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Phd Admission with Low Undergrad GPA


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Good day all,

I am currently a masters student in mechatronics engineering with GPA (3.72/4.00). I am working in the field of active vibration control using Dynamic vibration absorber. I had my undergrad in my home country (Nigeria) in Mech. Engineering. with a GPA of (3.5/5.00) second class upper equivalent of (2.8/4.00). I recently applied to these schools Utah state, carnegie, northeastern, University of nevada and Iowa for my Phd in Active Vibration Control with a TOEFL of 94 iBT, GRE 720-Quant and 420 Verbal. unfortunately for me the first schol i.e Utah state university already made their decision and could not give me admission due to my low UNDEGRAD GPA.

Please kindly give an advice on what to do e.g should i apply to some other schools if the ones i have choosen are on the high side? what school will most probably give me admission?

Thanks in anticipation.

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I would say that there are a lot of things that you can do to improve your chances in getting in to the program you like. Concerning the undergraduate GPA I would say that it is an important factor for the big schools. Further the name of your undergraduate institution is important as well. If you want to apply to schools like Northwestern, I would say you should be in the top 10% of your year and the school you went to must be top notch of your country. If not this would be a minus but you can still get in if you do some of the following:

- TOEFL: At least 105, better 110

- GRE: You should definitely retake, International Engineering PhDs have around 770-800 Quant, 500+ Verbal, 4+ AW

- Publications: If you have anything to offer here, I would say it would increase your chances significantly

- Research Assistant positions in the past might help as well

- Letter of Recommendations most often help most, when your writer is internationally recognized, when he went to the same institution you are applying to, or when he knows one professor in the school you are applying to personally.

- I have to say that the US is leading in research, and that almost no other countries (except some top schools in Europe and Asia) publish in the big journals. That is also why American professors are very picky about recommendations and don't trust anyone when they are from a small unknown university.

- I figured that most successful candidates did a masters degree in the US before they joined a PhD program (see reason above--> recommendation letters)

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