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  1. #1
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Grad schools: Do they look at your GPA in context?

    I'm concerned. Before I transferred to where I currently go to college, my GPA was a 3.8. Now, two years later, it's a 3.1. This semester I don't expect it to be any higher than that, it may even be a 3. I'm frustrated because generally speaking, I think I am a good student. My professors are fond of me and many have committed to writing a letter of recommendation.

    Part of my the reason my GPA isn't as high as it once was is the nature of the courses I'm taking. Next semester I'll be taking Linear Algebra, Econometrics, Experimental Economics, and history of math. This list includes the two most difficult classes in the economics department (the higher the #, the higher the difficulty). Math is a more difficult subject for me than, say, English, which I have always done very well in. I kind of feel gypped because I could have a sky high GPA if I chose an easier course load.

    My professors tell me that my modest GPA wont be too much of a hindrance, because my college has a reputation for being more rigorous than many. I believe it; I took Calculus II at my local college and got an A with minimal effort. Assuming this is truei\, will a graduate school admissions committee buy it? Will they look at my GPA in context?
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  2. #2
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Yes. That and your GRE scores will factor in. If you do well on them (GREs), it probably won't keep you out of grad school, but it could make a difference in the scholarship and jobs you get offered.
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  3. #3
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    Yes. That and your GRE scores will factor in. If you do well on them (GREs), it probably won't keep you out of grad school, but it could make a difference in the scholarship and jobs you get offered.
    +1 As long as you have a decent GPA, then GRE scores will be what the main focus is.
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  4. #4
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Hmm, what about interviews and letters of recommendations?
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  5. #5
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Letters of rec are waaaaaaaaaaay more important than GPA and GREs, for admission, providing that you have decent scores. For fellowships and scholarships, GREs may be more important though.
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  6. #6
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    Letters of recommendatiosn are a formality and don't acrry much weight. Schools know you won't ask someone to write a letter that's not glowing.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  7. #7
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    Letters of recommendatiosn are a formality and don't acrry much weight. Schools know you won't ask someone to write a letter that's not glowing.
    Who writes it, can make a difference - at least in some programs. For example, if you're in a music program, and you get a really good letter of recommendation from someone who has a close association with someone within the graduate department of where you are applying, it could make a difference.
    Last edited by USAZorro; 11-23-09 at 01:59 PM.
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  8. #8
    T-Shirt Guy ehidle's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say they look at it in context. There is, however, usually a formula that computes a number based on your GPA, number of hours, GRE score, and other objective factors they can look at.

    Subjective things like Letters of Recommendation, Application Essays, Community Involvement, whether you are a legacy, etc, are usually only taken into consideration if your "number" is very close to the cutoff (either above or below). You would be surprised how much "line swapping" takes place in a grad school admissions committee. Some students are almost always admitted who are below the line, and some are turned away who are above the line.

    Bottom line is, get good grades and good GRE scores so you don't have to worry about it.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
    Yes. That and your GRE scores will factor in. If you do well on them (GREs), it probably won't keep you out of grad school, but it could make a difference in the scholarship and jobs you get offered.
    Yeah admissions should not be a problem, if your GRE and references are good, but the GPA could put some funding out of reach. I really only wanted to go to one grad school and that worked out w/ no fallout from my GPA, but when I was going through the motions of seeing what my options were, another school that otherwise really wanted me found that my GPA disallowed me from the funding source they wanted to use, so I didn't have any leverage to start a bidding war between the schools after all.

  10. #10
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    So for fellowships it will matter along with your GRE scores. Mainly the GRE scores. The admission folks LOVE the numbers. For getting in, it also depends on if anyone on the committee thinks your research interests are aligned with theirs, and you will make a good grad student. As for letters of recommendations, it matters who writes them and how well they know you. So try getting letters from professors that know you and are doing research in the area you are interested doing your grad school. Also don't forget about a good personal letter that clearly outlines what you want to do in grad school, and what type/kind of research you are interested in. Throwing some ideas around won't hurt either. This might peak an interest of one of the professors looking for new grad students, and will ease the admission process....
    I am assuming you are going for Piled Higher and Deeper certificate. If you are going for Masters then just concentrate on those GREs since it looks like GPA is a no go.
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  11. #11
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    Depends on the school. It probably depends on the economy also. Lots of folks out there going back to school which means less slots and higher competition. Does the school/program you're interested in do interviews? If so, this may be your chance to show you're better than your GPA. The school I got my grad. degree from required 4 LOR, interview, at least a 3.5 gpa, a few essays and a couple of other things that I can't remember now.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Well 3.1 was a good enough GPA to get me into The Graduate School of Management at UCLA. I think it made a difference where I got the 3.0 and also which subjects I did well in. At that time (and now if I am properly informed) the school was into the math end of things and having more math than most and a 3.5 in that made a difference. I'm sure I aced MCAT, so that made a difference.

    As to reccomendations and fellowships I know they made a huge difference for me. All in all I got fellowships thatr equaled my total tuition. But things were a bit different than usual there. One needed 2 recommendations to apply, yuo needed 3 for a fellowship application, the 3rd being from a proffesor at the grad school. That I could get one from Dick Roll, the finance prof that scared the administration did not hurt my chances.

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