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My grades are all over the place, should I even bother applying?


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Stats:

  • GPA for last 60 credits (71 credits): 2.866
  • GPA for in-major (23 credits): 2.923
  • GPA for in-major + phonetics (26 credits): 2.983
  • GPA when degree conferred (121 credits): 3.119
  • GPA for extra year (20 credits): 2.713
  • GPA for all credits earned (141 credits): 3.045
  • GRE Scores: 165 V, 152 Q, 5.5 W

So, I did my undergrad in Linguistics and Japanese and then decided to do another year after graduation to take my pre-reqs in com dis. I was pretty consistent in-major before graduation as I had taken some com dis classes and gotten ABs in both of them. I was also pretty solidly an AB (around 3.5 gpa) student for my linguistics major. Some science heavy generals during freshman year and higher level Japanese courses brought my gpa down from there but overall it wasn't bad.

The problem is that my grades in my pre-req year ended up being all over the place and I ended up with an A, B, C (in stats), and F during that first semester. The F is completely my fault because I didn't go to that class but a couple of times during the semester...but that was because I am dealing with an only recently diagnosed chronic pain disorder. At the time of the F, I was barely coping with life and that class was the only class I had 3 days out of the week so it was pretty natural that I ended up not going. I should have dropped it but I was stupid and thought I could pull a C with the final and then I would be done with it. Instead, I bombed the final and got the F. I retook it the next semester and got a BC. I'm not sure how that looks. I wish I could have gotten an A in it the second time around (if only to pull up my GPA) but it was legitimately a hard course, otherwise I could have pulled that C while not even going to class. My other grades during second semester were ABs and a B and my overall com dis gpa WOULD be 3.3 if not for that pesky F. So I'm not sure how my grades come off, even if I include an explanation about my chronic pain condition. I'm managing the pain better now but I don't want them to think that because I am citing my condition as a cause of poor grade performance in the past that I will be unstable in performance in the future and then not take a chance on me as a grad student.

 

The other stuff I have going for me is that I'm taking a sign language class this fall (and plan to take the next one in the spring, relevant because I want to do Aural Rehab) and that I just got a job doing ABA therapy with autistic children. If that goes well, I could possibly get a recommendation from my supervisor. I also have good letters of rec from several professors during my undergrad and one from my pre-req time (the prof whose course I got an A in).

 

Anyway, sorry for the wall of text, I'm just looking at applications again and wondering what my chances are of actually getting in anywhere. I'm mostly looking at smaller schools in Wisconsin and Missouri because those are places that I have family in but I'm willing to consider applying to a few schools in other places if they are more likely to accept me. Please any advice about where to apply or speculation as to my chances is WELCOME. Thanks.

 

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My grades were only slightly better than yours and I just got admitted to LIU Post. (actually i think your GRE scores are a little better than mine!) OF COURSE you can still apply! dont let your grades discourage you because there are people with less than stellar grades that get in. Sell yourself on your work experience (i had similar work exp to what you will have i work in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities) and they seem to like that you are working in a related field as opposed to working at like McDonalds. (lol).

Dont worry so much about the F, since you retook the class and got a better grade thats the one that counts. I had a similar situation in which i got a C in Voice+Fluency undergrad, retook it and got a B+. at my interview i told them that i had a rough time my first few semesters but I was able to learn how to study, manage my time better and mature as a student. (Hint hint, thats an awesome line to give on an interview. Youre being honest and acknowledging that you struggled but youre showing them that you are able to work to improve it. I know youre in the midwest but LIU Post is on Long Island (new york) about a half hour east of NYC. Could be worth it to apply if you dont mind relocating. In the mean time, work on a stellar essay that is well written, informative and passionate. My essay included an explanation of my struggles in my undergrad, and it may help to try to do some damage control right off the bat.

 

Hope this helps, feel free to PM me if you have any other ?s

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castikat, I see you're a fellow Wisconsinite.  I also did my undergrad at UW in linguistics.  Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have.

 Lol I probably know you (or at least have seen you around)

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JaemeeGee, thank you! That's a lot of great advice and I will look into LIU Post. One of my trepidations for going out of the midwest is that cost of living tends to be higher, but I'm open to it, so I will look into it.
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As far as your reported GPA stats go, they all seem relatively well clustered together between 2.7-3.0

 

Sometimes grad committees will look at the marks that make up your gpa, particularly if they want to see your knowledge from more relevant courses (how you did in methodology course might mean more than how you did in intro to basics of banjo playing).

 

Some schools will drop your worst grade or worst couple grades, but this will vary from school to school.

 

Otherwise though  I think your only real bet is to address it in a letter or personal statement, if you think it would do more good than bad

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castikat, I doubt you know me.  I graduated in 2007. :)  But I'm sure we know many of the same professors.  That said, having the linguistics background greatly helped when I started taking Com Dis classes at UWM.  I, too, did not do well in Phonetics at UW.  (Ended up with a C.) I retook the course at UWM and got an A.  Having had exposure to IPA and calculating formant frequencies made it much easier to grasp those concepts in speech science.  In many of the Com Dis courses, you cover syntax, phonology, morphology, and semantics. It may be worth a shot to apply.  Your GRE is strong.  If you can get strong LORs, that will help.  Grades are just one part of the application process.

 

That said, some of the "smaller" schools in the UW system are also quite competitive.  Whitewater accepts a class of 15 total.  They also have a program where current UW-Whitewater students can do a 5-year Bachelor's + Master's program, cutting down on the number of available spots for those outside Whitewater.  Eau Claire, UWM, and Stevens Point each accept classes between 25-30.  (I think Stevens Point does fall and spring starts, but I could be wrong).  At UWM, I was told this year, more than 300 applicants vied for those 25 spots.

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Lexical_gap, oh haha yeah I started at UW in 2008 so we did not cross paths :P My poor grade was actually in Speech Science not Phonetics. I got an AB in phonetics (the last semester it was offered :( sucks they discontinued it but glad I got to take it). And I think that did help a little, I mean, I didn't have trouble with the physiology aspect so much as I'm really bad at just rote memorization of anatomy parts. I get how they work together but when half of the tests are just labeling 50 different parts, I struggled.

 

 

Yeah, I've heard that UWM and Whitewater are really competetive. I can't even apply to UWM because I'm short one credit of com dis classes (they require 27 and I only have 26) and same with Eau Claire because they require 30 com dis credits. I can't afford to take more com dis classes at UW or elsewhere due to only working part time right now and I'm already in debt up to my ears so taking more loans pre-grad school is not something I'm willing to do. But yea...

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JaemeeGee, thank you! That's a lot of great advice and I will look into LIU Post. One of my trepidations for going out of the midwest is that cost of living tends to be higher, but I'm open to it, so I will look into it.

Yes you are right. Much higher cost of living, its actually sickening!

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As long as your GPA makes some sort of arbitrary cut off, you will be considered. I would try to find out what those general cut offs are. Most program websites give you an indication of the minimum GPA you need.

 

I think applying is definitely worth a shot. The process of applying is a good learning experience. Even if you don't get in, you can regroup and make a stronger application for the next year.

Edited by MagentaMacaron
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