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Balancing a sub 3.0 undergrad GPA?


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Hey folks, I'm scared as heck like the rest of you. I feel like no matter what I do I can't outrun my crappy gpa. Here are my raw stats, can anyone validate/extinguish my fears? Encouragement and expectation management are both very welcome. 

Undergrad gpa (top 50 school): 2.9 (D+ in calculus...Ouch)

Masters gpa (top 50 school): 3.7

Undergrad research: 2 years

Unpaid post-bacc internship: 2 months

Full time project coordinator:1 year

Full time Project Director R01 RCT, R34: 1.5 years 

Full time RA (new place, R01 & R34): Couple months 

Gre V: 164(94th)

Gre Q: 155(60th)

Pubs: 3, 3 in development 

Presentations/posters: 11 (7 first author, 5 are talks) 

Funding: Roughly $8k from random opportunities (NSF, conference travel grants)

Grants: 1 failed attempt but good learning

Letters: Dean, Assoc. Provost, Associate professor, Assistant prof

Masters was simultaneous with full time research positions (3 years) 

I have good fit with the program's I applied to, but kept finding myself applying to the director of clinical training which is obviously super competitive. 


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I'm applying to social psych programs, not clinical (but also super competitive) so I can't really speak to that. 

However, I can say that when I was looking at programs and talking with professors, most of them mentioned that they evaluate your application based on your most recent grades. I'm sure some don't but I think many understand that some of us were unfocused or whatever in undergrad but as long there's evidence that we got it together, the application is worth considering fairly. You have great research experience and a lot of other excellent things going for you so I would doubt your undergrad GPA would keep you out (of course I don't know for sure). 

I'm in a similar situation. I didn't take my first undergrad seriously (in a different field) and my GPA is low. However, I went back for a second bachelor's in psych and have a 4.0. I'm hoping I won't be judged based on my poor performance 10 years ago when my most recent work clearly demonstrates I got it together. I don't know how it will go down but the way I'm choosing to look at it is that if a program rejects me solely based on my low GPA in college round 1, then I probably don't want to go there. 

Anyway, I think you should stay hopeful. Good luck!

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Hey there,

I can definitely empathize..I graduated with a 3.03. (3.45 major) because I did  neuro concentration, so some of the stem courses really brought down my gpa ( you can probably guess I'm not a rock star organic chemist..given that I'm applying to psych programs, ha). My GPA didn't impede me from getting my masters and while I'm in the same boat in terms of worrying about my chances, my current advisor, who is on the review committee fr the MD/PhD program at BU mentioned that its a full package kind of deal..and that most folks will recognize that your undergraduate career (depending on how long ago) may not paint an accurate picture of your work ethic and progress in the field  today. Have faith! It sounds like you're a strong applicant.

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Thanks JLH and TimeMachine. Looks like we're all in a similar boat, and there probably are/were many like us.

I'm wondering how you might address this in an interview. "I didn't take advantage of my educational opportunities until late?" "I goofed off then got serious?" "A mentor sparked my interest in the field?" "I worked 20-30hrs/week at all times?" 

All of these are true but I wonder what the best approach is and whether its internal versus external that will come off best.

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