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Chances of getting accepted

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Hey guys! 
My application is a disaster. I have extended my undergrad 2 years and i am not graduated at the time. And my GPA is below 2.0
If i could get high score in GRE and good LOR SOP, can i get into top grad schools? Or should i stay one year and graduate, raise my GPA as high as possible and apply? Or should i try

Problem is that i have an financial difficulty and i couldn't afford to waste money on application fee GRE, TOEFL fee and application procedure expenditures, scholarship fees etc., if i can't get accepted

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If your GPA is below a 2.0, I'd HIGHLY advise to retake all the classes before you graduate if possible, either at another school or at the school you are currently at. Most school have cut offs at 3.00, and even if they didn't, below a 2.00 is outright expulsion for most undergrad programs, let alone grad programs (a 3.0 is expulsion for grad programs). However the bigger question lies within why you would want to go to grad school? You will have to take classes in grad school as well, and as stated, you'd have to retake the classes if you even get below a B in any class. So if you're academics aren't your strong suite, not only will you waste your money, but you will waste your time as well. There are also plenty of jobs you can get with an undergrad degree. Basically, if you graduate with below a 2.00, my advice would be, reconsider going to grad school. If you've made up your mind and are absolutely positive you want to go to grad school, then only apply to master programs (and not at top programs, maybe some low tier programs), and I don't know try and get a very high GRE score. Your best bet would honestly be try and do some really good networking and try and get into a school without really applying for it (if the PI knows you really well, they can sorta sweep your application into the system, but this is not at all schools). 

All this being said, sadly, a straight up answer would be no. I don't think you'd make it past the filter for any school with a gpa below a 2.00, unless you had perfect GRE scores or something (even then you might not). Some schools will not even accept it (they have a 3.00 cut off). Personally, I'd say bring your gpa high as possible in the next year, retake the classes you didn't do well in, get your degree, and honestly just take a break for a year or 2. Get a job, go into the field, and maybe consider grad programs after a few years. 

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Depends on the program, of course, but do you want to be the least-academically-strong entrant into a field that may push you further along away from high earnings even if you are successful  (especially given that you seem to have no money right now)?  

If you have a compelling reason for having done badly-- mental illness, family catastrophe-- and can prove that you'll do well, that is another thing.  But it would have to be a remarkable display of potential to get your 1.9 past the gatekeepers.

Edited by Concordia

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What field are you in, and why are you aspiring to graduate school? That will help guide any advice we can get you. The application review process has two parts before even getting to the interview:

  1. Reviewing for raw academic skills/potential
  2. Reviewing for personal characteristics including drive, aspirations, focus, passion, etc.

Most applications look at #1 as a baseline before even looking at #2. If you are looking at schools with a GPA cut off, don't bother applying. You won't get looked at. Frankly, without amazing credentials elsewhere on your application, even more holistic programs will likely be concerned - but at least you have a chance there.

Things that will help in the academic portion:

  1. A high major GPA, if there's a sudden change in GPA,  etc. You can highlight that in the SOP
  2. High GRE scores (ranging somewhere between 60%-85% depending on the specific field you're applying to)
  3. Taking classes to increase the GPA (but be careful here. This can also be a money sink)
  4. Taking classes after graduation as a non-matriculated student (not usually an option due to finances)

Another good option is actually working in the field. If your career is in a professional field, then that professional "street cred" will help a lot. Someone with 3+ years in the field is highly competitive for professional degrees. However, if you are looking at a more science/academic driven career, those jobs are harder to come by. You still need to make it past round #1, but a holistic application program should also look at your resume before turning you down anyways.

 

 

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I'd just like to add to what _kita said (this really is dependent on your field), but for a gpa that low, you'd need GRE scores at least in the range of I'd say 80%+ minimum. The average student that gets in usually has a GRE of 60%+ (and that's with a decent GPA). Again, without knowing your exact major, this is all just theory. 

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13 hours ago, samman1994 said:

I'd just like to add to what _kita said (this really is dependent on your field), but for a gpa that low, you'd need GRE scores at least in the range of I'd say 80%+ minimum. The average student that gets in usually has a GRE of 60%+ (and that's with a decent GPA). Again, without knowing your exact major, this is all just theory. 

I fully agree with this. The 60-65% usually is acceptable only in a few select professional degrees with a ton of professional experience. For instance, a person with low GPA, mid-GRE, but 3+ years in a hospital, mental health clinical, etc. has a chance for a social work, counseling or other "boots on the ground" professional masters program. However, that same student does not qualify for a more scientific focused degree. Partially that's because these students typically had real-world problems during undergrad. Many dealt with family or personal crises that made them re-evaluate life and work harder. Their application shows that they incredibly motivated, overcame ridiculous obstacles, and worked harder than many other applicants in a directly related field.

OP, if that is not your scenario, aim for 80%+ minimum.

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Guys, Thank you for taking your time and answering my question. I really appreciate it. Even though i didn't explain much about my situation and gave just a little amount of detail as if I don't actually take it seriously, you guys taking your time and elaborating on the topic with patience to my ignorance was really incredible. 

And I almost made my decision -- i.e., to wait one year, finish the school and apply for my degree. I will lose one year again but I won't be fiddling around in that time period. 

But if I explain my situation more and if you could look at it from your perspective, you could have some insights which I don't see. Therefore allow me to describe how I ended up here and where I am heading.

I might have sounded anxious in my previous question, the reason was that I wanted to include as much as possible detail and also I have squandered so much time after graduating high school and didn't want to lose another year if possible.

While I was in high school, I wasn't the brightest one, more like those lethargic doing nothing, making no troubles kind of boys. Actually I don't even remember doing any homework, all i did was play computer game which was the only thing that was available to me. In my senior year when it was time to get into university, I totally panicked and started to study Mathematics from scratch. And when the national college entrance exam came, to my great astonishment I got the highest possible point which is 800( not the only one though, they give 800 to top students and goes down. Not like SAT where only by almost perfect performance you get 800). I am from Mongolia by the way, and our Mathematics course is not that easy though. Since we were in Soviet Union, our Math is derivative from them and school curriculum was still tough.

After I graduated from high school, I got into Mongolian University and studied there for one year. And in summer my friend persuaded me to give an exam for Turkish scholarship program which I did without giving any thought. Surprisingly I got the scholarship, but to my disappointment that year our degree programmes were pre-chosen by our government since our country needed specific field engineers to develop the critical sectors. All my years I never even thought about becoming anything but businessman/politician, my passion was politics. Since I had no knowledge of the existence of Political Science discipline I had chosen economics in my university. But still I went to Turkey since people around me and my father advised me to do so and I did it, not because out of obedience but because they were my adults and they knew better than me about life. And, yes, they know better than me. If you take career opportunities and possibilities on my Turkish degree which was Leather Engineering, it was so prosperous for my life. (Turkish Leather Engineering program is the one of only several universities in the entire world that offer bachelor degree in leather sector).

Thus I went to Turkey and started Turkish language school which was obligatory and for about one year. First semester of my bachelor degree, it was quite good. I would go to library (I have never went before embarrassingly), I would explore new activities in my universities, I would study new languages but in my second semester, I found out about something which blew my mind. That was you have an opportunity to go to top universities and you can get scholarship if you prove yourself to be worthy (Also i found out the existence of Political Science). Out of anger and amazement of my new discovery, I started to study my English to give SAT and apply for Harvard in political science. First three days I didn't get any sleep and next month I slept 5 hours a day and studied non-stop throughout a day and memorized thousands of words, read several books. But I was nowhere near around getting top grades in SAT. This process continued for about 2 months and my vigor started to decline. I lost my focus and was easily distracted. I was trying so hard to concentrate on learning but my previous persistence had gone. And as time passes I was less studying but worrying and when I try to study, I was fretting on the times I spent worrying. It was like those poverty trap and continued until the time of application by which I had no confidence about getting admitted. And yeah I didn't even apply and went back to my school.

The reason why I academically failed in my major was that I had no passion. I had no passion because I thought it had no alignment with my desired career. I thought it had no benefit into my future. Don't get me wrong, as I said before this major has great career opportunity if you chase it. But I had no desire in making money or having prosperous life. So I neglected it few years but after a while I saw that this sector has great influence in the countries it had prospered. And this major opened my eyes in things I have been ignorant: science and agriculture(many other things ofc but these two are major academic disciplines). I have never known that agriculture was this essential to the country, especially those developing. That is why I have chosen to study my graduate degree in agricultural development. I found several schools which are great and also focuses on agricultural development in developing countries.

I might have sounded so fixated on studying politics or other related disciplines like I am some privileged monarch descendant that whatever I do, in the future, I would be running the country. Don't get me wrong guys. If the environment I was raised weren't so bad, or the people had better life, I would be most happy to pursue science; trying to unravel the mysteries of universe; or explore the astronomical world; studying the neuroscience; philosophy; physics; mathematics; sociology, anything beneficial or supplementary to the knowledge of humankind.

But I can't. Even though I somewhat consider politics as an zero sum game, I can't be ignoring the issues we have as a nation. By nation it doesn't always convey the meaning it meant. When any kind of problem or crisis arises, it always affects to those who are poor, uneducated, or those who carry any kind of difficulties that obstruct them from chasing normal life. That's why I believe, it is the fortunate ones' responsibility to take care of the unfortunate ones. It is my belief that didn't just come out after some pondering or calculation but had always been in my heart and never faded but strengthened ever after.

I wanted to explain a little bit but digressed too much, only wanted to comprise the main points. I hope I didn't tire you. As of recently I had been mainly considering to apply for ETH Zurich for agri-development degree, but found out that they don't provide scholarship for intl students in first year and other scholarships are very hard to obtain. With my horrible curriculum vitae, I think I have no chance of getting there. So I thought instead of making same mistake. Study one year patiently and at least get something to show, meantime searching for scholarships. I will lose one year, but I won't be sitting idly.

This is what I concluded currently, but I am all open to suggestions, advises, criticisms, if you would care to any.

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If that is the case then I highly advise you look at getting a 2nd Bachelors degree, this time in something related to agriculture. I don't know how related leather engineering is to agriculture, but I think it would be very beneficial, career wise and cost wise for you to go for a 2nd BS degree. Since your going into something slightly different, and you have a low GPA, and you're international, and no experience in said field,  I find your chances at pursuing grad school very slim (I wouldn't even apply personally). That being said, if you did get a job and say worked in agriculture (the side of it you want to go to school for) for like 5 years, then you might have a decent chance at applying for grad school (experience matters a lot). So my advice would be, either go back to school for the field you want to pursue, or get a job in the field you want to pursue, but regardless I think the time will probably be about the same (degree would take maybe 2-4 years depending on how many credits you can transfer, and work you'd need I'd say at least 3+ years in the field). I of course, am not in the field so this is all speculation on my side. 

Also, a thing on the side, I understand parents know best, but sometimes what parents want is different than what you want, and I'd prioritize personal interest over my parents any day in regarding to this. Personally, my parents always wanted me to go to medical school and be physician, but I have no interest in that. Instead I went for a Chemistry degree. My parents thing wasn't a money thing, but more of a title/cultural thing. First and foremost they didn't understand you could have a PhD (be called doctor) and not be a physician (they didn't know you could have PhDs in anything other than science/physics and medicine), and really they just wanted the title (if you're not a doctor, what are you doing with your life thinking). Secondly, the country I'm from, the title of a physician is very prestigious. Not that it isn't here, but a physician is seen as the holy grail in life (we have a lot of doctors in our country). They never could become a doctor, so they wanted me to become one. So my advice would be follow your dreams and your passion, because as long as you do that, I don't think you'd ever be wasting your time. So if you do decide to get a job in the agriculture field and enjoy it, then do it. Stay a couple of years, enjoy your life a bit, again it's not wasting time if you're enjoying it. You might decide you don't even need to go back to school and are happy with the position you are in. Masters and PhDs are not for everyone and aren't even required for every field/career. Maybe all your career needs is a BS, maybe you don't even need a degree for your career. Regardless, do what makes you happy, and follow your own path. The only time you waste time, is when you are doing something that makes you unhappy. 

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OP, you sound like you had a vague idea growing up, but nothing really to feed it and no real direction getting where you want to go. That can be a difficult problem to overcome. By the time you find the right direction, it almost feels like it is too late (because of money, eager to start your life on track, etc.).

 

I agree with @samman1994 in that, I wouldn't even apply yet in your position. You need foundational information in your masters and better understanding of where you want to go. Additionally, as an international student, your application needs to be far better than most national students. It's a sad truth that we expect less from our own citizens than global researchers. So, seriously look at all of your options.

 

The masters should be about 2 things:

  1. Skill building in a field you have a lot of knowledge about
  2. Developing a narrowed, exact direction in a field that you are amazing in (usually, from my observation, only for to 4.0 brainiac types)

 

In both cases, you don't qualify yet. You don't know enough about the field to know the problems that need fixing (research questions/solutions-focused), but you do have an interest in knowing more about it. Use that. Taking on a 2nd bachelors (and doing well in it) would be the best option for you. If a 2nd bachelor's degree isn't possible (because of money) maybe look at a certificate programs/associates degree. You can also take courses as a non-matriculated student. But non-matriculated won't help your GPA, and the associates/certificate also won't improve your current GPA. The bachelors would be stand alone.

 

In addition, seriously, work in the field. 5 years may be a bit much, but would definitely not hurt you! Get as much hands-on experience as you can. That way, you can go to grad school knowing challenges in your field and problems you want to fix. That could take 2-3 years, or 5+, it really depends on your experiences and where life takes you.

 

No matter what your decision is, get comfortable talking about how you didn't really find yourself until the end of this bachelor's degree, but once you found your passion; you changed your life around. You'll need that on your SOP.

 

______________________________________________________

 

As a personal  aside, I also underwent a long process to get into my ‘chosen field.’ I thought I was in it earlier. I received my bachelors in psych, went to work in mental health field (where I was for 3 years), but found it was horrible for me. I attempted to get into graduate school and change the direction, but I was under qualified for what I thought I wanted to do. So, I got a part-time job teaching! (I thought I wanted to be a psych instructor at the time). Then, I re-evaluated my credentials and application, realizing that to move myself forward, I wanted a degree in something that made sense. I went back for a counseling master degree. Like you, money was a major obstacle. And, unfortunately, halfway through that program, I noticed that the classroom wasn’t answering the questions I wanted to solve. I started hunting for a program that WOULD help me solve those problems. It turns out I wanted public health all along and not psychology (go figure), but I, like you, never knew that this field (public health) existed growing up.

 

 

The entire process was 4 years graduate school, while working part-time and completing internships. If I wasn’t for working and going to school at the same time, it may have taken me even longer to figure it all out! Would I suggest getting $175k in debt for 2 graduate level degrees to get into your preferred field? Absolutely not. Would I suggest working in the field and figuring out what problems you want to fix (and thus research focus)? Absolutely. All I had to do was take that professional experience, my questions, and evaluate graduate programs with more scrutiny.

 

 ___________________________________________________

In summation, don’t rush through your personal learning experience just to get to graduate school. Let life happen, and go to graduate school when you know yourself, know your passions, and have all the skills you need to succeed.

Edited by _kita

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The other answers provide good advice.  I want to add though that from your posting you are still young, and aimless--without direction.  I think you should forget about any type of graduate program for now and find a job, either in your field of study (leather engineering) or some other type of work just to make money.  Work for the next few years and save some money.  In your spare time, read what interests you or just read everything until you discovered an interest.  Eventually you will come to a realization that you are passionate about a particular topic.  This takes time to develop.  It is only then you should think about higher education again.  You also need to change your perspective in that if you lose interest at the beginning you give up trying.  Based on what you wrote, you've given up on just about everything you tried so far. 

Once you developed some focus and motivation, I back samman1994 's advice, apply for a second bachelor's degree in your region.  Hopefully you will be able to get a scholarship, but if not, you will have savings from your job to help with tuition.  My assumption is tuition is low in Asian colleges/universities compared to the United States. You will have a head start in the program because you will have read quite a bit when you were working.  If you stay focus throughout the bachelor's program, and feel you want to gain more knowledge then apply to a graduate program.  At that point, you should do some research about the higher education systems of each country you're interested. You probably know about the educational systems of each Asian country, but they are very different than that of the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, Mexico and so forth. Graduate school is all about focus, motivation, and dedication and you don't have any of those things right now, but you can develop them once you have a purpose and direction.  

Edited by ltr317

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