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GPA Questions...again


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I'm just being really paranoid about my GPA, I've never been a person to be obsessed with grades, so I never strove for a 4.0, as long as I understood the material in class, I felt good about it, even if I got a B. I don't test well...I always get flustered by question wording, etc.

Anyways, I'm wondering how much a difference a 3.5 and a 3.6 will look on my application. I'm also wondering what is more important: cumulative or last 60 credits (basically my last two years at current institution, I transferred a few times) and which should you list on your CV, or list both? Because my cumulative is 3.58 but my current institution is 3.67, but may go down to a 3.6 after this term. Am I right to be worried or am I being nitpicky? I'm wanting to go into a experimental/cognitive psych PhD program. My psych grades are all good. And if anything is it wise to include a sentence or two in my SoP about a C I got recently in a biology class (it was a upper division class and biology is not my area of interest or expertise, hence the lower grade, but I wanted a challenge) or is it not even worth mentioning since it's not my major? AND if anything, would it be worth it to take more classes post bac (I'm graduating this term) to up my GPA? Though I doubt a few classes will budge it much at this point.

I'm not too worried about research experience because I have 1 year now, will be taking this next year to continue volunteering research. I have one publication and 4 presentations under my belt so I feel pretty secure about that (just a matter of continuing to get research experience). I have my LoRs set and may eventually get a new one if I join another lab, so that isn't an issue either. GREs are decent, though I could maybe stand to improve it a little...perhaps improving that would balance out the GPA?? (I can't remember off the top of my head what the scores are...but I know they're decent, not stellar).

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IMHO there is no difference between a 3.5 and 3.6 - at least not enough to do anything about. You won't fool anybody by playing with which numbers to look at - ad comms are pretty experienced at reading transcripts. If they see a "C" in biology and your applying for a PhD in psych it won't kill you. (If your are applying for a PhD in econ and get a "C" in calculus it might). I wouldn't mention it in the SoP (if you flunked, okay, maybe),

I think a 3.5 GPA "makes the cut" and as long as your GRE's "make the cut" they will look at your LORs and SoP and weigh the whole package.

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Am I right to be worried or am I being nitpicky?
IMO, it is going to depend on a case by case basis upon the programs to which you apply. Some departments in some fields are increasingly concerned with grade inflation. This concern may lead to your UG GPA being significantly less important than other aspects of your application.

Were I in your situation, I would hold to the sensibility that learning the course materials is the foundation of success.

Moreover, I recommend that you give careful thought to the dynamic that leads to you not doing well on tests. As a graduate student, you may have in-class exams as part of your coursework. And then there will be your qualifying exams.

Concurrently, I recommend that you take a long hard look to figure out why you get flustered. Is this issue going to emerge down the line when a professor decides to use you as a chew toy? Are you ready to brawl with graduate students during class?

In regards to your SOP, I recommend that you focus on your strengths and on how you intend to maximize your potential and not draw attention to your (perceived) shortcomings.


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Thanks for the advice. Im not really worried about grad school because then I'll be focused on one area. My grades for my major are all A's maybe 2 B's...and those were before i really figured out thats what i was into. I only get really frustrated with topics that are out of my area. Thats why i want to go to grad school in my field, because there i feel comfortable and energized about learning, not stressed and flustered lol. Same with GREs...hard to really get into studying something so generalized and standardized. I guess i cant help much about my GPA now and just try to improve my GRE scores.

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