Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Chances of graduate school?

  1. Jul 24, 2006 #1
    I will be going into my 4th year(out of 5) of my undergraduate physics degree this year and have some questions, but first my back story. I did horrible my first quarter of school, I got D's and C's in my physics and math classes so I decided to just take some gen. ed. classes, which boosted my GPA. I decided I really loved physics so starting my second year of school I restarted physics and re-took the classes I did poorly in before. I did much better in my physics and not so much better in math. I also wasn't informed I had to fill out grade replacement forms even though I asked about it so the original D's are calculated in my GPA.

    Now looking over my grades they all look pretty good besides math, which is unacceptably low. I have a ~1.6(out of 4) with no F's, I also had to take a foreign language(latin) in which I have a 2.1. In physics I have a 2.93 because the first D is still being calculated into it, but I have all A's and B's after the first bad grade. I feel these grades are really going to kill any chances of getting into graduate school I have.

    Even though I intend to take higher level math realistically I think I can only get my math GPA up to a 2.0, perhaps a little higher if I am lucky. Will a ~3.0 in physics and a ~2.0 in math give me any chance of getting into a decent graduate school?

    Also, in grade school I was diagnosed with a learning disability which includes slight dyslexia, this basically means your average test is generally not a good indication of my learned knowledge. I haven't brought it up here in university at all but feel it contributes a large part to my math scores being extremely low, even though I feel I grasp the material. Should I ever bring this up when applying? I don't feel as though I should as I don't want it to seem as I am using it as a crutch but with sub par grades I have to take any advantage I can get. Sorry for making this so long but I am really need to look into my options at this point.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2006 #2
    What is your combined math/physics GPA?
  4. Jul 24, 2006 #3
    You need to document this with your current school. I have worked a lot with students with disabilities (both learning and not) while I was a TA and tutor. It is very important that you go through the process of having your current school recognize your learning disability. The reason is this will be documented when grad schools start looking into your grades. This is very important.

    From one person with a little dyslexia to another- keep trying. It can be hard- but keep it up.

  5. Jul 24, 2006 #4
    i know a lot of graduate programs require a minimum GPA. some schoos it's like a 3.5 GPA (i believe UCLA???) and i know the grad program at Stony Brook (which is really good for mathematics and physics) requires a 3.0 GPA

    check out various schools and their requirements. check out "So you want to be a physicist" for the NRC rankings of the graduate programs for mathematics and physics, even though it was taken in 1995, it is still roughly accurate. pick out some schools from that list, see if you qualify.

    also, i emailed a lot of graduate directors to gauge my chances, even though i'm just starting my junior year.

    good luck, dont give up.
  6. Jul 24, 2006 #5
    Mewmew, I've talk to some people at certain grad schools. They might offer an alternative to people that don't meet the minimum requirements of GPA. They allow you to take the same grad courses that would be in your major under like a provisional status and if you do well in those classes, then there is a good chance that they will accept you into that grad college of choice.
  7. Jul 25, 2006 #6
    Thanks for the responses so far, It is interesting that my math is so low, just because calculus 1-3 and the labs are the only thing calculated into my "math" GPA. For whatever reason calculus 4, linear algebra, etc. are all calculated into my "physics" GPA and I did ok in those classes. Should I retake my calculus classes and go for a higher grade? I am just worried it will look bad to retake basic math classes so late in my degree, but as long as they are A/B's should I assume it would be looked upon better?
  8. Jul 25, 2006 #7
    I would say yes. A better grade will look better. I wouldn't worry about the retaking part. It is better to have retaken and gotten a good grade than it is to let a bad grade just stay on there.

    At the end of this year you will have to start thinking about taking the GRE also. This is an exam that most school require in some form or another to apply for grad schools.
  9. Jul 25, 2006 #8

    That's possibly a good idea. I hadn't considered doing that.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook