Jump to content

Unsure which route to take M.S./Phd


Recommended Posts

Hello all,


I come to this forum to seek some advice on what path I should take.


My story is that I want to seek a Phd in Biological Sciences, particularly Plant Breeding or Genetics. However, once upon a time in undergrad I was never ambitious or dedicated towards my academics. Subsequently, I obtained a cumulative GPA of 2.91 from an accredited institution. Also, I have roughly 60k in student loans also.


The issue I am having deciding which route to take is solely attributable to a) funding & b] acceptance chance. Now, in a perfect world I would pursue my Ph.d, but because my GPA lacks and I am afraid to not get accepted. I would also do my Masters degree which theoretically should be easier to gain admissions, but then I don't want to get denied funding and be over 100K in student loans. Data from universities when looking at funding percentages of Ph.d vs Masters suggests 85% and 35% get funding, respectively.


I plan on applying to ~9 universities.


My letters of recommendation will be strong, but one of them will be VERY strong. The Principal investigator I work under is a nationally renown researcher. He is the director of multiple places and owns multiple start up businesses. This is really what I have the most going for me. He is a great person to work for. I just don't know how much weight that will carry.


I will have 3 years of research experience from 3 different jobs (2 academia, 1 industry). My most recent job is a post-undergraduate job in academia. I have been told by multiple graduate students and post-doc's here that I already perform at the level of a graduate student in the middle of their Ph.d. The problem is that my hardwork, positive attitude and creativity will not necessarily translate on my admissions application. I feel like all they see is a 2.91 and automatically assume that I am either 1) Unintelligent 2) Lazy


I matured very slowly as an adult in respect to time management, ambition, drive. The environment I was concealed to my whole life was never a good surrounding for finding myself or my ambitions.


I would like to know what suggestions you may have for going the masters/phd route? What other suggestions might you have to increase the probability of acceptance letters from institutions?


Thanks for all and any help!

Edited by Genetix
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a 2.9 as well and applied to some top schools in my field. I was able to get into two top programs for Master's programs and I've heard that you can transition into the PhD program if you perform well in your first year so that's something to think about. I would suggest you take the time to evaluate the ease at which you would repay the loans if you were to incur more loans. Work on your total package (GRE, LOR, SOP etc.) to take some weight off of your GPA but I would say Master's is a more realistic goal right now since PhD programs tend to be much more picky about GPA. Ultimately though, if your professor knew the right people, I'm sure it would help a lot. Still apply, the worst you can get is a no. A lot of schools will evaluate you for Master's if you didn't get into their PhD program so inquire about that when you apply. Be relentless and show your determination to the admissions committee! Good luck! 

Edited by zj868
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