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my greatest worry - GPA


kismetcapitan

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argh, I've been holding this back, but I finally want to garner some opinions regarding my Ed.M application

I am a teacher, 13 years experience, two years with a school I founded - designed to bring the Harkness system and Socratic pedagogy into Korea, all taught in English. Seems like I've got the experience thing covered.

Not worried about my SOP - I'm a good writer, so I'm told, and I'm satisfied that I sufficiently conveyed my intent and message in my essay; although, being a specialist in teaching writing, it can always be better and there are plenty of edits I'd still like to do after the fact (despite the 10-12 drafts my SOP went through). I have strong reasons for applying to the specific program I applied for, and I believe I'm a good fit - although "fit" seems to be a more important metric at the Ph.D level.

Strong LORs, two from well-known people nationally in the education field (one is on Forbes list of fourteen "Revolutionary Educators"). These are people who know what I'm trying to accomplish in terms of making impact and change in the troubled Korean education system, and think I'm on the right track.

Graduated 14 years ago from a Tier One university (at which, to everyone's surprise, I was accepted early decision despite a 2.9 unweighted high school GPA). GRE verbal is 690 - 97th percentile, AW 5.0 (quant was 710, total nightmare there, I took two pee breaks, losing time, and couldn't finish the section).

Pretty colorful history - service in both the USAF and US Army, used to be a serious rock climber, did B.M. coursework at New England Conservatory in classical piano and jazz improvisation, and I build and tune big-power turbocharged engines and race sportbikes....and teach classes on weekends in tuning engines (practice and theory - there is a lot of thermodynamic theory and a fair bit of mechanical engineering understanding required to squeeze a tousand horsepower out of a sub-3 liter engine) to car enthusiasts.

But my undergrad GPA, brace yourself....1.98. It'd be closer to 1.0 if it weren't for my strong junior and senior year grades. I suffered from severe depression in my first two years and despite being a member of Mensa, have ADHD-PI, which was undiagnosed at the time. If you factor in all undergrad work I've done (post-bac classes at UC Berkeley), it's closer to 2.5 (by then, I had beaten the depression and had learned to manage my ADHD). I wrote two essays explaining these factors in detail.

I've been told that, as an old (38) mid-career applicant, that my work experience and extremely clear goals would work strongly in my favor, and that undergrad grades 20 years old wouldn't matter much - something like bankruptcy, your credit clears after seven years :P

But if I were an adcomm (and I do alumni admissions work for my undergrad institution), I would be so shocked, stunned, and prejudiced by seeing the lowest GPA of anyone applying, that I'm not sure I'd be able to even read the rest of the application before tossing it into the reject pile. And even if I did read through, it would be through eyes that would not be able to objectively measure the rest of the application.

So, what do you think? I had long thought that my GPA was so stunningly low that grad school would never in my lifetime be an option. But with the work I've recently done and the focus I have, I thought that might make a difference.

Did I just waste an admissions committee's time?

If I get rejected, I'll know why. With education masters program acceptance rates in the 55% range at top schools, GPA is the only thing I can see that's weak in my application. And I simply cannot go back in time to change that. Hence, if I'm rejected, wouldn't that strongly imply that adcomms would simply never be able to get around the D's and F's I had gotten two decades ago?

Edited by kismetcapitan
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Wow, that is a tough one. The grades are 20 years old, though? I think you have proven your dedication since then!

When do you expect to hear back? I have no insight one way or the other!

This. The grades are old enough that they'll likely discount them at least enough to look at your other application materials.

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Your grades are old enough that consideration might be given, especially given that you are applying for a master's degree. I was in a similar situation as you are. My ugpa was 2.5, and I was able to get into a master's program. However, you might have to do it at a Tier 2 school, especially this year when the competition is so fierce.

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Considering that you were facing some issues which affected your GPA consequently, I feel that the Admission Committee may be ready to overlook the issue.You've got so much of work experience that it makes me jealous!A high GRE score, good recommendations-I think it's gotta be thumbs up for you smile.gif!

Good luck anyway!

Edited by aditi123
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