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Low Undergrad GPA Stanford PhD program Possible?


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I am planning to apply to Stanford's Earth System Science for PhD program next year. I am an international student but, I received both my Bachelor and Master degrees from the United States. My undergrad college was a small college from Midwest but, relatively well known. I did my Master at the OSU. My GPA was below 3 during undergrad due to medical conditions I was going through. I took 2 years off after graduation and worked as lab technician for those years. I worked my butt off during Master degree and finished it with GPA 3.95. I will have four 2 peer review papers as first author and 2 extension publications (one as first author and one as second author) which will be published or at the stage of being reviewed by the time I apply the school. There is another public policy paper that I will be writing in collaboration with an developmental organization  from Asia but, I don't know it will be published by that time. My previous GRE score was 305 for verbal and quantitative but, I am retaking it again soon. Do you guys think my very low undergrad GPA will be a problem for Stanford when I have 3.95 from OSU? Please let me know if there is anything I can improve my stat. 

Edited by asone88
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Generally speaking, grad programs look at your most recent coursework first, starting with your grad degree and privileging your major coursework over electives and non major work.... and your undergrad maybe not mattering much at all.

IMO your MA speaks to your ability now in addition to your publications. If you want to improve your CV, I would suggest funding or publications, the more prestigious (nationally known journals or the major journals of your field) the better. Your LOR should also speak to your current work ethic and research skills. If you are worried about your undergrad still, you can speak to it in your SOP but I think you are okay.

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Sorry for the lack of clarity! Two of the top things that "build" your CV (resume) or attractiveness as a candidate are funding (awards, scholarships, grants, etc) and (peer reviewed) publication. Win a cash award at a conference (often a student paper competition, they have these for grads and undergrads), get your department or school to give you money for research (even travel to a conference) show you are capable of convincing people to give you money... i.e., you are competitive and attractive as a researcher/candidate. From Karen Kelsky (an amazing academic career advisor):

IV.  Principle of Peer Review.  

The organizing principle of the CV is prioritizing peer review and competitiveness. Professional appointments are extremely competitive, and go first. Publications are highly competitive, and go second, with peer reviewed publications taking place of honor. Awards and honors reveal high levels of competition, as do fellowships and grants. Invited talks suggest a higher level of individual recognition and honor than a volunteered paper to a conference—this is reflected in the order. Teaching in this context, ie, as a list of courses taught, is not competitive, and thus is de-prioritized. Extra training you seek yourself, voluntarily, is fundamentally non-competitive. Etc. Etc.


Edited by Fantasmapocalypse
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I hope it helps! I've found The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky to be extremely helpful. She also runs a blog, which you can google and find a lot of free advice there. While she has experience as an R1 program chair/department head, it is in the social sciences, so you will want to check with a trusted person in your field for some verification on specifics. However, I think she has some superb advice in general about writing compelling and concise documents.

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