Grad school emphasis on intro-level grades, computer science

In summary, the conversation centers on the academic performance of a physics major and its potential impact on their chances for a PhD program in physics. The person is concerned about getting a B+ in General Physics II and Calculus II, but is hopeful that they can improve their grades and focus on their mental health during the summer break. They also discuss the importance of research experience and strong recommendations for grad school applications, and whether self-studying computer science is sufficient or if taking a class is necessary. The main takeaway is that a few B+ grades in lower-level classes will not significantly impact their chances for grad school if they excel in other areas, and they should focus on their overall academic resilience and willingness to learn and grow.
  • #1
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I'm sorry if this is a bit of a mundane question but we all do impulsive things when we're anxious. I may get a B+ in General Physics II and Calculus II this semester (2nd semester freshman). I know I am capable of much better, and to be honest, I was very bogged down emotionally/psychologically this semester and I'm hoping the summer will help me recuperate; next semester I am taking Linear Algebra and Modern Physics. I haven't declared yet but I am decidedly a physics major. How much do lower-level classes affect your chances for PhD program in physics? If I am able to get my personal issues under control I know I can get A, but would I be rejected for getting B+ in physics & calculus freshman year? On a related note, could it be useful for me to see a therapist to see if I have any legitimate psychological health issues that could be cited for a less-than-ideal performance? Of course to just feel better too.

I will say I go to a rigorous liberal arts college that has very high science PhD productivity (large percentage of graduated majors will go on to earn a PhD) but research I did in the past seemed to indicate it is more a matter of having good professor recommendations and research experience rather than the quality of the individual school since physics curricula are so standardized across schools. Both of which are things I do hope to accomplish (partially because a research project with a professor is a requirement for physical science majors here).

Based on what I read from the " So you want to be a physicist" post computer science is also necessary for me to learn...Is the type of computer science recommended for grad school something I could potentially self-study, or do I really ought to take a class? Computers frustrate me to no end and my interest in computer science is in the deepest void but I'll do it if necessary.
 
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  • #2
First of all, a B+ is not dramatic. Getting a few B+ would definitely not mean you wouldn't be accepted to grad school. Especially if those grades are made in lower-level classes. Grades are only important up to a certain point. If you got a few B's, but excellent research and letters, then you're still a big contender for grad school.

If you feel bogged down psychologically, then definitely see a psychologist!
 
  • #3
No, they will definitely not reject you just because you have a B+ in an intro class, and this includes even the very best schools. I know this from experience. Doing well in more advanced classes, doing great research, and getting outstanding letters can easily make up for B's in intro classes. The PGRE is also somewhat important but not as much as the other three things I mentioned.

The best thing you can do is to reflect on why you aren't doing as well as you'd like and think about things you can change to do better. What matters is that you are resilient and don't give up because of one set back. However, this doesn't just mean working hard, you also have to take a flexible approach and push yourself to think in new ways and I would also add learn from other people.
 

1. What is the importance of intro-level grades in grad school?

Intro-level grades are important in grad school because they serve as an indicator of a student's foundational knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. These grades can also determine eligibility for certain programs or opportunities within grad school.

2. How heavily do grad schools emphasize intro-level grades in computer science?

The emphasis on intro-level grades in computer science varies among different grad schools. Some may prioritize grades more heavily, while others may place more emphasis on a student's research experience or other factors.

3. Can a student with lower intro-level grades still succeed in grad school for computer science?

Yes, a student's intro-level grades do not necessarily determine their success in grad school for computer science. Other factors such as research experience, letters of recommendation, and personal statements can also play a role in admissions decisions.

4. Will my intro-level grades from a different major affect my chances of getting into grad school for computer science?

While it is important to have a strong foundation in computer science, grad schools may also consider a student's overall academic performance and potential. It is important to demonstrate a strong interest and aptitude for computer science, even if your intro-level grades in a different major may not be as strong.

5. How can I improve my intro-level grades in preparation for grad school for computer science?

Some ways to improve intro-level grades in computer science include seeking help from professors or tutors, actively participating in class, and regularly practicing and reviewing course material. It is also important to focus on developing a strong understanding of fundamental concepts, rather than just memorizing information for exams.

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