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How much do grad schools care about your non-major GPA?

  1. Feb 20, 2009 #1
    Do grad schools care more about your overall GPA or your GPA in your major? If I do badly in classes that aren't at all related to my major does it really matter?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2009 #2
    Both matter but major GPA is slightly more important, if you have a crappy overall gpa it will show that you lack discipline to do things that aren't interesting to you. Why should you have any trouble keeping your overall gpa high? If you are in a technical major those humanities and English courses are really trivial compared to what we do ;)
     
  4. Feb 20, 2009 #3

    lurflurf

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    Are you sure you did not mean "If you are in a technical major those humanities and English courses are really nontrivial."? For one thing there are very few integrals. Sometimes it is hard for a duck to pull a plow, but most ducks fly better than most oxen.
     
  5. Feb 20, 2009 #4
    If a physics major can't ace a philosophy or history class with relative ease they just aren't trying hard enough. All of those soft squishy subjects seem to only be worried with effort and not with results, at least at the introductory level at which we take them.
     
  6. Feb 20, 2009 #5
    I wish i went you your school...
     
  7. Feb 20, 2009 #6

    lurflurf

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    Why would anyone be a physics major?
    What respectable college gives grades based on "effort"?
    Why are you only taking introductory classes?
     
  8. Feb 20, 2009 #7

    cristo

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    I think a lot of mathematicians/physicists would benefit greatly from attempting to master the English language instead of shrugging it off as 'trivial.'
     
  9. Feb 20, 2009 #8

    lurflurf

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    Why would anyone be a physics major?
    What respectable college gives grades based on "effort"?
    Why are you only taking introductory classes?
    The squishy subjects have an added difficulty in that they are evaluated more subjectively.
    Although most people have had physics tests returned with "This solution while entirely correct is not enjoyed by me and is therefore considered wrong.".
     
  10. Feb 20, 2009 #9
    Why would I take anything outside of Into classes for required "General Education" credits? The subjectivity is exactly why I don't have oozing respect for those subjects.
     
  11. Feb 20, 2009 #10
    Humanities may be graded more subjectively, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. There is a reason why some people can ace all of these "squishy" classes. I would argue that it is easier to do well in a humanity because there is subjectivity to grading process.
    In a math or science class, if you don't know how to solve a problem, you lose; in a humanity, for example english, there a plethora of solutions, many of which will earn you an A. Claiming that the "squishy" nature of a humanity is simply an excuse to justify grades not commensurate to those in your math/science based major.

    The first time you look at a new math concept, you likely will not be able to solve problems that apply it; similarly, the first time you are asked to write a paper, you will struggle. Practicing either one will allow you to develop proficiency with that skill.
     
  12. Feb 20, 2009 #11
    I'd just like to point out that my original intention was to question the asker why they should have any trouble with there General GPA being less than the Physics GPA, since most of the classes you have to take outside of your major requirements will be comparatively easy.
     
  13. Feb 20, 2009 #12
    I struggled more in my English 102 class than I did in my Calculus 2 class.

    In the hard sciences, there is usually a very limited number of correct answers... usually one. In something like English, there's nearly an infinite number of correct answers, but even more incorrect ones, and no clear way to distinguish between the two.

    I'll give you an example. In English 102, we had to interpret a poem. People had opposite and mutually exclusive interpretations of the poem, but the professor would often mark both interpretations correct. In one way, it makes getting a grade easier, but on the other hand, it makes it hard to understand anything. Additionally, the professor has free reign to grade things subjectively and without consistency. An example of that is as follows:

    One poem we had to interpret had the following lines. "And Mother was the terror of mouths/Twisting hurt by butter knives."

    I took that to mean his mother was both verbally and physically abusive. I was marked off points for "inferring physical abuse when it isn't mentioned" or some such nonsense. I was told to not "infer things when something else is plainly stated." There is NOTHING plainly stated... it's a poem. The author seems to intentionally obfuscate his meaning. Meanwhile, on other projects, I can come up with a conclusion completely opposite of what she thinks the author meant, and she gives me full credit anyway.

    It's completely arbitrary.

    Physics and mathematics aren't like that, luckily. Doesn't matter if the professor is biased against you. If you get the right answer, you get the right answer.

    (Edit: I did end up with an A... barely... in that English class. However, I don't think I learned a single thing all semester despite my struggles. I wasn't struggling to learn, I was struggling to understand what I was supposed to be learning)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  14. Feb 20, 2009 #13
    I found the similar thing in an English class, Jack, in my case particularity having a strongly feminist instructor where all we did was read things relating to how badly women where treated in the past. She was clearly biased against men and it showed in grading and critiques.

    Personally, I would argue for a more British style of University where we focus on what we are interested in. Any thinking person will discover the values of the humanities without having them forced down there throat at an age where it probably won't reach them. An instructional course on writing is one thing but telling me how to evaluate some literature and then telling me I am wrong for my opinion benefits no one, except perhaps the instructors ego.

    In your case Jack it might have been prudent to have confronted the professor and invoked Feynman:

    "A poet once said, 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood"'

    ps. Was that poem meant to imply the mother was a bad cook?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  15. Feb 20, 2009 #14
    No clue. It was an online class, and taken during the winter minimester, so I just ignored the comment and went right on along to the next assignment. Those papers come hard and fast during a 4 week session.
     
  16. Feb 20, 2009 #15
    Doing well in a course has a lot to do with how motivated and interested you are in the subject matter. If you don't care about the material you're learning in an English class and you hate writing essays, then doing well in the course is going to be a torturous ordeal.
     
  17. Feb 20, 2009 #16
    One biased professor does not say anything about humanities - perhaps it may comment on a particular type of professor that may teach them... but other than that, the argument is completely invalid.

    The only wrong answer in an English class is one that cannot be adequately supported with evidence. Treat it like a logical exercise. (it actually is a little like science. That's how I look at english classes.)

    Remember, we are not looking for the meaning, we are looking for a meaning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  18. Feb 21, 2009 #17

    cristo

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    But such a 'British style' university works like that because in high school we learn the English, humanities, languages, science etc. that is included in your general education classes college classes.
     
  19. Feb 21, 2009 #18

    Office_Shredder

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    This is an interesting point that I've never really understood. In Britain, doing A-levels means you've actually started specializing earlier than people in the US (who will do general education for all four years of high school). It might be more a reflection on the relative qualities of the education systems
     
  20. Feb 21, 2009 #19

    cristo

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    It's tricky to compare. For example, high school in the UK lasts from ages 11-16, A levels are then taken in what we normally call 'college' from ages 17-18, before heading off to university. High school is a general education, with everyone studying the same things, A levels are a sort of 'semi-specialisation' (for example I took Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Geography) before the full specialisation of university (where, usually, one studies entirely within one subject).
     
  21. Feb 21, 2009 #20
    You'd be surprised how much of those general education college classes are just rehashed and polished up high school classes.
     
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