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How hard it is to achieve 3.7+ GPA?

by Synchronised
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Arsenic&Lace
#19
Jan14-13, 03:34 PM
P: 311
Sophus, can you mention some of the institutions you got accepted to, since your idea of top maybe different from mine? My GPA is close to yours (3.5 roughly) so I would be very curious.
SophusLies
#20
Jan16-13, 09:30 AM
P: 222
Quote Quote by Arsenic&Lace View Post
Sophus, can you mention some of the institutions you got accepted to, since your idea of top maybe different from mine? My GPA is close to yours (3.5 roughly) so I would be very curious.
Yeah, but my point was that because I had a rather low GPA I had a good reason for it which was taking the hardest classes I could stomach. If someone is taking the norm classes and ends up with a 3.4 then that's really not that good. I should also say that I am done with all my PhD classes and I ended with all A's and one A- which just happened last semester giving me a 3.98. I also completed 51 credits at my current school which is 21 more credits than the minimum requirements for my PhD and took a chunk of those from the math department even though I'm a physics PhD. My friends think I'm a freak but the truth is I came into this more prepared than them.

Anyway, I applied to Stanford, Berkeley, UCSB, Colorado, MIT and also Caltech but that doesn't really count. I got into Berkeley and Stanford for math and physics and UCSB, Colorado, Caltech for physics. I got rejected from MIT, but I didn't care because I didn't wanna live on the east coast anyways, lol.
Hercuflea
#21
Jan16-13, 07:04 PM
P: 347
Sophus, what was your experience with taking more than the minimum required graduate credits? What I mean is, I have heard that taking more classes than is required is looked down upon because it supposedly means that you are taking away time from your research. Did you experience any opposition by your advisor or other professors telling you that you were wasting your time on classes when you should have been doing research?

The reason I ask is because I plan on applying to PhD programs, but there are several classes outside of my field that I would want to take which would exceed the requirements.
Arsenic&Lace
#22
Jan16-13, 08:17 PM
P: 311
Nah, my GPA is a 3.5 because of low grades in hard classes (I took general topology, abstract algebra, and real analysis freshman year and got a lot of B's). So we're in a similar boat. I'm impressed at that acceptance list, I thought those schools would have an army of 4.0 honors students from top schools with similar courseloads but perhaps I'm wrong.

Also I'm skeptical about taking extra grad courses, I think at that point you should be able to just teach yourself whatever you need/want, and that's what most advisors have told me.
SophusLies
#23
Jan18-13, 10:37 AM
P: 222
Quote Quote by Hercuflea View Post
Sophus, what was your experience with taking more than the minimum required graduate credits? What I mean is, I have heard that taking more classes than is required is looked down upon because it supposedly means that you are taking away time from your research. Did you experience any opposition by your advisor or other professors telling you that you were wasting your time on classes when you should have been doing research?

The reason I ask is because I plan on applying to PhD programs, but there are several classes outside of my field that I would want to take which would exceed the requirements.
Well, I had to pass my quals within the first 2 years and since my general adviser accepted the transfer of my grad physics classes during my undergrad that was an opportunity for 3 extra classes right there without bogging me down with too much work. Because of some time-scheduling conflicts I had 2.5 years of classes and in my last semester I only had one more class required which meant I could fill my schedule with more extra classes. So instead of starting research that semester with taking 1 class I just took a full load and sought out my research adviser during that time. I never had any "looked down upon" attitudes from my general adviser. The usual grad schedule is the first two years are classes and focusing on passing quals only. I took 2.5 years so no biggie.
SophusLies
#24
Jan18-13, 10:51 AM
P: 222
Quote Quote by Arsenic&Lace View Post
Nah, my GPA is a 3.5 because of low grades in hard classes (I took general topology, abstract algebra, and real analysis freshman year and got a lot of B's). So we're in a similar boat. I'm impressed at that acceptance list, I thought those schools would have an army of 4.0 honors students from top schools with similar courseloads but perhaps I'm wrong.

Also I'm skeptical about taking extra grad courses, I think at that point you should be able to just teach yourself whatever you need/want, and that's what most advisors have told me.
Well good, you're on the right track in my opinion. I'm sure those schools did have many higher GPA's than mine but I also had a lot of research experience, good (great?) GRE scores, some well-known professors recommendations, and a lot of computational software experience. For the record, I know 4.0's or very high GPA's that did horrible on the GRE (<= 750) which doesn't make any sense to me. I will never believe the "I don't do well on standardized tests" garbage especially when they pride themselves on their high GPA.

Anyway, like I explained before the extra course loads were more of a scheduling thing than a desire. I learn better from learning stuff on my own but it's also slower. But I will say this, I don't know many people that can learn very advanced math/physics on their own from the start. It seems to me that a class just kinda gives someone a jump start into the subject then they can fill in the details later on, but maybe you're one of those very gifted persons that actually can learn advanced topics on their own. If that's the case then you're smarter than I because I need usually need one class to get going in the right direction.

Edit: I should note that by self-learning advanced topics I do mean late grad school topics. I did a lot of self-learning in many subjects prior to and even in grad school.
Arsenic&Lace
#26
Jan20-13, 09:05 AM
P: 311
This is a very interesting point tahayassen; I personally wondered if the real candy in Sophus' app were highly reputed recommenders.

But we don't have another low GPA top ranked graduate school student with less intense coursework to provide us with a more concrete counterpoint, unfortunately.
SophusLies
#27
Jan24-13, 02:00 PM
P: 222
I appreciate the changing of my screen name; I won't stoop to such levels because I disagree with you.

I'm not saying having a low GPA with hard classes is the key, I highly doubt it is but in my case I had other strong things in my application and the low GPA was more or less justified because I took very challenging classes.

On another note, grad classes are not easy and if anyone is under the impression that taking easier classes in undergrad to maintain a high GPA so they can get into good grad programs will be stunned to find out that they just delayed the difficult material. I've now seen several people flunk grad classes (and quals) but they were always quick to brag how good they did in undergrad.. My point is either you struggle now with the hard stuff or later but it's coming eventually.
Darth Frodo
#28
Jan24-13, 03:54 PM
Darth Frodo's Avatar
P: 207
Ok, So I'm a freshman and I just got my results for my Winter Finals (Christmas Exams) back today. Overall my GPA was 3.92 and I was over the moon. But here are a few tips I learned over the first semester.


1: Continuous Assessment: Keep up with your Lab Reports / Homework and attendance. Sometimes a good deal of Marks can be up for grabs. Basically, marks for Jam that you'd be silly to miss out on!

2: Do work during free time. It may seem obvious, but I often had to think about doing work. Example; Had a lecture at 9-10. Now you're free till 4 pm. Don't go back to the dorm to sleep. Go to the library and get some work done.

3: Utilize PF.

4: Do past exam papers.
tahayassen
#29
Jan24-13, 03:56 PM
P: 273
I'm a freshman too. The past exam papers gives people too much of an edge imo. I wish my professors would change the questions more...
tahayassen
#30
Jan26-13, 10:43 AM
P: 273
Quote Quote by SophusLies View Post
I appreciate the changing of my screen name; I won't stoop to such levels because I disagree with you.
I typed the reply on my phone, so I tried to shorten the name so I would type less characters (since it was frustrating to reply). I'm not sure why I typed Sophie instead of Sophus.


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