Jump to content

3.5 GPA what are my chances?


Recommended Posts

My Background:

3.5 GPA from UC Berkeley English Major

1 year Americorps literacy program

good letter of recommendations

GRE: V158 Q152 W:4.0


What are my chances for the following programs?


HGSE: MA Language and Literacy

UPenn: MA Language and Literacy

Columbia: MA International Educational Development

NYU Steinhardt: MA International Education


Any insight will be much appreciated. 

Edited by makaay2006
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi makaay2006, I'm probably not the best person to be giving advice because I'm so far removed from your field, but in my field which is almost purely technical and not english-heavy, general GRE scores (even writing scores) tend to be higher than yours listed to get into the top grad programs (160+ all sections, writing 4+). I can't speak to your chances, but I can recommend that you boost those scores if it's at all possible for you -- adding a few points to those scores is a relatively quick way (if you can afford it financially and time-wise) to help your application. 

Edited by astroyogi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my best friends goes to Columbia for her masters. The first time she applied with a 165 on one section of the GRE she was rejected and told she needed a perfect (or only one to two points off perfect) score on that section of her GRE to get in. The second time she applied she had a 169 and was admitted. Take that as you will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that the experience is a bit lacking. the 3.5 is decent enough, and "good recommendations" means what? Chair of a department? an alum of any of these programs who donates money or has a reputable name in the field? Or a professor who gave you a few As and maybe you did research for?


I'm interested to know which Americorps program (I work for an Americorps literacy program), and I think that can work in your favor for, say, Penn GSE (as they seem to speak favorably about City Year and TFA on their site). On the other hand, their median GRE if I recall correctly was 157V and 4.5W so... maybe. I got the impression that a good portion of their applicants have at least 1-2 years of work experience after graduation. A LOT of applicants I met at preview days volunteered a lot too. I had 8 years of work exp (incl 2 years of Americorps), 3.3 GPA and 153/4.0W GRE and was accepted.


I can't speak on the other programs (I am an NYU alum, and I think you'd have a good shot into Steinhardt) but I'll echo the others and say work on the GRE score because it's the only thing you can control right now, unless you decide to wait another year and gather some more experience. I imagine Columbia would be a bit more difficult - your personal statement better sell the hell out of you going into IED, especially with that under-160-GRE score.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I am going to Harvard. My 4 roommates are as follows:


1. Fresh out of India's top school undergrad, never worked a day in his life. GRE=similar to yours.

2. 2 years ago undergrad from no-name uni. Worked at non-profits (started a non-profit connecting people). Average academics.

3. 4 years experience working for ed-tech startup, out of UC-Berkley. No idea about scores.

4. 7 years experience teaching in district schools. Scores are slightly higher than yours.

5. My story is below.


I think you have a great chance of getting into the schools you've mentioned. I would venture to suggest not to consider TC along the same lines as Penn and HGSE. If you have time, retake the GRE; in the GRE forum I have some specific advice on how you can increase your scores significantly-the scores are pretty decent anyway, not stellar-in particular that writing score. As someone mentioned, especially for someone who is an English major-for top 1% schools, you probably want to do better than 72%ile in writing. Your GPA is strong-HGSE will weigh the difference between a gpa from Berkley vs. a 4.0 from a no-name school.


Vis-a-vis the application, the often-ignored part of it is the recommendations and the personal statement. Don't try to get Bill Gates to write your letter---the letter is about your hard work and professionalism, not some accomplished chair or alumnus. None of the three people that wrote my letters had a PhD. I selected people who I thought could speak best about my academics and experience.

You should get 2 professors and 1 supervisor (most recent) to write your letters.


At the end of the day--the most important thing is your personal statement. Remember to focus your personal statement on three questions:

1. Why you?

2. Why Harvard (or another school)?

3. Why now?


If you need help, feel free to reach out!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm attending HGSE this fall and I have a unique trajectory as well (background not in education).  I went to Berkeley for my undergrad and had a relatively low GPA.  What I would suggest is that you get your writing score up - a 4 is low, especially given your background and your program of interest.  My scores for V/Q were in the low 160s and I had a 6 on writing which I'm sure helped immensely.


Also, can't overstress the importance of the personal statement and the letters of rec.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use