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Rick120020

Chances with bad science GPA but great psych GPA?

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I'm currently a junior psychology major however I started as a biology premed major. I was in way over my head as I struggled with most science classes. I received two C's in Gen. chemistry, an F in organic chemistry and a W in calculus. During my sophomore year I took a psychology class and I loved it so I change my major. My gen Ed is a 4.0 and my major GPA right now is a 3.8. I have three years of research experience at my university, I have presented two posters at a conference and research forum, I have received supplemental NIH grant funding for my research. I do expect to have something published by the end of my senior year. I work with two PI's. One is a physician the other is a researcher with a PhD in clinical psychology. Although most of my research is medically geared I do provide a lot of emphasis on the psycholohical and social aspects of healthcare, treatment, and patients. Almost all the people I work with are either physicians or psychologist. I'm not sure this is relevant but I also design a low literacy educational program for people with certain illnesses which is targeted towards minorities. I'm now interested in clinical psychology and would like to earn a PhD in it. However, I'm not sure if I could get excepted into any programs. If I need to I can retake organic chemistry and have my old grade replaced. I only failed the course because I missed the final. So do I have a chance or should I just forget about it and try something else? Thanks!

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I have a F and 5 Ws and my advisors still thinks I will get acceptances. I think youll be fine.

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Only you will know the answer once you try it out. Seems to me you've built up your experiences and research so that you could apply for a PhD program. Your credentials are research is outstanding given that you are still a Junior in your undergrad. Why not go for it and see what happens? You have nothing to lose, except for application fees and your time preparing them but the whole process will be a learning experience for you as well.

Edited by denimfan

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I too had poor grades in the so-called "natural sciences" (biology, chemistry, physics) and math, and then I followed that with 60-straight hours of As in psychology and my minor. Part of this is because the course plan at my undergrad institution was ridiculous. Their philosophy is to "throw the students into the fire and see who comes out alive." That's some inspirational education right there. Not.

Unfortunately, having a less-than-stellar overall GPA seems to preclude acceptance to some of the top-ranked programs. But since you have lots of research experience (more than I did as an undergrad), that will make a difference. The important thing is finding a program that fits your interests and that has faculty who are taking new grad students with your interests.

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Out of curiosity, what is the area you want to work in when you go for a PhD. One of the most important factors is fit. Also some schools take a more holistic approach (from what I've been told) and calculate GPA and GRE together in addition to your statement, experience, and fit. Additionally you can use your statement to attempt to explain away those low grades. I think you have a shot, I'm just another applicant but I have received a great deal of good advice. Hope this helps.

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Honestly, if you're interested in clinical, I can't imagine that they would see your science grades as relevant- at least not more relevant than your other, much better grades. Your GPA is great, and you have a lot of experience, so I really wouldn't worry as much as you are! If you were going into a career in health psych, neuro, biopsych, psychiatry, or the other more science-based aspects of this field, it might be a little more worrisome, but I think that you've displayed that you're a great student and just didn't do well in your first major. I'm currently a psych MA student but did my first five majors as a music student! My first semester as a psych major was a little rough because I was working full time, and so I explained this very briefly in my personal statement to make sure that I wasn't represented in the wrong way (which might be a good idea for you, too- just don't dwell on your weaker points more than necessary). Also, after that semester, my grades were pretty much the same as yours- 3.8 overall, 4.0 in my major- and I got accepted to five of seven schools. Two professors even found my music background to make me a more interesting applicant. So basically, don't worry too much- do well on your GREs, write a great personal statement, and get strong recommendations, and you shouldn't have a problem.

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Pro tip: Academic psychologists don't like it when you use "science" and "psychology" in juxtaposition because psychology is a science (as practised in most universities). Arcadian has it right: stick with "natural sciences" or "physical sciences".

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Pro tip: Academic psychologists don't like it when you use "science" and "psychology" in juxtaposition because psychology is a science (as practised in most universities). Arcadian has it right: stick with "natural sciences" or "physical sciences".

haha I started a "Pro tip" section on my notes. Half of the tips I've compiled are from you.

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Pro tip: Academic psychologists don't like it when you use "science" and "psychology" in juxtaposition because psychology is a science (as practised in most universities). Arcadian has it right: stick with "natural sciences" or "physical sciences".

I tend to refer to bio, chem, geology as the natural sciences; physics, econ, statistics as the math sciences; and psych, anthro, and sociology as the social sciences.

However, at the undergraduate level, I've found that some of the social sciences are taught like humanities classes. So I can see how psychology courses could be considered less sciencey than pre-med courses. (That's not meant to be a dig at psych or anyone's background. Just an observation from my years as an econ major. Psych has been a recent addition.)

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Pro tip: Academic psychologists don't like it when you use "science" and "psychology" in juxtaposition because psychology is a science (as practised in most universities). Arcadian has it right: stick with "natural sciences" or "physical sciences".

haha I started a "Pro tip" section on my notes. Half of the tips I've compiled are from you.

We should make a pro-tip post somewhere.

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Ha, you guys are sweet but these just randomly pop into my head and it's hard to generate a list until one sees a "violation" of the social norm.

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