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Low G.P.A/ Gap in Coursework, Please Advise


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I am a somewhat recent graduate (spring 2016). I left university in 2008 with 3 credit hours remaining to complete my B.A. It has taken me quite a bit longer then needed but I did complete it this year with a concentration in psychology. My question is this, I have a low g.p.a (under 2.8) and a large gap in coursework but have been working in human services (case management) for 3+ years as well as volunteering in the field. I have served on various committees and feel that a M.S.W is the next step for me as I would like to focus on clinical concentration. What schools should I be concentrating on given my current situation. Many programs state they will consider applicants with low g.p.a etc. but I’d like to know if there is any person similar to me who has actually been accepted into these programs. Please advise

Thank you in advance

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a very similar situation to you, but in a different field.  I can't imagine the recommendations would be that different.  There are three huge things you can do to improve your chances.  #1:  Finish your degree.  #2: Take courses that are in your field (either upper undergraduate/ graduate classes) and do well in them.  #3: Find a lab/ research team/ sponsor/ who will support you and fight for you for your admission.  Preferably this will be in a reasearch area you are interested in, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Good luck!

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There is a massive sub 3.0 GPA thread in the general forum, but let me give you my (non-SW) summary.

Programs will take people with shitty GPAs, but they are looking for the following:

  1. An improvement in your grades during junior/senior year or after a break
  2. A reason you did poorly before, how you handled it, and why grades got better
    1. (could be as simple as immaturity or time management, but you need to explain how you addressed it)
  3. A better major GPA
  4. Strong letters of support
  5. Experience, research, service that shows a dedication to hard work and potential for success.


You need good letters, an honest reflection on why you had failings before, and a plan for PhD success. You may also need to consider taking non-degree courses or an MA before applying for a PhD


(In my case, I turned a 1.8 gpa into a 2.5 gpa in 18 months, after an extended break, and had good research experience.

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