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Mid Tier to Top Tier Schools?


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I have a mediocre undergrad GPA of 3.3 so I'm currently applying to MS programs (animal science/microbiology) at some mid-tier R1 schools. I guess I'm just wondering if anyone can go from these schools into a top tier with sufficient research experience and GPA. It's not a huge factor, but I am the only person in my family to ever attend grad school so I feel the need to impress with a name everyone knows.   

Also editing to add that if I went for an animal science PhD instead of microbio, a lot of Ivy Leagues don't even have programs so top schools in this field are like Cornell, TAMU, UGA, UC Davis...

Edited by thundercloudz
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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm not sure if this is still an ongoing point of interest to you, but I claim without proof that there is nothing stopping you from climbing to a top school from any mid-tier MS program (or even maybe a low-ranked one). I think your opportunities will be limited by the research and work you put in and not where you came from. That just means that if you are somewhere that isn't a name brand school already, then you should try to make up for that by being fantastic (broadly construed).

My only evidence for this is that I'm in a family of a few grad students. Some of my siblings including myself went to small, regional, not prestigious undergrad institutions and then went on to excellent grad programs. You aren't condemned to mediocrity, which is not to say that you have a guarantee of something that will satisfy you.

Another thing to keep in mind: It's not worth going somewhere prestigious just to impress people. You need to really have passion to survive the toughest programs. Being the first in your family to go to grad school, there's no justification for the feeling that you're not good enough. Microbio is nothing to turn your nose at at any level.

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