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really worried about this one grade...


votanor

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Hi I just signed up. going for an MA in experimental psychology. undergrad gpa was not so good (2.85) and gre is okay but not amazing (1240: 570q 670v.) So, to show that I capable and to improve my application I took 2 extension classes after graduating. I got a B in the first one (advanced statistics) and a C+ in the other which was a graduate level course (multivariates statistics.) I took the two classes at the same school I graduated from and it's that same school I hope to get in to. applying to 4 other schools as well but my alma mater is the first choice. so the question is: how bad does that C+ look? I checked with the department at my school and they said that the psych department gives credit for a C+ and higher. say I was to be accepted to the program I would have passed those two classes already. but for one thing, the professor who taught the class happens to be the head of the department so he is going to be on the admissions commitee and he might question my ability and work ethic. also the thing I am really worried over is I I took the class specifically for the purpose of having a better chance at being accepted and now I feel that with the C+ my application would have looked better having not taken it in the first place. as a side not I worked really hard in the class too, but the curve was much steeper than I am used to (it was all grad students of course.) and it relied heavily on computer software that I had trouble understanding. I know if I get accepted I will be %100 dedicated to grad school and will suceed. it's just that one class was very hard and I kind of messed up before I even stared. sorry for the long post but I am so so nervous about that one grade, especially since my cumulative gpa was below a 3 anyways. so you think it's not a big deal or does getting a C+ in an extension class really hurt my chances? any advice on the matter is greatly appreciated.

other info: overall gpa was low but my major gpa is a little better (3.3) and also I am a research assistant for one of the professors at the school. once a week I go in and do various research assignments. so these aspects of my application are good but I'm still afraid not enough.

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Having just completed undergrad and taking on a graduate level statistics course with a C+ isn't terrible. Most grad programs will require their incoming graduate students to complete a statistics series (of a few courses, taken within the first few quarters or semesters) anyway. However your other numbers in your profile, as you say, are just 'ok'...I would try to beef up on the research experience/match/fit through your RA position, that will set you apart from the others.

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Having just completed undergrad and taking on a graduate level statistics course with a C+ isn't terrible. Most grad programs will require their incoming graduate students to complete a statistics series (of a few courses, taken within the first few quarters or semesters) anyway. However your other numbers in your profile, as you say, are just 'ok'...I would try to beef up on the research experience/match/fit through your RA position, that will set you apart from the others.

hey thanks alot! yeah they really drill psych majors on the statistics

Edited by yaronatov
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Why not talk to your professor for the statistics class? Tell him you are really eager to enter a graduate program and ask if he thinks your grade in his course would be a barrier to getting into a program like the one at your school.

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thanks for the response. I actually did set up an appointment with him earlier in the semester before the grade came out, to ask about the program and get some pointers etc. so he knows I am interested. when we had that discussion he said that doing well in the class would definitely be good for my transcript so we kind of already covered that topic. I don't want to become a nuisance by asking about the grade when I have already asked him for advice. that's a sure way to hurt my chances of acceptance, and just bad form. basically I would be asking him the same thing I am asking here, the difference being to him I feel I would be calling attention to the bad grade, whereas here everyone is in the same boat pretty much.

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I wouldn't stress too much about the C+, mostly because there is nothing you can do about it. I would focus on parts of your application you can actually improve, such as your statement of purpose. Worrying about a grade that can't be changed just sounds like a waste of time. If it is a big enough problem down the road and you don't get into the program you want, then you could consider taking additional courses in the same area and making sure you get really good grades, which would demonstrate your ability and commitment.

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Perhaps you can ask your research supervisor, then? You will get the best answer from someone who is actually involved in admissions.

I would be concerned about the grade because not all schools consider a C+ a passing grade for graduate students. It may look to schools that requires an A or a B for graduate students that you are not prepared for graduate study, especially given your previous GPA. And even schools that consider C+ a passing grade for graduate students may not want to take on a student that might just skate by.

The fact that you are applying for an MA and not a PhD will probably lessen this effect. Stats courses are notoriously rough on first year psych students, so it is to your advantage that the class is a statistics class. But you need to provide some evidence that your regular performance in graduate school will be above the C+ level. Emphasize your major GPA. Has your overall GPA shown an upward trend? If you had a rough beginning but smoothed things out towards the end, that will look better than if you have Cs, Ds, and Fs scattered throughout your transcript.

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thanks for all the help. the grade isn't going to deter me from applying, I am going to apply regardless. I just want a realistic idea of how the C+ looks on a transcript but yeah there is nothing I can do about it now so no use in freaking out over it.

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