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Grad school

  1. Jan 26, 2005 #1
    it's just about time to start applying to grad schools here. since it's probably too late to do anything about a low gpa I wonder if the kinds of courses i've done could "cancel" that out somehow. my school requires at least 4 4th-year courses (cross-listed with 5th-year master's ones i guess) but after this term i'll have 7, and i'll have covered a lot of stuff that's tested on PhD candidacy exams. the problem is that i haven't done really well on most of them. of course having all A+s would help but would the bureaucrats consider someone who doesn't have stellar grades if they've covered a lot of stuff & wouldn't have much "remedial" work to do? a master's student in physics told me that all it took for him to get in was a prof saying that he'd be willing to supervise him, so maybe if i get good references i could still get in. i guess what i'm asking is how firm are schools generally with grades?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 26, 2005 #2
    From what i've heard letters of recommendation are what really count, although grades are not insignificant. But with sufficiently good letters of recommendation, grades can be somewhat truncated. This is just what i've been told however.
  4. Jan 27, 2005 #3
    It would help to make sure your essay is properly capitalized, first of all.

    I think a good number of physics grad schools have candidacy exams for their students, and you do get kicked out after a number of tries if you fail them. So if your grades aren't good in these sorts of classes, why would a school want to admit you, knowing that you'll probably get kicked out? (At some schools, like Berkeley, I believe, they do weed out a certain number anyhow though). Why would a professor want to invest time and effort in a grad student who will probably get kicked out?

    But yes, there are a couple of things that will help your chances:

    1. Great recs from a professor whom the admissions committee would respect and give weight to.

    2. Someone at the university you're applying to really wants you working for their group. Summer positions in that group are often the best way to go about this.
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