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How to play off a bad semester (MechE)


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Hello all,

I"ve found myself in a poor situation of my own making. Through both my own lack of dedication to my classwork and its increasing difficulty, I landed a 3.2 this semester at UIUC. My cumulative GPA is 3.7. This ends my sophomore year but I have decided to graduate one year early with a physics minor and I am applying straight to PhD in the fall.  I am very worried how this trend will look to admission officers at top programs. Some things that might offset this are that I've taken max credit load for three of the four semesters I've been in undergrad so far (should have started laying off earlier). I'm onto my third research position this summer and this one will be relevant to what I want to do in grad school (MEMS/NEMS). I've already decided to tone down my class load to ensure this doesn't happen again (My PI recommended against doing to much at once, especially as I will continue to research for him into the school year) and I think I could get a couple pretty good letters of recommendation. Is there anything else I can do to offset this deficiency other than try to get as much funding before grad school as possible?  

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  • 1 month later...

You'll have the opportunity to explain any deficiencies in your resume through the SOP. One bad quarter absolutely won't kill you, particularly if you took it as a learning experience and improved the next quarter. It may even be a positive to some professors/adcoms, showing that you were able to adjust from a mistake in the past.

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