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GPA Started off Bad, any chance?

  1. Oct 25, 2013 #1
    Hi all,

    I am currently in my Year 2 study in BSC. Physics
    my GPA was nowhere near good in year 1, because I wasn't familiar with how university works, and everything in the courses was new to me. (I dont mind posting the numerical value here if it helps analyzing my situation)
    PS: My major GPA >> Cumulative GPA

    So anyway, now that in year 2 i know what's going on, I am getting better grades in my courses
    now and my GPA is climbing up; but still I know I will have a hard time compensating and eventually when I graduate, my GPA wont be in the category of "excellent".

    I am just gonna ask, I really want to pursue a career in Physics, and most of the time a post-grad degree is always preferred (given not everyone is Einstein or Schrodinger), I just want to know, if my GPA is not a sure-win, say...barely/just enough, is there any means I can increase my chance of admission?

    I have read some articles and so far I have saw these suggestions:
    - Try getting good grades in more difficult courses, as they may outweigh the crappy grades in easy courses (my year 1 mess)
    - Try attending a few post-grad level courses and get good grades on the transcript to show people your ability
    - Get research experience/internship to show you can do something

    Some professors also told me GPA is not such a big thing when they admit students, they also look at your interview/resume/personality etc etc. But it varies from professor to professor, everyone has their own standard;
    can someone share your experience?
    did anyone not get a decent gpa but managed to do something to turn the table?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 25, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Listen to what your professors say!

    But also follow this piece of advice:
    "Get research experience/internship to show you can do something"

    Your graduate application will go much better with great recommendations from your professors, so it helps to show them your interest and ability by working in a research lab. The second item is GRE scores which pass the cutoff for the program where you are applying.

    I don't think that taking a few "hard graduate courses" will show much - you will do better to focus on your undergraduate studies. After all, they are the pre-reqs for the graduate courses ... how well do you think you will do in graduate statistical mechanics if you have not taken the undergrad pre-reqs?

    And make sure you get the best grades you can in those "easy" classes; they show that you are interested, and they will improve your GPA.
  4. Oct 26, 2013 #3
    Einstein got his Ph.D. in 1905 at the University of Zurich.

    Schrodinger got his habilitation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habilitation) in 1914 at the University of Vienna.

    So even if you *are* Einstein or Schodinger, a post-grad degree is necessary. :smile:

    And I would say "necessary", not "preferred".

    You have time, but not much, to get your act together...
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