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In a real corner...what should I do?


zirtico
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First off, excuse me for the long post!

 

I got my engineering undergrad from a very reputable university in Canada, where I really struggled to get through, not because of the material, but because of the academic misconduct.  Professors asked students for money to award them the grade they deserved.  I graduated with a lot of debt and a GPA that did not reflect my knowledge in the least.  After spending about 10 months applying to literally hundreds of jobs, I remained unemployed and decided I had to go back to grad school as a last resort.  FYI, many of my fellow graduates with similar GPAs are still unemployed while those who underperformed academically, attained very well-paying jobs.

 

I took my GREs, scored in the 90th percentiles, got 3 good letters of recommendation and applied for an MS.  Realistically, I expected to get into Oregon State U., which I did, and obtain funding, which I did not at least not in the first round.  I have had no income and cannot afford to go deeper into debt, therefore if I am to attend grad school, I will need to secure an assistantship, or get a tuition remission and get a part-time job.  What do you suggest that I do? 

 

I figured my chances were better to get into a state school in the US than another university in Canada, where I would most likely have to pay full fees.  Is there anything I can do to attend grad school?

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I figured my chances were better to get into a state school in the US than another university in Canada, where I would most likely have to pay full fees.

 

I think you're incorrect on this one. Canadian schools have quite generous funding for Master's degrees, with STEM being an even better chance for good funding.

 

Where on earth did you go to school where systematic bribery was the norm? There were a ton of avenues you could have pursued to shine some light on that. Now that you're out, you're basically stuck with your GPA, but a strong GRE and LoRs will negate a lot of that.

 

You're probably a little late for more applications at this point (at least for most Canadian schools). Did you apply to other schools? Your only real option here, besides waiting for the next round or applying to schools with late deadlines, is to ask Oregon to offer you some funding. Did they guarantee a TAship or anything? Emphasize that going to Oregon will require you to move and that you would not be able to afford living costs without some sort of assistance from the school. Funding is based on many things, including academic scores and anticipated relocation costs.

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Rvict, I think he means he had a very high GPA with no real  usable knowledge  from it. Rather his good grades didn't actually describe his aptitude and therefore prevented him from good employment opportunities.

Doesn't logically follow from the bribery bit, unless I'm misreading that? I admit it's a bit unclear. Perhaps OP can clarify?

I interpreted it as the OP is being hurt in the job market by a low GPA despite having a good grasp of the material. Most people trying to get a job with a BA/BSc rely on a mix of undergrad performance and work (co-op, intern) experience to demonstrate their aptitude. Entry level jobs especially are subject to the HR drone scanning resumes/transcripts, and many such jobs specifically ask for a transcript as they're intended for new graduates.

 

In any case, undergrad is done for the OP and he can't change anything about it. The important thing is next steps.

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Just that last qualifying statement he had up there:   FYI, many of my fellow graduates with similar GPAs are still unemployed while those who underperformed academically, attained very well-paying jobs.

But yeah, bit convoluted, and honestly shocking. 

I'm a bit skeptical about graduate schools giving more money just because you're in a hard  situation. But I suppose extraordinary things could happen. I just think that unless there is someone at that school who has a real vested  interest  in this potential grad, the probabilities are slim.

Edited by maelduin
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I got my engineering undergrad from a very reputable university in Canada, where I really struggled to get through, not because of the material, but because of the academic misconduct.  Professors asked students for money to award them the grade they deserved.  

 

Stop, stop, stop right there. Are you seriously trying to tell me that UBC engineering profs are soliciting bribes in exchange for grades? Is that what you're saying?!

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Stop, stop, stop right there. Are you seriously trying to tell me that UBC engineering profs are soliciting bribes in exchange for grades? Is that what you're saying?!

 

Yeah, not buying this one at all.

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I'm just aghast that OP is suggesting that this not only happened, but that no one ever reported it! The scandal this would've caused is unbelievable (sure you don't want to be going to the newspaper with this, OP?) And even in the Bizarro-world where professors at a reputable university would be crazy enough to do this, OP for some reason didn't dare speak up?

 

I mean, am I just horribly misinterpreting what this person is implying? Please tell me if I am!

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To clarify: My grades were not poor, however, they were not excellent either.  I believe what I learnt is far from accurately represented by my grades.  And I did not go to UBC.  When a professor of mine couldn't find a mistake in a midterm I wrote, he said he had no choice but to take off ~25% to help keep the class average at a certain level.  He took off marks for stuff like writing 4/10 instead of 2/5, which in my eyes, is not justified especially in an exam where time is a factor.  I have also been told to "come back with a lawyer" if I want to discuss my test further.  I understand this may seem shocking, but in all honesty, I need to move on and figure out the next steps rather than dwelling on the past.  The latter never helps.  Also, I am not the only one in my class who was subject to this.

 

I will try and see if there is any I can do to convince OSU to at least give me a tuition remission, but I can't say I feel too optimistic at this stage...

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I have a really hard time believing something like this would be going on and that no one would report it.  Sounds like making stuff up to me, especially with absolutely no proof to back it up. 

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You might try contacting the graduate school at OSU to see if there are open assistantships that you can apply for that aren't in your dept. It's actually fairly common at my institution for grads to bounce around to different departments if they prefer to work elsewhere. 

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