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Current HS Teacher with Terrible UG GPA, Need Advice

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My story is the standard, trope-laden one that populates the majority of these sorts of threads, thogh I do apologize if it comes off more whiny than I mean for it to.


I attended a large, southern university with the intent to get a B.S. in Physics. Due to a complete lack of ambition, laziness and perhaps even fundamental lack of facility for it, I bounced around upper level math and physics courses with middling, then failing, grades. I managed to graduate from Thomas Edison State College—a school in NJ that has no residency requirement—using 120 of my 152 credits. My degree is a B.A. titled, ‘Natural Science’. Although I’m grateful for the existence of such a degree, it is as useless for what I’d like to do as the title is nebulous.


I began working at various jobs, attempting to audit some graduate math courses as a non-degree student at the same time. I realized that I lacked the necessary background (the highest level course I took in math was a linear algebra course that I did surprisingly well in), but there were no undergraduate courses that fit with my schedule. The courses did kindle an earnest desire to get a master’s degree in math, however.

 Currently, I am teaching physics at a high school. Teaching an  AP class has really made the itch to further my studies even more unbearable. Although I love interacting with many of my students, I’ve decided that a career as a high school teacher is for folks more saintly than I.


My question is, would this teaching experience in any way sway an admissions committee or should I not bother to mention it? I imagine I would need to ask for consideration as a probationary student and take some undergraduate courses (I’ve been told abstract and complex analysis at a minimum). My GPA is so incredibly low that I can’t bear to type it. Suffice to say it begins with a ‘2’ and the second digit does not round up.


Also, I have applied to several schools already that I thought I might have at least an outside chance to get into and have been roundly denied. I did, however, get into a fairly well-known Scottish university (Heriot-Watt) for a taught master's that I've been considering.


I appreciate any advice.

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I feel I have a somewhat similar experience as you...was Ecology & Evol Bio major and did Math Education as well in undergrad. I decided to pursue teaching (taught middle school math for two years)  and very quickly realized this was not the best career fit for me. About Nov. into my first year, I was seriously contemplating grad school. I think you must be able to convince a grad admissions committee how teaching has influenced your academic/career goals and how it has led you to pursue graduate education. Emphasize how this experience would benefit you in future academic pursuits. My current advisor has even commented on how he thinks a unique background can be a strength, if other aspects of your application are strong, because it shows you have tried other avenues and are sure that a graduate degree is truly what you are passionate about.


I don't know specifics about math MS programs, but would assume you need the requirements of a BS in math which would be far beyond linear algebra. If you aren't extremely unhappy at your current job, could keep working for the remainder of the year and take these undergraduate courses at a local university or community college during spring/summer/fall 2015?

Edited by backtoschool13
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Thanks for the reply.


I think that taking classes as a non-degree student while working would be ideal, but there aren't any colleges close to me that offer upper level courses by distance or at the time of day I could attend. I also feel a bit of urgency to take as many relevant classes as I can as soon as possible in case I'm not able to make anything else materialize and going overseas for a taught masters is my only option.


I would feel pretty badly doing it, but I'm considering leaving my school now so I can attend classes as a second-degree student for three semesters (I think I could finish the requirements for another B.A. in that time). Obviously I would have to kiss a reference or the possibility of teaching at a public school goodbye, but I feel that my options are limited. I would probably stay on for the full year if there were a chance it might sway an adcom and mitigate (to some extent) my GPA.

Edited by igottastewgoin
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