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Divinity School Wth a Low GPA?


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Hi there,

I'm an international applicant from Canada with a frankly terrible GPA. It was a 3.7 in first year, and then I tanked my second and third years due to intense personal circumstances (F's throughout). My fourth year wasn't much better as I adjusted (3.0), but this semester I should finish with a ~3.9. Is there any point in applying to YDS or HDS? I have the high end marks, but I have just as many F's (0's in some courses). I would love to go to a school with challenges me and which surrounds me with considerable diversity of thought and background, are these a good fit? I did not grow up in a religious environment and my spiritual journey is crucial to my personal letter. I intend to pursue CAF chaplaincy upon graduation. This isn't a chance me post, just looking for some help.


TLDR: Does my low cumulative GPA (70% UG Canadian, 2.9-3.1 GPA) make it (near) impossible to get into a top divinity school ?

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Divinity Schools tend to have higher admitting rate over other graduate programs. I would thought recommend you to cast your net bit wider. Schools differ on what kind of student they are looking for. Look through their websites, email and try to talk to current students to get the feel of what each school seems to be looking for. If you can show them you are a competent applicant through other measures, like SOP, references, resume, etc., a school that fits your criteria will pick you up. 

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  • 2 weeks later...


I graduated from Boston University's school of theology in 2023 with an MTS. I would highly recommend checking out BU! They have a great chaplaincy program, and I think someone with your background (had some personal struggles, but clear demonstrated ability to do well in an academic environment) would be well received by the adcom. 

I also dreamed of HDS and YDS when applying (3.4 UGPA) and saw all the posts saying 'oh, it's easier to get in there', and I did not get in, and was disappointed. However, after taking one class at HDS and presenting at a conference at YDS, I realized BU was the right place for me all along. 

It's not a super in your face Christian school relative to an evangelical one (and chapel isn't required), but it is definitely a school where you know it exists to train Methodist clergy. However, there's a decent number of UU students and a handful of people from totally unrelated faith traditions, and a lot of students with non-standard spiritual paths. The faculty are Christian but pretty diverse in their denominations, and you'd also have opportunities to take classes at the dept. of religion, as well as at other Boston-area divinity schools, including Harvard. 

Academically, I personally did not think it was crazy hard, although some people definitely disagreed! I graduated with a 3.8 (alas, got a C+ in medieval theology at Boston College). I have a BA in economics, and a lot of the students have BAs in unrelated disciplines, so don't worry if that's you. The main skills you need to succeed are good time management and being able to write well, which is going to be true for every program. Students generally take four classes per semester, but you can do summer classes if you need to space things out more. 

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