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Getting into grad school with a less than amazing record

  1. Dec 23, 2008 #1
    Hello all.

    Problem: This semester I fell ill with a bad bacterial infection and was ill for a while (with temporary partial hearing loss in one ear). It caused my grades and GRE scores to suffer IMMENSELY. I can't retake the physics GRE but I am retaking the general one. And also my grades this semester caused my gpa to fall below 3.0 (but only slightly, not much). But I also have a ton of research experience and really good recommendation. I'm thinking of staying in school another semester to take courses to bring back up my gpa but I'm unsure. Does anyone have an idea how much this will damage my chances of getting into a physics grad school?

    P.S. I'm a natural born US citizen and native English speaker (I've been told this works in your favor)

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2008 #2
    I have a somewhat similar experience, but I did not get sick. I just had my buisiest semester ever. My gre scores are crap to say the least(630 phys, 490 verbal(small vocabulary)). THey do not reflect my abilities. But I have been published twice, once in a major journal, and the other as first author. I have a near perfect physics gpa, and have taken more physics classes than any other student in the department. My school gpa is very good aswell. MY recommendations should be good. While i will have deficiencies I hope that graduate schools will over look my gre scores and actually evaluate my real potential as a student. While bad scores will eliminate you from some schools, they will not eliminate you from all. Do like me and apply to a whole range of schools from the best to the worst. (it doesnt hurt that my first choice is not the best school). Most of all dont give up (I haven't amazingly.) And if you dont get in get a good job for a year and try again. That is my plan. But I hope that I get into a graduate program. I think that I will get into alteast one. One of the programs that I will apply to, a friend with much worse scores applied to and got in, so there is hope.

    good luck.

    Oh a couple of recommendations:
    1) get started now. Most apps are due soon
    2) for future takers of the Physics GRE dont answer too many questions. I got 48 correct, but because i got so many wrong it ended up killing my score.
  4. Dec 23, 2008 #3

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    I think it's a good idea to stay in school for another term (and to retake the GRE), but not to raise your GPA (although it will do that too). The low grades are a symptom of not having learned the material while you were sick. The smart thing to do is to make sure you've learned it before moving on.
  5. Dec 23, 2008 #4
    Well actually, in all of my physics classes I get good grades, I finished those last year, I've just been doing electives and core requirements since. And on the GREs, it's not that I didn't know the material, its that was nauseous and the proctors didn't allow water or anything, even tissues, and the cold chills from the fever wasn't really a great asset in helping my focus. And I don't have time to take the GREs again, even if I stay on another semester.
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