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Schools Does a bad start to university hurt grad school chances?

  1. Jun 13, 2010 #1
    I wasn't a particularly good high-school math student, I usually tested around the top of the school for standardized exams, but never bothered to do the class work for my actual math classes, and was mainly just a jock.

    I went to the local university to do engineering, and while I got A's in calc I didn't do great overall, i think a 3.3 first semester, 2.9 second semester, and eventually transferred to another school for one semester. The living alone situation didn't work out, and I had pretty horrible grades, three B's and a C in four math courses.

    I transferred back to my original school, and despite my earlier poor grades decided to do Math, and my grades were really good, none lower than 85%, mainly pure math(GPA was a shade under 4, dragged down by a philosophy course). And my summer session courses seem to be a bit higher, now that I'm taking some applied courses.

    Having found that I really enjoy math a bit late in university, would my earlier failures at engineering and another school prevent me from getting into a good grad school? (Also the school I go to is a fairly well-looked at primarily undergraduate school).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2010 #2
    It depends on how bad your grades were starting out. If they were F's and D's then that would not be good. But as long as you show improvement over your undergrad career you'll be fine. You also have to show that you can do well in you upper division classes.

    For graduate school don't forget that admission is weighted in: GPA, GRE, and letters of rec.
  4. Jun 15, 2010 #3
    Many schools (especially in the sciences and engineering) purposely try to cull the herd by making their courses difficult for newcomers used to high school level work. Many people do poorly their first year and manage to pull themselves together and succeed. if you get a degree from the college, they will usually be likely to let you back in for research and grad school.

    Also keep in mind that they won't care too much if you fail a philosophy course so long as you do well in core classes

    good luck
  5. Jun 16, 2010 #4
    Well I go to a primarily undergraduate school, so the option of staying at the school for grad school isn't really an option. A few of the schools I looked at said they mainly concentrate on the last two or three years of your bachelor's degree, which is in line with what people in med school and such generally tell me. It just seems insanely competitive to get into a math program of any merit, and thought that mediocre grades my first year (while most other applicants probably would've had near-perfect GPA's, it seems) would keep me out.
  6. Jun 16, 2010 #5
    Look. I completed my undergraduate studies with a 2.998 in phys and csci (really tried for a 3). This is because I slacked fresh and soph years. But I was accepted into a top 50 ME gradschool with a full GRA and summertime employment. So yes you can still do it. Was it easy? hell no. But I did it.
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