Grad School Woes

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  • Thread starter BrutePhysics
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  • #26
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What world do you live in ice109?

I think what cristo was saying is quite clear. If you have to work, don't do it and school full time. Cut back on the number of classes you can realistically commit to, and do well. It will take longer, but you have no other options. Just because you have to work and take classes, don't think that's a special pass to sub-par grades.
 
  • #27
Hello again,

before this gets out of hand... as certain tones may make it seem. I'd like to point out that I do not in any way use my work as an "excuse" for low grades... I simply asked because a few professors and students have told me that it might be helpful to mention. I do not blame anyone else but myself for something like that.

As for now, I have taken some other advice from here and talking with my advisor and taken out a loan for the remaining semester with plans on doing the same next year so as to boost my grades and make what chance I have as good as possible.
 
  • #28
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Keep this in mind. If your highest GPA you could get (all A's all the time till you finish) wont bump you up above 3.2 (And hence be competitive for Grad school), is there really any benifit to taking a loan out at this point? Is it not better to just finish school, get a job, and start from scratch with an engineering degree and then reapply to grad school a few years down the road with a near 4.0 GPA.

To me, taking out a loan just to go from a 2.8 to 3.2 and still not get into grad school seems unwise, financially.
 
  • #29
225
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To me, taking out a loan just to go from a 2.8 to 3.2 and still not get into grad school seems unwise, financially.
Who died and made you God? Or even Lord of all school admissions? Who says he won't get into graduate school? You?

Seriously...You and Vanadium both...get off the high horses already...
 
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  • #30
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errr i dont think vanadium was really up on his high horse... if anything he gave hope to Brute that you CAN get into grad school with below a 3.0 gpa...
 
  • #31
j93
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2
errr i dont think vanadium was really up on his high horse... if anything he gave hope to Brute that you CAN get into grad school with below a 3.0 gpa...
Did you read his post? Here it is, it explicitly says that you will be rejected immediately if you have below a 3.0 GPA.

There is a perception here on Physics Forums that a GPA of 3.0 marks the line between getting in and not getting in. I disagree with this. It usually marks the line between being rejected immediately and being rejected after the committee has looked at your application.
Somebody has to help set the GRE verbal curve.

Cyrus is right. I dont think that the loans are worth it because you are still not guaranteed admission. It would be better to take your time without loans.
 
  • #32
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Are the courses you will be taking in the next 3 semesters upper div physics courses? If so, wouldn't acing those courses be much more pertinent than a 3.6+ gpa? What are the courses that are keeping you down? Gen eds aren't nearly as important as major courses and lower div courses are not as important as upper div courses. If you ace all of your upper div courses, a bad mark in Newtonian mechanics is a lot more tolerable. Also, are there any professors that you have cultivated a relationship with who might know your work well enough to write you a good letter of rec? Have you done any research at all? If not, do you have this summer open? If so, find every REU that isn't past deadline and sign up for it. If you do decent on the phys gre and have a 3.25 with an upward trend you surely would stand a chance somewhere.
 
  • #33
j93
191
2
If so, wouldn't acing those courses be much more pertinent than a 3.6+ gpa? What are the courses that are keeping you down?
I cannot say anything with certainty since I cannot be in the mind of every admissions committee but people on this forum value consistency above all else, so no.
 
  • #34
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Who died and made you God? Or even Lord of all school admissions? Who says he won't get into graduate school? You?

Seriously...You and Vanadium both...get off the high horses already...
I think it was Bob who died and made be god. Yep, it was bob.
 
  • #35
cristo
Staff Emeritus
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I think we'll just have to respectfully disagree on this. In order to keep taking courses one needs to pay for them. This leaves the student with four options..
I think there are other options, namely

(5) Attend school part time and work part time, thus allowing the student to have enough time to focus on studies

(6) Work full time over holidays. That's what I did: students have enough holiday time (at least in the UK, anyway) to enable them to save up money, if sensible enough with holiday spending.

If you have to work, don't do it and school full time. Cut back on the number of classes you can realistically commit to, and do well.
Exactly!

Who died and made you God? Or even Lord of all school admissions? Who says he won't get into graduate school? You?
When someone starts a post with "To me, ..." that implies, even more so than usual, that it is an opinion. Lose the attitude: it won't do you any good.
 
  • #36
j93
191
2
I think there are other options, namely

(5) Attend school part time and work part time, thus allowing the student to have enough time to focus on studies

(6) Work full time over holidays. That's what I did: students have enough holiday time (at least in the UK, anyway) to enable them to save up money, if sensible enough with holiday spending.
In the US you only get 4- 4.5 months off.
Were are you working that you are that you are able to get enough money in a few months for a year?
Most people go to college to get a degree to earn that amount of money were your making a livable amount of money in a few months. I dont think you can live on a part-time salary without any outside financial support. If English job opportunities are that great and plentiful I suppose the OP best option is to move to Britain.
 
  • #37
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Why is there the 3.0 or higher cutoff for admission to grad school? I understand upper tier schools wanting to set their standards high and not wanting to waste time on slower students.

But why don't 3rd or 4th tier schools accept them?
Firstly, because as someone pointed out, they can; that is to say, there's a body of applicants to choose from, even at lower-tier schools. Secondly, there's a high drop-out rate in both physics and math. There's probably a significant correlation between undergrad GPA and probability of dropping out.

The American university system is excessively bureaucratic -- that is to say, the committees look at the numbers (GRE, GPA) rather than the individual, breathing applicant. But that's the way the US runs in general. Personally I would look abroad for a more humane university system. If an Einstein applied to Swampwater State U, he would be summarily rejected for not having the right GPA or GRE.
 
  • #38
j93
191
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Youre right Einstein would get rejected from state school. He probably would do well on PGRE. I dont understand how someone can have a 3.5+ GPA and score below 600 on PGRE. I wonder what admission would be like if the weighted applicants GPA's with applicants school average PGRE and average major GPA.
 
  • #39
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I dont understand how someone can have a 3.5+ GPA and score below 600 on PGRE.
*Shrug* Grade inflation in general. The strength of the courses in a particular department (we'd expect MIT courses to be more rigorous and of a higher level than at Swampwater U). And even in the same department, the standard, rigor, and choice of topics of a course can vary depending on the instructor (not to mention his grading policy).

This variation is why American universities rely partly on standardised tests like GRE for grad admissions (and SAT or ACT for undergrad admission). The whole process has just become too bureaucratised for my taste -- and by bureaucratised I mean that the process has acquired a life and dynamic of its own, which gobbles up the time, nervous energy, attention span and morale of students. GREs, letters of recommendation, trying for a respectable GPA (which often means eschewing more challenging courses that might adversely affect the GPA). Then once in grad school, juggling courses and the load a TA might have, worrying about getting through the qualifying exams, finding a research advisor, getting a decent problem to work on. And finally -- incidentally -- hitting the job market with one's Ph.D. in an oversaturated market.
 
  • #40
Vanadium 50
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Seriously...You and Vanadium both...get off the high horses already...
I thought "self-loathing pompous dream crusher" was a more colorful turn of phrase.

If you like, I can tell people "No, no matter what your GPA is, you have a good chance". But I don't believe it to be true. To see how seriously the 3.0 "line" is, see post #7 in https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=284463". In short, it's easier for that department to hire a new faculty member than to accept a student with less than a 3.0.

I think BrutePhysics did a very wise thing in asking us early. Compare that to the typical, "I'm in my senior year and just decided to go to graduate school" - by then it's too late. I think the advice to shoot for a 4.0 for the rest of the program is a heck of a lot better advice than "if you get a 3.0 you'll be fine".
 
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  • #41
j93
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2
If you like, I can tell people "No, no matter what your GPA is, you have a good chance". But I don't believe it to be true. To see how seriously the 3.0 "line" is, see post #7 in https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=284463".
I got to admit that I think its funny that as proof your referring to a post by yourself.

Shoot for a 4.0 is obvious advice and applies to any major any career goal so im not sure it add much, more specific advice for physics would be kill the PGRE.
 
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  • #42
Vanadium 50
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I got to admit that I think its funny that as proof your referring to a post by yourself.
Why? I wrote it for a reason. And it seems silly to type it in again.
 
  • #43
(6) Work full time over holidays. That's what I did: students have enough holiday time (at least in the UK, anyway) to enable them to save up money, if sensible enough with holiday spending.
Realistically without a college education and with the general economy the way it is one can expect to get paid minimum wage. Let's say $8.00 (actual rates are probably less). Now, I get 5 months of break, total, so let's say 22 weeks. 22*40*8.00 = $7,040. Let's say you're extraordinary and can work 80 hours a week, so we get $14,080. Expected cost of attendance at a small state university here is over $20,000 for a year.

Working and going to school part time makes far more sense to me.
 
  • #44
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Realistically without a college education and with the general economy the way it is one can expect to get paid minimum wage. Let's say $8.00 (actual rates are probably less). Now, I get 5 months of break, total, so let's say 22 weeks. 22*40*8.00 = $7,040. Let's say you're extraordinary and can work 80 hours a week, so we get $14,080. Expected cost of attendance at a small state university here is over $20,000 for a year.

Working and going to school part time makes far more sense to me.
Usually a summer internship will pay you about 5k over the summer. But that requires you to have good grades. Also, one can do a co-op for a semester and earn money while working at a company, and making good money, and not have any courses to pay for.

Also, if one is tight for cash, one could start at a community college, then transfer and finish up at state college which costs exactly double per semester.

.......or you could work 40 hours a week, take full time class work, and do poorly.
 
  • #45
.......or you could work 40 hours a week, take full time class work, and do poorly.
Hey, I said going to school part time made more sense. No where did I advocate working full time and taking a full class load.
 
  • #46
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Hey, I said going to school part time made more sense. No where did I advocate working full time and taking a full class load.
I meant you in the general sense, not the literal you. I should have used the word 'one' -sorry.
 
  • #47
G01
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Who died and made you God? Or even Lord of all school admissions? Who says he won't get into graduate school? You?

Seriously...You and Vanadium both...get off the high horses already...
Did it occur to you that maybe Vanadium and Cyrus are speaking from experience and giving the OP a realistic portrayal of his chances? The OP's chances of getting into grad school are extremely low with a GPA below 3.0. It is also true that competitive GPA's for graduate programs are >=3.5. This is the truth, and that is all Cyrus and Vanadium were pointing out.

Sure it may have been nicer to say, "Sure you'll get in to grad school. No worries." Unfortunately that doesn't make it true, nor does it help the original poster.

This is at least the third grad school thread I have seen follow this pattern:

1. "Can I get into grad school with....?"

2. Someone responds with a realistic portrayal of the situation.

3. Another someone doesn't like that answer and attributes it to the first someones arrogance or elitism.


Just because you don't like the answer doesn't mean that it isn't true. That's life.
 
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  • #48
j93
191
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I meant you in the general sense, not the literal you. I should have used the word 'one' -sorry.
I think he meant that you never considered the full-time work part-time school case, not the the fact that you used "you".
 
  • #49
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I think he meant that you never considered the full-time work part-time school case, not the the fact that you used "you".
But that was exactly the case I stated :confused:....
 
  • #50
j93
191
2
I know you did initially but when you did case by case never mentioned that case which was the same one he was supporting. I also agree that would be his best option full-time work part-time school because any job that he could do part time that pays him enough to live requires pristine grades or the right networking connections which he obviously doesnt have.
 

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