Does going to a community college hurt your chances of getting into grad school?

In summary, the performance in upper level courses, particularly in junior and senior years, is more important for graduate school admissions. There is no truth to the idea that community college students are looked down upon by medical and graduate schools. However, it is important to maintain a strong GPA regardless of where you attend school. Graduate schools will take into account the difficulty of courses when evaluating GPA. There are various career options for physics majors, including engineering, programming, education, and technical professions. It is important to research and consider one's interests and skills in order to find a suitable career path.
  • #1
JustAnotherGu
21
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I am a freshman getting ready to finish my first semester at a community college, with a strong GPA , and I'm planning on transferring to a 4 year college after this next semester is done.

I've heard a lot of people online say that medical and graduate schools look down on people who start out at community colleges, and I was wondering if there was any truth to this, and if any of you have had experiences with this.

I already know that my GPA won't follow me when I go to the 4 year university, which is somewhat disappointing.

I've already finished most of my easy classes (calc 1, physics 1, history, english, etc) and my GPA is going to be based entirely around the much more difficult high-level classes, which is something that makes me really nervous.

Will graduate schools look at my application and be understanding of the fact that my GPA is based solely on high-level classes, and that I don't have the lower level ones to "pad" my GPA?

And while we're on the subject, what happens to physics majors who don't get into grad school? I've heard a lot of people say that undergraduate physics degrees are useless for everything except high school teaching, which is not something that I want to do.

If it ends up being true that being at a community college will severely limit my chances of getting a job later on, I might just switch to computer science. I had a hard time deciding between the two at first, so this might be the thing that finally tips the scale one way or the other.
 
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  • #2
The performance in the upper level grades, e.g., junior and senior years, will count more for graduate school. Hopefully one will achieve a demonstrable proficiency.
 
  • #3
"I've heard a lot of people online say that medical and graduate schools look down on people who start out at community colleges, and I was wondering if there was any truth to this, and if any of you have had experiences with this."

this is complete ********, though med schools and grad schools do care about gpa, so make sure you keep your grades up no matter where you go to school
 
  • #4
JustAnotherGu said:
I already know that my GPA won't follow me when I go to the 4 year university, which is somewhat disappointing.
This is untrue. When you apply to graduate school you are generally required to submit your transcripts for all post-secondary institutions you've attende. They will apply whatever formula they use to calculate your GPA. So even if you failed out of a history program before you figured out what you wanted to do with your life the people on the admissions committee are going to see that.

Will graduate schools look at my application and be understanding of the fact that my GPA is based solely on high-level classes, and that I don't have the lower level ones to "pad" my GPA?
It doesn't work that way. If they factor in a four year cummulative GPA into their scoring system, they will look at where those marks came from. Maybe they will only factor in your last two years. It varies from school to school. What they won't do is compare four years from one student to two years from another.

And while we're on the subject, what happens to physics majors who don't get into grad school? I've heard a lot of people say that undergraduate physics degrees are useless for everything except high school teaching, which is not something that I want to do.
They end up completely useless and have no hope whatsoever of getting a job that pays more than minimum wage. (/sarcasm)

Seriously, I would look up some of the AIP survey results as they tend to track such things so that physics students will have some data to make decisions on. A lot will depend on the particular skill set the student develops and his or her interests. Many will go into engineering, programming, IT, or education, but those aren't the only options. There are options like technical sales or consulting that you could get into right away, or with some additional training I've know some physics graduates who have gone into technical professions like radiation therapy or ultrasonographer. There are a lot of open doors, but don't get discouraged because none of them are particularly labelled 'Physics BSc Required.'
 
  • #5


I understand your concerns about the impact of attending a community college on your chances of getting into graduate school. However, I want to assure you that attending a community college does not automatically hurt your chances of getting into graduate school. In fact, many students who start at community colleges go on to successfully transfer to four-year universities and continue their education at the graduate level.

Firstly, it is important to remember that graduate schools consider a variety of factors in their admissions decisions, not just your undergraduate GPA. They will also consider your letters of recommendation, personal statement, research experience, and other accomplishments. So while your GPA is certainly an important component, it is not the sole determining factor.

Additionally, graduate schools understand that students come from diverse backgrounds and may have different educational paths. They will take into account the fact that you started at a community college and may have a different set of courses to show for your academic performance. As long as you maintain a strong GPA and demonstrate your academic ability in your upper-level courses, graduate schools will not view your community college experience as a disadvantage.

As for your concern about job opportunities for physics majors who do not go to graduate school, it is important to remember that a physics degree can lead to a variety of career paths, not just high school teaching. Many industries, such as technology, engineering, and finance, value the problem-solving and analytical skills that physics majors possess. So I would encourage you not to limit your options based on hearsay about the perceived usefulness of a physics degree.

In conclusion, attending a community college will not significantly limit your chances of getting into graduate school or finding a job in your field. What matters most is your academic performance and the experiences you gain during your undergraduate studies. Keep working hard and pursuing your interests, and I am confident that you will have a successful future in whichever field you choose.
 

1. Does attending a community college make it harder to get into grad school?

No, attending a community college does not necessarily make it harder to get into grad school. Many community colleges have transfer agreements with four-year universities, making it easier for students to transfer and continue their education. Additionally, admissions committees take into account a variety of factors, such as grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities, when considering applicants for grad school.

2. Are community college courses viewed as less rigorous by grad school admissions committees?

It ultimately depends on the specific courses and curriculum of the community college. Some community colleges offer courses that are just as rigorous as those at four-year universities. Admissions committees typically evaluate the content and difficulty level of courses, rather than the type of institution where they were taken.

3. Will attending a community college negatively impact my chances of receiving financial aid for grad school?

No, attending a community college should not negatively impact your chances of receiving financial aid for grad school. Admissions committees and financial aid offices take into consideration a variety of factors, including a student's financial need and academic achievements, when awarding financial aid.

4. Do grad schools have a preference for applicants from four-year universities over community college graduates?

No, grad schools do not have a preference for applicants based on their undergraduate institution. Admissions committees are primarily interested in a student's academic performance, research experience, and potential for success in their program, regardless of where they completed their undergraduate studies.

5. How can I increase my chances of getting into grad school if I attend a community college?

There are several steps you can take to increase your chances of getting into grad school while attending a community college. These include maintaining a high GPA, participating in research or internship opportunities, getting involved in extracurricular activities, and building relationships with professors who can provide strong letters of recommendation. Additionally, you can reach out to admissions counselors at your desired grad schools to learn about their specific requirements and how you can best prepare for their program.

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