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Can't seem to get in. Boost my GPA or try different schools?


jpaek
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I applied last year at 7 mid-range to top schools in Canada for psychology and nothing panned out. I ended up getting an informal interview with one of the profs, but he eventually decided my GPA was far too low and would not even get past the admissions department. I am trying to decide on my next step before the next application season and wanted to get some feedback. My application has one major weakpoint; my GPA. My stats are as follows:
 
cGPA: 3.0, last 2 years 3.3 
GRE: 158V, 158Q, 4.5W
Research experience: Total of 2 years in two separate labs
Two poster publications, and a publication in a young journal
My references are great, as far as I know.
 
I believe my failure last year was mostly my low GPA. No matter the fit or rapport I establish with profs, I am being stopped at the door because of my GPA. I emailed a prof earlier with a lot of interest and enthusiasm, but he simply responded he thinks my GPA will be too low to even get into the program. 
 
So what do you think is the wisest course of action? I do really want to go. I feel like I have only 2 options. Find schools that would accept such a low GPA, or go back to school and complete more courses to bring up my GPA (which I am completely open to). Any thoughts or similar experiences?
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How much weight is generally given to the GRE in Canada? I think if you could bump up your scores to the 85th+ percentile, that might help your app a bit if the GRE is considered important or acts as a gatekeeper there.

 

Also, is it possible for you to do post-bacc academic work, gain related work experience, and/or perform more research before reapplying? And can you apply to US or other foreign programs?

 

Psych programs are very competitive even under the best of circumstances, so I do think you'll need to make your app truly stand out to get around any GPA issues. I hope someone will give you a chance.

 

Good luck!

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How much weight is generally given to the GRE in Canada? I think if you could bump up your scores to the 85th+ percentile, that might help your app a bit if the GRE is considered important or acts as a gatekeeper there.

 

Also, is it possible for you to do post-bacc academic work, gain related work experience, and/or perform more research before reapplying? And can you apply to US or other foreign programs?

 

Psych programs are very competitive even under the best of circumstances, so I do think you'll need to make your app truly stand out to get around any GPA issues. I hope someone will give you a chance.

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks sharing your thoughts. I've always been aversive to doing more school or a post-bacc, but it's something I'm definitely opening up to after all the rejections. From the few profs I've heard from, the GRE isn't weighted too heavily here. Almost no programs in Canada require the GRE, with the exception of Psychology due to the sheer competitiveness.

 

With the GPA, I feel like I simply need to raise to a level that it's no longer raising any red flags or questions. Once the focus comes on other parts of my application I feel like I'd become a lot more competitive. 

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I had a 2.95 GPA and a B.S. in Psychology from my original college work. I took post-bacc classes for 1.5 years, pulled a 4.0 and was accepted to a program that I thought was beyond my reach. I would consider post-bacc classes to show that you can handle the course work and that you're serious about continuing your education. Best of luck to you!

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