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Advice on Grad School funding?


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I'm currently a Senior History Major, looking to graduate in Fall of 2016.
 My GPA: 3.3

I have relevant working experience, internships, and very close connections with the faculty in my program, but I know my GPA is incredibly mediocre. Would it be worth applying for a Graduate Program in History. My choices are Auburn University, University of Alabama, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. All require a 3.0 and MAT/GRE test scores. Is it likely that I will get any funding? Assistanships, tuition stipends, etc..?  Any advice would be great.

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7 hours ago, ldrich94 said:

 Is it likely that I will get any funding? Assistanships, tuition stipends, etc..?  Any advice would be great.

To best answer your question, I would suggest looking at the graduate programs in those schools themselves and see how funding is structured. Some schools/programs will have funds for their students by default (i.e., they will always have scholarships and TAships), while some you will need to compete for them.

If funding is on a competitive basis, obviously a 3.3 GPA would hurt you in that regard, but I'd also look at other graduate students in the department, see if they got this funding, and what their credentials were at the time (some people post their CVs).

A flat out "yes" or "no" response isn't realistic given that funding structures vary greatly between schools (and even programs within schools)

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First, that's a solid GPA and you do meet the GPA requirements so don't be so hard on yourself. Think about requesting an informational interview with the Chair or Dean of the department's at these schools. You're already interested, so prep some specific questions and use it as a chance to get information about how their funding is dispersed and about the program. Also, you might consider taking a break instead of heading straight to a grad program. Use that time to really dig in and study for the GRE/MAT and knock those scores out of the park, build a relationship with organizations you hope to work for in the future and frankly give your mind and body time to rejuvenate and get you excited about your next step. Good luck!

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6 hours ago, YouArt_Amazing said:

that's a solid GPA and you do meet the GPA requirements

It's a low GPA for graduate study, and the GPA requirement is a minimum baseline. Enthusiasm is fine, but let's stay in reality.

OP, unless you have a cool turn-around story where you were a terrible freshman but pulled a 3.9 for all the other years, you're going to have substantial difficulty securing any funding for an MA, a degree which you will almost certainly need to get into a PhD program worth attending.

My advice is this: have your professors write letters and stick them in their drawers. Go work for 3-4 years doing whatever. Build a war chest. If you're still pining for academia after that, you will be a much more attractive candidate.

Edited by telkanuru
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  • 3 months later...

I think it is worth applying if you're sure that it's something you want to do, but you do need to realize that many, many people are going to have a higher GPA than you, while being equal to you in other qualifications. But I'm sure it differs from school to school in terms of competitiveness, how the GPA is weighed vs. other things, etc. as well as the layout of your grades overall: did you have a 3.3 throughout, or did you start out with a poor GPA and bring it up to a 3.3 in your last years? What is your major GPA and how are your grades in history courses, especially upper level courses? I think committees that take the time to look at these things will at least take them into consideration. A lot of people screw up early on in their undergrad - myself included. I can't say I know much about how funding works, but I think you would need to look into specific programs to find out how they determine who gets financial aid and who doesn't.

I know I was very worried about my undergrad GPA - I finished with a 3.3 as well after working to bring it up from a 2.3 - but I have been offered a nearly full tuition waiver and teacher's assistantship. Mind you, this wasn't from a top program, but it does happen.

(I didn't notice this post is a little late, but I hope it helps...?)

Edited by Danger_Zone
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