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The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread


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hey guys, I'm currently looking at a 2.95-2.99 by the time I complete undergrad and will most likely work as a research tech where I'll be taking classes w/ employee benefits. My most recent semester (fall) I had a GPA of 3.75 with 12/15 of my credits being science credits. I plan to do even better in my last semester to show the upward trend in my final year.

I noticed many of you with sub 3.0 gpa had a MS or MA, how did those applications go for you? I'm pretty sure most MS/MA programs also require 3.0 for applying, are they more willing to look under since it's generally not funded?

Do you guys think I should apply for a Masters instead of working and taking classes?

For reference, my ugrad major was bio and minored in chem, and my area would be PhD in bio or biochem or something very similar. I also have not taken the GREs, but I didn't anticipate on applying until 1-2 years into my research tech job. I'm hoping to also stick my name on a couple papers while working to show ability to contribute in a research lab/team/setting.

thanks for your inputs

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this thread is discriminatory against people with sub-2.0 gpas!!

I feel like I need to make a thread for 4.0 undergrads with no acceptances to balance things. (charter member)

You all make me laugh. I took the time to register this account, because I thought that I was looking at a thread of disasters. In-fact, almost all of you have decent GPA's. I dont think I saw anyone

I rocked an undergrad gpa of 2.87 as a psychology major from a large state school ranked in the top 20 in psychology. I applied for an MA in a different social science field at the same school and got conditional acceptance. I just graduated with my MA (3.7 gpa) and am applying to phd programs for Fall 2013.

Some of the schools I applied to recently have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate gpa cut-off. They say nothing about how an MA gpa is factored in. Others clearly state that they only look at the last 60 hours or last 2 years of coursework. I think that while some schools say they require a 3.0 ugpa, they have alternate means of calculating grad gpas. I can't imagine schools turning down acceptable grad gpa, GRE scores, research experience and potential, good fit, good lors and sop based on your weak undergraduate gpa.

For example, one top-20 university in my field requires a 3.0 ugpa while the department in that university requires a 3.0 on the last 2 years of coursework. My last 2 years of coursework is my MA degree, effectively rendering my ugpa useless.

Good luck to all.

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Hey, this thread is for me! I have a rather unusual academic history. I've been to four undergraduate institutions of varying sizes and reputations, and I have transferred back and forth between them several times, and changed my majors more times than I dare mention (hint: the number can't be counted on both hands put together). At the school I am graduating from, my GPA is pretty good (right now, I'm at a 3.52), my GPA in my major in awesome (3.8).

 

I have had a great 2 and a half years as a biology major, but prior to that, I was all over the place (both physically and academically). There were semesters that I had a 4.0, and there were semesters that I completely crashed and burned. I computed my overall GPA across all schools when filling out my apps, and came up with a 2.65. The reason for all this nonsense is that I had a lot of personal issues and anxiety problems, and rather than try to solve the problems and get on with life, I just kind of floundered and changed majors whenever I really screwed up.

 

The good news is that I was never a science major during all of this, so all of my poor grades are in completely unrelated courses. I think that I have certainly proven that I can handle the rigors of scientific study during the past 2.5 years, and my professors have told me that graduate schools will put a lot more weight on my great science grades than on my mediocre IT and Literature grades. I hope they're right. I would feel better about my apps if I did stellar on my GRE, but my quantitative score was a little low (64th percentile), which is weird because I really am quite good at math. However, I do feel good about the rest of my application - the SOP and LOR, plus my CV/resume show some research experience, along with some field work.

 

I figure that if I can't get into any PhD programs, I have a good shot at getting into a Biology M.S. program close to home at a state school, which I am still debating on applying to. The deadline isn't until April or May, and I was thinking why waste money on the application fees and sending GRE scores if I'm accepted to a PhD program, but I've been getting really nervous about my chances of getting in!

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I'm very happy for this thread. However, what if someone was to go back to school (second undergrad) in my case and still get an under 3.0 gpa? When the first was just 3.0 itself???

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I'm not quite at under 3.0, my overall GPA is 3.025 (upper level is 3.1, and bio courses are 3.6)... so it's not ENTIRELY hopeless, and I do have good LORS (did research for all my LORS) and ended up having one prof re think his opinion on me (I TA'd for him and worked in his lab and he wrote a letter of REC for me (originally got a C in one of his courses), but I don't have any publications. 

 

We'll see what happens though. Good luck to everyone!

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Hey, this thread is for me! I have a rather unusual academic history. I've been to four undergraduate institutions of varying sizes and reputations, and I have transferred back and forth between them several times, and changed my majors more times than I dare mention (hint: the number can't be counted on both hands put together). At the school I am graduating from, my GPA is pretty good (right now, I'm at a 3.52), my GPA in my major in awesome (3.8).

 

I have had a great 2 and a half years as a biology major, but prior to that, I was all over the place (both physically and academically). There were semesters that I had a 4.0, and there were semesters that I completely crashed and burned. I computed my overall GPA across all schools when filling out my apps, and came up with a 2.65. The reason for all this nonsense is that I had a lot of personal issues and anxiety problems, and rather than try to solve the problems and get on with life, I just kind of floundered and changed majors whenever I really screwed up.

 

The good news is that I was never a science major during all of this, so all of my poor grades are in completely unrelated courses. I think that I have certainly proven that I can handle the rigors of scientific study during the past 2.5 years, and my professors have told me that graduate schools will put a lot more weight on my great science grades than on my mediocre IT and Literature grades. I hope they're right. I would feel better about my apps if I did stellar on my GRE, but my quantitative score was a little low (64th percentile), which is weird because I really am quite good at math. However, I do feel good about the rest of my application - the SOP and LOR, plus my CV/resume show some research experience, along with some field work.

 

I figure that if I can't get into any PhD programs, I have a good shot at getting into a Biology M.S. program close to home at a state school, which I am still debating on applying to. The deadline isn't until April or May, and I was thinking why waste money on the application fees and sending GRE scores if I'm accepted to a PhD program, but I've been getting really nervous about my chances of getting in!

Edited by Chai_latte
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You all make me laugh. I took the time to register this account, because I thought that I was looking at a thread of disasters. In-fact, almost all of you have decent GPA's. I dont think I saw anyone with below a 2.6....That's pretty good.

 

This isn't a here's my story, it's better than yours. Rather it's a true disaster which cannot be fixed in any way.

 

I finished my undergrad with a 2.41 in business. I was studying accounting, but if your GPA falls below 2.5 at the University of Colorado then you lose your emphasis. Mine was accounting. I read everywhere that with a 2.4 I can eliminate 98% of grad schools in the U.S.

 

In my entire college tenure, my best semester was a 3.29 and my worst was a 1.6

 

Between those two extremes I fit everywhere probably averaging around a constant 2.5 the entire time. But my backstory is what helped (which I don't encourage you to do). I was in Iraq where I was severely injured to the point where I now have seizures on a weekly basis. I'm a disabled veteran, and I found out that this doesn't play into anything when applying to grad school. Since I had saved money, I decided to take my 2.4 gpa and apply to every top school that I could think of. I don't have good grades, my professors won't write me letters of recommendations because of my grades and my work experience is non-relevant to accounting. Basically I have no help getting into grad school.

 

However, I was wrong. I spent two days creating applications, paying fee's and writing countless essays as to why I would be a good fit. I then picked the six schools that I *knew* wouldn't accept me because of my bad grades and applied to them. I spent over $1000 in application fee's and other items. My top six schools that I applied to for a masters in accounting: Stanford, Michigan, Cornell, Wisconsin,California and Harvard. Then I completed five applications to schools that I thought I had a moderate chance of getting into: Texas A&M, Texas, Ohio State University, Nebraska, and Auburn. After finishing those applications, I tried some other one's that I thought would be sympathetic to my veteran status and applied to five more: North Dakota, Western Michigan, University of Utah, and Boise State University.

 

I didn't think anything of these. At worst, I thought that I may have just submitted 16 applications which would end up in the trash can followed by a degrading rejection email that is sent to the auto rejected students.

 

However here is my current problem:

On my desk I currently have acceptance letters to every single school except Utah because of an application error which is supposed to be resolved soon. The first thought that came to my mind was "wow, I got into Stanford". The first idea was to immediately call/email all of the admissions staff to see what kind of marijuanna they were smoking because my acceptance likely ended the dream of a better qualified student at that particular school. To keep things short, I summed up the responses from all of the universities by displaying what Michigan wrote back. I did this because it generally follows what Stanford, Cornell and just about every other school said. Texas A&M said that my veteran status improved my rankings consideribly. But anyways:

Michigan: "Your undergraduate grades were horrible, and frankly I cannot believe that you are applying knowing that the GPA floor is 3.3 for minimal consideration to the accounting program. After looking through your packet, I saw nothing which indicated that you would have the ability to complete a graduate level degree. Furthermore, after our interview it became very clear to me that you have no relevant experience in accounting outside of academia. I left the interview perplexed because nothing statistically showed my staff or myself that you belong at Michigan. However, I did enjoy reading your essay and listening to your thoughts on the Enron scandal. For having such a low GPA, I am interested in how you learned so much. While I am grateful for your service and terribly sorry for your injury I cannot simply put that in front of your academic performance. You got into Michigan because you can communicate well. It's not too often that a student will present themselves as a problem solver and a situational thinker yet not be able to test well. I think you will bring something profound to our program and that is the ability to hear and speak."

So just so all of you know, having a 2.4 doesn't help but if you can overcome with something else then you can definitely go places.

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This is a fantastic thread because I fall into this category.  A little background on myself.  I graduated from a top west coast research university with a BA in chemistry.  GPA of 2.39 in 2006.  I knew that I wanted to be in biomedical research so during the last year of my undergraduate career, I worked at a big nonprofit cancer research facility.  Thereafter, this one year experience allowed me to get a job at my undergrad university as a research technician for the past 6 years.  While an undergrad and even the beginning of my career as a technician I had no idea that I would want to grow and spend the rest of my life in the biomedical sciences.  So now I know.  This is what i've been doing.

 

Long story short, i'll be starting an MS in Microbiology/Immunology at Hopkins next year.  If you want to read:

 

Last year, 2011, I applied to only PHD programs.  I got rejected from all.  I felt as though I had a chance because I have a few publications (1 first author), stellar LORs, 5 years of research experience, and great GRE score.  Turns out, it wasn't enough (though not unexpected).  So in a haste, since deadlines for MS programs were later and I have all my materials prepared from PHD applications, I applied to 5 MS programs in either Microbiology or Immunology.  Got into all of them.  How?  

 

After talking to three program coordinators, all said that my resume conveyed my research experience, but decided to take a fly on me because in my SOP, I emphasized why I had such a low uGPA, what I have been doing since then, and what I have learned and why I won't fail.  I also stated my reasons for wanting back in school but I assume everyone else writes that.

 

Obviously, everyone's situation is different.  I have a passion for science and I know where I want to go.  Hopefully getting an MS will help me get to my goal.

 

For my age (32) I did not want to go back and retake undergraduate classes or get a different bachelor's degree.  I strongly felt as though it would be a waste of my time since I have been working in my field of interest for quite sometime.  I've even mentored/tutored graduate students.  It's all a matter of me applying this experience towards a degree.  

 

If anyone has any questions I'd be more than happy to help.  I hope my situation gives someone out there hope that all is not lost if you want to attend graduate school with a low GPA in the sciences.

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Does anybody have experience applying for a second masters with a low undergraduate GPA and stellar graduate GPA?  I was a total screw off as an undergrad and have an unremarkable 2.61, 311 GRE (1260 old score) and would like to get an MS in Taxation at UC Irvine.

 

Thanks in advance!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

You all make me laugh. I took the time to register this account, because I thought that I was looking at a thread of disasters. In-fact, almost all of you have decent GPA's. I dont think I saw anyone with below a 2.6....That's pretty good.

 

This isn't a here's my story, it's better than yours. Rather it's a true disaster which cannot be fixed in any way.

 

I finished my undergrad with a 2.41 in business. I was studying accounting, but if your GPA falls below 2.5 at the University of Colorado then you lose your emphasis. Mine was accounting. I read everywhere that with a 2.4 I can eliminate 98% of grad schools in the U.S.

 

In my entire college tenure, my best semester was a 3.29 and my worst was a 1.6

 

Between those two extremes I fit everywhere probably averaging around a constant 2.5 the entire time. But my backstory is what helped (which I don't encourage you to do). I was in Iraq where I was severely injured to the point where I now have seizures on a weekly basis. I'm a disabled veteran, and I found out that this doesn't play into anything when applying to grad school. Since I had saved money, I decided to take my 2.4 gpa and apply to every top school that I could think of. I don't have good grades, my professors won't write me letters of recommendations because of my grades and my work experience is non-relevant to accounting. Basically I have no help getting into grad school.

 

However, I was wrong. I spent two days creating applications, paying fee's and writing countless essays as to why I would be a good fit. I then picked the six schools that I *knew* wouldn't accept me because of my bad grades and applied to them. I spent over $1000 in application fee's and other items. My top six schools that I applied to for a masters in accounting: Stanford, Michigan, Cornell, Wisconsin,California and Harvard. Then I completed five applications to schools that I thought I had a moderate chance of getting into: Texas A&M, Texas, Ohio State University, Nebraska, and Auburn. After finishing those applications, I tried some other one's that I thought would be sympathetic to my veteran status and applied to five more: North Dakota, Western Michigan, University of Utah, and Boise State University.

 

I didn't think anything of these. At worst, I thought that I may have just submitted 16 applications which would end up in the trash can followed by a degrading rejection email that is sent to the auto rejected students.

 

However here is my current problem:

On my desk I currently have acceptance letters to every single school except Utah because of an application error which is supposed to be resolved soon. The first thought that came to my mind was "wow, I got into Stanford". The first idea was to immediately call/email all of the admissions staff to see what kind of marijuanna they were smoking because my acceptance likely ended the dream of a better qualified student at that particular school. To keep things short, I summed up the responses from all of the universities by displaying what Michigan wrote back. I did this because it generally follows what Stanford, Cornell and just about every other school said. Texas A&M said that my veteran status improved my rankings consideribly. But anyways:

Michigan: "Your undergraduate grades were horrible, and frankly I cannot believe that you are applying knowing that the GPA floor is 3.3 for minimal consideration to the accounting program. After looking through your packet, I saw nothing which indicated that you would have the ability to complete a graduate level degree. Furthermore, after our interview it became very clear to me that you have no relevant experience in accounting outside of academia. I left the interview perplexed because nothing statistically showed my staff or myself that you belong at Michigan. However, I did enjoy reading your essay and listening to your thoughts on the Enron scandal. For having such a low GPA, I am interested in how you learned so much. While I am grateful for your service and terribly sorry for your injury I cannot simply put that in front of your academic performance. You got into Michigan because you can communicate well. It's not too often that a student will present themselves as a problem solver and a situational thinker yet not be able to test well. I think you will bring something profound to our program and that is the ability to hear and speak."

So just so all of you know, having a 2.4 doesn't help but if you can overcome with something else then you can definitely go places.

 

J_holtz you are my new hero. You and everyone else are why I want to continue my education and pursue higher education. I am a true believer that scores and GPA can not describe the person,how they learn, nor their abilities/perseverance to succeed.

 

A little bit about myself: I'm first gen, went to a semi-crappy high school, got rejected from almost every undergrad I applied to...but by luck and a lot of communication with the Admissions committee...I was admitted to Tufts after being waitlisted. Oh yea- THIS KID- was one of the few who got admitted my year.... (I received my notification moments before submitting my deposit to a state school). While I struggled to succeed in such a academically competitive place, my peers spoke about how easy and boring some classes were. After all the crap I dealt with...getting sick because of so much stress...not graduating on time...ALMOST not finishing my last paper/thesis. I received my degree in 2012 (2 years later) with a gpa of 3.12. Not below 3.0, but not up to par with "what I'm suppose to have". 

 

Needless to say, my GRE isn't stellar either. 150V, 139 Q, and 3W. I didn't have much time to prepare and had a lot of personal things going on. But I've been working in Higher Ed doing work I really can connect with for about a year. This fall I applied to 15 schools; some were reach and others safety schools. SOME HOW....I don't know why or how...I was admitted to the majority of them and have incredible options. I never thought I could say UM and U Penn are my "safety schools" if I don't get into Harvard. Pfffffft!  :blink:

 

I just want to say..where there's a will, there's a way. If you want it bad enough, YOU WILL make it happen. That means learn to network, navigate the higher ed system and play on your strengths. It can happen. Best of luck everyone on your applications  :) (I know I'm definitely going to need a drink after this whole application/decision process is over)  ^_^

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  • 2 weeks later...

The stories on this board are incredible! I am compelled to also share my story as it may give some applicants additional hope.

 

Like emg28, I am a first generation college graduate. I majored in psychology. I finished undergrad with a 3.0. I had a few failing grades on my transcript (Ds and Fs). I've never been one to make excuses, but I struggled financially, mentally, and emotionally in college due to some serious family health issues.

 

I attended a school that did not have the best resources to give me the exposure and skills I needed. Realizing this, I sought opportunities elsewhere. I spent two summers as a research intern at two major research universities.

 

During my senior year I decided to apply to PhD programs in clinical and developmental psychology. Everything I heard from people around me was that students with a degree in psychology go on to get PhDs, so i figured it was what I was supposed to do. I took the GRE and didn't do well at all. The only score I can say I was AW. I had one great letter of recommendation from my research mentor and two average letters from professors in my department. I got rejected from nearly every program I applied to because I did not meet "basic cutoffs". Teachers College rejected me from their PhD program, but accepted me to their masters program. I was completely surprised. I ended up declining the offer though because it did not come with funding, I couldn't find housing, and I could not afford to live in NYC.

 

A month after graduating, I made the decision to move nearly 2,000 miles away from home and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I landed a job as a research assistant at a major university. The research I have been doing shifted my area of focus and sparked my interest in education policy. I applied to and got accepted to a masters program in public policy. I finished with a 3.9 GPA and made great connections with students and professors. Nearly 5 years after starting as a research assistant, I received several promotions in my current department, lots of great research experience, presentations, and publications. During summer 2012, I decided to apply for PhD programs in Education Policy. I studied my butt off for the GRE and improved my verbal and AW scores, but my already crappy quantitative score actually went down :( . I was extremely nervous about my chances of being accepted due to my quantitative score and my undergraduate grades, but I took the risk and applied.

 

Long story short, I am proud to say I got accepted to STANFORD out of over 500+ applicants. My POI and the admissions committee had some questions about my undergraduate GPA and quantitative GRE score, but they gave me a chance to explain it. From what I was told, having a great GPA in a masters program showed a remarkable upward trajectory. Having 4+ years of solid research experience and three glowing letters of recommendation also really worked in my favor. I also did everything I could to try to make myself stand out from the other applicants (a great personal statement and meeting with my POI to discuss research interests). I am still waiting for responses from the other three schools I applied to, but I think getting admitted to my very competitive top choice is remarkable!

 

I say all of this to say, there are certainly ways you can compensate for having a "low" GPA. Best of luck!

Edited by EW33
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You all make me laugh. I took the time to register this account, because I thought that I was looking at a thread of disasters. In-fact, almost all of you have decent GPA's. I dont think I saw anyone with below a 2.6....That's pretty good.

 

This isn't a here's my story, it's better than yours. Rather it's a true disaster which cannot be fixed in any way.

 

I finished my undergrad with a 2.41 in business. I was studying accounting, but if your GPA falls below 2.5 at the University of Colorado then you lose your emphasis. Mine was accounting. I read everywhere that with a 2.4 I can eliminate 98% of grad schools in the U.S.

 

In my entire college tenure, my best semester was a 3.29 and my worst was a 1.6

 

Between those two extremes I fit everywhere probably averaging around a constant 2.5 the entire time. But my backstory is what helped (which I don't encourage you to do). I was in Iraq where I was severely injured to the point where I now have seizures on a weekly basis. I'm a disabled veteran, and I found out that this doesn't play into anything when applying to grad school. Since I had saved money, I decided to take my 2.4 gpa and apply to every top school that I could think of. I don't have good grades, my professors won't write me letters of recommendations because of my grades and my work experience is non-relevant to accounting. Basically I have no help getting into grad school.

 

However, I was wrong. I spent two days creating applications, paying fee's and writing countless essays as to why I would be a good fit. I then picked the six schools that I *knew* wouldn't accept me because of my bad grades and applied to them. I spent over $1000 in application fee's and other items. My top six schools that I applied to for a masters in accounting: Stanford, Michigan, Cornell, Wisconsin,California and Harvard. Then I completed five applications to schools that I thought I had a moderate chance of getting into: Texas A&M, Texas, Ohio State University, Nebraska, and Auburn. After finishing those applications, I tried some other one's that I thought would be sympathetic to my veteran status and applied to five more: North Dakota, Western Michigan, University of Utah, and Boise State University.

 

I didn't think anything of these. At worst, I thought that I may have just submitted 16 applications which would end up in the trash can followed by a degrading rejection email that is sent to the auto rejected students.

 

However here is my current problem:

On my desk I currently have acceptance letters to every single school except Utah because of an application error which is supposed to be resolved soon. The first thought that came to my mind was "wow, I got into Stanford". The first idea was to immediately call/email all of the admissions staff to see what kind of marijuanna they were smoking because my acceptance likely ended the dream of a better qualified student at that particular school. To keep things short, I summed up the responses from all of the universities by displaying what Michigan wrote back. I did this because it generally follows what Stanford, Cornell and just about every other school said. Texas A&M said that my veteran status improved my rankings consideribly. But anyways:

Michigan: "Your undergraduate grades were horrible, and frankly I cannot believe that you are applying knowing that the GPA floor is 3.3 for minimal consideration to the accounting program. After looking through your packet, I saw nothing which indicated that you would have the ability to complete a graduate level degree. Furthermore, after our interview it became very clear to me that you have no relevant experience in accounting outside of academia. I left the interview perplexed because nothing statistically showed my staff or myself that you belong at Michigan. However, I did enjoy reading your essay and listening to your thoughts on the Enron T scandal. For having such a low GPA, I am interested in how you learned so much. While I am grateful for your service and terribly sorry for your injury I cannot simply put that in front of your academic performance. You got into Michigan because you can communicate well. It's not too often that a student will present themselves as a problem solver and a situational thinker yet not be able to test well. I think you will bring something profound to our program and that is the ability to hear and speak."

So just so all of you know, having a 2.4 doesn't help but if you can overcome with something else then you can definitely go places.

This is remarkable and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

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I had a 2.9 overall UG GPA. I actually nearly failed basic biology and math (alegrbra II !) twice at two different schools. Also the first time I took my GREs (old test) I did worse than 80% of test takers on the quant. sections.

 

I improved the GREs, did better in statistics classes, got a 3.84 M.A. GPA and did a research based thesis. Finally got some acceptances on my second attempt applying.

Edited by quickinstinct
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I will have a 6.0/10.0 (about a B, not sure how to convert to a 4.0 scale) upon graduation, looking like I'll have a B+ average (7.0/10) my final year. 
I got in to City University London's MSc in Human Centered Systems today, pending that I get my letters of recommendation in, and I have the B+ average. 

 

Yay

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I did my undergrad abroad so I don't have a precise GPA on a 4.0 scale, but it is probably a 2.8 or so. Even with a 3.96 Master's GPA I am being rejected left and right. Just got another rejection and have given up hope. :(

Edited by iphi
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Sub-3.0 (significantly so) BA GPA. 3.70 in the MA. Will be attending a program that's both a personal 'dream' choice as well as extremely well-regarded in the field. I don't have any conference presentations or publications. Obviously I do not want to beat my own drum, but at one point, I was among those wondering if I'll ever "make it." So, I hope some of you read this and take heart. You can do it. 

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Does anyone have experience with a sub-3.0 GPA AND an average GRE? I'm talking mid to lower 150s :/ .... ack.

 

I try not to get too down on myself but I'm feeling very in confident these days ..

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My undergraduate GPA was so sub-3.0, that I still hate mentioning it. Still, I was able to get a job right out of college with a decent firm. Of course, I had to build up over 8+ years of experience before applying to grad school. I have a B.S. in Computational Mathematics (basically a hybrid Math/Computer Science degree). This was my path....

 

1) I enrolled at a lower-ranked California State University branch campus and completed an online graduate certificate in Software Quality Engineering. That was 3 courses with 9 graduate semester credits. All A's, so that was a 4.0 Graduate GPA...albeit a lower-ranked school.

 

2) I enrolled at my desired online graduate engineering program at the University of Wisconsin. I declared myself as a "non-degree" graduate student which allowed me to take up 3 courses before applying. The dean was aware of my undergrad grades but kept telling me "just do well in your courses". Well, I aced those 3 courses. That is now 6 courses with a 4.0 graduate GPA.

 

When I applied for full-standing, the dean said it was just a formality. I was admitted (hell, I only had 4 courses left anyway). I took 3 more at U-Wisconsin and one more at another school (transfer limit was 12 credits) and I was awarded my M.S. Engineering degree. Since I already had work experience, the degree qualified me for advanced positions and MUCH higher salaries because I can now be billed at higher rates.

 

Of course, I went for a non-funded, coursework-only M.S. program but still wanted to share this.

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What an inspiring and helpful thread!

 

My story: When I graduated with a very low, sub-3.0 GPA from McGill I pretty much felt devastated. My grades made a perfect "U": strong at the start, weak in the middle and strong again at the end once I switched programs. Most advisors made me feel like a leper once they looked at my transcript and never bothered to ask what happened. One advisor even laughed and said, "I guess science isn't your strong suit" in a room filled with other students.

 

I applied to an MA program at an OK school, made a great connection with my POI, had my travel costs paid so that I could visit, but was rejected in the end due to my marks and received a rude letter from the program's coordinator. My POI told me that my only hope would be to complete another bachelor degree. I relocated to my hometown, completed a funded-MA at a local, no-name university, and pretty much thought that might be the end of things. However, since graduating from undergrad four years earlier I had managed to rack up significant experience in my field through research work, UN positions, and government opportunities while completing my MA. I took the GREs, did horribly, applied to two PhD programs and was rejected, but I had applied mainly to my dream schools and not programs where my research interests were a good fit so I wasn't entirely surprised.

 

Despite my poor undergraduate GPA I knew that I still wanted to attend programs at well regarded, internationally recognized universities. I gave things another shot last year, spent a great deal of time researching schools, wrote more refined and honest research proposals/statements including an explanation of my poor grades, secured stronger references, and made contact with POIs. I secured interviews for good doctoral programs at universities such as LSHTM and Oxford and in the end I was accepted to 3 out of the 5 programs that I applied to, including one school which only accepted 36 out of 330 applicants.

 

Bottom line: If you have a low undergrad GPA, do not give up hope. 1. Try to rack up some relevant work experience, 2. spend time researching schools/programs, 3. reach out to POIs, 4. write a killer statement of purpose/proposal, and 5. secure strong LoR.

Edited by Burkis
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I just wanted to post my experience because I have gone through very similar experiences, but with hard work I have surpassed my expectations...

 

I graduated from a top 50 school in the US with a sub 3.0 overall GPA and a sub 3.0 science GPA, with a major in microbiolog and I had a very strong interest in public health. It was devastating to realize that my grades were so low and I thought that I had closed off all opportunities for academic advancement. Probably one of the worst moments in my undergraduate career was having my microbial genetics professor tell me that my grades were so bad I needed to reconsider a career in the sciences. It was a low point, and I was mentally burnt out.

 

 I then worked at several firms in private industry as a microbiologist, quality control analyst, and laboratory technican, which did not pay much, but gave me valuable experience to build my resume (in-house studies, laboratory techniques, strong contacts, etc). I then managed to secure a great job in the public health field. It was good, but I still wanted to advance my education.

 

I then took 2 public health courses at an ASPH/CEPH accredited school as a non-dgree seeking student, to prove to applications committees and myself that I could handle graduate coursework. I applied to the same school and managed to get conditional acceptance, which eventually became full acceptance.

 

I graduated last semester with my MPH, while working full-time in the public health field, and I am currently applying to PhD programs in public health.

 

It is very possible to achieve academic success with persistence and maturity. My experience was difficult, but I would not trade it for any other because it helped me become a stronger person overall.

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