Jump to content

Very low GPA, any chance at all?


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,


I've been employed as a programmer at various financial institutions (investment banks, hedge funds) for the past 10+ years since graduating from college. Currently hold a VP title (not really something hard to get at a bank, but still sounds nice?).


To put things bluntly, I screwed up in college. I didn't know what I was doing or what I wanted in life, and ended up graduating with a 2.2x  GPA. The only saving grace, if you could call it that, is that it was from a well known "name brand" school. My major (Information Systems) GPA wasn't exactly great either. No, I wasn't the life of the party, but I won't waste time with excuses.


One thing I feel is holding me back in my career is the lack of a formal computer science background. I'd like to address this by going to grad school (part-time). But realistically, what are my chances? I'm not expecting to get into an Ivy, but if I'm going to be paying a large sum, I would like to make it some place reputable.


Is there anything that can get me past my abysmally low GPA? How far would good GRE scores take me? Historically I've been great with standardized tests (near perfect SAT I/II scores, AP scores, etc.)


Worst case scenario, would it be worth even considering trying to get another undergrad degree instead, or in preparation for a graduate degree later?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are a few questions here, so lets take them step by step.


I think the first question is, since you don't have a formal computer science education, is do you have the prereqs to get into a program? If you don't, it might be good to ask a program you are interested in what classes you might take so they would consider your application. Then take undergraduate courses part time, (a few) and get As in those classes. That will go a long way to help build your application.


The second is can you get into graduate school with a low GPA? The answer is unequivocally yes. Jeff Erickson (http://web.engr.illinois.edu/~jeffe/) at UIUC is one of the most famous cases, where he is now a full tenured professor at a top 5 computer science school and his undergraduate GPA if I remember correctly is a 2.4. He has written a blog post about it: http://3dpancakes.typepad.com/ernie/2005/03/re_phd_with_low.html


Good GRE scores will help, Good letters of recommendation will help, taking those prereq courses and getting As will help . The point is to be so strong in all the other aspects of your application that they will not worry about your GPA. 


You are only applying to a masters program correct (assuming from part time and no formal education)? MS programs that are professional programs are less rigorous to get into because the university makes money off them. I wouldn't be suprised, depending on your GRE scores, letter, your industry experience and maybe a few As in some undergraduate computer science courses that you do get into an "ivy" program. Schools like people like you because they wont give you financial aid, and you have earned money so you can pay your bills.  So while I would apply to lower ranked schools, don't shy from the higher ranked ones. Having money (or being able to finance your education by getting a loan) is an advantage that not everyone applying to graduate school has. 

Edited by GeoDUDE!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, and thanks for the information.


On your first point, no I probably don't have the requisite math credits to immediately apply to most CompSci masters programs, hence why I'm seeing myself in this process for the long haul. Which naturally leads to:


Regarding taking undergrad classes, how does that work? I did a quick search on this kind of thing at several local universities, but it seems they all have their own application process for non-matriculating students where they presumably will look at my GPA and/or GRE scores also. Or am I looking at the wrong place? Is there a simpler process at most schools where I can just "sign up" for a class?

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