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how important is a uGPA if applying 2-3yrs after graduating?


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Hey there--

how important is an undergraduate GPA if you plan on applying to a masters program a few years after you graduate?

my cumulative uGPA is a 2.9 (*thats another story...see below)

im looking into volunteering with the peace corps/similar organizations, and/or get in on some research expeditions

if a uGPA is going to make or break my chances of getting into programs (Public Affairs -- USC, UCLA) I would be willing to stay a 5th year as an undergrad to try to raise my GPA.

I figured, you can always gain experience but once you graduate you GPA is there with you for life.



*why my gpa is so low

I went abroad my 3rd year. Huge miscommunication between my home/host school. Ended up not being able to take 2 finals. Have 12 quarter units of Fs on my transcript. Been battling it out with my school/host school for the past year (literally) trying to remake the grades. So far no luck. Doesnt look like im going to be able to make it up.

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Hmmm, not sure what the whole deal is in your case, but I did an exchange during UG, and also took several classes at different universities than my home school throughout college. It added up to A LOT of credits. All the credits were transferred in to count toward my degree, but I could only transfer the credits, and not the grades; the grades were not added into my UG GPA. However, with some of the master's programs that I applied to, I could not submit my UG transcript as is; I had obtain all transcripts from every school where I took classes and recalculate my final UG GPA with the grades from the transfer credits added in. Different programs look at your GPA differently in that respect.

I had always thought that your UG GPA is still your UG GPA regardless of how many years you wait to apply to grad school (I also waited a few years), but that having experience adds to the overall package, especially if it's a professional program. Don't know what kind of program to which you're applying, though. There are probably people on this forum who know much more than me about these things.

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Hey lovecleanh20,

My UG cumGPA is almost same with yours. What I heard from many people is that it may be unimportant if you have done adequate relevant research. Here is what I have done: I was eager to study Nationalism and in order to meet this deficiency, I am receiving my MA degree in Cultural Studies with a 3.87 GPA. And next year, I will be doing a second MA in Nationalism Studies. I just hope to be a strong applicant for PhD programs in the US.

However, please be aware that some departments determine a cut-off GPA and you may be out of pool because of a GPA below three. But still, I think that there is no need to stay one more year at college. Instead, do your best in an MA program.

I wrote this post considering that your aim is a PhD. If not, UG GPA carries even less weight. By the way, as you know, they will look at not only your GPA but research, GRE etc. So if you believe that rest of your file may meet this deficiency, don't waste your time. Otherwise, it may be good to have an above-three GPA.

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