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Undergrad biology junior with a 3.0 GPA


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Hey all, right now I'm finishing up my junior year in biology at a not very well known state school. My goal is to get into a funded program in plant pathology, molecular biology, or microbiology. Given my GPA and the details provided below, could you tell me if I have a shot?  

So a little about me: 

-- My first time around in school I received a 0.67 GPA after taking 24 credits. I took a few years off, went to a community college, and received an associates degree with a 3.71 GPA. I'm going to a state school now and my overall GPA (over the three schools) is a 3.0. I figure if I work hard over the next three semesters I should be able to get that number up to a 3.2-3.3.

-- I did an independent study in mycology at the CC and gave a 20 minute presentation to the biology faculty and at the school's student research day. I'm also in the middle of a university grant funded independent research project that will take two more semesters to complete. I presented a poster at my current school's research day and plan on doing so next year as well. 

-- I previously had an internship with a county health department and I will be interning over the summer in a big name pharma company's bioanalytical lab. So far, I can count on two professors, my research advisor, and my supervisor at the health department for very strong LORs. 

Thanks so much for any input or advice you can give! Is there anything that I can do to make myself more competitive? 

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  • 3 weeks later...

You will have to do some explaining in your SOP about your first time around in school but they tend to like stories where you start off weak then turn everything around. Some places will outright reject you for your GPA being under their cutoff but not many. At this point all you can really do is work on your SOP and do as well as you can in your classes and GRE. LORs and research experience is what gets you into grad school, if you are strong there then I would say go for it. Make sure to do well on your GRE though, low GRE coupled with low GPA tends to result in automatic rejection before faculty even see your application. Good luck!

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Few questions: How are your grades in your upper level courses? How long has it been since your first 24 credits were completed? Also, have you considered retaking those first 24 credits?

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I would say go for it.


I second the advice of getting great GRE grades. But you seem to have research experience, good LORs and even with your current GPA history (it is great you managed to start weak and improve and not the other way around!), and with a well written SOP, if you get great GRE scores you definitely have a chance. OF course, the more competitive the school, the less the chance. Choose wisely where to apply.

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