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MA GPA vs Undergrad GPA


vx138
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I know there are a lot of posts here regarding the importance of GPA but I haven't found one that explicitly address this question: I am applying to programs this cycle from a well-regarded MA program. I have a 4.00 in that program, however my cumulative undergrad gpa was 3.68 (3.88 in philosophy courses). Should I be concerned about my somewhat middling undergrad GPA? I decided not to address it/worry about it given that I assumed that my MA performance would be the most relevant factor for adcoms, but now I'm second guessing myself. Please feel free to give me honest answers. I can handle the cold hard truth!  

 

Edit:  I should clarify that I am aiming for many top 20 PGR ranked schools. I know that the competitiveness of these programs means that every little detail can matter. 

Edited by vx138
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Take all of this with a grain of salt. I'm sure that others will disagree.

Undergrad GPA is generally more important than MA GPA. MA grades are usually much higher than undergrad grades. That is, there are many people like you, with middling undergrad grades (as far as students looking at grad programs) and stellar MA grades. That being said, undergrad grades in philosophy are more important than undergrad grades overall, so you should be fine. Your philosophy GPA is very competitive.

The value of an MA for admissions is not in accumulating more grades. Rather, it's in the courses you took, your writing sample (assuming that you developed it from something you worked on during the MA), and letters of recommendation (since the MA presents opportunities to work closely with profs).

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20 minutes ago, PolPhil said:

Take all of this with a grain of salt. I'm sure that others will disagree.

Undergrad GPA is generally more important than MA GPA. MA grades are usually much higher than undergrad grades. That is, there are many people like you, with middling undergrad grades (as far as students looking at grad programs) and stellar MA grades. That being said, undergrad grades in philosophy are more important than undergrad grades overall, so you should be fine. Your philosophy GPA is very competitive.

The value of an MA for admissions is not in accumulating more grades. Rather, it's in the courses you took, your writing sample (assuming that you developed it from something you worked on during the MA), and letters of recommendation (since the MA presents opportunities to work closely with profs).

Many thanks for the response.  This all seems to make good sense. 

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19 minutes ago, HomoLudens said:

Don't worry about it. You will be fine with that GPA. Are you at UToronto? Canadian schools tend to have less grade inflation, so having your gpa isn't that big of a deal. 

Thanks for the response.  I am not at UToronto. I attended a liberal arts college in the US for my undergrad. 

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To echo what others are saying, you should not be worried about that GPA. It will meet all of the cutoffs that exist at any school that matters. But you might be cut out for other reasons.

You should be most concerned about your writing sample and your letters of recommendation.

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1 hour ago, Duns Eith said:

To echo what others are saying, you should not be worried about that GPA. It will meet all of the cutoffs that exist at any school that matters. But you might be cut out for other reasons.

You should be most concerned about your writing sample and your letters of recommendation.

Many thanks for the response. Luckily, I feel quite confident in my sample/letters so hopefully you're right with regard to my GPA. 

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On 1/15/2021 at 3:47 PM, vx138 said:

Many thanks for the response. Luckily, I feel quite confident in my sample/letters so hopefully you're right with regard to my GPA. 

I hope you get into a great program. Just because you have met a pile of necessary conditions, I hope it is clear we make no pretense to claim to have found jointly-sufficient conditions for your acceptance. If you have 20 applications in at schools with about a 5% acceptance rate, you've got better odds than a coin-flip!

May the odds be ever in your favor

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10 hours ago, Duns Eith said:

I hope you get into a great program. Just because you have met a pile of necessary conditions, I hope it is clear we make no pretense to claim to have found jointly-sufficient conditions for your acceptance. If you have 20 applications in at schools with about a 5% acceptance rate, you've got better odds than a coin-flip!

May the odds be ever in your favor

Actually, the odds are a bit worse than that because many of the same students will be accepted at more than a few programs. So, even if all programs have an acceptance rate of 5% (say, 10/200 students) but aim for a class of 5 students, you apply to 20 programs, and there are 400 students applying to those programs, your odds of getting in can be as low as 25%. Obviously the numbers aren't quite as straightforward as that, since there are more students applying to more programs, sometimes an abnormally high proportion of acceptees matriculate, etc., but the point is that the rate of matriculation is a better indicator of your overall likelihood of acceptance

Edited by PolPhil
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On 1/17/2021 at 7:47 AM, PolPhil said:

Actually, the odds are a bit worse than that because many of the same students will be accepted at more than a few programs. So, even if all programs have an acceptance rate of 5% (say, 10/200 students) but aim for a class of 5 students, you apply to 20 programs, and there are 400 students applying to those programs, your odds of getting in can be as low as 25%. Obviously the numbers aren't quite as straightforward as that, since there are more students applying to more programs, sometimes an abnormally high proportion of acceptees matriculate, etc., but the point is that the rate of matriculation is a better indicator of your overall likelihood of acceptance

I can tell you did better than the 7th percentile on the quant portion of the GRE, i.e., I can't do this kind of math. 

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