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Can Low GPA and Grad School Mix ?

  1. Jan 15, 2010 #1
    Hi Guys,

    My GPA is 2.63, Electrical Engineering, and I am thinking of grad school(Also Electrical Engineering), is it possible or is it too late?

    and I have a second question, How is designing antennas as a career going on

    1) does it pay well,
    2) is it very common,
    3) is the market in need for such a job,
    4) how educated should I be hh, meaning, do I need a graduate degree to be invloved in this career,
    5) I dont think I have a fifth, but any comments other than answering those questions will be appreciated, thanks,

    opps, third question with potenial sub question, If I to study MBA, with a low GPA,

    1)does it matter,the GPA that it,
    2) is it a good combo,
    3) is there any other good combos, some recomnded project managmnet,

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2010 #2


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    A lower GPA doesn't absolutely preculde you from graduate school. The very general rule of thumb is that you should be looking at at least a 3.0 GPA, but people have gotten in with less.

    The real questions are why do you have a lower GPA and what makes you feel like you will be successful in graduate school? For one, the coursework doesn't get any easier. If you're struggling in undergrad, you'll struggle more in graduate school.

    On the other hand, in graduate school, the focus shifts from coursework to research. If your GPA isn't great because you spend a lot of time doing independent research, competing in engineering competitions, filing patents on things you've already invented, etc. you might do very well.
  4. Jan 15, 2010 #3
    While this is true, one very important thing to look for is if the institution of interest has a minimum GPA as listed by the graduate college. If this is the case, and a department wants to admit a student with a lower GPA, the department has to petition the graduate college in some form... sometimes even getting a signature from the provost, etc. In my experience, this sort of petitioning (whether it is merely a paperwork process or more involved) rarely happens. If that is to be the case, the student must probably have some other skills that the department finds interesting (high GRE's and strong research/work experience in the field... and probably a degree from an institution that is known to avoid "grade inflation" and be particularly difficult in grading). In my experience as a graduate selection committee member (in a physics department, for three years, we never had a petition case... and it was my understanding (from committee members that had served longer) that there had never been a petition case though there were a few times it had been contemplated (such as when we decided not to admit a lower GPA student who was the spouse of a very strong candidate in another department, which was trying to pressure our department... and a second time when the student was from a very strong undergraduate program, but didn't make the final cut anyway).
  5. Jan 15, 2010 #4

    The answer to your question is, my struggling was not because it was to challenging for me, I spent the first two years involved with things that intersts me, studying web programming, I spent a lot of time fascinated with the wave particle duality, the photons and double slit experiment, the universe and astronomy. In simple words, anything interstes me, and I get easily distracted, I hate classroom studying and prefer research alot more. I started with a GPA of 2.8 with no studying at all, I enrolled in horse riding teams and had activities all ver the place. After the second year, I realized I had made a mistake, and I had to pressure myself with heavy loads to ensure graudation in 4 years and a half. At the end, I was able to raise it from 2.46 to 2.63, but still, its a low GPA.

    I know I wrote alot about it but it is really frustrating, It is like making a single mistake can affect your whole life, if not change it 180 degrees. The minimum GPA of 3 is really kiling every hopeI have.

    physics girl phd :

    You gave a good deal of detials, but you sure added to the misery. what I want to know is, is this mistake fatal or not? Dont we, guys with low GPAs have the chance to redeem ourselves, if it was a lack of capiblities, then I wouldnt of tried, but I believe that the rules do not recognize the difference....

    I just need a second chance to prove myself.. :)
  6. Jan 15, 2010 #5

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    Graduate school admissions committees are not charged with "redeeming" people. Sorry, but that's the way they look at it - they are trying to put together the best class they have.

    You have to make it clear to them that they should take you over a candidate with a higher GPA. That is not easy.
  7. Jan 15, 2010 #6


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    What about nondegree graduate courses. You can take the courses without being matriculated, and then apply for matriculation based on your graduate coursework grades
  8. Jan 15, 2010 #7


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    What about just really crumby graduate schools? I mean really! better then nothing I would think?
  9. Jan 15, 2010 #8


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    I dont think anyone can stop you from taking graduate courses. If you work, pay cash for courses and just keep taking them. Someday you may decide to get a silly transcript that says you've attained a masters degree, and how would that day be different from the day before?
  10. Jan 15, 2010 #9


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    I'm pretty sure they can stop you. Our department won't allow you to even register for graduate classes if you aren't a graduate student and we are pretty lax all around so I can't imagine we're on the harsher end of the scale when it comes to that.
  11. Jan 15, 2010 #10


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    Which school? I was browsing several colleges and they all have nondegree graduate student status.
  12. Jan 15, 2010 #11


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    CSU - Fresno. I have never heard of such a status, maybe I should check it out. I've never had to think about it so maybe thats why I've never heard of it.
  13. Jan 16, 2010 #12
    The CSU schools call it Open University: http://www.csufresno.edu/cge/programs/open.shtml [Broken]. You can't get a degree this way though, because they limit the number of credits that they accept (24 undergrad, 9 grad).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. Jan 16, 2010 #13


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    :rofl: Man I should have known that considering I have a few friends who got kicked out of the grad school and had to do open university until they were re-admitted. Then again they'r eonly allowed to do that for 1 semester and then they have to get re-admitted or have an exemption. It's a bit confusing because they weren't allowed to take grad classes though... hmmm..
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Jan 16, 2010 #14
    If your friends weren't allowed to take graduate courses, that was something specific about them, not the Open University program. That link is pretty definite that graduate courses are permitted, and I've known people who took grad courses at other CSU schools this way.

    It really is a great second-chance program, both for people who have screwed up in the past and for people who are just looking for a taste of a new field before they jump in.
  16. Jan 16, 2010 #15
    Also, which graduate school. Ph.D. programs or Masters degree programs. The admissions requirements are very, very different. In particular most science and engineering programs, the school pays you, whereas in most masters programs you pay the school. The fact that in masters degree programs, you pay the school means that there are lots of places where you can get masters level education, and they don't care that much about your undergradate education.
  17. Jan 16, 2010 #16
    Depends on the school and on the degree. There are a lot of schools out there whose graduate admissions committee see themselves precisely as being charged with redeeming people.

    There are accreditted schools out there that will take pretty much anyone for graduate school (University of Phoenix comes to mind). Because they'll admit pretty much anyone, they aren't high prestige, but they are places for people to get second, third, fourth, fifth chances. Someone has got to do it.
  18. Jan 16, 2010 #17
    It's possible to get into grad school. It won't be a high prestige grad school, but someone somewhere in the US will take you. The problem that you'll have is that you really do have to figure out why you got a low GPA.
  19. Jan 16, 2010 #18
    You really, really need to fix this before you consider going into graduate school. Masters degrees are mostly classwork that require a lot of focus and there is going to be even less outside pressure for you to hit the books and study.

    The thing about masters degree programs is that they can be expensive, so you if you fail out, you can end up with a lot of debt and no degree. Something else to point out is that universities with relatively open admissions (i.e. University of Phoenix) have massive drop out rates.

    The one thing that you will need to be careful about is that since a lot of people are in the same position you are, and there is a massive amount of money to be made, there are a lot of crooks in the field. You can start with www.degree.net and look up John Bear's books for some good schools.

    Have you fixed that?

    It's really not a single mistake. What I think you'll find is that if you hate classrooms at age 20, you'll probably also hate classrooms at age 30, 40, and 50. If you get easily distracted at age 20, you'll probably also be easily distracted at age 30, 40, and 50. People *can* change, but it's hard, and before doing something new, you really have to make sure that you really have changed.

    If you have really changed, then start look through the resources that I gave you and you'll find someone that will let you in. That's not the problem. The problem is that you need to be honest about whether you really have changed.

    Also, why do you want to go into graduate school anyway?

    One thing that bothers me is that you are writing sentences with a lot of spelling errors. That does not bode well.

    Something that you have to understand about the educational system is that it is part of this massive economic and social structure designed to make you conform. Spelling is an example of conformity. Rules of spelling are silly and meaningless, but by spelling correctly, you are indicating that you are willing to submit yourself to power, and industrial societies and institutions need people that are willing to take orders and submit to power.

    Schools are designed to turn people into cogs in this giant industrial machine. A lot of people just hate this. But it's part of the game that you need to play if you want to get certain things in society.

    One thing that you have to ask yourself is what do you want? It's not clear to me exactly *why* you want to go to graduate school.
  20. Jan 17, 2010 #19
    WOW, amazing insight.
    My first thought is to be defensive about your thorough reply, but you for sure want the best for me and your advice was from the heart, thank you for it.
    First of all, my interest in Graduate school is because of this “massive economic and social structure”. There are rules that dictate the importance of a graduate degree beside your bachelor one, as there are ones which established, to begin with, the educational system. Carriers of a Mater Degree have advantages over those who don’t, and as you climb the ladder, your pay check accompanies you.
    Your spelling mistakes observation is quite interesting. I don’t want to get too involved in defending why I am not interested in studying in classes. However, a very good reason for that is because I cannot see an application of what I am studying. I studied a course of stochastic and probabilities and I hated every second of it because we were not presented with a sufficient number of application. I need to know how will what I study help in me in designing something, or producing something. The bell shape distribution is used to show how a trait, such as intelligence, stupidity, leadership qualities, and other characteristics vary along people. As I recall, 2 % is at the upper extreme and 2 % at the lower. The rest lay in the middle. When taking leadership for example, the upper 2 percent are leaders by nature and the lower 2 are impossible to be leaders. The middle, however, is the percentage of the people who can be when taught the right way.

    If you look at a classroom, you witness the same distribution of grades. I always thought of it this way. Isn’t it possible to get the entire classroom to get A’s without being lenient in grading? Are those who get Bs and Cs in MIT and Harvard not up to the challenge, or not qualified enough to study at this level of difficulty? But they got in, so they must of. My point is, the teaching in classes itself lacks ways to get the best in each student. You could motivate the unmotivated; you could make a student love the subject because of how you interact in class, and what exactly are your methods of communicating the contents of the course to your audience. For me, it was the lack of an immediate example of an application. If they gave me a project that required me to know each and every aspect of the course and gave me four months to do it, I would have understood it more than if I had to stay in a lecture and listen to it twice a week for the same period. I think that the educational system not intentionally became a monopoly, sensing that individuals all round the world needs education to have a decent life. This made it adopt this grading system, where judgments are made every end of a semester and little effort, if not none, is put to enhance the grades of the underachievers.
    I understand that I should have “academically” conformed earlier to the educational system and its requirements, and it is not that easy now to get into a prestigious Grad school …..

    I got involved in the defense part didn’t I ):

    Anyways,,, designing antennas, what do you think of it as a career? Do I need a, hhh, Grad degree to be successful in it? Well the B. alone do? Any companies that excel in this field that you know of?
  21. Jan 17, 2010 #20
    One reason you have to understand the rules of the game is that they are often not in your favor. If you just do what the "power elite" wants you to do, you are just helping them stay in power. This may be good for you, or not. But you really have to think about what is going on, or else you'll end up in a treadmill that you can't get off of.

    The other thing is that you often can't get what you want, so you are going to have to figure out something else.

    What advantages? Why do you want to climb the ladder? Why do you want a bigger paycheck?

    [q]If you look at a classroom, you witness the same distribution of grades. I always thought of it this way. Isn’t it possible to get the entire classroom to get A’s without being lenient in grading? Are those who get Bs and Cs in MIT and Harvard not up to the challenge, or not qualified enough to study at this level of difficulty?[/q]

    MIT and Harvard massively inflate their grades so this isn't an issue. The MIT physics departments knows that there is a magic cut off at 3.0 for most physics graduate schools, so they set up the grading so that pretty much everyone that graduates with an acceptable GPA. Physics classes tend to be A/B centered. Engineering classes tend to be B/C centered, and there are tons of things that you can do to raise your GPA.

    [q]For me, it was the lack of an immediate example of an application. If they gave me a project that required me to know each and every aspect of the course and gave me four months to do it, I would have understood it more than if I had to stay in a lecture and listen to it twice a week for the same period.[/q]

    One thing that i've learned is that you just can't be passive with your education. If you can't pass the class because you don't see applications, then it's your responsibility to go out and do outside reading so that you find applications. A lot of times the professor really doesn't care about you, but often it's not his responsibility to care about you.

    The reason this matters is that, yes, you can get a graduate degree with a bad start, but it requires a lot of initiative on your part. You can get a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Phoenix or a dozen other places, but you have to keep in mind that their primary interest is to make money off of you, and if you fail, they aren't going to care.

    Well yes. The problem is that if you think of the world as a ladder, then someone has got to be a loser. That's why I'm interesting in why you are intent on "climbing the ladder". Once you think in terms of ladders, someone has got to be at the bottom, and unfortunately that happens to include both you and me.

    You have to realize that it's a cold world out there, and most people don't care about you, and that's not really surprising. There are 6 billion people in the world. How many of them to you really care about? How many of them *can* you care about?

    If you are willing to take the initiative then there are lots and lots of possibilities for getting a graduate degree. The trouble is that if you expect people to *help* you get the graduate degree, you are in for a rude shock. This is why you really, really have to be clear why you want the graduate degree.

    Whether you should conform or not depends on what you want. Personally, I hate conforming, which is why I ended up ten steps lower on the ladder than I would have if I did everything people wanted. So what? Someone has to be a loser. It might as well be me.

    At this point, I don't think you have any chance of getting into a prestigious grad school. But my philosophy is to screw prestige. I just want to learn stuff, and I don't care if I learn quantum field theory at Harvard or some back alley somewhere. I don't even care if I get credits or a degree. But that's me, and what I want. You have to be clear about what you want.

    If you want *them* to like you, then you are going to have to put the dog collar around your neck. Sometimes it's worth it. Sometimes it isn't.
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