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Should I even bother? Please help! [Sociology Masters w. bad GPA]

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I am applying to masters programs in sociology with a disastrous GPA. Is there even a chance I will get in or should I start preparing a plan B?

UG GPA: 2.1 from a top 20 school that I don't think is known to inflate grades, but who knows (poor grades were due to long episode of depression that I explain in the SOP. I left school, worked, then came back for the final year and did really well.)

GRE: Verbal 169, Quant 161, Writing 3.0 (i'm not good at writing under pressure, but I am a very good writer and hopefully that's obvious in my writing sample)

I think my writing sample is excellent (empirical research paper I did for a class and have revised) and SOP is strong, with a clear thesis proposal

LORs from sociology profs should be pretty good


I'm applying to Columbia, CUNY Hunter, Brandeis, and CUNY Queens.


Sub-question: Should I tell my LOR profs exactly how terrible my GPA is or just say that it wasn't great (I did really well in their classes so that's not an issue).


What do you guys think?


Also, thank you all in advance. I've found so much great advice here!

Edited by bananastand
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You may have to petition to be considered for admission into those programs because your GPA is below the set minimum.


Your writing score doesn't matter much for sociology programs, in my experience.


You should have your letter writers address your GPA issue in their recommendations. If a school doesn't explicitly suggest giving reason got a low GPA, then don't bother mentioning it. On your CV, put your major GPA beneath your degree information in bold font.

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I think it´s always worth it to try, especially with such great GRE scores! Soc. programs typically take a holistic view. On the other hand, everyone should have a plan B. I learned that when my friend in high school got too cocky with his SATs and GPA and only applied to ivy´s, and got rejected from every single one. Look into jobs in addition to these programs - it certainly can´t hurt.

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I say it's worth a shot to apply to some programs.  Master's programs tend to be more forgiving in their admissions.  I have a few friends who had mid-2.0s from a top 20 school and got in to very good master's programs.  The fact that you left school, got yourself back on track, and came back and did very well will count in your favor and shows great perseverance.  


I think if everything else in your application is good (as it looks to be), you have a very good chance of getting in to one of the programs you mentioned.  I'd have a "plan b" in mind (as I feel everyone applying to grad school should), and just give it your best shot.

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I agree with amblo, you might be able to get on a good Masters program - and if a PhD is where you want to finish then at least you can work hard on those grades. 


My only advice given your situation is that you might want to be careful how you frame the reasoning of your poor grades - it can be good to highlight why you have bad grades, and perhaps you can emphasise some relevant units that you did better in? - also your GRE scores are extremely good, so that shows that you are capable and no mug


But,  (without trying to pry) if by any chance your depression reasons were anything to do with high workload or anything that might be replicated in grad school,  i'm not sure there will be too much sympathy from selection committees, as after all, they will only pick you if they think you are capable to see it out. 


All the best and I hope it works out! 

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Would a post-bacc program be an option to show that you can thrive in a program?


I found these two by googling:






Your GRE scores are phenomenal, and you sound eager to continue with sociology. I hope you're able to find schools that can overlook a low GPA.

Edited by midnight streetlight
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