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Taking post-bacc to improve my admission chances


Alienman
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I've decided to pursue my master's in aerospace engineering after getting my BS in 2013, but as I am now I stand no chance of getting accepted to a decent program.

-My overall GPA for undergrad was 3.0, major GPA 2.9

-I got C's and D's on a couple of core courses

-I did not have any internships or co-ops in undergrad, and I was unable to find employment in my field (I had family obligations that meant I was only available for part-time work; that has since changed but the gap on my resume is conspicuous)

I'm not looking to get into a top-5 program; rather, I'm looking at lower-tier R1 schools.  Even so, I recognize that on paper, I don't amount to much.  I can probably get 95th percentile on the GRE Quantitative and 80th percentile on verbal, but I understand that the GRE doesn't amount to much on its own.

To boost my competitiveness, I've decided to enroll at a local college to take/retake some higher-level courses on a part-time basis.  My hope is that by doing well in these classes and engaging with the professors, I can improve my record and get letters of rec as well.  The thing is, there is very little information about post-bacc programs *anywhere,* except for the ones to do with med school.  I don't know what to expect, I don't know how applications will work, I don't know where I can find more info, and I especially don't know how to optimize the time I spend doing this.

Is there anywhere with more information about this sort of thing?  Has anybody here done something similar?

Apologies if this is the wrong forum.

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On 3/29/2018 at 7:32 PM, Alienman said:

I've decided to pursue my master's in aerospace engineering after getting my BS in 2013, but as I am now I stand no chance of getting accepted to a decent program.

-My overall GPA for undergrad was 3.0, major GPA 2.9

-I got C's and D's on a couple of core courses

-I did not have any internships or co-ops in undergrad, and I was unable to find employment in my field (I had family obligations that meant I was only available for part-time work; that has since changed but the gap on my resume is conspicuous)

I'm not looking to get into a top-5 program; rather, I'm looking at lower-tier R1 schools.  Even so, I recognize that on paper, I don't amount to much.  I can probably get 95th percentile on the GRE Quantitative and 80th percentile on verbal, but I understand that the GRE doesn't amount to much on its own.

To boost my competitiveness, I've decided to enroll at a local college to take/retake some higher-level courses on a part-time basis.  My hope is that by doing well in these classes and engaging with the professors, I can improve my record and get letters of rec as well.  The thing is, there is very little information about post-bacc programs *anywhere,* except for the ones to do with med school.  I don't know what to expect, I don't know how applications will work, I don't know where I can find more info, and I especially don't know how to optimize the time I spend doing this.

Is there anywhere with more information about this sort of thing?  Has anybody here done something similar?

Apologies if this is the wrong forum.

A lot of schools, even good ones, accept non-degree students abd allow them to enroll in classes that are taken by current graduate students. I did this when switching fields/careers, not for GPA reasons. There was a very good R1 university near where I worked and I took 4 classes as a non-degree student. My professors in these classes wrote my recommendations for when I applied to the graduate program. Obviously you would need to do well in coursework, but a lot of schools (I talked to other people in similar situations) are willing to take a chance on someone their professors have personally seen do very well. 

The obvious downside to what I did was I had to pay for the 4 courses - $4k total. And I did get an RA for my MS because one of my recommenders mentioned my name to couple of profs looking for students. 

As long as you are above thay magic 3.0 mark, I think you will have little trouble enrolling as a non-degree student at most schools.

Good luck. If you get a chance to get things back on track, work like hell to establish yourself.

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To get better recommendations is not just about taking classes and the grade, but engaging with the professors and maybe getting some RA experience with them. 

Your CV seems pretty thin. You also have to take into account that lower R1 universities have a lower number of fellowships and you will depend on professors for funding. You have to pick up skills they will find useful in their labs. So basically you could technically get admitted to a program, but then you don't get funding. 

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