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JV2554

Film Studies student who feels lost

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I'm new to this website, so sorry if I'm not posting this in the right spot.

 

I could really, really use some help, because I don't know what I'm doing. I've been so excited about possibly going to grad school for a year now (looking for Masters in Film Studies) but the more I look, the more I think I just don't have the resume to get me into a school. I had a 2.94 GPA as an undergrad at UW-Madison, hurt due to the non-ComArts classes I had to take, and I know all the studying in the world won't change the putrid math score I'm going to get on the GRE. Where does that leave me? I'm still looking for schools, but have no idea which ones I'd have a shot at. Can someone please help me out?

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A few things:

If you're concerned about your GPA, you might consider trying to raise it by completing some relevant coursework as a student-at-large at a local university or community college. Graduate schools often require a 3.0 or higher undergrad GPA, so I would look at the admissions requirements for programs you're interested in and see if this is something worth considering. If there's a scenario in which you're able to complete some graduate coursework without enrolling in a program, that might be a good opportunity to both raise your GPA and demonstrate to an admissions committee that you're ready for grad school. For example, before grad school, I worked for an institution affiliated with a university, and received tuition remission as part of my benefits package, which enabled me to take a graduate seminar in my field essentially for free. It's not necessarily an experience I would recommend if you have to pay any significant amount of money to do it, but I did find it to be a helpful way to transition from undergrad to grad-level work, and it certainly didn't hurt me in the admissions process.

With regards to the GRE, again, I would look at the admissions requirements for programs you're interested in. Some programs don't require the GRE anymore, or have made it optional. Some programs won't be all that interested in your math score, or maybe even your GRE scores to begin with, but the graduate school more broadly may require you to meet a certain score minimum for admission, or to be eligible for certain funding opportunities. So, if you have to take the GRE, study, do the best you can, but definitely do some research first on programs you'd like to apply to before deciding how much to worry about the test.

Finally, keep in mind that while GRE scores and GPA do matter to an extent, there are other areas of your application that arguably matter more, and that you still have some control over: your statement of purpose, your writing sample, your letters of recommendation. Focusing on crafting a strong SOP and writing sample, on obtaining strong letters of recommendation, and making sure you're applying to places that are a good fit for you will all be important aspects of your application.

 

 

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I'm not a film studies student, but I would stress less. A 2.94 is definitely not great, but as long as you aren't expecting to get into a PhD program, which you said you aren't, then you're doing ok. MA programs tend to be for further development anyway. But, with a bad GPA, that does mean you're going to have to strengthen yourself in other areas. Look at programs that don't require the GRE. Explain in your SOP why you have a bad GPA. Also, if you're bad grades are only in courses not related to your field (or the program's field), then they will probably notice that. Have a kick-ass writing sample (that's a thing for film studies, right? Or do you mean making films?) 

Hopefully this helps!

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