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GPA: Am I screwed for T10 CS PhD programs?


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I'm a second-year undergrad in computer science at a fairly prestigious undergrad, interested in applying for PhD. At this point in the semester I'm almost certainly guaranteed to get a B in two of my classes due to a combination of general unfamiliarity with the subject material and punting what could have been study time to focus on research instead. Both of these classes are major requirements, although not directly related to my research interests. So far, my transcript has been all A's. I know that just these two grades aren't going to affect things that much, but it gives me less of a buffer for future semesters, which I am concerned about.

I have the option to put neither, one, or both of these classes on pass/fail. Should I? On the one hand, a B on the transcript is a better indicator of performance than a P, but on the other hand, I don't know if my GPA will eventually become a limiting factor when I apply to grad schools.

I know many of you are probably sick and tired of hearing undergrads complain about grades, but this has been bothering me for a while. Thanks in advance for helping me out :')

Edited by frobenius
removed tldr for clarity
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Getting into top PhD programs tends to require: high GPA; research experience; publications and presentations; relevant work experience; excellent references, personal statement, research proposal, and standardized test scores (depending on program); and a bit of luck.

Focus on other things besides GPA while in undergrad. Getting a good one matters, but it wont be enough.

Edited by BTF
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