Graduate school option

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  • #1
huffyduffy
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Hi everyone,

I’m in the process of choosing graduate schools and realize most of schools seems out of reach for me. I have a low combination of both gpa, pgre and gre. I know the low pgre as a reinforce of my low gpa. I come from a normal state public school and have about one year research experience. nothing special.

will there any range of graduate school that I should look into? or should i apply for a master program?

thank you.
 
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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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The number of students per year (2011-2014) who are accepted with GPA <=3.25 and PGRE <= 555 is 1.5. That's country (US)-wide. I'm sorry to say this, but that's what you are up against. I also suspect that that single (rarely, two) student admitted with those grades and scores each year got stellar letters, had a top-notch research component to their resume, had a personal connection between their advisor and someone at the university and got lucky with a university that had a grad student shortfall that year.
 
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  • #3
huffyduffy
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thank you for the statistic. I probably don't have any of those appealing components in my application. I do really want to go to graduate school, but you it seems hopeless to me right now.

By any chance, do you know how difficult to get into a master degree?
 
  • #4
WWGD
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The number of students per year (2011-2014) who are accepted with GPA <=3.25 and PGRE <= 555 is 1.5. That's country (US)-wide. I'm sorry to say this, but that's what you are up against. I also suspect that that single (rarely, two) student admitted with those grades and scores each year got stellar letters, had a top-notch research component to their resume, had a personal connection between their advisor and someone at the university and got lucky with a university that had a grad student shortfall that year.
The number of students accepted is 1.5??
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
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The average number.
 
  • #6
symbolipoint
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thank you for the statistic. I probably don't have any of those appealing components in my application. I do really want to go to graduate school, but you it seems hopeless to me right now.

By any chance, do you know how difficult to get into a master degree?
Is that the same thing but just a little bit lower level of advancement?
 
  • #7
Vanadium 50
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First, you need to understand where you are: 1.5 per year means about the bottom 0.05%. Getting into a MS program would have to be 20x easier - and it's not - for you to get in the bottom 1%. While it may be possible to find a program that will take your tuition, it is far, far from guaranteed.

Second, you need to understand that the grades and test scores are telling you (and the admissions committee) that you are not prepared for graduate school. It will do you no good to enroll in a program only to flunk out, and even less good to enroll in a program, pay a lot of a tuition, and then flunk out. If your reaction to this is "I won't flunk out", I'd ask "how do you know?" and more importantly "how does the admission committee know?"

Unfortunately, either your grades and scores represent your ability or they don't. If they do, why do you think you will be more successful in a more difficult program? If they don't, why don't they, and why won't the same factors come into play in grad school?
 
  • #8
Choppy
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I’m in the process of choosing graduate schools and realize most of schools seems out of reach for me. I have a low combination of both gpa, pgre and gre. I know the low pgre as a reinforce of my low gpa. I come from a normal state public school and have about one year research experience. nothing special.

will there any range of graduate school that I should look into? or should i apply for a master program?

I might ask how low is "low" and do you have a specific direction or speciality in mind or are you just considering graduate school because it seems like the next best path?

As V50 has pointed out there's a minimum threshold, and even if you're just over that, it's going to be a challenge to get in. You also have to think about what's going to happen if you get in. Remember, the people who get into graduate school are generally the better students from undergrad. Even if you manage to just squeak in, you're going to be fighting an uphill battle against all the people who have academic records that are much better than yours. Remember in a lot of programs, your grade is often awarded based on your performance relative to your peers, and the threshold for passing in graduate school is higher than it was as an undergrad.

An MSc program is one option, but again, what's the end game? Anecdotally there don't seem to be too many cases of students who struggled in undergrad, enrolled in a master's degree, turned things around and went on to be highly successful in their PhD.

That said, maybe you have something specific in mind. You might find that the skills that you've picked up in your physics degree will give you an edge in something like quantitative finance, or machine learning, or some specialized type of engineering, and so if you get into a professionally oriented master's program, or even a "boot camp" certificate program that plays to your strengths, those might springboard you into a tangential career.
 
  • #9
StatGuy2000
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First, you need to understand where you are: 1.5 per year means about the bottom 0.05%. Getting into a MS program would have to be 20x easier - and it's not - for you to get in the bottom 1%. While it may be possible to find a program that will take your tuition, it is far, far from guaranteed.

Second, you need to understand that the grades and test scores are telling you (and the admissions committee) that you are not prepared for graduate school. It will do you no good to enroll in a program only to flunk out, and even less good to enroll in a program, pay a lot of a tuition, and then flunk out. If your reaction to this is "I won't flunk out", I'd ask "how do you know?" and more importantly "how does the admission committee know?"

Unfortunately, either your grades and scores represent your ability or they don't. If they do, why do you think you will be more successful in a more difficult program? If they don't, why don't they, and why won't the same factors come into play in grad school?

So what options do you suggest that the OP pursue? Given that the OP has a low GPA, PGRE, and GRE, they are also at a distinct disadvantage in virtually everything else, including seeking employment upon graduation.
 
  • #10
Vanadium 50
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Given that the OP has a low GPA, PGRE, and GRE, they are also at a distinct disadvantage in virtually everything else, including seeking employment upon graduation.

That is correct.

So what options do you suggest that the OP pursue?

I think the OP should make an informed decision based on this information.

I'm flattered that you seem to thin k I have some sort of magic formula that allows people with low scores, grades and modest letters a path to grad school and future success, but I really don't. The best I can do is inform.
 
  • #11
jtbell
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the threshold for passing in graduate school is higher than it was as an undergrad.
Indeed. When I was in grad school, I think the minimum GPA was B. I had to re-take thermo because I got a B- in it and I was on the borderline otherwise.
 
  • #12
WWGD
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You'd be surprised at the amount of options available when you actually want, need, a solution, kludges and all.
 
  • #13
StatGuy2000
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I'm flattered that you seem to thin k I have some sort of magic formula that allows people with low scores, grades and modest letters a path to grad school and future success, but I really don't. The best I can do is inform.

Don't flatter yourself! o0)

All kidding aside, no I don't think you have any magic formula to allow people with low scores and grades a path to grad school.

But since you chose to respond to the OP about the reality that they face, a concrete suggestion about what paths are available might be advisable.
 
  • #14
WWGD
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That is correct.



I think the OP should make an informed decision based on this information.

I'm flattered that you seem to thin k I have some sort of magic formula that allows people with low scores, grades and modest letters a path to grad school and future success, but I really don't. The best I can do is inform.
I think the OP realizes their situation is far from optimal. And it is precisely because you don't have a magic wand, and, like the rest of us, don't know it all that you, we, should look harder for solutions.
 
  • #15
symbolipoint
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But since you chose to respond to the OP about the reality that they face, a concrete suggestion about what paths are available might be advisable.
What he seems to have said is that the OP lost his paths. No solution to problem.
 
  • #16
StatGuy2000
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What he seems to have said is that the OP lost his paths. No solution to problem.

If @Vanadium 50 is suggesting that the OP is doomed to misery and/or poverty, then that is both a false and unnecessarily grim conclusion. Yes, graduate school in physics is no longer a possibility, but there are other paths available.
 
  • #17
WWGD
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If @Vanadium 50 is suggesting that the OP is doomed to misery and/or poverty, then that is both a false and unnecessarily grim conclusion. Yes, graduate school in physics is no longer a possibility, but there are other paths available.
I'd say it is not available in the short run but possibly so over the long run albeit with a big effort needed.
 

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