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Poor Grades in CC?


jw23

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In junior college I made really bad grades (F's & C's), with a smattering of B's and A's. My GPA in CC was a 2.2. Now I am about to be a Junior at a top tier university and my GPA is a 3.65. I have about a year and a half left of UG study and I anticipate having a GPA around 3.7 or so when I apply to Grad school. How much will my horrible past affect my chances of getting into a decent grad program?

Edited by jw23
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I'm not on any admissions committees, so I can't say for sure, but it might depend on what types of classes they were. If they were related to the field you want to pursue, that could definitely be detrimental. I think it will reflect poorly, but this is something that you have the opportunity to explain in your admissions essay, if you have a good explanation.

by the way, it's "affect my chances".

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I'm not on any admissions committees, so I can't say for sure, but it might depend on what types of classes they were. If they were related to the field you want to pursue, that could definitely be detrimental. I think it will reflect poorly, but this is something that you have the opportunity to explain in your admissions essay, if you have a good explanation.

by the way, it's "affect my chances".

The bad grades were in hospitality classes, back when I had no idea what I wanted to do. I broke up with my boyfriend and he died of a drug overdose a month later during the semester I really screwed up, but I don't want to give them a sob story.

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The bad grades were in hospitality classes, back when I had no idea what I wanted to do. I broke up with my boyfriend and he died of a drug overdose a month later during the semester I really screwed up, but I don't want to give them a sob story.

You don't have to make your whole statement of purpose about that sad event (I'm sorry to hear about that, by the way), but many SOP prompts I've seen ask you to explain any part of your application that you think may belacking, and I think it's worth mentioning something if you can elegantly work it into the whole. It should help that the classes are a field unrelated to what you ended up doing. I like to think that admissions committees can understand that when we graduate from high school, we're still kids trying to figure things out, and not put much weight on those early classes before we've made a more solid decision about what we want to do with our lives. I certainly wouldn't let it discourage you from at least trying if the rest of your application is strong. Kick butt on the GRE, get quality recommendations, create thoughtful and well-written statements of purpose, and go for it.

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I have the same problem, i had a 2.5 in cc. 3.6 now..i talked to an advisor at TC Columbia about it and its actually viewed as a strengt. To show steady and consistent progress without peaking represents determination, potential and the will to succeed..as they explained it.

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I have the same problem, i had a 2.5 in cc. 3.6 now..i talked to an advisor at TC Columbia about it and its actually viewed as a strengt. To show steady and consistent progress without peaking represents determination, potential and the will to succeed..as they explained it.

Thanks very much. That is definitely motivating!

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  • 2 weeks later...

yes indeed. bad grades happen. your record also shows how you moved on and got better grades. My own CC experience in the 80s-90s was full of grades across the spectrum; I replaced my Fs before graduating by re-taking and getting better marks. That also shows willingness to overcome mistakes.

who sounds like a better candidate, the one who has learned from bad patches, or the one who has yet to face them?

even without the whole detailed "sob story," you can allude to overcoming life difficulties, becoming a stronger person and being a more dedicated academic as a result of those experiences.

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Yes, that may be viewed as a strength having gradually got better as you continued in your studies, but does it give you any kind of advantage over someone who got excellent marks throughout all four years? No, IMHO. I don't even know if it puts you on level playing field. Just because you have had to overcome serious challenges during your time in college (which based on your posts, you no doubt did), that doesn't mean that other applicants also faced challenges and were able to maintain high marks. Please don't take that as a judgment on you, it's just reality. Yes, adcomms are likely to look at more recent grades than early grades, but in this era you are dealing with a huge supply of competitors who all have a very high average GPA as well as very high other marks, scores, etc. The reality is you are going to have to make up for those marks in other areas of your application, such as Statement of Purpose, LORs, or GRE.

I don't mean to discourage you; I'm sure you can put a competitive application together that will demonstrate that you are prepared for graduate school and deserve a spot! In fact, there are many programs that only require transcripts from four-year institutions. Do some looking around. Best of luck to you!

Edited by Gunner24
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