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Have a strong professional background with a weak academic background, what can I do?




My intention is to attain a masters degree in international studies/relations (or related) within the next couple of years.  My aim is for it to be from a prestigious school with a unique experience.  Preferably overseas or at a prestigious American university (for example, the dual degrees that SciencesPo offer are probably my top choices).

I attained a B.A. in international studies from a Big Ten school almost five years ago.  I had a weak overall GPA, but a decent major GPA.  Throughout undergrad I was a member of Navy ROTC.  This helped me professionally; however, I did not venture into any sort of academic research or even honors courses during my time as an undergrad.  Upon graduation I became an officer in the U.S. Military and worked in special operations.  My profession had its own prestigious selection process and dealt with numerous international issues from a unique perspective.  

Some further supplementing information:

  • Undergrad GPA: 3.42 (I took some calculus and physics classes that I struggled hard with and absolutely destroyed my GPA)
  • Major GPA: 3.9 (international studies/history related courses)
  • GRE: Not taken yet, will be taking soon

So my issue currently is that I have a relatively weak academic background that does not meet the high standards of the prestigious schools/programs I would like to apply to. 

Because of my academic weakness, I currently am banking my entire application on my professional background, which I feel will help but is not yet enough. 

My ultimate question is this: I have some time before I intend to apply (at least 2018).  What can I do between now and then that could further supplement my application and particularly fill in the prominent holes in my application?

  • Internships?
  • Jobs?
  • Research?
  • Any opportunities at all really

Where/how do I go about finding opportunities that would help bolster my academic credibility on paper?  

Thanks for the help in advance.   


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