GREs and I took challenging post-bacc courses for As, I know for a fact my app did not pass the first round at some schools and was never really reviewed because of grades I received when I was 17-21.
Kinda frustrating except a couple schools did look past this. I think this may be specific to Clinical psych which is super competitive.
  • 0

#50 fadeindreams

fadeindreams

    Latte

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 168 posts

Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:51 PM

@hamster - Yeah, that's more of a product of the program you are applying to. Excellent clinical programs are super picky. I currently work in recruitment/admissions at a university with an outstanding clinical program. I have been told to be willing to tell students who inquire about the program that they might not have much of a chance of admission when they present me with a low GPA/GRE.

My undergraduate GPA was just under a 3.0 (2.98 to be exact). It might stop some people from getting the opportunities they seek but I'm ornery so for whatever reason it hasn't stopped me yet. I keep expecting it to stop me sometime...

Actually, I figure early March should give me one denial to an elite school. Their loss. I already got into my first choice. Posted Image

My point is not hubris (no, really, I promise!), instead it's that if you're confident in your abilities there is always a way to sell it with confidence and choice wording. This is especially true when it comes to professional programs as opposed to academic programs. Stellar work experience can overcome a great deal.

Best of luck to everyone!
  • 0
Attending: University of Michigan - Ford School (secured an assistantship for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012)

#51 lily_

lily_

    Double Shot

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 134 posts
  • LocationNYC

Posted 27 February 2010 - 02:02 AM

Thank you so much for posting this. I know it's an older thread, but I am sitting here driving myself crazy.

I graduated with a 2.68 from a good state school. I didn't "discover my passion" until my senior year. Unfortunately, that year I piled on a huge plate of classes and was kicking ass and taking names, totally making up for the 2 years of wasted time and had 6 A's and a B (yes, 7 course load) and then my grandmother suddenly passed away, I had to miss 3 weeks of class because my mother completely fell apart emotionally settling up her estate. I pulled out with that tough semester as an undergrad with 3 a's 3 b's and 1 c and graduated. A lot of drama, which is not normal for me, I don't have ADD or depression of anything like that.

I knew this wasn't enough to get into grad school and pursue my dreams and passions. I did a year at the University of Chicago as a non-matriculated student taking graduate courses in my field where I earned a 3.8. I have excellent recommendations, 3 seasons of field experience in a supervisory role, a research project I submitted, a carefully written SOP, and I even went in and met with the department over the fall and sent them thank-you notes and I am about to throw up thinking I am going to get rejected on the basis of my crappy GPA. I also have 1260 on the GRE with a 6.0 on the writing part, which may not be the best but it's respectable.

Seriously, thank you, I'm not this neurotic in real life.

  • 0

#52 kismetcapitan

kismetcapitan

    Double Shot

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 104 posts
  • Program:Education

Posted 28 February 2010 - 06:12 PM

my college roommate (and I for that matter), had WELL under 3.0 GPAs. He worked his way through a hyper-expensive Tier One school, while I was dying from severe depression and undiagnosed ADHD-PI. He's now at Harvard, Engineering Ph.D, thanks to a stellar resume of work, and God-willing, I'll soon be there as well after teaching for 13 years for a mid-career Ed.M!
  • 0
Founder and Headmaster, The Harkness School
International Education and Policy Management, Vanderbilt University, Class of 2013

#53 Wat E

Wat E

    Decaf

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • LocationCalifornia
  • Program:Material Science

Posted 23 July 2010 - 11:18 PM

I'm posting to bump the status of this thread since I am kind of in the same boat right now. Was really interesting and kind of comforting reading that other people have been in my same shoes. I figure there are others like me out there and just wanted them to have a chance to look at this too if they can...... so......... BUMP!!
  • 0

#54 belowthree

belowthree

    Mocha

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 316 posts
  • LocationCa, USA
  • Application Season:Already Attending
  • Program:Computer Science (PhD)

Posted 23 July 2010 - 11:41 PM

I'm posting to bump the status of this thread since I am kind of in the same boat right now. Was really interesting and kind of comforting reading that other people have been in my same shoes. I figure there are others like me out there and just wanted them to have a chance to look at this too if they can...... so......... BUMP!!


It's been a year and a half since I started this thread. It's great to see it's still helping people.

I think one of my favorite quotations so far is:

I'm not this neurotic in real life.


Oh do I remember that feeling. It's just so true. Application season was one of the most fraying experiences I've gone through, and I just finished a hell of a first year in grad school. There's just something about the application process that's truly terrible psychologically in a completely different way than 40 hour stretches in the lab are.

But let me tell you about the light at the end of the tunnel: A year and a half down the line, I've just finished my first year at my new institution. Over the last year I helped put together a new research group, passed and finished all the coursework required for my degree and on Tuesday the NSF agreed to fund the proposal I wrote to the tune of just under half a million dollars. With all the coursework out of the way and funding secured for the next three years, grad school is looking downright cozy.

Go get accepted and kick ass everyone!

Edited by belowthree, 23 July 2010 - 11:43 PM.

  • 0
My waiting is over: Applied: 11, Accepted: 4
Yes, my username does refer to my undergraduate GPA. (Phew! I sure am glad that doesn't matter anymore!)

#55 coyabean

coyabean

    Macchiato

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts
  • LocationGA
  • Application Season:Already Attending
  • Program:Private Almost Ivy

Posted 25 July 2010 - 11:06 PM

But let me tell you about the light at the end of the tunnel: A year and a half down the line, I've just finished my first year at my new institution. Over the last year I helped put together a new research group, passed and finished all the coursework required for my degree and on Tuesday the NSF agreed to fund the proposal I wrote to the tune of just under half a million dollars. With all the coursework out of the way and funding secured for the next three years, grad school is looking downright cozy.

Go get accepted and kick ass everyone!



I'll participate in the bumpage because this thread was immensely impactful early in my process. So, thanks bunches to belowthree for his or her candor and genorosity. If more of us were honest and open like this I think fewer wannabe grad students would feel so isolated and defeated before they even begin.

I'm not as far along as belowthree but here's my update so far:

With the "interesting transcript" (as it came to be called by mentor) that you can find in posts upstream I made it into four good to stellar programs. All but one was a PhD program and even that one was an MA/PhD. Two of the four were fully funded and I chose one that, while not an Ivy, is a Tier 1 private school with 5 years of guaranteed funding, a conference budget, and additional named fellowship on top of the standard stipend. In the social sciences. In a horrible year.

I met a women at a conference this weekend who was on the committee that read my app and she remembered me!

So, not only is it possible but it is very possible. We have to work a bit harder to find the right fit and the right people to give us fair consideration but it's out there.

So, chins up to all of us!

The best part? Remember that the minute you start your doctoral program no one seems to care about your UG. Some snits might be comparing pedigrees but it is, for the most part, a clean slate. Take full advantage. I intend to!
  • 0
Counting down...

#56 caizlurol

caizlurol

    Decaf

  • Retired
  • Pip
  • 14 posts

Posted 30 July 2010 - 11:32 PM

My undergraduate GPA was a 2.56 from a big name University.
Because I took out a loan instead of asking for funding, I went to a big name private University in NYC and graduated with an MA. For me, it was like starting over with a clean slate. I graduated with all A's and two A-.
My 2nd Masters was completed at a smaller public school and I finished that one with a 3.94 GPA.
My GRE math score was good... verbal score was bad!
So, I count on the fact that PhD programs will not look at my UG GPA. I hope that my 2 Masters GPAs will override these.
Good luck! It can be done!
  • 0

#57 abacus123

abacus123

    Decaf

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 15 posts
  • LocationNortheastern U.S.
  • Application Season:Already Attending
  • Program:Atmospheric Science

Posted 02 August 2010 - 02:48 PM

It seems a lot of folks are able to speak up for the social sciences, so I'll throw in a story from the physical side.

I went to an Ivy and graduated with a 3.14 GPA, mostly because I made Dean's List in three of my last four semesters (the GPA on my transcript that went with the apps was 3.07). I had research experience, extracirriculars, and a 1440 GRE. They knew I working on an honors thesis when I submitted my application, but it wasn't complete (which makes more of a difference than folks might realize; five people in my major started honors theses, and only two were finished, one of which was mine). I applied to four schools (in retrospect, I should've applied to a couple more). One school rejected me, two accepted me with partial funding, one accepted me with full funding.

A buddy of mine in the same major had around a 2.9. Took challenging courses, but grade-wise they really hurt him. He applied to six schools. Four rejected him, one gave him partial funding. The last was a school he did summer research at during his rising junior summer. They remembered him, remembered his quality of work, and gave him a full funding offer.

My research partner from an REU had only a 2.98 and went to a second-tier institution for our field. Applied to ten schools, rejected my eight. One school offered acceptance without funding. The last was the school where we did our REU. They accepted her with full funding.

In conclusion, it's not just about your GPA. It matters a lot because they want to make sure you can put up with rigorous class and research, but it's not the only factor they consider. Prior research, awards, and experience count for a lot as well.


  • 0

#58 RNadine21

RNadine21

    Double Shot

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 106 posts
  • Application Season:Not Applicable
  • Program:Marine Biology

Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:35 PM

A buddy of mine in the same major had around a 2.9. Took challenging courses, but grade-wise they really hurt him. He applied to six schools. Four rejected him, one gave him partial funding. The last was a school he did summer research at during his rising junior summer. They remembered him, remembered his quality of work, and gave him a full funding offer.

My research partner from an REU had only a 2.98 and went to a second-tier institution for our field. Applied to ten schools, rejected my eight. One school offered acceptance without funding. The last was the school where we did our REU. They accepted her with full funding.

In conclusion, it's not just about your GPA. It matters a lot because they want to make sure you can put up with rigorous class and research, but it's not the only factor they consider. Prior research, awards, and experience count for a lot as well.



So true. I was very worried about my GPA (ended with a 3.2 overall and 3.1 in my major) mostly because my major GPA was lower than my overall..and it was low in general. I applied to four schools, was accepted and took one offer before hearing from everyone else....surprise surprise, it's the school that I completed my REU at. They knew me, I knew them and the school and already loved it, it just fit. There was one school I would've preferred but I had to give my desicion to my school before I heard from the second school (Worked out better anyways, I didn't hear until around May that I had passed the cutoffs for the second school but still needed faculty support, and I doubt anyone would've had the funds for me by then).
  • 0

B.S. Marine Science/Biology, University of Miami (2010)
M.S. Marine Biology, College of Charleston (2013)

http://confessionsof...r.blogspot.com/


#59 starmaker

starmaker

    Mocha

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 359 posts
  • Program:Computer Science

Posted 13 October 2010 - 06:59 PM

I wanted to bump this thread, 'cause it made me happy to see.

My undergrad GPA was 2.5. I went to a top-10 school famed for its difficulty, and from sophomore year through senior year (and for nearly two years after I graduated), I had an undiagnosed sleep disorder that absolutely destroyed my concentration and my ability to commit anything to memory, and left me exhausted all the time. I thought it was all because of stress (until it continued after I graduated). I was sleeping 9 hours/night when I could, and I was still too tired to process what was being said in class (assuming I could even stay awake) and sometimes too tired to even go. When I studied for exams I would forget the previous sentence of the book or notes as soon as I moved on to the next one, and eventually curl up and take a nap. Looking back on it, I can't believe I still managed to graduate in four years.

Happily, once I got tested and diagnosed, I got treated. Successfully.

Since then I changed fields, from systems neuroscience to CS. I've been doing research in industry full-time for more than three years. I have two journal publications and a sole-author poster presentation (and I'm hoping to have at least two more publications by next fall, when I apply). I did a post-bac in CS while working full-time and am now a part-time MS student (and recipient of a merit scholarship that covers part of my tuition) while working full-time, with a solid GPA (I'm hoping to bring it up some more, though). I've won two competitive conference travel awards and been a co-author of two successful government grant applications. I have a huge amount of service to the field (e.g. through professional organizations) and to promoting underrepresented groups in the field. Basically, I am hoping to be a star in every way that I can except for undergrad GPA, and hoping that everything else will balance it out.

I'm planning to apply to programs ranging from the #1 in my field to completely unranked, and for a bunch of fellowships. I realize that I may not get in anywhere but the unranked program, if that, and that external fellowships are probably a long shot, but what you don't apply for, you definitely won't get.
  • 0

#60 lib87

lib87

    Decaf

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts
  • LocationUSA
  • Application Season:2013 Fall
  • Program:MSW

Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:59 AM

Thank goodness for this thread.:)

I'm a double major and I'm applying next fall for master's programs and my overall GPA will be just under a 3.0. I keep reading I'll need a 3.5 but it is nice to know as long as my grades show a constant improvement, and do well on my GRE, I'll have a good shot.
  • 0

Applied: 2 Schools

Accepted: 1/2

Denied: 0/2

Waitlisted: 1/2





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users