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Hey all! I just joined GradCafe, and I am so stoked but also nervous about the fact that applying for grad schools is just around the corner. Right now I am feeling so nervous because I know my credentials are not where they need to be. I'm graduating early in December, but since most grad schools don't do spring start and heading straight to grad school with no break would be INSANE, I am planning on finishing out my lease here. Then I'll be applying for summer and fall start dates at multiple schools. I have a few school ideas, which I'll state down below. I plan to earn a Masters in Social Work, potentially with a concentration in mental health. First, I wanted to give you an idea of my stats (no judgment--from the threads I have read so many of you have intensive experience and stellar GPAs :/ ): Undergraduate Degree @ University of South Carolina -- Experimental Psychology major with two minors: Social Work; Counselor Education GPA - 3.0 overall, should be closer to a 3.1 by the time I graduate (Yes, I know, it's low...it's not horrible, but if college had been a little less rocky I could have done super well ) Member of Psi Chi, International Honors Society in Psychology Member of a panhellenic sorority through which I have volunteered and participated in philanthropy events Was in charge of a philanthropy within my sorority where sisters help a local blind man with every day tasks This is it so far, however I have a few plans under my belt that I am almost positive I can follow through with: This semester I will be completing at least 45 service hours with a local organization that provides lower-income individuals with housing (definitely happening, it's a part of a practicum I'm taking) If all goes well, I plan to intern in Rome for 8 weeks with a social service organization this summer. I should be working about 20 hours a week. I plan to join Delta Alpha Pi, an Honors Society for people with disabilities (I have severe depression which has contributed to my mediocre GPA). I plan to get involved with the Undergraduate Social Work Student Association at my school. I haven't taken the GRE yet, so it could definitely still be a factor in boosting the impressiveness of my application. I am a strong reader and writer. If anyone has specific tips about the GRE, please let me know! ^^^So this is what I plan to achieve before I have to do applications (in the fall for the summer 2019 start, and in the winter for the fall 2019 start I suppose). For some reason, I have had a hard time finding paid opportunities/internships in the city of Columbia that are geared towards psychology or social work. I am going to keep looking, but the opportunities seem few and far between. That being said...what do you all think? What are some things you suggest I do, between now and the time I apply, to make my application as impressive as possible? I know I can't take back my GPA, but I can try to make up for it in other respects. From what I have read on here, those with low GPAs have been able to impress graduate schools in other ways. Again, if yo've got tips, let me know! Lastly, I wanted to list some schools that I am considering. I am going to rank them in order of my interest right now. If any of you know anything about these school's admission rates or have any specific insider info about a school, PLEASE contact me. I would love to get in touch with some of you and potentially ease my fears about applying for grad school! Here's my list: 1. University of Denver 2. San Diego State University 3. University of Southern California (the other USC...hehe) 4. Arizona State University 5. Florida International University and some maybes: Cal State - Long Beach; San Jose State University; Metropolitan State University of Denver As you can see, I really want to go far away and preferably out west (I've lived in SC my entire life). I am not sure about the admission rates of these schools, though I have heard that SDSU and USC are more competitive. I would love to hear thoughts on your experience with applying (especially to any of the schools above), selectiveness of these schools, my potential chances of getting in, and their quality of education. Thank you for anyone who actually took the time to read all of this!!! Any help at all would be so appreciated, even if it is constructive criticism. ~PeaceLoveSocialWork~