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Pisteuein

[Seeking advice] Low GPA of the other major (ish)

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Hello all, I am becoming a college senior this fall and I am making my list of schools (MA? not sure yet) to apply to at this moment. Kind of in lost for the tiers of school to consider as "reach" or "safety", I am seeking your advice.

My situation is a bit complicated: I am currently double majoring in biology and classics. My biology GPA is kind of low (3.2 ish), while my classics GPA is higher (3.7 ish). I have conducted independent research in biology and have a publication on the way, but I am having trouble sparing time for my last few courses to complete my bio major graduation requirement. Therefore, I am considering dropping the bio major to concentrate on classics and grad school applications (sadly my school does not have a bio minor option). However, I worry that the low overall GPA would affect my chances to get into good schools. My professors said the Classics awards I had won in college would increase my chances, and experiences in science could be a good thing in applying to classics grad schools, but now honestly I don't know if or how much my low GPA in biology would pull me down. Should I apply to more safety schools and less prestigious schools for this reason?

All thoughts appreciated! Thanks!

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For masters-level programs I wouldn't stress out too much about GPA. Apply everywhere you would seriously want to go and focus on where you want to go next in your studies. That being said, as someone with a Classics background I would urge you to reconsider trying to make a career in Classics. There are jobs teaching Latin in high schools but that is IT. It's a fantastic transition into any other field in the Humanities, if you're looking at a PhD, but I would strongly discourage you from considering Classics for anything more than a two year masters, including work.

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Posted (edited)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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On 7/6/2019 at 1:16 PM, OmniscienceQuest said:

For masters-level programs I wouldn't stress out too much about GPA. Apply everywhere you would seriously want to go and focus on where you want to go next in your studies. That being said, as someone with a Classics background I would urge you to reconsider trying to make a career in Classics. There are jobs teaching Latin in high schools but that is IT. It's a fantastic transition into any other field in the Humanities, if you're looking at a PhD, but I would strongly discourage you from considering Classics for anything more than a two year masters, including work.

Hi OmniscienceQuest,

Thank you for your advice. I will see what I would think about my future career after I graduate from my MA, but what I think right now is just to study and teach Latin and Greek, even meaning that I have to go back to my home country (international student here) and teach them in my high school if I cannot get a teaching position in a post-secondary institution here in the States.

Edited by Pisteuein

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Major GPA is more important than overall GPA. Ideally, in your SoP you'd explain why your bio/overall GPA is lower, which is often easier if your grades have improved over the course of undergrad.

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I agree with Marcus_Aurelius; I had an even lower overall GPA (below a 3.0) and managed to get into my first MA program (Museum Studies) as a conditional admission, ended with a 3.89. I had no issue getting into Villanova (I even received a Tuition Scholarship!) and my current GPA is a 3.92. I think you'll be fine! Just address anything that you're concerned about in your SoP, and you should be golden. 

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On 7/14/2019 at 10:13 AM, Marcus_Aurelius said:

Major GPA is more important than overall GPA. Ideally, in your SoP you'd explain why your bio/overall GPA is lower, which is often easier if your grades have improved over the course of undergrad.

Thank you!

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On 7/25/2019 at 6:51 PM, ClassicsCandidate said:

I agree with Marcus_Aurelius; I had an even lower overall GPA (below a 3.0) and managed to get into my first MA program (Museum Studies) as a conditional admission, ended with a 3.89. I had no issue getting into Villanova (I even received a Tuition Scholarship!) and my current GPA is a 3.92. I think you'll be fine! Just address anything that you're concerned about in your SoP, and you should be golden. 

Thank you!

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I'd list your major GPA alongside your overall GPA on your CV, etc., and not worry about it beyond that. I was in a similar situation (a bio minor lowered my overall GPA because of chem classes that I had to take), but I ended up at a pretty well-respected PhD program anyway. If you need more time to devote to grad apps though, I'd recommend dropping your bio research instead of dropping the major entirely. I wish that I had made my bio minor into a major-- graduating with a B.S. in addition to my classics B.A. would have made me feel a lot better about career backups if classics doesn't work out for me!

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I was in a very similar situation to you last year as, while applying to PhD programs, I had to explain why my pre-med gpa was bringing down my whole GPA. 

One avenue you might wish to consider is *highlighting* your scientific background as that professor said to you. It's not as much of a deal with the literary aspects of classics, but on the historical side of it the incorporation of scientific evidence is becoming more and more important to the field. Advertising that you are well-trained to handle this data (especially if you can find a way to incorporate it into the "project" you're pitching in your application) could be very good for you. 

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