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Should I Apply For Grad School Or Not?

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Hello Everyone!

I was an international student. I finished my undergraduate study in the US. I spent my first 2 years in a state university studying engineering, then I transferred to a public university which has a prestigious (commonly ranked as top 10) engineering program, and got a computer engineering degree there.

Unfortunately, my GPA is low. I have a decent GPA in the first two years, however ever since I transferred, I had a hard time coping with pressure at this university which is known for its competitive environment. Also, some family emergencies also made me burned out. In the end, I graduated with a cumulative 4-year GPA around 3.03, where my last two year GPA is around 2.5. So I just directly gave up applying for grad schools.

Then I went back to my home country and started to work for a US software company as an SDE, where most of my colleagues hold master degrees. I worked pretty hard and I also read through programming books and study OS stuff, hoping that I can bridge the gap between my peers and me. It's been 1 year and a half now, and my manager was pretty satisfied with my performance. My performance rating is above the company median and I just got promoted. 

I still hope that I can head back to graduate school one day. But there are a lot of questions.

1. Most schools set the minimum GPA requirement to 3. I don't have a good GPA growing trend, so I don't know which school should I apply for.

2. My company is not very well-known and I feel that I can learn very little from my current position now. After one year of work, I feel that I have learned most stuff required for this position. Also, my manager is reluctant to let me pursue a graduate degree. Should I change my job first? Should I work another year before applying for grad school?

Thank you in advance.


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Hi there,

I think something you should consider is that there are many different masters programs, for every type of student!! Meaning that you can find a masters program that will accept lower grades. Of course that would mean that it might not be the best program in your area, but might still be worth it! 


Now, on the other hand, you already have a job. And it seems like you are doing well. So it might not be worth it to drop everything and go to graduate school, unless you go to a graduate program that will give you more advantage in your field of work. For example you don’t want to go to a so so graduate program just to end up in a similar job as the one you are right now! ( Because in this case you pretty much spend 1-2 years in school, plus paid a significant amount and did not move up professionally wise!) 

That’s my personal option, I hope it helps!!

Just keep in mind, you can still apply to graduate school and see where you get in. You might be surprised!

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  • 2 weeks later...

RE whether you should apply: the short answer is yes. You need to let yourself explore this if it's something that's been on your mind for some time (which it sounds like it has been).

You made a big leap from the state school to the more reputable public university. Your cumulative GPA is 3.03, which is above the minimum. 

You then succeeded in your work environment in applying all this knowledge. You were promoted and have solid a performance rating.

These are positive things. You need to focus on the positive aspects. Highlight these and be confident. This is life and you need to fend for yourself.

RE your job: It sounds as though you heave reached the ceiling there. It is natural for employees and people to want to grow. Any good manager should understand this. Whether or not your manager "wants" you to pursue a masters is irrelevant. You can still be respectful to this person, but ultimately you need to think about yourself and do what is best for you. N

Apply. It will not be easy. Don't delay a year; you might just learn from this year's applications what you need to do next year and be able to fulfill your ambitions. 

Good luck!

Edited by mr_grad
fixed GPS > GPA
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