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GPA ruined, am I doomed?

  1. Jul 9, 2010 #1
    Hi all,

    I'm a second year B.Sc student majoring in Maths and Chemistry and I'm worried that I may have "ruined" my degree.

    Last year was a bad year for me for multiple reasons and as a result I failed two subjects and performed poorly in the rest, don't get me wrong though, the poor performance was not due to incompetence or lack of interest. I enjoy both maths and chemistry a lot and this year I've been getting much better grades.

    I knew that my poor grades were not going to benefit me or antyhing but I never really thought that it would affect me too much after I had finished the degree.
    However, I've just been browsing through these forums and read that apparently GPA is a big factor that is considered when it comes to employment or being selected for postgrad positions. I'm now worried that my bad grades in the first year might have closed many doors for me.

    I've calculated that in my current degree the highest GPA that's even possible for me is about 2.8, and according to what I read a GPA that is greater than 3 is ideal. Is there anything I can do? Am I stuck?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 9, 2010 #2
    since you are a second year student, i would say you completed only a quarter of your university degree program. Suppose you have 4.0 GPA (highly unlikely) on the remaining three quarters. Your GPA will be:

    (1 x 2.8 + 3 x 4.0)/4 = 3.7

    The minimum requirements for high ranking grad schools are 3.0, I think, so you still have a breathing room. This could be achieved by an average GPA from the remaining period of:

    \frac{1 \times 2.8 + 3 \times x}{4} = 3.0

    If you are a math major, you shouldn't have any problem solving this for x :).

    Also, you might choose to not pursue an academic carrier after your Bachelor's degree, but work in Industry instead. For now, stick to what you are doing and try to give your best.
  4. Jul 9, 2010 #3
    I think you misunderstood me...my current GPA isn't 2.8, it's 1.6...
    and you were correct the first time, I am halfway through my degree.
  5. Jul 9, 2010 #4
    Oh, that's how you said 2.8. I see. Can't you re take the courses which you did poorly on?
  6. Jul 9, 2010 #5
    Mmm, I don't think so and it would be pretty redundant as the units I'm completing now are built upon the earlier ones. As for working in industry, I read that when going for the 'top' jobs employers also consider GPA.
  7. Jul 9, 2010 #6
    Well, your GPA is certainly not 'top'. If you do not excel in other criteria that the employers might consider, there is the possibility that you are not competitive for such 'top' jobs. However, there are jobs that are not so 'top' and you still can earn a good salary. Also, you might choose to open your own business.
  8. Jul 9, 2010 #7
    I don't know how your school does it, but you have to average a 2.0 overall just to be able to graduate at mine. If you fall below 2.0, you're on academic probation. I think you need to retake every single course you failed or did poorly on. It's redundant, yes, but you're truly going to be doomed if the best you can attain -- assuming everything works out perfectly -- is a 2.8. Especially if you're a math/chemistry major -- both benefit greatly from graduate studies.
  9. Jul 9, 2010 #8
    You are not doomed, and you are never doomed. You have a problem, you need to deal with it. But life will go on, and part of life involves dealing with difficulties.
  10. Jul 9, 2010 #9
    It probably did, but it's not the end of the world. Something that high school students have huge amount of difficulty dealing with is that college and life is very different from high school. In high school, basically you get A's or you get sent toed the back of the class, and once you are not a top student, then you are "doomed."

    Life isn't like that. Doors close. Doors open. People make mistakes and things go wrong. However there are second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances. Learning to fail, and learning to fail badly is one of the things that you will have to learn.

    The big thing that you have to figure out is why your GPA ended up badly, and what you should do about it
  11. Jul 10, 2010 #10
    Mmm, thanks for the responses everyone.
  12. Jul 10, 2010 #11


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    To add to what twofish said, remember, life is realistic. If you do great in the last two years, get straight A's or close, do research, have good relations with some professors that allow them to write fabulous letters of recommendation, you're set! Those kind of things are doable no matter what your GPA is and if they see stuff like that with a bad GPA, they know you can do research and contribute which is what they want more. Of course, remember, again, life is realistic. There are students who do all that AND have 4 years of straight A's who will likely get the very top spots but such is life and even some of the more mediocre grad schools and jobs can be great to get into.

    Of course, very soon after your education is over, the quality of the career you have starts becoming solely a function of the real world work you put into it.
  13. Jul 10, 2010 #12
    I generally agree with what everyone is saying, with one little additional quibble... if you haven't been able to put in good, productive work so far, what makes you think you will be able to start doing it tomorrow?

    If you have an answer to this, great, get to work and good luck!

    If you don't, why do you think anything is going to change in the future?
  14. Jul 10, 2010 #13
    I think you are fine. I was in the same situation as you. I failed 2 critical classes for my degree. You need to do good in the rest of your classes especially your junior and senior classes. If you gets mostly As and some Bs in your junior and senior classes that really shows that you understand the material. Worst case scenario I would say go to another college. Most colleges don't factor classes from other schools in there GPA.
  15. Jul 10, 2010 #14
    Work your *** off. usually your second, third and fourth year are much more significant, and some schools won't even consider your first year GPA. you have a huge climb if you have a 1.6 no matter what you are planning on doing. I have had a few friends in similar situations. A few of them have chosen to take a few years off to re-evaluate their goals, others have been kicked out by the university. GPA isn't always the most important factor, but it definitely does reflect your understanding of the material. You should talk to a faculty/department advisor and look at options. It's not like you are completely screwed, there is always additional options- but you have a lot of thinking to do.
  16. Jul 10, 2010 #15
    The really big thing that you have to figure out is why your GPA was so low.

    One thing that you really have to be careful about is not to get yourself into a downward spiral. For example, if it turns out that you were just unprepared for the classes and overloaded yourself, then trying to work harder may make things worse. You mentioned "various reasons" why you got a low GPA, you really have to make sure that those reasons no longer exist.

    Something that can get people into huge problems is to set totally unrealistic goals. If your grades were 1.5 in one semester, and you want to make 4.0 in the next, you really have to come up with a good reason to expect a massive change.

    Otherwise what can happen is that you end up in the next semester going crazy because it's obvious that you aren't getting anywhere close to 4.0, and that makes the situation worse.

    Something else that you need to figure out is what do you really want to do with your life. Why are you majoring in chemistry and what do you plan to do with a chemistry degree? If you want to go to grad school then you need to start looking at undergraduate research, and if you want to get a job, then you really need to start looking at summer internships.

    Something that is true is that employers generally don't put a huge amount of emphasis on the GPA as long as you manage to get your degree, but with a bad freshman year, I'd be seriously worried about setting things up so that you finish the degree.
  17. Jul 12, 2010 #16
    You may need to check with your college, but there is also something called a "delayed withdrawal" program. If your situation is so compelling that you can prove it is why you performed so poorly, you may be able to convince them to drop the classes for that semester. You will however, need to re-take the classes for credit; but the failed classes will be wiped from your GPA (replaced with W's that still are attempted hours). I hear its pretty hard to get this through, but its worth a try and would really help out your little predicament. In the future, if you can help foresee it, try just dropping the classes instead of giving up and failing them. Crap happens, don't let it ruin your future.
  18. Jul 12, 2010 #17
    This is a good point. I notice that many people struggling in my classes lack previous knowledge that they SHOULD know, making it nearly impossible to make an A in the current class.
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