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Low GPA, High GRE, Research Experience and Grad School


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Hi everyone,

I want to enter the Biology/Zoology PhD programs at the following universities: University of Miami, Louisiana State, Portland State, University of Hawaii, Washington State, UC Irvince

My stats: I have an undergrad GPA of 3.01 from the University of British Columbia and earned a 1320 on my GRE (770Q, 550V, 5.0AW). I have 2.5 years of research experience in the lab I did my undergrad thesis (have a co-authorship on a paper that includes significant data from my thesis). I will probably get another co-author on a paper as I am pretty much doing the pilots for the grad student's experiments.

My GPA is low because I came out to my family and I was pretty much rejected by them. This caused me to become depressed and I just couldn't handle it, so my 2nd term sophmore/1st term junior year grades dropped (C+ avg). However, my grades increased in the 2nd term of my junior year and dramatically in my senior year. I also took a genetics course that was composed of graduate and undergrad students (essentially a graduate level course, except that us undergrads didn't have to do a presentation) and I earned a B+ in it.

I have three strong letters of recommendation: the first from my current PI/thesis supervisor, the second from a prof who is very well known and respected in his field and the third from a prof who is internationally known (all comparative physiologists know his work).

My SOP is solid and covers everything, but it's concise and not verbose.

So what are my chances of being accepted? I'd really like to go to Miami since they have awesome facilities and a great research team in the lab I want to join. The second professor I mentioned talked to the profs from Miami and Louisiana on my behalf at a conference, and they said they were interested. Does this mean they'll go to bat for me?

Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

P.S. I'm Hispanic and an immigrant from South America, and I hold Canadian citizenship. Will this help my chances as well?

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It sounds like this should probably be in the Biology forum. It also sounds like you'd have a great application with your research experience and publications. The fact that your GPA is on the upswing is a good thing and will mitigate your lowish GPA. Your LORs sound good and since the most important parts of your application are your research experience, SOP and LORs I think you should have a good shot, but ask in the Biology subforum.

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