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Low GPA? Can I still get in? Need all sorts of info


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Hey guys I'm brand new here and I have so many questions. Sorry ahead of time for posting in the wrong place, etc, etc...

My college career was, for lack of a better word, straining in more ways than one. My GPA is at about a 2.4 and for a while I totally gave up the idea of going to grad school all together. But I have a dream goddamnit and I am told there are other ways to get in. I have good rep with a few professors, am getting internships, etc, etc..

My questions are as follows: 

Is there any sort of collective database with all the grad school showing what the cutoff points for GPA, GRE, etc are? (I'm willing to go pretty much anywhere that will take me at this point)

As for funding what kind of information lies out there?, I am not a privileged individual and need as many resources as I can get.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting accepted? Should I just give up all together? Devote my life to the streets?

I personally feel I have fantastic writing skills and incredible life experiences, would writing an amazing paper (I don't even know what the actual term is for that is, acceptance paper?) get me in the door? 

If anyone out there can answer any or all of these questions that would be most appreciated. Short on time at the moment so I can't just browse everything thats on this website, so if I need to be redirected please do so.

I know, I am trying, thanks... 


P.S. I plan on going into research in psychology (I have a really solid plan)

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Hopefully I'm wrong.

I think it would just depend on the college itself. I know for sure that some colleges have a minimum GPA requirement for the graduate school. For instance, UWisc-Madison has a 3.0 minimum for acceptance into the school itself. I'd say that a majority of schools I've seen has wanted that 3.0 GPA."Lower-tiered" ones still want a 2.5-- the CSU system has a 2.5 minimum, but "a campus can make exceptions to this rule." And then you have the "pay-to-play" colleges like Brandman who would require a portfolio of work if you're below 2.5. I wouldn't say it's impossible to get in, but it'll just be hard work and something you'd have to really want.

I would probably find a job in the field or somewhat related to it, research like hell, and take community college courses and get great grades in them.

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I'm not really qualified to answer this as I'm not in grad school, but I think you have a few options:

1) Complete a Master's degree before applying to PhD programs.  This will demonstrate that you can handle graduate coursework, and completing a Master's thesis will help you stand out.  

2) Work as a research assistant/lab manager for a year or two to bolster your research experience.

3) Consider alternative career paths that allow you to remain involved in research.

I know that most of the more well-regarded programs have cutoffs around 3.0.  I am not aware of any collective database that contains these cutoff values.  

One thing to consider is whether it's worth pursuing a degree from a lower-ranked program that accepts applicants with sub-3.0 GPAs.  For professional degrees, school prestige is less important, but in the research world this unfortunately matters a great deal: (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2015/02/university_hiring_if_you_didn_t_get_your_ph_d_at_an_elite_university_good.html).  

If you have extenuating circumstances that can account for your GPA and if you are able to get an outstanding GRE score coupled with stellar letters of recommendation and a lot of research experience, you might be able to be admitted somewhere.  Just realize that it's going to be an uphill battle that is going to require huge amounts of dedication. Psychology PhD programs are notoriously competitive, and even those with high GPAs are routinely rejected.  Personally, I'm concerned about my GPA as well (a little better than 3.7).  The only reason I applied this year is because I scored a 338/340 on the GRE and have a few years of research experience, but statistically, the odds aren't great that I'll be admitted.  I say all this not to dissuade you but just so you realize how cutthroat admissions are.  Even if you are committed to a research career, you might want to consider alternative tracks that are slightly less competitive (e.g., counseling, speech-language pathology, Psy.D programs, teaching, etc.).  I definitely am!  

If you know that you want to be a research psychologist, work hard and follow your dream!  Just don't overlook making a plan B.  Who knows, your plan B might even become your plan A!

EDIT:  This site is very helpful and might steer you in the right direction: http://mitch.web.unc.edu/professional-development/  

Also this: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/05/02/dont-let-grades-test-scores-keep-you-from-graduate-school

Edited by St0chastic
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