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Future_Chem_Professor

Chemistry Grad School Chances

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I was wondering if someone could help me out? I want to know my realistic chances of getting into a graduate program with my current credentials. I'd be willing to go the Masters route prior to a PhD if that's necessary. My undergrad major was Chemistry and my minor was Mathematics.

Long story short, I was an immature kid my first few years in college and didn't take much seriously (wasn't a party-goer, just lacked drive). Ultimately, I got my act together and retook several major and minor classes, going from D's and F's, to A's and B's. I spent a total of 5 years in undergrad. Going into my 5th year, I had just gotten out of a bad relationship which left me depressed and unmotivated. As a result, I got D's in all my major classes my final year, which obviously caused a major hit to my GPA. All in all, my cumulative GPA is 2.7, while my major GPA is ~2.5. I know this doesn't look good from an academic standpoint since my final year showed a complete decline from my recent semesters of trying to pull my grades up. However, I've done as much as I can do to improve in other areas.

The summer before my final school year, I had an internship at a pharmaceutical company (not much lab work, but a way to get my foot in the door). I also have one year's worth of research under my belt (nothing published). Since graduation (May 2017), I've been working in an analytical R&D lab in the liquid chromatography (LC) lab. As far as letters of recommendations go, I know I'll have 2 great ones (1 from current lab supervisor who's very impressed by my work ethic and eagerness to learn and 1 from math professor who's known me my entire college career) and 1 okay letter from my research instructor (for being unable to publish, but still producing good work). I took the GREs and I'll be taking the GRE Chemistry subject test in a few weeks.

GRE Score: 148V, 154Q, 5.0AW

I've already reached out to potential advisers from multiple programs and have heard back from a few. I'm trying to network as best as I can so that they could possibly overlook my GPA. I'm aware that certain programs have automatic cutoffs and, in some cases, professors can petition to get you in. I've inquired to many programs that are more willing to do this. 

So far, my current choices are as follows: University of Maryland College Park, University of Rutgers New Brunswick, Rochester Institute of Technology (Masters), University of Rochester,  SUNY Buffalo, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Tufts University

I know many people on this forum say this, but I know I am a hard worker and I have the passion and desire to want to pursue a PhD. The only thing standing in my way is convincing an admissions' committee of this. If anyone could offer me any advice on what I should do or what approach to take, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks and I wish the best to all who are trying to pursue their educational endeavors!

 

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I have similar stats to you (cumulative GPA is 2.66, cumulative chem 2.9 and last 60 units 3.01) but I graduated last year. I've been working for a diagnostics/medical devices company for the past year. I am doing the master's route (also applying to RIT!).

As much as I want to show and prove to PhD committees that I am a hard worker, my grades ARE going to hold me back. I've talked to my old REU PI and he was honest with me and told me that with my stats I wouldn't even get into the program (and they're in the top 100...). It was a wake up call that no matter how hard I try to get my application reviewed, it wont really happen. 

I know it isn't the most ideal situation, but if I want to have the chance to get into powerhouses (UWashington & Berkeley for example) I have to do a masters. It might not be what you want to hear but I suggest the masters. 

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That's the advice I've been getting. But I guess I'm in the mindset of at least applying so I know for sure I wasn't competitive enough to get in. From looking at other forum posts, a lot of people have suggested getting a Masters, doing very well, and then applying to higher ranked programs. And that seems to work for them. Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated!

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Yeah no problem. I was in the exact same boat early in June and most of the advice I got was to do a masters. Even my PI from undergrad suggested that I do that. Just don't pay out of pocket/take out loans for a masters! Not worth the debt.

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