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Programs Chances of getting into PhD program (low gpa related)

  1. Jul 15, 2012 #1

    I am two semesters away from my BS in Math and I very much want to pursue a PhD in mathematics. I started off very rough in college and it has taken me all the way until now to get my GPA up to 2.8 (terrible I know). My first two years were awful. last year I really turned things around with a 3.68 and 3.54 for my last two semesters. I have A's in all my math classes besides calculus(first semester) which was my first semester of college. I have taken linear algebra, calc 2-4(ODE's), abstract algebra and have A's in all of them. in the fall I am taking second semester abstract algebra, topology, analysis, and graduate linear algebra. If I can pull off A's in these classes do you think I have a chance at acceptance into a program? I know a top 20 school is out of the question. I have a list of schools that interest me outside of the top 20-30. I have a nice upward swing going for my grades, I will have good letters of recommendations and I have research experience with a physics professor from last semester who I can also get a recommendation from. right now I am studying to take the GRE.

    Any input will be greatly appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2012 #2
    a silly question, but what are you actually looking to do?
    and what field do you want to end up in?
  4. Jul 15, 2012 #3
    I want to get into a math program. I'm really interested in algebra, I do not have any clue as to what I would like to research, but I have not had that much exposure to it yet. But I know I would like to move in that direction.

    I'm really just curious as to my chances at acceptance into a program. Sorry if it sounded silly, It's just all starting to hit me at once that I will be graduating next May.
  5. Jul 15, 2012 #4
    Well, I have yet to graduate (I'll be a junior this next year), but since nobody else has said anything yet I'll say what I've read in other threads on here no this subject before (I have no idea what time zone the PF times are on, but it's 6:30pm where I am, and the forum says the last comment was made at 1:13 am, so I figured I'd say something haha).

    From everything I've read on these forums before, I'd say you definitely have a chance of getting in. As long as you do well on the GRE/subject test, and get good letters of recommendation, you'll be fine. You've done well in your math classes, you've done research, and you'll be taking a graduate Linear course next semester, which is good. Doing well in that course will show that you are able to handle graduate coursework. Overall GPA, I get the impression, is only one small factor into it all.
  6. Jul 15, 2012 #5
    thank you for your response!
  7. Jul 16, 2012 #6


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    I would suggest you really focus on getting as high a score as possible on the Math GRE. Download all of the old exams you can find and take them, analyze the questions you get wrong and study those areas. The higher your GRE score, the more likely the admissions committees will look past the low GPA.
  8. Jul 16, 2012 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Your life will be a lot easier if you can get your overall GPA is above 3.0. Typically below 3.0 the university will get involved. This is not good - it's one more entity that can say "no", and at the department level the pressure will be such that the path of least resistance will be to simply offer admission to the next person down in the stack.
  9. Jul 18, 2012 #8

    My university---not just my department---won't admit anyone to graduate school who doesn't have at least a 3.0 GPA (or its equivalent if the student attended school outside the U.S.) and a bachelor's degree. No exceptions.

    It might benefit you to hang around your current university another year or two taking higher-level math classes, including graduate-level classes (while raising your GPA past that 3.0 mark, of course) doing research and preparing for the Math GRE.
  10. Jul 18, 2012 #9
    thank you for the response. I really hope that steady improvement will show that I am a capable student. My major GPA is great, do you think that will be able to offset my poor performance in my early years/non-major classes?
  11. Jul 18, 2012 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    Please read what I and Geezer wrote again - it's your overall GPA you need to get above 3.0.
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