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The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread


starmaker

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Hi,

First time poster with a low GPA...

I have a very sub 3.0 uGPA. Deal is I graduated 20 years ago with a 2.52 GPA with a BS. No real excuses, other than not putting in the time and having too much fun. Now, I'm 42 and would like to earn a masters to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). My undergrad was an unrelated field.

I see a few issues. Obviously, my GPA is crap, and not sure how I could obtain LORs. Even if I could find a professor or two, they won't remember a sub-par undergrad from all those years ago. I live near Salem State University in Salem, MA and would apply there. Honestly, do I have ANY chance of being accepted with my garbage GPA, no professor LOR's, even if I ace the GRE or MAT? Even professional letters will be tough, as I worked for my family's business for 15+ years.

I'm going to meet with someone at the school soon, but curious what the folks here think?

Thanks!

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Hi,

First time poster with a low GPA...

I have a very sub 3.0 uGPA. Deal is I graduated 20 years ago with a 2.52 GPA with a BS. No real excuses, other than not putting in the time and having too much fun. Now, I'm 42 and would like to earn a masters to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). My undergrad was an unrelated field.

I see a few issues. Obviously, my GPA is crap, and not sure how I could obtain LORs. Even if I could find a professor or two, they won't remember a sub-par undergrad from all those years ago. I live near Salem State University in Salem, MA and would apply there. Honestly, do I have ANY chance of being accepted with my garbage GPA, no professor LOR's, even if I ace the GRE or MAT? Even professional letters will be tough, as I worked for my family's business for 15+ years.

I think you will need to show them that you have a experience in a field related to mental health, even if it is only tangentially related. You can flesh out that connection in your SOP (I think however, there may be some limits to how far you can push this, i.e., a career as a bartender might not get you into an addictions counselling stream...) If none of your recent work experience gives you this, I would find a way to volunteer or get involved in some way in your field. Then you can get a LOR that way.

You'll need to prove not only that you are interested in your chosen field, but that you are suited for/capable of working in that field as well.

Good luck!

Edited by wheatGrass
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I had a 2.999 (seriously, my university would not round...) up until senior year, and I managed to pull it up to a 3.147 by the time I graduated. I've been accepted to 1 MA program and am preparing for my second PhD interview weekend.

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I currently have an undergraduate GPA of 2.94. I worked as a summer undergraduate researcher at The Ohio State University in Summer 2011 and impressed my boss. In my concentration, OSU is considered a very good school by most. I knew I would have a very hard time getting in, even with a letter of rec from a tenured professor at OSU. On his advice, I achieved my first 4.0 semester, bringing my at-application GPA to 2.94. I am on my way to another 4.0 semester. I haven't skimped on difficult classes, either. I took the GRE general test and scored 168/170/4.5 V/Q/W. I have 3 years of research experience strictly within the subfield that I would be earning a PhD in.

I applied on January 7th, 2012 with three incredible letters of recommendation. Up until mid-February, they were still considering rejecting me. They expressed some concern about whether or not my GPA was still increasing, so they contacted my quantum professor (one of my letter writers) via phone. According to the admissions secretary, he said some amazing things about me, because they quickly recommended my admission thereafter.

The committee filed a petition to have me admitted and it was approved on 3/12/12, granting me an offer of admission which I accepted.

Going into that summer research job, I had a GPA of 2.65. Becoming a legit scientist has been a dream of mine since I was 13. I overcame many terrible situations to get to where I am today and I don't anticipate I will ever be so lazy again. I can't really point at any one thing I did (aside from working fiendishly hard) to earn my offer, but since I starting working that summer research job, I've been putting in 40-70 hour weeks making sure that I always have something to offer people whether it's tutoring, data, research advice, high test scores or exemplary projects.

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The committee filed a petition to have me admitted and it was approved on 3/12/12, granting me an offer of admission which I accepted.

Wow, congrats. That's impressive!

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2.86 uGPA. I took several masters level courses in a completely different subject, education, and had a 3.4 (would have been a 4.0 if it wasn't for the F I got once I found out the school was going bankrupt and decided to start working). I had the flue and a fever when I took the GRE's in December and made 77th percentile (I was seriously delerious, I was sure I would have to put off my applications for this fall). With a lot of work and a really good letter of recommendation from someone who graduated from the same program, I got into my first pick for the MS program. No funding currently, but there's a little hope for funding next semester. I am ok with the debt I am going to have knowing that the chances of employment making more than twice as much as I am now are very good. I've had 1 rejection, no other acceptances, and I still haven't heard back from 6 schools. My advice would be to do as much as you can to get to know the professors in the program and have them know you. It could also help if you can find past students to mention you.

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Dear all,

This is Masum Jujuly from Bangladesh. I have done my B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from BUET (Bangladesh) holding GPA 2.88/4 and M.Sc. in Process systems design & control in Yeungnam Univ (South Korea) holding 4.22/4.5 GPA. I have a local journal publication and three international conference proceedings regarding on my research (Process Control). I want to continue my PhD in US and I'm preparing for GRE and I'm confident to get 315-320 and I wanna apply for Fall 2013.

Although I've a good GPA and research experience in MS but but undergrad GPA is too low. Most of the universities I've seen has a cut-off GPA 3 in undergrad. I am totally confused, since I want to apply for PhD then my undergrad GPA stands for my 'undergrad + Masters' GPA or just only undergrad GPA?

I am searching some mid level (tier ii or even tier iii) universities where I can apply for PhD in chemical engineering (e.g. University of Nevada Reno: their minimum admission req is 2.75), but unfortunately I can not find more universities to apply. It's like my undergrad GPA is haunting me like a ghost. I'm totally got frustrated. Is there any list of the universities who accept student's undergrad GPA below 3? Could you please suggest me what I can do right now? Thanks in advance.

Best Regards,

Jujuly

**Thanks 'Starmaker' for this inspiring thread.

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nuvan: There is no "list" that I'm aware of. However, you should realize that some schools with minimum GPA requirements do not always stick to those requirements - I have certainly known several people to get into schools where they didn't meet the supposed minimum GPA. Your high MSc GPA will help. The applications will have a place for you to enter that, and you'll be expected to send transcripts from both your undergrad and MSc universities.

I'd say apply to a range of programs, including some lower-ranked ones. Try to find programs in which individual faculty have a lot of influence in admissions and the department has more influence than the graduate school.

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Hi guys

Congratulations to those that made it through the application season with acceptance and those that are waiting, please hang in there.

I would like to ask for your experience on how you address the low ugrad GPA on SOP?

My uGPA was 2.8 due to a year full of trouble that involved medication, counseling and some legal interventions to prevent further harassment from this nut case. After that I had a 4.0 graduate certificate (in a different field), a research, and currently a 3.6 Master GPA but I have received nothing but rejection this fall.

My current master program accepted me mainly thank to the research experience that correlates to their teaching but the other programs i applied are in field similar to that of my undergraduate.

While I can certainly gloss over the undergrad incident as "i had problems that affected my performance but I have successfully managed it and I have grown from it" I think that just screams "look at my uGPA and forget the rest"; do you have another way of sugar coating such undergraduate failure that does not sound so cliche?

Thanks

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I would like to ask for your experience on how you address the low ugrad GPA on SOP?

I asked some people who were in grad programs in my field what I should do about this. For me, I mostly just didn't work hard enough at the beginning of undergrad, so I didn't mention it in my SOP and simply focused on my research experience, goals, etc. Basically, I ignored my GPA and focused on the things that make me a good candidate. However, if you have legit reasons (as you seem to) I think it's fine to mention the extenuating circumstances that basically caused a blip on your GPA radar. However, I don't think you should focus on the uGPA, especially since you've done well in your Masters coursewok. Mention it, but don't dwell on it.

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I think you will need to show them that you have a experience in a field related to mental health, even if it is only tangentially related. You can flesh out that connection in your SOP (I think however, there may be some limits to how far you can push this, i.e., a career as a bartender might not get you into an addictions counselling stream...) If none of your recent work experience gives you this, I would find a way to volunteer or get involved in some way in your field. Then you can get a LOR that way.

You'll need to prove not only that you are interested in your chosen field, but that you are suited for/capable of working in that field as well.

Good luck!

Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated!

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I agree with DeeLovely79 regarding how a low uGPA could be overcome, but that other things must compensate for it.

Long story short, I'm waitlisted at a decent school (top 30).

I had a fair undergrad GPA, but had bumps along the road.

The ugly:

  • Been on academic probation.
  • Several W's on transcript.
  • GRE scores are average... top 30%, but I realize most admitted candidates are like top 10%
  • LOTRs ranged from generic, vague, or not as helpful (one letter writer said I was top 3 or 4... which is okay, but schools are looking for top 1 or 2...)



    Things that compensated:

    • Several majors at a good school within four years
    • Dips in grades had explanations, such as how I worked full time while pursuing several masters
    • Professional qualifications - this did not help in two schools (probably because it didn't specialize enough in my field), while it probably helped in the other two schools
    • Disadvantaged background. However, this also did not help much. (I think this helped me get into my undergrad, but definitely not grad)

    I'm definitely a mixed / non-traditional candidate. I have no publication experience. My masters degrees were in unrelated fields, so I might look somewhat unfocused. Also, I went the professional route after college for a couple of years.

    My biggest disappointment throughout this whole process was how little my masters degrees played a role. I got like a 3.9 in my masters program... and that did not get me anywhere so far. Moreso than not being admitted into a Ph.D. program (so far), this is what gets me the most.

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I forgot to add that the school I've been admitted to has a pretty strict requirement for a 3.0 ugpa. The department had to write a recommendation on my behalf to the graduate school. This is for a MS

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I forgot to add that the school I've been admitted to has a pretty strict requirement for a 3.0 ugpa. The department had to write a recommendation on my behalf to the graduate school. This is for a MS

The same was done for me by the dept which accepted me into their MS program. My ug gpa is 2.90 and application was supplemented with excellent LOR's and 5 years of relevant professional experience. There is hope, so don't give up.

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It is possible! I graduated with a B+ average. My undergrad university does a 1-9 system. Mine was 7.25 or something. Anyways, I made it in! Anything is possible! I think it comes down to your statement of interest, your passion for the subject and what you plan to achieve with the degree, references, professional and volunteer experience,

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Here's a thread that should hopefully inspire you all: http://3dpancakes.ty...d_with_low.html

For the record, my GPA isn't sub-3.0, but it was sub-3.0 for a while and I almost gave up hope. But after a lot of hard work and luck, I ultimately did manage to win top-student fellowships at both UChicago and Brown with a GPA of 3.16 [1] - I've explained more over at http://academia.stac...ph-d-admissions.

[1] With all that said, you absolutely absolutely must do well in your upper-division courses in order for this to happen.

Edited by InquilineKea
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2.7 GPA and got into a decent grad school. The university also had a minimum 3.0 GPA requirement, but that was overlooked because...

  • Reference letters from world-famous professors
  • Double majored
  • Rreasonably high GRE score
  • Diverse and tough course load
  • Active participation in student organizations
  • Fluency in a second language
  • Several years of study abroad
  • A year of undergraduate research
  • (Okay, fine. I'm a Pacific Islander too)

Anyway, I don't buy into that stereotype that low-GPAers can't get into decent grad school. If you have the academic portfolio, then you have the credentials.

EDIT: I <3 this thread.

Edited by Pauli
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I've posted in here before, and I know that I'm not technically a sub-3.0 (2.99 going into my senior year...pulled it up to 3.15), but I just wanted to say that I have been accepted to my top choice, top-tier PhD program. It's not impossible to overcome a low GPA...in my experience my letters of rec and prior research experience were all anyone really cared about.

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Well, how about sholarship for the sub-3.0 GPAs?

This thread encourages me, 3.0 GPA can be accepted in Master course.

But lower GPA means higher cost, doesn't it, especially international students?

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mocomoco: When I was applying to MS programs, I was accepted with a Dean's Scholarship (the big college-level tuition scholarship for master's students at my MS university).

I was accepted into two PhD programs this round (as I've said in previous posts in this thread). One offered me their normal funding package, the other offered me a two-year sciences-and-social-sciences-wide fellowship with a stipend about 50% higher than their usual stipend (with their normal funding package after the first two years).

So while obviously it is harder, yes, you can get cool scholarships and such as a sub-3.

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I have a 3.01 gpa. My worse grades were during my senior year. I'm applying to a graduate program that's completely different than what I studied in undergrad. So I volunteered a lot to gain some experience... which I mentioned in my SOP. Hopefully my LORs are strong. My gre wasn't great... 147 V 144 M 4.0 AW I took a prep course, studied AND took it 3 times. Sigh.

I'm still waiting to hear from schools but I will definitely update as soon as I find out. This thread has given me a lot of hope. Thanks.

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starmaker

Thank you for telling me encouraging story of yours! Can I ask if you're international student or domestic? I'm afraid low GPA plus without nationality of the country where my aiming school is means almost impossible to get scholarship......

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