Grad School & Low GPA: Can You Get In?

by Judge Josh on September 9, 2010

Eleanor is a very succinct lady. She’s now the current champion in the Outlaw Student Shortest Email Ever category.

Is there a way to enter grad school with a low GPA?

That’s it.

Now, if was as much of a smartass as my friends think I am, I’d just answer “No” and hit save and then we’d have the first-ever 30-word post on this site.

But I’m not! They’ve got me all wrong! (Today, anyway).

It will definitely be tough to get into grad school, any grad school, with a “low” GPA. I’m going to assume we’re talking about something that starts with a 2.

For most grad schools (certainly the best ones), 3.5 is an informal cutoff and 3.0 is a pretty hard-and-fast cutoff.

grad school low gpa

Every grown man I've ever known cries at this scene. Every. Single. One.

Sink below 3.0 and you’ve sawed off your legs. MOST of the time.

The solution, though isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s the same solution for every life problem which involves you not measuring up to the minimum in some area. You have to *overcompensate in other areas*.

As much as I love Eleanor’s brevity, we’re lacking details here on how old she is, how much professional experience she has, what kind of research she may have done in her field, whether her GPA on those final 60-or-so undergrad credits was significantly higher than the overall average, etc.

All of these things could help her compensate for the low GPA. If you’ve done an outstanding amount of professional work AFTER pulling the lousy-ish grades, that could help sway an admissions committee. If you’ve done some incredible original research, that could sway ’em, too (things vary here by area of study, obviously).

If you have special circumstances that caused your low GPA, then use the appeal process to explain them. If you partied like a dumb shit your first two years and nearly flunked out before pulling yourself together and acing the final two tougher years of school, that’s worth considering as well.

Here’s the basic problem: Admissions boards see a low GPA and instinctively think, “Well, if she can barely pull a C average in easy undergrad classes, there’s no way she’ll be able to hack the more difficult grad classes.”

And often, they’re right. That makes sense. In fact, if you gave college your all-out best effort and you ended up with a 2.0 average, then:

a) Congrats! “C’s get degrees!” as they say, and your degree is the same as the guy next to you with a 3.9.

b) You probably can’t hack grad school. There’s no shame in it, but it’s probably true.

So the grad schools don’t let you in. At the undergrad levels, they’re happy to take a flyer on someone with questionable qualifications, but the grad schools are where universities’ academic reputations are truly made, and they want theirs to be solid.

Now, notice I hedged everything with “probably” because I’d be an idiot if I didn’t recognize there were some inspirational “Rudy” types out there who, all odds against them, sometimes find another gear and rise up and kick ass in their own David-and-Goliath story.

If you’re one of those, then awesome. Keep on keepin’ on.

However,  I think that, most of the time, if you’re not very good at school, you probably realize it earlier on and don’t even consider grad school. I mean, if you’re even CONSIDERING grad school with any degree of seriousness, you must have a couple extra notches of desire, at the very least.

And if you’ve got reasons you can show why you came in weak on the GPA, then by all means, show them. Or, if you really have no reason but you still feel like you can succeed based on professional experience or research prowess or some other measure of individual awesomeness, then by all means, get that in front of the committee as well.

Life’s all about selling yourself, and grad school is no different. It’s gonna be tough with a low GPA, but it’s not impossible.

— How about you guys? Any of you struggled and/or succeeded in getting into grad school with a low GPA? Any of you failed? Let us know in the comments below.

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm

The reason for my low GPA was my constant battle with a medical condition that landed me in the hospital a few times and made me miss a whole lot of classes. Not going to let that stop me from doing grad school.

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Lili September 9, 2010 at 8:05 pm

How about having a high GPA in your major and minor (3.5) but a low GPA because of electives (2.8). My issue is that I was a chemistry major but I got very low grades in those classes and even failed one chemistry class, but I changed to Sociology and I’ve gotten 3.5 and 4.0 GPA on the classes for my major. And thus my overall GPA is about 2.8 but my major GPA is about 3.5.

How to go about applying to Grad school with that?

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Jerri September 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I have a similar problem, my major GPA and minor was fine, but alot of the electives I had to take brought my gpa down a lot :/ I have a low gpa now and one more year to pull it up, I’m hoping a miracle can get me a 3.3 but that will be nearly impossible, so the goal is 3.0 but that’ll make it hard to get into most grad schools, but I really just want to go to film school but I know they look at those things as well….so might be screwed.

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Hanzhen Li September 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Similar to the above two, I was unable to do well in my biochemistry major but very well in my psychology related classes. Psychology is my true interest but I made a huge mistake by not choosing it for my undergrad major. Later on I was thinking of changing but my parents disagreed me since psychologist sounds like a deal-with-maniac kind of job. Anyways I finished my biochem. with a 2.8 GPA and I am thinking going to a nurse practitioner program. Most of them require a 3.0 which made me even thinking about repeating some of my C- classes. Wish me luck!

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Claudia September 15, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I’m in the same boat as you! I was a bio major though. I am now a Psychology major, and it is perfect for me. I am confident that I’ll be able to get into grad school… I just need to keep working hard. :)

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Bruce September 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I had 3.1 coming out of my undergrad and I wanted to go to medical school. I applied and didn’t get in so I am taking some time to rise my GPA. What I found interesting about my process is that most schools i applied to encouraged my to fix my weaknesses and to reapply later. What I am saying is that some schools can see the potential in an applicant and just because they no doesn’t mean it is over for you.

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Ruth September 10, 2010 at 3:05 am

How do you ‘take some time to raise your GPA’? Once out of undergrad, too? (I’m a little confused, sorry…someone I know could benefit from this advice) What can someone do after receiving their undergraduate degree to make one’s resume more appealing to whichever grad school is in question?

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Anonymous January 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hi Ruth,

I don’t know how it works exactly in the states but in Canada you can apply as a “special student” and take whatever courses your heart desires… including those courses that you wish to improve a grade in.

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Anonymous September 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I have a friend who had this issue. He took a few grad classes as a non-degree student (I believe that’s the designation where you don’t have to apply for admission), and he did well. After he had shown this way that he could hack grad level classes, then he applied and got in. But he was over 10 years from the undergrad GPA and also had professional experience in the field where he was trying to get into grad school.

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Shirley September 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

So far, I have a 3.8 GPA overall, but it’s only my first year and because I am avoiding the humanity classes ( I have a 4.0 in my major). Many of my grad school oriented friends have same or higher GPA– I didn’t do any other activities at all, though: what are my odds of getting into grad school?

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D September 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I graduated with a LOW GPA (2.2 overall), but a good GPA within my major (3.3). I applied to grad school and got denied the first time. I spoke with someone who I knew with a degree in the program that I was trying to get into and they suggested to me to look into enrolling as a non-degree seeking student and take a few classes towards the degree I wanted, but to make sure I obtained nothing less than a grade of B in each class and then reapply. This way the committee would see that I was serious about getting into their program and also see that I am capable of doing the work.

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Amy September 9, 2010 at 10:29 pm

My overall GPA was 2.79 and I’m about to finish my masters next year so it’s possible. I had a horrible freshman year and not so good sophmore year. I was on academic probation and everything. There were many reasons for that but I got my act together and did awesome my last two years. Most colleges look at your last 60 credits, your essay, reccomendations and GRE scores(if thats even required).

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Jon September 10, 2010 at 5:57 am

That’s very true, your grad school application is more than your GPA. If can get a high GRE, stellar faculty recommendations, and strengthen your skill set and experience with things like internships, you can go a long way to making up for a low GPA. I did great my first two years of college but didn’t do so great the last two. Because I had a stellar GRE and some great faculty recommendations, I got into an Ivy League program and I’m doing awesome. Not saying my case is typical, but there’s always hope!

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JAson December 14, 2011 at 11:20 am

How much was your GPA?

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Jessamyn September 10, 2010 at 8:49 am

Thanks Amy… You actually give me hope! My first two years sucked big time. I was a double major and I dropped one of my majors for this year (my jr. year). I know the road will be long and hard of pulling my GPA out of the hole but stories that I can relate to let me know that I can do it! THANKS!

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Tiffany G September 21, 2010 at 9:13 am

This gives me some hope. I’m a junior undergrad and I did not do so well my sophomore year of college, I’ve transferred to a community college to get out of the environment and focus on nothing but academics. I want to get into medical school or a PA school, so reading this gave me some hope.

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Amanda September 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I have a 2.9 gpa, but thats overall so that includes my community college years, and yes those years I wasnt motivated and could care less. Once I transferred, I did very well and I believe just that alone is a 3.5 gpa. I still have other prerequisites to take though, so Im hoping I can pull it up to a 4.0.

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Cole March 3, 2011 at 12:57 am

Unless your college weights grades (which I don’t believe ANY do, because it’s a terribly misguided practice even in high school), you’ll never get a 4.0 … maybe you should take some more math classes.

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Jackie September 10, 2010 at 12:21 am

I would say it really depends on which grad school you are applying to and what you are applying for. Before I applied to schools I did my research and found that they did not place a high emphasis on GRE scores or GPA, but would rather on the personal statement, recommendations, experience, etc. And this is for school counseling, I remember the professors saying (before I applied) that you can have the best grades and test scores, but that doesn’t mean you are a people person. It just means you know how to take a test and get good grades.

I got a 2.6 in undergrad and below average GRE scores, but because of everything else and the interview, I can proudly say I’m in my second year of grad school.

Do some research, talk to professors, and write the best personal statement you have ever written!

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S September 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I’m actually looking into applying for the same program and am in the same circumstance. Which grad school are you attending?

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Ann April 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

Jackie,

May I ask, what grad school were you admitted to? I have 2 semseters left until graduation and I currently have a 2.4. I am trying to AT LEAST hike it up to a 2.8.

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Nia September 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Where dis you finish grad school?

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Pourafrique March 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

Which grad school is that. I’d consider applying.

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Kaitlin November 21, 2014 at 12:34 am

Which school are you going to? if you don’t mind me asking?

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Kris September 10, 2010 at 12:26 am

Several of the best professors I have ever had (one of which is the leading expert in his field) nearly flunked out of university after effing up their freshman year or dropping out of college with terrible academic records and picking up the pieces several years later. I think that the non-traditional routes, riddled with hardships and uncommon challenges, have truly shaped them into the awesome instructors that they are.

Many of the grad students I’ve met have decided to earn an master’s before going into the PhD program they’re in because they feel as if they’re better prepared AND they’re easier to get into AND there’s the option of getting to continue on as a PhD student in the Master’s program that you’ve already been admitted to.

Well…at the minute, I’m in the same boat as Eleanor. I’m going to be a super senior so I can raise my major GPA, I’m planning to take classes as a non-enrolled student after I graduate, I have significant research experience and I’m in the midst of writing my thesis (and trying not to go bezerk!!! :p). I’m thinking about going for a master’s before a doctoral program (for the reasons listed above), and I’m interested in working in a relevant field before I embark on a 4+ year doctoral journey.

It’s gonna be fun–good luck to us both…!

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Juan September 10, 2010 at 7:49 am

My issue is that when i was exploring other fields I found difficulties. I got C- in two Computer Science classes I tried our of interest. And a poor score in 1 of my core classes (which i intend to repeat). I was pulling a B/B+ average, but those courses lowered me below a 3.0, which stinks since I was taking them to test out a new field. I am going to be a junior so now that i know my major, I feel like I will do much better. But I don’t know if it’ll be enough. Will pulling b/b+ in my major make a difference? I hope so…

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Shannon September 10, 2010 at 8:21 am

I graduated from Purdue University with a relatively low gpa 2.0. About 5 years later I wanted to obtain my graduate degree in engineering but was really concerned about my gpa. I picked the grad school that had the program I was looking and reviewed all the professors in the program to see if any had graduated or taught at Purdue. I then contacted a professor whose research and background closely matched my own. Our conversation centered on how much I wanted to attend the school and how my experience in undergrad prepared me to excel. Well needless to say he took a chance on me and allowed me to enter the program with the contention that I received a B or better in the first 3 courses. This was awesome news. I completed the grad program in Dec. 2009 with a Masters in Engineering and a gpa of 3.75 working full time.

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Jim December 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Congratulations!

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Christa February 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

All I can say is WOW!!!! Thank you for inspiring me….

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Takang May 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

Hi Shannon,
First of all congratulations. I feel deeply encouraged by you.My GPA is extremely low,but i am confident that i can do a lot better.I had to do a degree program with three little children, it was hard.When i read about people like you, it makes me feel more confident,i see more possibilities at the end of the tunnel.Thanks Shannon, for posting

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JAson December 14, 2011 at 11:32 am

I am in the exact situation as you. Please tell me urgently, which Professor at Purdue University did you manage to persuade? And could you keep in touch with me? I need to know how you persuaded your professor and just any other advice. My email is jbdistrict@yahoo.com

A Million thanks in advance

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Kamikaze Pirate September 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I had one of the conditions described, my father talked me into going to college straight out of high school when I wanted to go see the world a bit. I flunked out of college twice and when I went back to engineering school later even though I got ‘A’s and ‘B’s I couldn’t overcome the earlier bad grades accumulated. Years later when I wanted to go to Graduate School, I went and talked to the Dept. Chair and some of the teachers and got them interested in me and my potential, explaining my earlier situation. The only embarrassing episode was when the Graduate Dean called me in for not taking the GRE in a timely manner and was pounding on the desk and screaming, “You shouldn’t even be in Graduate School.” I graduated with only two ‘B’s and the rest ‘A’s and a 3.82 GPA. I am presently getting my PhD.

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Daniela September 10, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I actually have to say that life in college for me has been amazing because I graduated from high school early, so I skipped 11th grade. I graduated from high school with a 3.1 gpa and in college, I now have a 3.4 gpa. My gpa is going higher and I am really excited because I am the only one out 5 siblings who actually likes to study. I have recently also won me some scholarships with the pell grant I am receiving, so it’s been all good. I have also taken college classes in the summer to help me finish my degree early too. I am graduating next year in May.

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Anonymous September 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

that’s not really a low gpa story

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Jack September 10, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Never underestimate the power of publishing articles. Once you have finished your undergrad degree (most journals won’t accept your work before then) attempting to publish a few scholarly articles in your field makes you a much stronger candidate. Some journals will only take article submissions from those with higher degrees so collaborative articles are a great idea too.

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Amy September 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Jessamyn,

No problem!! I believe in second chances and I have had many of them. I remember pleading my case to the academic committee in undergrad school after I had been put on academic probation TWICE. They suspended me for a semester and so the next semester I showed up with a new attitude. I was a first generation college student and came from a pretty unstable family so college was a challenge for me intially but I made it through. I applied to only 4 grad schools and got accepted to 2 of them. Again, it’s possible!! Work hard, be nice and a door will open up for you. I’ll have my masters in EDUCATION by this summer. Good Luck!!

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edward ndumia September 14, 2010 at 1:05 am

can i get education in America through your help.Considering my low income in Kenya?

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Lari September 14, 2010 at 2:04 am

Aloha,
I am a senior at University of Hawaii at Hilo and I’ve been trying so hard to raise my gpa before I graduate next semester. Hopefully when I graduate I will be able to raise up my gpa to 3.5 or so. This is actually a goal for me next semester so I can get into grad school. I pray after this semester I’ll probably get to raise it up from 2.5 to 3.5 and try to keep it to this level or not raise it up a little higher. Wish me luck all of you. I will be back to let you all know what I get on all my classes for this semester. If there is one thing that I would want out of this whole world, I would say to graduate from grad school after here so I can make my mom proud. I ask all of you to please help me get into grad school and thank you so much for all your beautiful comments. I thought I was lost after this semester but now I know I still have what it takes to get into grad school. Much love and God bless you all for the inspiration and motivation.

Mahalo,
Lari

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Becca September 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm

So I understand that having grade issues in the past will not stop you from getting in to grad school. My question is, how exactly do you bring it up to those reviewing your application? Do you just put it out there in your admission essay that “I screwed up this one year…”?

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Picman June 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Exactly what’s on my mind. I have a low GPA too though the last 4 semesters were great but I’ve been having a considerable problem getting into grad school. I took my GRE last year and I did pretty well, in fact I had above 1400. I’ve applied to 6 different schools and I’ve been denied 6 times, so that’s the same question on my lips. How do you bring it up to those reviewing these applications?

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Vivian September 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Reading these comments are definitely inspiring! I’m a 3rd year considering grad school as a possibility after I graduate. I did pretty terribly my 1st 2 years of college, but have since then shifted my focus on a new field and major, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

I have the same question as Becca, how do you bring up your grades to in your application and interviews? esp. if your circumstance is not so commendable?

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GaveMeHope November 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I want to thank everyone who contributed on this forum. I presently have a 2.1 gpa and like most people, have screwed around ealier but am now serious. We all have the potential. But somewhere we either were not focussed, motivated or both…and that is what caused the screw-up beyond no return it seems like with huge regret. I am one of those people. But if I have learned anything it would be that I don’t know very much. Especially when it comes to getting into a grad school with my current situation. But because people are doing it and have done it, it gives me hope that I can too. But once you realize your mistakes and know what needs to be done to correct it, make sure you do and do the best you can! And, most importantly….DON’T GIVE UP! HANG IN THERE!

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Mid-Mid-life crisis December 2, 2010 at 2:57 am

I am in my second year of university as an undergrad with a GPA of 2.35. MY first year was a total screw up and I am paying for it because the faculty I am heading towards will count my 2 D’s from my first year to determine if I can be admitted. I have managed to pull of an A and 2 B+’s and some numerous C’s and C+’s. Also, even if I repeat my courses, they will take both the new grade and the previous grade and use them to calculate my GPA. Ridiculous right? The cut off for my Nursing faculty is 3.0 GPA. It seems very difficult to pull it off seeing as I am deep in the hole! What should I do?

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that guy. December 18, 2011 at 12:49 am

@ JP:

I am in ECU’s nursing program now. They tell their lower division students that you need at least a 3.7 for fall admission and a 3.5 for spring admission. I started school with a 2.6 and pulled myself up to a 3.3; I am now in the program.

I think that part of the reason I got in is because I’m a dude; I think the other part is my heavy load of campus involvement. Think outside of the box to get in- a lot of times, the admissions are not as heavy as they state.

Get your CNA license if you can! That definitely will help and show initiative.

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JP December 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm

to mid-mid life crisis. Its actually not impossible to raise your GPA to 3.0. You stated you have 2 more years to go, which means you enough a lot more credits to accomplish. Just be positive and study like you never studied before. I am sure you will meet you goal.

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K December 19, 2010 at 1:58 am

Thanks for the article!
I am a senior majoring in history and psychology. I did poorly in advanced science classes (because I just knew I was good in science lol) and it really dropped my gpa to 2.65. Now that I found what I’m good at, it’s better. My major gpa’s are good and I’m hoping to finish the last 60credits on a high note. I simply want to get into a good masters psychology program. This article gives me hope.

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Skipper December 19, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I was pretty worried when I had to submit my transcripts to grad school (looking at a 2.6 out of 4 when starting in January). Imagine the surprise of my parents and I when, not only was I accepted, but, I got a $3000 scholarship, too (which has since increased to $11000)!

Admittedly, as I like to joke nowadays, I was not accepted for my grades, but probably a combination of my portfolio from undergrad (I’m a commercial arts, specifically, animation, major) and my resume at the time of enrollment. There’s a combination of factors that determine whether or not you get into graduate school and it’s different for each school. So don’t give up yet just because your grades aren’t where you want them!

It’s going to be really hard for me at grad school since you are required to maintain a 3.0 gpa in order to simply stay in school, but I have confidence and faith that the same combo of skills, determination, and luck that got me through undergrad will get me through graduate school. And I refuse to allow any amount of nay-saying, doubt or reality to get in my way!

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Elaine August 1, 2015 at 2:08 am

wow, ur story inspired me the most!! i was worried about my GPA.. but sure, just try to apply..who knows what happen in the future. anyway i’m glad reading all comments ^^. Have a blessed journey everyone!

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Lizbeth February 10, 2011 at 12:57 am

Thank you so much everyone! This forum gave me so much hope and motivation to keep going. God is so good. :)

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Emily March 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm

I think this depends a LOT on what sort of program you are trying to enter into. If you are looking to pursue a Law or Medical degree, having a low GPA might be fatal. However, if you are looking to pursue a degree in a Creative field, they will honestly place VERY little emphasis on GPA. I, for example, am in an MFA program that is in the top 20 programs in the country, yet lets in (and fully funds) students with less than a 3.0 on a probationary basis. For us, its 100% about the quality of your portfolio. It all depends on what you are looking to do, and what All your application requirements are…

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Madhatter April 29, 2011 at 7:58 pm

A question for people citing the usefulness of undergraduate level research experience: How does one publish a thesis in undergrad? Is it a matter of simply waltzing up to a prof and asking if they need someone to do the grunt work?

Also, I suspect that I may actually have some sort of health problem (I wake up fatigued, am currently losing weight despite trying to gain weight, usually can only sleep 3 hrs per night, etc – this for four years now!) – but I’ve seen various doctors, have been on various meds, but no dice. Is this a matter of gathering all my health documents even though I have no diagnosis to appeal my case?

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Alison May 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I got a 2.11 in my Bachelors, and a 2.8 in one Associates degree then when I finally got serious and dedicated I got a 3.44 in another associates degree in nursing. I want to go to grad school and obtain my Family Nurse Practitioner degree BUT with the above GPA’s I just don’t know. I was 20 when I got the 2.11 and now I am 41 and have a very successful career in nursing that is well documented. I just don’t know. Any thoughts? The trend is obvious.

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anomounous May 10, 2011 at 9:18 am

hi i got a 2.3 my freshman year and i need help can u help me

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Jvaljean June 30, 2011 at 4:12 am

While graduate admissions does look at your entire portfolio, do not make the mistake of thinking your GPA could be outweighed. A GPA of 2.5 or lower is tossed out. A GPA of 3.0 or lower is often tossed out. Of the remaining, the chances for someone lower than 3.5 when most of the admissions have 3.5+ GPA’s are very grim. That’s when they factor in the GRE, the subject test, and all the extra ornaments you added to your application. Does David beat Goliath then? Mostly, no. A 3.2 GPA with 1 year of work, 3 internships and 3 LOR’s won’t make it past a 3.7 GPA with 2 insternships, Honor’s Society memberships, and 4 LOR’s, assuming both got near the same GRE score.

But, you should try, and try hard because the traditional path is not the only way. Once you are done with college, wash yourself away- tell yourself “I didn’t go that road, to those who did, fine, but I’m the only me”. And take innovative methods like e-mailing professors from the school you’d like to attend, basically most of the methods some commenters have given. There is hope, but remember that the system looks at college as your training ground for work. College students who do bad are considered liabilities to potential employers. Harsh fact of life. So you might just have to work two low-paying jobs and suffer for a couple of years before things begin to look up. But there is a way!

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chrislette July 31, 2011 at 2:39 am

Hello Everyone. I found it inspirational to have read your personal narratives about your acceptance to graduate school. I am an social work major, and have an year left of undergraduate study. I have an 2.7 cummulative GPA, whereas I have an 2.8 GPA for my major. I have not done much or any extraccuriculars since I started college, however I have done one internship and have another one coming up. I have not took the GRE yet as well. I am sure if i stay focused this past year I am sure I can raise my GPA up between a3 and 3.2 for that matter. Guys what do you think my chances of getting into an grad school or even an decent one for the matter is?

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Kai August 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

This was a very informative read. I tried to get into grad school last year but without success due to my 2.5 GPA. I did good within my own major but General Education courses hurt me and and I had two semesters where I was going through personal problems that distracted me further. I got things together and my grades improved but only reached 2.5 by the time I finished my Bachelor’s. I know I can do better. The economy has also increased competition for grad school programs along with jobs. I intend to try again but with improved GRE scores.

My personal advise if you’re in a similar situation would be to get a decent score on the GRE and also keep your options open to more than just a few schools. Apply to atleast 5. Also, do the unconventional things such as calling professors in your area of interest and help get them to know you. Visit the school if it is within a reasonable distance and speak to those in-charge of the program. If you have experience related to the field, emphasis that in your application. Nab an internship related to the area of your interest.

I will say from what I’ve learned from others who have finished graduate school. A Master’s degree is not the golden ticket to a good paying job but it does help. You’ll still have to do all the little things to help you achieve that goal such as networking and honestly, having alittle luck on your side.

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Bam August 27, 2011 at 1:11 am

Thank you sooooo much for everyone’s feedback! I’m 31 and I just finished my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services this past Saturday. I’ve been going to school for 10 years because I couldn’t afford school and I changed my major a year and a half ago.

My final gpa is a 2.8 for the last year but I’ve been homeless, have had several deaths, working two jobs, carrying a full course load and I’m a single parent. Needless to say my plate was full.

I’m looking to become a Social Worker and I work in human services currently as a case worker for the past 5 years. I am a poor test taker so I’m scared to take the GRE. I heard a few people mention non-degree grad classes, if I take a couple of these will it increase my chance of getting into grad school without taking the GRE??

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mani August 30, 2011 at 4:48 am

i have gpa around 2.8 right now.i am strong in my technical sessions and doing project in a good manner?i have 2 more semesters i hope my gpa would increase…the reason for my low marks is mainly of different biased political issues in my university.i would like to continue my carrier in a fully talent oriented school.i have choosed florida state university to do my masters in computer networking.i am taking my gre after 20 days.is there any possibility for me ? please reply

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Jill October 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I wasn’t focused or motivated in my undergrad, and I was also a bit of a party animal. No regrets, party-wise, but it was a huge pain applying for grad schools. They were all very interested in me, but the terrible grades were just too much to take a chance on. Finally a school I wasn’t interested in sought me out – Now I am pursuing my masters with a 4.0 and hoping to transfer to one of the schools I loved after my first year here.

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A person November 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

I had a 2.7 cumm undergrad GPA and was admitted into two Top-14 law schools, as well as full ride at a number of Tier 1 (i.e. top-50) programs. However, I also nearly aced the LSAT test (175+). I ended up turning down the offers for admissions, and returning to to undergrad to pursue a different degree in something I was more passionate about.

For law school, look at schools that are traditionally splitter friendly, i.e. Northwestern (with work experience), Georgetown, UUIC, WUSTL, etc… lawschoolnumbers.com is a good place to start

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Jess November 16, 2011 at 6:01 am

HELP I NEED ADVICE!!!! I’m about to graduate college with a bachelors in Political Science with a GPA of around a 2.5 or 2.6 :( . I had a rough couple of years with an a lot of family problems, due to this I became unmotivated and careless ( which I regret sooo much now). The only things that are my advantages is my resume with my leadership skills and organizational involvement, i was president and VP of many different orgs and plus I have some work experience. But overall I’m super worried because I feel like an absolute failure, my dreams have always been to become a lawyer or to work in the government field. Throughout college I also discovered my passion for Public Administration, which got me thinking of getting an MPA in grad school. So now I’m conflicted between attending grad school for an MPA or law school. Also, my biggest dilemma is if I can even get into any programs with my low GPA. At this point I don’t know what is the best bet for me, or what program would be less difficult to get into??. Also does any body have any feed back on what test is most difficult to take between the GRE or the LSAT??? I would really appreciate the honest advice and some feedback on my questions.

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milad November 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

hi,i have 6 ISI papers and a us patent and GRE = 1450 but my gpa is 2.8 ,is it possible for me to be accepted for ivy league?

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daniel bahta gebre November 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

i have 2.33 cummlative G.P.A so what u advise me to get opportunity admitoin or scholar?

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Michelle-Mujinga December 12, 2011 at 4:40 am

I strongly suggest you TRY and talk to your academic advisers. No matter how stupid you think you may look in front of them, they usually know what they’re talking about! I’m in the middle of my sophomore year and it’s going to be an uphill battle, but we’ll see how it goes. I can tell you this much though, AAs help A LOT!

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Paulo December 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

Hey guys. I currently go to Hofstra U. and have a 2.77 gpa in my junior; I am a chemistry major and math minor. My freshman and sophomore years were also a struggle. In addition, I took a Physics course this semester and terribly passed it. Despite my low gpa, professors from the chem and math department were still interested in my passion to tutor in General Chemistry and Calc 1 next semester. I hope something like this will allow grad schools to view my activity in giving back to the community through tutoring. With only 43 credits left (3 semesters) to take in my undergrad, they are all mostly chem courses. I may need some feedback or advice regarding these last semesters. Thanks!

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bingo January 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I don’t know if this helps, but I overcame my undergraduate blues. I was an engineering major at a top 10 engineering school with a dismal 2.8 GPA upon graduation. Although in my heart I wanted to go to graduate school, I knew I couldn’t get into graduate school so I focused and studied interview questions inside out, and was able to obtain a full time position with an elite tech company. After about 7 years (waiting patiently), I took the GREs and aced them, applied to graduate schools and gained admission for a master’s program at a top 35 engineering program, and I currently have a 3.83 GPA in my master’s program :), and will be planning on continuing on with my Ph.D. in a year. With hardwork anything is possible. Doors are there to keep the people who don’t want it bad enough out, and just let in the people who persevere.

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Parying February 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Sooo… I am applying to grads school for a MPH in Epidemiology. I graduated with 3.03 after I transferred. But my GPA including my 3 semesters in community college is a 2.90. I am not a good test taker so the GRE were a bare minimum. The only thing I got going for me is my research and my work experience that I gained over the last six months. I don’t think I will get in to be honest, but what would you guys recommend that I do to make my chances better for the next time I apply.

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Sur February 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

Twice in my life, I have applied to two long shot schools with fails and withdrawals and both times I have been accepted to them. For Undergraduate at the University of Waterloo (A highly regarded applied science school in the world) and The University of Auckland. My best advice is. Have confidence in yourself. Know why you are applying to the specific institution and show that each step of the program has relevance to your career aspirations. Also get to know professors, treat them as friends and engage with them at office hours. Don’t be annoying, but help the professor by building possible avenues of discussion in class. They will truly get to know and understand you and be great references! Also Get to know someone in the admission office through email so that your name is in there head. And my biggest advice, never ever underestimate yourself in life, apply to these schools. Worst case you’re working an extra week or two to pay off those application fees.

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Darklordduck February 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm

I will succeed. I talked to an academic advisor who was rather dismissive the other day, based on my GPA. I’ll show her. I may not have the best GPA right now, but I’m going to graduate with a bang. I’ll have two bachelors degrees and two associates degrees. I’ll have more than a 3.5 in my final sixty units. The only reason my GPA is still low (only like a 2.1), despite 18 units of A’s and B’s (mostly A’s) is because I completed one of those associates degrees at a community college, but had two years of bad grades at the university prior to that. I completed that associates with a 3.4. Would have been better, but I tried my hand at Calculus twice without success, and each Calculus course is five units.

I’m going to be published in an undergraduate journal (I hope), and I’ll get letters of recommendation from my professors. If the grad school committees don’t think that’s enough, they can blow me. I’ll claw my way in somehow. I will not take no for an answer.

Thank you for writing this article. I needed that. Yesterday, after I talked to the adviser, I was depressed. She pretty much told me that my chances of getting in were zero, because their cutoff point is a 3.3, and no matter how hard I try in the next two years (which is all I have financial aid left to cover), I’ll never, not even with all A’s, be able to get there. It’s mathematically impossible. But now I have hope, because I know it is possible for someone with a GPA of, say, 2.9 when they graduate to get in.

What I want to know is whether or not my community college GPA will be factored in. If so, I have several different colleges that I’ve been to with varrying GPAs. Two community colleges, one with an entire associates degree at 3.4, and another with a just a few courses I took in high school (early college program) at, I think, a 3.6. The university GPA is low, due to those first two years (and their many problems), but I wonder if they’ll take that into consideration. . . . If they calculated a super-GPA based on that, I’d easily be above a 3. Probably even above a 3.3.

Do they do that? Or is it just your university GPA they care about?

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