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sub 3.0 GPAs


belowthree
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I've been lurking for awhile. I'm new to actually posting to the board though, so hi. My way of saying hi is to make a thread for folks who have GPAs under a 3.0 but are applying to programs anyways.

You'd be surprised how different things are applying with a GPA this bad. Not necessarily terrible, just different.

Anyone else in this situation?

Unfortunate and probably not very funny but related comments that we'll generously refer to as humor:


  • [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when someone asks you what your safety schools are and you stare back at them unsure of what those two words together might actually mean.
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when you don't meet the minimum requirements for any of the programs you applied to.
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when you can't take getting recommended for admission by the department for granted as getting approved by the graduate college can actually present a challenge.
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when you describe your transcript as "colorful."
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when, in a desperate search for safe schools, you catch yourself wondering if your local community college is a PhD granting institution. (You quickly realize that even if they were they wouldn't have funding for you anyways, then you remember they don't even grant four-year degrees.)
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when you realize that as much as you'd like to stay in a certain geographic area, all those schools are too hard to get into and so you need to apply more broadly.
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when your "what are you going to do now" fantasy simply consists of you walking around for an entire day uttering no words other than the phrase "I did it."
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when you know for certain that all of your friends will know exactly what that means.
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when you actually start to believe that any acceptance letters you receive are more likely to be mistakes than legitimate offers for admission.
    [*:21esys8v]You know you have under a 3.0 when whenever you tell someone you got accepted somewhere their first words aren't "Congratulations" but "Really?"
    [*:21esys8v]And how could we forget the classic: You know you have under a 3.0 when you wince every time someone online comforts another stressed out applicant by telling them "well at least your GPA is over a three so things won't be that bad."

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Sorry, yes, sensitive about my GPA, I have worked very hard to get a lot of other attributes that should make up for it. I worked to put myself through college, so I was either in class or at work and struggled to make enough, so I did not get a lot of time to study.

Damn my pride :-)

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belowthree- good for you for making the situation as bearable as possible. I like the sense of humor.

gad- Sorry to say it, but the ad comms do value the GPA. Arguing that you are more than a number on a scale isn't going to matter to them much, unfortunately. You are obviously very sensitive about it. Try to take it easy, belowthree's outlook is much more healthy. S/he was obviously not trying to insult you, but rather make a joke about their own situation or the situation in general.

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Certainly, it's not the end/be all. That is why they consider so many other pieces of the application. This forum is not a good sample of the population, as I've said before. There are a lot of people on these boards who boast their numbers, leaving others to think everyone applying to grad school is a genius with perfect credentials. It's just not so- there are plenty of us who've had real life experiences that have hindered our progress in college (see the other GPA thread to read my own experience), plenty of people who apply (and are admitted) with GRE scores in the 400s, plenty of people who didn't go to blue-chip undergrad schools. Plenty of these people go on to be very successful academics/researchers. But it's quite intimidating to come to this forum and admit you have a sub-3.0 GPA or a GRE score of 450v 400q, because there are so many pretentious folks around here (no offense to anyone in particular). For this reason, I say kudos to belowthree! Brave...

I will say, however, that if you don't maintain a 3.0 in grad school, you'll be shown the door.

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But I still hold that GPA is not the end all be all and anyone with less than a 3.0 should not shy away from applying to grad school just because type A personalities fret over their 3.2 and 3.3s.

Cheers! By no means should anyone be discouraged. It's just a lot of work to overcome a bad GPA, but it certainly can be done, as people have proved in years past and hopefully we'll prove again this year.

Thought I'd make a thread for folks to gripe about it on. Or just to say hi. Whatever seems most interesting. :)

I will say, however, that if you don't maintain a 3.0 in grad school, you'll be shown the door.

That should be fine. The same thing happens in undergrad with a 2.0. (Although arguably there's a lot more leniency?) Grading in graduate courses is suitably adjusted. Anyone who avoided getting kicked out of undergrad should hopefully be able to avoid getting kicked out of a grad program. To say nothing of the immense difference that comes when you're actually taking courses on topics you enjoy along with the immense differences in evaluation metrics and teaching styles that most graduate courses provide.

But it's quite intimidating to come to this forum and admit you have a sub-3.0 GPA or a GRE score of 450v 400q, because there are so many pretentious folks around here (no offense to anyone in particular). For this reason, I say kudos to belowthree! Brave...

Ah careful, it's not quite as brave as it appears. :) Usually I use my real name on forums and I haven't done so here. You'll also note I mentioned I lurked for a bit before joining and waited until I had an acceptance first. It's not like I just stumbled upon these forums and decided "alright let's go dive in and tell everyone my stats." It took me a bit.

Anyways, anyone who's lurking or in the same situation but hasn't mentioned it yet, here's a thread to do so. It's cathartic or something!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have 7.0/10 and have been pretty successful in my applications. I do not know how this score would translate to on a 4 point scale. It will depend on a lot of factors and varies from university to university and mine has high standards. The topper is around 9.2 and the bottom of the class is around 5.5. So my GPA might even translate to 3.0 or might not but if you look at the nonsensical way of conversion, this would get converted to a dismal 2.5/4.0 :P Extenuating factors do exist but they never are good enough reasons to explain away my two F's in my third semester, but the point is my GPA was once 5.2/10 (!!!) and I did well in my junior-senior years and brought it slowly and steadily up to 7.0 which is quite respectable here. So I guess they must've taken note of the upward trend. I suggest people with below 3.0 GPAs to do the same.. work hard and make sure your grade sheet reflects an upward trend.

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  • 3 weeks later...

it wasn't my gpa [or at least i don't think it's a terrible one to be bargaining with]

it was probably my gre scores. i'll be honest enough to admit that i took them three times. the final ones were 'good enough' & those are the ones i used for my applications.

still, my 'good enough' scores come from never wanting to take that damned test again. i recognize how similar to the sat's there were [i did pretty well on my hs sat's actually] but continually bombed my gre's.

[grooooooooooan]

if i have to apply again next year for grad school im simply going to work on every OTHER part of my application as the my gre ability is likely 'all downhill from here on in.'

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so I have a question about that.

I was checking the Georgia Tech ECE page, and they say "3.25 minimum GPA."

About Me:

GPA: 3.2 (3.18 to be exact) in aerospace from Georgia Tech

experience: 3 years at NASA (aerospace), but now moving to Air Force (non-military engineering position) in signal processing. USAF tells me they do alot of business with GTRI / GT EE School and sends kids for their masters to GaTech.

How will this 3.25 gpa minimum requirement affect my application? I'd imagine...working at NASA and having the USAF pay gatech for a masters would be enough, yes?

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  • 1 month later...

haha thank you for this. I graduated with a cumulative 2.7, and was so afraid that my app would get thrown out before anyone even looked at it...not so! I got into the program I wanted, which mentioned everywhere that one must have a 3.0 to be admitted(so yes, I also wondered if my acceptance letter was a mistake!!)

I used to cringe inside hearing people talk about not having a great GPA when they have like a 3.6.

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I have 7.0/10 and have been pretty successful in my applications. I do not know how this score would translate to on a 4 point scale. It will depend on a lot of factors and varies from university to university and mine has high standards. The topper is around 9.2 and the bottom of the class is around 5.5. So my GPA might even translate to 3.0 or might not but if you look at the nonsensical way of conversion, this would get converted to a dismal 2.5/4.0 :P Extenuating factors do exist but they never are good enough reasons to explain away my two F's in my third semester, but the point is my GPA was once 5.2/10 (!!!) and I did well in my junior-senior years and brought it slowly and steadily up to 7.0 which is quite respectable here. So I guess they must've taken note of the upward trend. I suggest people with below 3.0 GPAs to do the same.. work hard and make sure your grade sheet reflects an upward trend.

My institution uses a 10 scale as well, a 7.0 actually converts into a 3.3 since it's a B+ which qualifies for a cum laude ;-)

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Great to hear that :P but the fact is a 7 here is considered average or maybe just above average. It is difficult to get A's and B's (you get a C on average most of the time which is a 6, in one class, we were even given D's on average (!) which is a 4) here and requires some work and funnily enough one of the professors who wrote me a LOR asked me my GPA and he was very unhappy when I told him and said that he would not write a stellar LOR because of it (I'd done 4 courses with him, got 2 A's, 2 B's and also submitted a paper for publication in a top journal, so I thought what he said was unfair to me). So some of the professors here are very stringent about the "standards" they set for the students they'd write good LOR's for.

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Hmm that does seem unfair from your prof, specially due to the fact that you did well in his classes. I didn't have a great cumulative GPA either, my profs writing the LORs were also shocked by it, but they used it and turned it around saying that earlier grades didn't demonstrate my potential, as they clearly thought I showed potential in their classes. Just out of curiosity, where is your institution? I'm in Canada, I'm guessing you're somewhere in Europe?

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Hmm that does seem unfair from your prof, specially due to the fact that you did well in his classes. I didn't have a great cumulative GPA either, my profs writing the LORs were also shocked by it, but they used it and turned it around saying that earlier grades didn't demonstrate my potential, as they clearly thought I showed potential in their classes. Just out of curiosity, where is your institution? I'm in Canada, I'm guessing you're somewhere in Europe?

India. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to be specific. Dept of Physics (that makes it worse :P).

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I've been lurking for awhile. I'm new to actually posting to the board though, so hi. My way of saying hi is to make a thread for folks who have GPAs under a 3.0 but are applying to programs anyways.

You'd be surprised how different things are applying with a GPA this bad. Not necessarily terrible, just different.

Anyone else in this situation?

Unfortunate and probably not very funny but related comments that we'll generously refer to as humor:


  • [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when someone asks you what your safety schools are and you stare back at them unsure of what those two words together might actually mean.
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when you don't meet the minimum requirements for any of the programs you applied to.
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when you can't take getting recommended for admission by the department for granted as getting approved by the graduate college can actually present a challenge.
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when you describe your transcript as "colorful."
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when, in a desperate search for safe schools, you catch yourself wondering if your local community college is a PhD granting institution. (You quickly realize that even if they were they wouldn't have funding for you anyways, then you remember they don't even grant four-year degrees.)
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when you realize that as much as you'd like to stay in a certain geographic area, all those schools are too hard to get into and so you need to apply more broadly.
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when your "what are you going to do now" fantasy simply consists of you walking around for an entire day uttering no words other than the phrase "I did it."
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when you know for certain that all of your friends will know exactly what that means.
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when you actually start to believe that any acceptance letters you receive are more likely to be mistakes than legitimate offers for admission.
    [*:ms7kaeiu]You know you have under a 3.0 when whenever you tell someone you got accepted somewhere their first words aren't "Congratulations" but "Really?"
    [*:ms7kaeiu]And how could we forget the classic: You know you have under a 3.0 when you wince every time someone online comforts another stressed out applicant by telling them "well at least your GPA is over a three so things won't be that bad."

You have a great sense of humor. Your wit indicates that you are more intelligent than your GPA would lead us to believe...

One should not lose hope if their GPA is less than impressive. If you know that you are capable of doing better but for whatever reason, did not perform consistently throughout undergrad, then consider taking a year to take more undergrad courses and demonstrate that you are capable of outstanding academic achievement (as measured by grades). My GPA wasn't abysmal, but it was not impressive either. I took many more undergrad courses at a better university than where I got my undergrad. My motivation was to broaden my background, further explore my interests, and demonstrate my potential. I achieved all these goals and have been admitted to a competitive program in my field. They apparently did not mind that my earlier GPA was not great because my subsequent grades put to rest any doubts they may have had about my abilities.

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I did well my first few years of undergrad and had one disastrous semester towards the end of my degree. That mistake resulted in a 2.6 final GPA. I was extremely fortunate in that I woke up one morning after graduation and said, "I think I want to go to grad school." I was still working at my undergrad institution that summer as a student worker and paid a visit to one of my old advisors. He pulled up my record and in short order told me I needed an 1150 on the GRE for full admission or 1000 for probationary. I barely got in with at 1050, but never looked back. Less than 18 months later, I graduated with my Masters and a 4.0. Don't let your GPA discourage you from trying to excel. I just wrapped up teaching Business Communications this spring at a local community college and one of the questions I asked my students last week was, "do you think your GPA accurately reflects your skills and qualifications?" My answer is that it depends upon the coursework. I took to grad school like a fish to water. Obviously with my undergrad, that wasn't so much the case.

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So I guess there is hope and I'm not doomed with my cumulative 2.75. Although the other day I calculated my last 4 semesters and it was hovering around a hypothetical 3.0. So I need to bust the GRE and then find something to do for a year after I graduate while I wait for the apps. Anyone here going into or doing geography?

But yes I used cringe every time someone complained about their 3.5 or 3.8. What are grad school's take on learning disabilities? I certainly have some which could explain the sub 3.0 GPA.

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But yes I used cringe every time someone complained about their 3.5 or 3.8. What are grad school's take on learning disabilities? I certainly have some which could explain the sub 3.0 GPA.

My advice: Don't.

Let your work and your application stand on its own. If the learning disability is going to hinder you in grad school that's not going to work out very well either. Let your application be evaluated the same way everyone else's is.

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I do have to admit I slacked off a bit here and there. I don't want to make the same mistake again in grad school.

I don't like how they universally judge, "Grad school believe if you can't maintain a 3.0 in undergrad, you can't do well in graduate school." That is so false. At least show some statistics...

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I do have to admit I slacked off a bit here and there. I don't want to make the same mistake again in grad school.

I don't like how they universally judge, "Grad school believe if you can't maintain a 3.0 in undergrad, you can't do well in graduate school." That is so false. At least show some statistics...

If your school is known to have low GPAs... that might be whole other matter. Almost all my friends that also graduated from Boston U. were in the 3.0-ish range and all are doing great in grad school (law, med, PhDs, etc.).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am applying for a communications PhD...got a 2.96 out of 4 in Masters, then 12 years of relevant work ex and now into a second masters where my first sem is 3 out of 4. I have at least 2 faculty interested and asking me to apply in diff schools due to fit. what are the chances? I have also taught grad classes as visiting faculty and written a few papers.I have studied in India and Singapore so far.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If your school is known to have low GPAs... that might be whole other matter. Almost all my friends that also graduated from Boston U. were in the 3.0-ish range and all are doing great in grad school (law, med, PhDs, etc.).

That makes me feel better, I go to Wake Forest and will have above a 3.0, but in the 3.2ish range :\

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