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Lower GPA with a high GRE??


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I graduated from UC Berkeley last year with a degree in Psychology. I want to apply to masters of communications programs -- I am particularly interested in columbia, NYU but also northwestern, Purdue, etc.. some of the top schools. I had a 3.3 GPA due to personal problems it was difficult to concentrate but I transferred to berkeley with a 4.0 from community college. While I was at Berkeley I also did 3 internships and have some pretty good letters of rec. I took the GRE once but am studying to retake it. My score right now is pretty competitive but I want it to be better. Will the lower GPA hurt my chances?

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As people will definitely tell you, it varies by program, your application etc. I will tell you I graduated with a ~3.3 but had a stellar writing and pretty good qual score and got into 2 out of 4 programs for museum studies, I also went in with internship and work experience. I would have had a much, much better chance getting into my dream program if I had a higher GPA.

**edit** I would post in your specific subject area if you want more detailed responses

Edited by GreenePony
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I actually had the opposite problem-a very high GPA with a very low GRE. I didn't let it stop me from applying to the "top schools" but it also made me decide to apply to some less than stellar schools as a safety net. You have to keep in mind that each part of the application is only a part of the whole. Schools can really vary with their admission criteria, so I would check each program's website and see what the minimum GPA is. If it is possible to do so in a way that doesn't discredit you as an applicant, you could use the SOP to explain your lower GPA. I would be very careful with this, however, as you do not want the AdCom to think that you want others to feel sorry for you or that you are not mentally stable enough to succeed in their program. If you do explain what your "personal problems" were, do so in a way that demonstrates that you learned an important lesson and try to relate that to how it makes you a stronger candidate and fit for the program. You could also ask your LOR writers to emphasize what they feel are your academic strengths and how those fit in with your graduate program. Overall it sounds like you are a very desirable candidate, so I wouldn't worry about 1 weak point in your application.

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