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Chances to get into j-school with low GPA--please help!


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I am at present an undergraduate student in India, studying engineering pre-final year. I am interested in applying for a PG in journalism in the US.

I've done the basic research and know of the good schools and the acceptance rates and stuff.

As far as experience goes, I think I've done decently. I've got good experience, more coming along. I expect to decently well in GRE as well.

The problem is my CG. I expect it to be around 3.1 when I graduate. I know that is on the lower side.

I need to know of my chances to get into CUNY, Syracuse, Berkeley, Medill, Columbia, USC, U of Wisconsin, Madison, Grady School, Georgia.

Would really appreciate the help. Be brutally honest, please.

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Hi greeneyes,

I made it into Columbia, USC, and Syracuse and didn't have that much better of a GPA than you (between 3.2 and 3.3). However, I had a TON of journalism experience (at least for my age, I applied when I was 22).

So given the info you've provided so far, I would say just focus as much as you can on getting your GPA up. After all depending on your school once you graduate your GPA is pretty much set so you cannot get it any higher. I'd say then you might want to take some time off before applying and really hone your journalism skills with some experience. However, you have not listed much information about your journalism experience so for all I know you might have a good amount of experience. I am going on the fact that you mentioned you are an engineering student, which indicates that you originally had a primary interest outside of journalism.

At any rate, get at least three or four really solid clips for your writing samples as this will be important for the application process. If you apply as an undergraduate or right after undergrad instead, it still might be possible to get a lot of acceptances, but the experience that I mentioned never hurts.

As for your schools I'd say you have a shot at CUNY, Syracuse and U of Wisconsin, Madison as long as your GPA doesn't fall at all. I think you might also have shot at USC if you get your GPA up a bit.

Berkeley and Columbia are very selective so if you apply to those then I would really try to get some more experience in. That way you can show your dedication to the craft. I previously looked into Medill and though I did not end up applying there they are about just as selective (maybe just a little less selective) as far as I can tell.

I'm unfamiliar with the specifics of Grady School and Georgia so I can't give you any information on those.

In regard to the GRE I wouldn't put too much stock in it and focus on what I previously mentioned moreso. That doesn't mean you should ignore your GRE completely, but it doesn't factor into the decision for at least Berkeley and Columbia. It also probably won't make or break you at the other schools unless you do either really, really bad or really, really good. The only thing is your GRE score would probably factor into scholarship decisions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I always feel like schools love to diversify to their student body. The fact that you are in India might be a huge advantage. I'd like to think schools try and bring in many different types of people into each class. I for one am very scared, with a GPA just below a 3.5 and less than stellar GRE scores, I am hoping my writing samples, essays and interviews really help me. I also am already a professional journalist and editor (though only for six months). I wonder what my chances are... probably not as good as yours. You have a different sort of background. Engineering will certainly make your application stand out.

Have you given any thought to NYU or Mizzou?

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