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lowgpa

PhD with lowest possible UG gpa

Question

Background:

UG:Natural science, no paper, 2.0 GPA in a world top 20 school

Finance Master in a top 10 program, no research component, ongoing

A little work experience in finance

GRE >330

Due to personal issue, I must get in a PhD in 2018 or 2019,

I do not care about the quality of advisor or program specialized ranking; though the university general rank must be in world top 20. That is, only ivies, oxbridge or similar schools will be considered. Minimum = duke/hopkins

So my goal is to get in a lowly ranked program in a top ranked university. I am fine with self-funding. Are there any econ-finance, math-finance program, or related program which I may have a shot? Genenal programs in stats, quantitaive methods, business, apply math, and related programs are considerable, too. Just needing the easiest program to get in.

And, how should I prepare it this year? I need your suggestion for priority list:

  1. Contact profs and try to do research in my interested field, get strong letters
  2. Concentrate in one small field and contact prospective profs
  3. GRE subjects, math or other sciences
  4. Current GPA

PPS I heard about Yale and lots of other school reject GPA < 3 even if the prof took you. Is it true?

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9 answers to this question

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I would imagine your GPA in your finance MA is more significant at this stage than your undergrad GPA. You don't say what that is, but I fear that if both your undergrad and grad GPA's are low you may struggle to convince any PhD programme in the top 20 to take you, especially as most of them have a rule that if you don't average a B grade in classes you will be put on probation. This is probably why you have heard that schools reject anyone with GPA's below 3.0. Therefore, I would say focus on doing as well as possible in your MA and proving that you could maintain a graduate level that they would be happy with.

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I know it is nosy, but what kind of personal issue requires you to start a PhD in a top 20 university within the next two years?

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Congrats on your offers! You are my idol now.

In many countries in the world, your school names will add a decisive weight into potential marriage proposals, succession preference, and job offers, while nobody is caring about your specific program rank.

My situation is related to those described.

Please understand that I cannot be more specific.

I am interested in your preparation efforts, portfolios, and the offers. Could you please share a link, if possible?

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7 hours ago, istanbulnotconstantinople said:

I would imagine your GPA in your finance MA is more significant at this stage than your undergrad GPA. You don't say what that is, but I fear that if both your undergrad and grad GPA's are low you may struggle to convince any PhD programme in the top 20 to take you, especially as most of them have a rule that if you don't average a B grade in classes you will be put on probation. This is probably why you have heard that schools reject anyone with GPA's below 3.0. Therefore, I would say focus on doing as well as possible in your MA and proving that you could maintain a graduate level that they would be happy with.

 

6 hours ago, Feanor said:

I know it is nosy, but what kind of personal issue requires you to start a PhD in a top 20 university within the next two years?

 

To Istanbul: I have not finished the master yet. I could be sure that my graduate average will be >3.0, and highly possibly >3.5

 

To Feanor: Thanks for your reply, too. My explanation is updated above.

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For an MA - this may be easier to accomplish (the whole world ranking top 20 thing) as there are many terminal, non-funded MAs, but PhD programs for the top schools globally are highly competitive so making sure your current GPA is stellar and writing a SOP that shows you are completely dedicated to research and teaching would be essential. If your are trying to get a phd for other strategic purposes, writing the SOP may be the most difficult part for you. So doing research on the schools that you have a chance with and making sure that EVERY aspect of your application is going to be competitive - there's really no way around this. Also, one of the schools I applied to (an Ivy) didn't even ask for my MA GPA and only asked for UGPA - of course, I was able to upload all my transcripts, but in the section of the application where one inputs GPA, there was no blank for MA GPA. Just FYI. 

If you want to get into a top 20 school - that makes it easy because you can look at all 20 schools in the top 20 and really research which programs go best with your strengths and apply to all of these. Willing to be self-funded doesn't really make that big of a difference because there aren't (at least to my knowledge) programs that have two tracks of admissions - every applicant competes with every other applicant. A lot of private schools don't even ask how you're going to fund your studies, even if you happen to be an international student (many public schools, however, will ask you this). So being able to fund yourself won't be a competitive advantage. 

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58 minutes ago, DBear said:

For an MA - this may be easier to accomplish (the whole world ranking top 20 thing) as there are many terminal, non-funded MAs, but PhD programs for the top schools globally are highly competitive so making sure your current GPA is stellar and writing a SOP that shows you are completely dedicated to research and teaching would be essential. If your are trying to get a phd for other strategic purposes, writing the SOP may be the most difficult part for you. So doing research on the schools that you have a chance with and making sure that EVERY aspect of your application is going to be competitive - there's really no way around this. Also, one of the schools I applied to (an Ivy) didn't even ask for my MA GPA and only asked for UGPA - of course, I was able to upload all my transcripts, but in the section of the application where one inputs GPA, there was no blank for MA GPA. Just FYI. 

If you want to get into a top 20 school - that makes it easy because you can look at all 20 schools in the top 20 and really research which programs go best with your strengths and apply to all of these. Willing to be self-funded doesn't really make that big of a difference because there aren't (at least to my knowledge) programs that have two tracks of admissions - every applicant competes with every other applicant. A lot of private schools don't even ask how you're going to fund your studies, even if you happen to be an international student (many public schools, however, will ask you this). So being able to fund yourself won't be a competitive advantage. 

Helpful, indeed. I am in concern that most US PhD programs weigh more on uGPA than master gpa. 

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Your preparative steps look good, and I'd focus on the research and on obtaining letters. For European schools, this may be all that's needed to gain admission. But yes, most U.S. schools (not just the top 20 but virtually all schools that have PhD programs) require a minimum GPA of 3.0. Many programs will automatically reject candidates with less than a 3.0, and even for programs that are willing to recommend a candidate for admission, there's always the chance that the decision will be overturned by the university.

That said, be sure to apply to grad schools with the right goals in mind. There is no reason for which you absolutely need a top 20 school. You can get a decent education from a lot of different schools. Think twice before applying blindly without regard to your program or research interests. Give it some time, work in a few fields/industries, and see where your interests take you before applying. And as far as reputation goes, you will be much more respected in the field and overall if you pick a school that's right for you than if you follow name and prestige. Good luck!

Edited by ThousandsHardships

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17 hours ago, ThousandsHardships said:

Your preparative steps look good, and I'd focus on the research and on obtaining letters. For European schools, this may be all that's needed to gain admission. But yes, most U.S. schools (not just the top 20 but virtually all schools that have PhD programs) require a minimum GPA of 3.0. Many programs will automatically reject candidates with less than a 3.0, and even for programs that are willing to recommend a candidate for admission, there's always the chance that the decision will be overturned by the university.

That said, be sure to apply to grad schools with the right goals in mind. There is no reason for which you absolutely need a top 20 school. You can get a decent education from a lot of different schools. Think twice before applying blindly without regard to your program or research interests. Give it som

e time, work in a few fields/industries, and see where your interests take you before applying. And as far as reputation goes, you will be much more respected in the field and overall if you pick a school that's right for you than if you follow name and prestige. Good luck!

On 2/10/2017 at 10:42 PM, lowgpa said:

Congrats on your offers! You are my idol now.

In many countries in the world, your school names will add a decisive weight into potential marriage proposals, succession preference, and job offers, while nobody is caring about your specific program rank.

My situation is related to those described.

Please understand that I cannot be more specific.

I am interested in your preparation efforts, portfolios, and the offers. Could you please share a link, if possible?

OP has reasons to prefer the name brand and is somewhat indifferent to the actual quality of the education for those stated reasons.

The thing about this thread I don't get is why someone who manged to get into a "Finance Master in a top 10 program" with a 2.0 from a "world top 20" thinks anyone here can offer BETTER advice on how to get into a top program with a low GPA. Seems like OP nailed the impossible - 2.0 GPA --> Top 10! Is anyone on this board going to be able to beat that?

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Posted (edited)

32 minutes ago, Entangled Phantoms said:

OP has reasons to prefer the name brand and is somewhat indifferent to the actual quality of the education for those stated reasons.

The thing about this thread I don't get is why someone who manged to get into a "Finance Master in a top 10 program" with a 2.0 from a "world top 20" thinks anyone here can offer BETTER advice on how to get into a top program with a low GPA. Seems like OP nailed the impossible - 2.0 GPA --> Top 10! Is anyone on this board going to be able to beat that?

Oops, I didn't realize that post was by the same person as the original post. Thanks for pointing it out. And good point -- getting into a top 10 school for a master's already sounds like a pretty impossible feat. That said, I personally dropped out of a PhD program after several miserable years, and I would not have gone into the program if I could go back and do it over. Attempting this PhD has been more of a hindrance to my career than it has been a help. Of course, that's not to say that everyone who starts a PhD without a clear academic goal is bound to leave without the degree, but genuine interest and a sense of direction can play a larger role than one might think in success and emotional wellbeing.

Edited by ThousandsHardships

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