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Schools I got kicked out of my University. Do I still have a chance at Grad school?

  1. Jun 20, 2012 #1
    I got kicked out of my University. Should I still invest farther time and money to get a college education? Do I still have a shot at Graduate school?

    I got dismissed from the University of California, Davis due to my unsatisfactory grades I got there during my freshmen year. I admit I didn't try my best (I cut my 8 am classes) the first quarter. Had I tried a little harder, i would have passed chemistry. I would have only failed one class the first quarter (that class was just ridiculous, All my friends didn't pass either. Most of the class failed.) So for the first quarter, I got two NPs. For the second quarter, after I found out that I didn't pass my chemistry placement exam, i was so depressed from my failure because I missed by only one point. And to cope, I went on my computer all day that weekend, which became a habit for the rest of the quarter. I didn't really study at all, so I got two more Fs for Microeconomics and Calculus. For Spring quarter, I decided to take 19 units to maintain my Financial Aid eligibility (I calculated it incorrectly, I actually didn't need 19 units. 15 units would have been enough. I thought one of the classes I passed during the fall quarter was only 3 units when it was 4.5 units. If it were 3 units, i would need 19 units to maintain financial aid eligibility). I left my laptop at home and worked pretty hard during the Spring quarter. I thought I could handle it (I even believed I could get a 4.0) if I tried really hard. But having so many classes, it really was really hard to keep track of everything and getting everything done on time. I should have listened to my adviser when she told me not to take so many classes, but I was worried about my financial aid eligibility. I underestimated the rigor of the courses I registered for. I thought Astronomy was going to be an easy A, since it was designed for non-science major and only 3 units, but that class had a lot of reading to do! During the end of the 8th week of the 10 week quarter, I dropped Biology, which had a very rigorous teacher. Final grades for the Spring quarter didn't come out yet , but I'm sure I failed Calculus again, and at least one other class.

    I came in as an Engineering major with the belief that I will fail the Engineering classes. I applied as an Engineering major because I told myself that if I don't get into Engineering, it really wasn't worth moving to Davis when I could just attend my local State university, where I could most likely get better grades since I would be competing against a group of students who were less motivated and less prepared. I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I was planning on doing Pharmacy, so I knew Engineering classes would make me have the low GPA i can't afford to have to go into Pharmacy. At the same time, I started to have doubts about Pharmacy since technology and the increased number of Pharm D.'s graduating each year. I was so lost about my future. I was not motivated at all during the winter quarter.

    Reflecting on the past year, I realized that I overestimated myself. I didn't have the time management skills and self discipline that I thought I had. I should have went to class. I underestimated the importance and the usefulness of going to class. I shouldn't have become dependent on my laptop when I was disappointed by a small failure. And I'm not as strong of a reader as I thought I could be, so 19 units consisting of many heavy-reading classes is not something doable unless I take a speed reading class or something.

    During the winter quarter, on my computer, I discovered that I have an interest in Neuroscience. I decided that I would go to Neuroscience grad school. Now that I have gotten so many F's (2 NPs, at least 3F's, probably one or two D's.). I'm sure I'm getting dismissed from the University. So my question is: given my terrible transcript, should I still invest farther time and money to get a college education at a Community college, in effort to transfer to a four year university and then into a Neuroscience Graduate program? Do I still have a shot at Graduate school? I've heard that many graduate schools only look at or mostly care about the grades you get in your last 60 units (upper divisions) courses. Is that true? My overall GPA now is a 1.56. Or should I just go straight into the work force? I would have to do fast food, jumba juice, and the like. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.

    Thank you very much.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2012 #2


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    Hey annoyinggirl and welcome to the forums.

    In all likelihood, I don't think you will get in. All graduate schools should expect at the very minimum for all degrees that you obtained an undergraduate degree which means you have to pass all your undergraduate subjects and this means you will ultimately be ruled out completely.

    Also this is the absolute minimum, and the graduate entry will for something like pharmacy, be a lot higher given the competition and nature of the degree (it's in a health field).

    The thing I think you should focus on when you are ready is finding something that you can genuinely put in a good effort and do so for a long time.

    It does not have to be academic: it can really be anything. The main point is that you are willing to put in the effort and develop yourself to the point where you become a highly competant expert and specialist in that particular endeavor.

    The specialists and experts in any endeavor will command respect and monetary benefit regardless of whether its academic or not. You can be an expert mechanic, teacher, plumber, super-intendant, welder (boilermaker), truck driver, crane operator, engineer, doctor, business owner and operator, manager, salesperson, child-carer, and the list goes on.

    The key thing is to excel in something, no matter what it is and most importantly don't worry about what other people think about you: they don't live your life, you live your life and if they get too much then ask them directly why they are any better than you.

    You can think about this kind of thing while working in fast-food and it's probably a good idea to get an income if you can: just remember though that all the prestige, money, and all that is over-rated when your miserable, don't really put in your all for the job, and end up in a situation where no-one else cares about your prestige and status and all of the window dressing fades away into existence leaving you in dire straits.
  4. Jun 20, 2012 #3
    Thank very much for replying and helping me. But I think you didn't read my question thoroughly. It was a long and wordy question.

    "In all likelihood, I don't think you will get in. All graduate schools should expect at the very minimum for all degrees that you obtained an undergraduate degree which means you have to pass all your undergraduate subjects and this means you will ultimately be ruled out completely."

    I'm asking if i go attend a community college, then transfer to a four year university to retake all the classes that I have failed, graduate with an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, minor in Psychology, would I still have a chance of getting into a Neuroscience graduate program. And are these chances very slim? I know that graduate schools still see the F's on your transcript even if you retake them . I like your honesty. At this point, I really need people to tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear. Thanks again.

    Anyone else?
  5. Jun 20, 2012 #4


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    Given this, the question is even if you can get in to a CC, do you have the money to do this? If you are taking out loans, will you be able to get more student loans and how will this affect things?

    It's going to depend on the CC as well, but I'd guess that you will find somewhere to get into as this tends to be a path of action for people in your situation.

    If you do go well in CC and then in your new degree, I can't see why you would get knocked back given your good performance in your new degree.

    But again, the question will come down to funding your education. If you can do this, then the only thing left is how determined you are to go through all of that again and dealing with the consequences of spending that much money and spending all that time (which it sounds like will be at least 4 or 5 years minimum).
  6. Jun 20, 2012 #5
    I'm not convinced that you're really ready for college. Sure, you analyzed all your mistakes and you vow not to repeat them. But I don't see any guarantees here that you will make it this time.

    We have a well-respected member here, mathwonk, who flunked out of his college and then joined the workforce. After a while he decided to try college again and it worked this time: he even got to be a professor in mathematics.
    So if he can do it, then I'm certain you can do it as well. But the catch is that you must be completely motivated. If you're not motivated or if you doubt your motivation, then don't bother beginning.

    Do you know what neuroscience is about, what kind of material it involves?? How do you know it is really your passion and not just the heat of the moment?? How do you know you can keep making efforts not only the first month, but for years and years?? My guess is that you don't know (but I could be wrong of course).

    I suggest that you get out of college and think about your life. Perhaps even take a temporary job. In the meanwhile you can read up on neuroscience and whatever you like to read up on. Once you're absolutely convinced this is your passion, then you're ready for college.
  7. Jun 20, 2012 #6
    Thank you very much Micromass. Your reply helped a lot .That brings up a very good point. Over this summer, I will use the time to brush up on chemistry and math. I have also bought some neuroscience/pyschology books off amazon. I will read about it. I will also find out what the field of Neuroscience is all about.

    If i don't go back to school soon, i will have only six months before I need to start paying back my loans. Maybe that isn't a bad idea either. Community college classes are inexpensive, and i have my parents to support me (which i think spoiled me).

    Maybe finding a job will help me discipline myself. I lacked the self-indiscipline and time management skills. I am also considering joining the military, but my friend pointed out that may be just a way to commit suicide, since I think of death during combat more than anything else, which is probably my main motive of joining the military. I need to stop being such a sore loser.

    During my freshmen year, constant thoughts of suicide often sat at the back of my head, even when my grades didn't take the dip yet. I need to stop all those negative thoughts.
  8. Jun 20, 2012 #7
    And thank you everyone else for your responses. They really mean help a lot!
  9. Jun 20, 2012 #8
    I'm not sure where your true interests lie. You were an engineer. Then you wanted to study pharmacy. Then you wanted to study neuroscience. Then you want to study biochemistry and psychology. You want to go to grad school. What do you really want to do?

    Can I take a guess? You're pursuing these subjects because many people pursue these subjects. You really don't know why you pursue them, just that they're "good" because they're popular or current. You haven't even found out what's so special about neuroscience that you want to study it, evidenced by your statement that you still have to find out what the "entire field" is all about.

    I believe there's a minimum overall GPA you need to apply for graduate school. That GPA is a 3.0 for many schools. To accomplish this, you will need to bust out around a 3.5 GPA for the next three years or more. It's mathematically possible, but you have to ask yourself whether it's probable for you. More importantly, you have to ask yourself whether or not throwing money away for a shot at a 3.5 GPA for the next three years is a reasonable gamble, as it will put you just at the bottom of the selection pool of grad student applicants.
  10. Jun 20, 2012 #9


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    If she wants to combine all of those subjects, sounds like bio-medical engineering is the best fit for her :)
  11. Jun 20, 2012 #10
    Yes, but you will likely need to retake the courses you failed depending on the colleges grading policy(IE if retakes replace or average with the first grade).

    Finacial aid will likely refund you at least once.

    My suggestion is to go part time, fix the classes that you failed and don't take so many.
  12. Jun 20, 2012 #11
    I'm planning to major in Biochemistry and minor in psychology because my university doesn't offer Neuroscience as an undergraduate major, and most schools don't either.

    I am interested in Neuroscience because I think how it's fascinating that different chemicals in the brain can influence how we feel and think, and that since the brain controls everything we know and feel, every behavior can be understood by studying Neuroscience. I think it's interesting how we are literally exchanging neural connections. And I want to learn how to brain works, what happens to it when people love, talk, think, and especially learn. But I still can't seem to draw the thin line between Psychology and Neuroscience. And I admit that I am choosing Neuroscience because it is a science, whereas Psychology is in the middle of liberal arts and the sciences. Being a science, it is more solid, whereas Psychology more "soft."

    I have no interest in becoming an Engineer. I applied as an Engineering major because I hated literature class during senior year while I enjoyed my Calculus class because in comparison to my Literature class, it was fun and enjoyable. At that time, i really had no idea what to do except that I wanted to go into Pharmacy, because yes, it seemed highly employable, well paid, prestigious, and popular. By senior year, i didn't think i would get into UC Davis because my grades during Junior year were not great, so I had already thought of attending my local state university, where I thought I could get better grades. But my parents wanted me to go to UC Davis due to its prestige. I learned through forums that the reputation of undergraduate institution does not matter as much as grades and test scores do, so I wanted to go to my local state. But UC Davis had been my dream school since my freshmen year of high school. I just kept postponing and postponing until the deadline to accept my sir, so I just chose UC Davis because someone on the forums said they know friends who got 4.0 at state universities who got rejected from UCSF pharmacy school, whereas he got in with a 3.4 from UC Davis. Also, my local state university is very impacted and it's very hard to get classes.
  13. Jun 20, 2012 #12
    It's possible. My freshmen year of college, I was not interested in anything, did poorly, and was academically dismissed. I realized that I needed to make some changes and transferred to a community college, where I fell in love with science and math. Two semesters later (after getting good grades), I was admitted to a four year university, got a physics degree in 3 years, and am about to start a physics MS program in the next few days.

    If you give it another try, you really have to do well to show others that you have matured and can handle the work.
  14. Jun 20, 2012 #13
    Above all: Consider getting help with your thoughts of suicide and negativity, whether it's through the school or seeing a counselor. I think this would help immensely when it comes to school, because I know that when I get depressed I lose absolutely all motivation, and if it's bad enough, it starts affecting my grades.

    Are you certain you're being dismissed? Or are you just guessing? I would say that if you're still able to continue at UC Davis, give it another quarter there, taking the general ed requirements if possible and from now on kick butt in all your classes. Get stubborn about it -- "I WILL pass this class because I'm a smart, competent person and a hard worker." If you are dismissed, you should be able to keep your loans on hold if you register full time at a CC.

    During this time, don't declare (or change) your major and analyze every option. What I did when my job screwed up my engineering degree a few years ago was print out the requirements for every degree I was interested in. Then I read each one and the classes offered and narrowed it down to what I was interested in the most. You're luckier than me in this respect because I also had to consider what would jive with my work schedule, which turned out to be history. So now I have a history degree and am finally moving onto physics, which will take at least an extra year, assuming I can handle four physics classes in one semester. :p

    If you've been having problems with calculus, brush up on algebra and trig more than anything, because that's almost always the problem with calc -- students forgot everything BUT the calc. I can guarantee calc will be a piece of cake if you re-master algebra and trig.

    It's definitely possible that you can crawl out of that GPA hole, and there will be grad schools who will admit you even with a couple of bad semesters. But be prepared to eventually explain why you failed out of a couple of quarters with a positive spin -- although you had a couple of rough quarters, it was the slap in the face you needed to get serious about what you want to do.
  15. Jun 20, 2012 #14
    Yes I think you can. I know people who flunked out of school but then got themselves together to started over and end up succeeding.

    There is one piece of advice that I'd offer: never ever try to find excuses for your failures. Don't blame your parents, your gender, your brain, the environment or anything other than yourself. If you fail, then it's completely your fault. It sounds harsh but you can also interpret it as: if you want to succeed, you have full control of it.

    I used to whine about how I cannot go to an Ivy because of financial concerns. But I was hell irresponsible. If I worked super hard and got a 2400 on my SATs and had a perfect transcript then maybe some Ivy would offer me full financial aid. I really had no one but myself to blame.
  16. Jun 20, 2012 #15
    OK, I was in a similar situation (including school system), in fact, mine was worse, since my bad grades came later on... and I got into grad school for physics. Not at a top elite university, but good enough to make some money and start a career in industry or move onto a better university after defending my MS. Here's my recommendation:

    beg the school to let you stay 1 more quarter. no one knows you, your dignity is worth nothing to strangers, so beg! in that 1 quarter, work on GE classes and retaking necessary prereqs. I recommend a history class, a psychology class, retaking calc 1 and retaking chemistry. Don't think about what you want to do too hard, the goal is to survive and stay.

    next, during the summer, retake classes 1 at a time, and in your spare time, think about what kind of person you are. Are you patient, or impatient? Can you think quantitatively (as in, do you like math and can you use math to describe real life things)? Can you think logically (different from being able to think quantitatively; can you do proofs and write a computer program)? Do you have a good memory and can you read well? How much time management do you have?

    The answer to these questions will lead you to what you want. Now, you've said that you can't handle 20 units of reading. Neither can I. You also said that you do not want to be an engineer. That's fine, I can't stand accounting with moles either. You can't wake up for 8 AM classes. That's bad, but neither could I until I matured a great deal more. I had last quarter of Chem 1 in the morning as well as a year of Ochem in the morning that I only went to class to take tests for and got straight A's for those. The key is to study on your own double that of before to make up for lost time; if you can't do that, then is it a surprise that you cannot pass?

    As for what you want to do, Pharmacy is out. They want only perfect flawless little gems (some real, mostly fake, as all gems are). If you wanted to go to engineering grad school, there's ways to make that happen, but you'd have to like engineering, which you don't but do think about biomedical engineering, it isn't as hardcore as other engineering disciplines and may be what you're actually thinking when you mean neuroscience.

    As for Neuro, let me tell you my experience because I'm (un)fortunate enough to have done research in both experimental neuroscience and a totally unrelated field - condensed matter physics. My neuroscience research was in the medical school at my UG UC, at an institute for functional neuroimaging. The project was to correlate the distribution of amyloid beta fibers in Alzheimers patients with different genetics or something (as you see I learned little). It consisted mostly of repeating stains and using the fluorescence microscope over and over again. You just become a tool of the professor to produce worthless papers on a worthless subject.

    So here's my recommendation: forget neuroscience. seriously, you're not going to be a brain surgeon. It'll be much more likely for you to be dissecting rat brains and looking at them under a fluorescence microscope for hours a day. Now, ask yourself, can you handle pressure? Can you do problems? Can you think quantitatively? Can you think logically? Can you read large amounts and spit it back on a test? Can you write? The answer to those questions will lead you to the right path.
  17. Jun 21, 2012 #16
    Thank you very much, Chill_factor and everyone else. Your helps really means a lot.
  18. Jun 21, 2012 #17
    IMO, you still need some self assessment. "interest" and "aptitude" for a subject are different. From what you are posting, I'd have to ask if you really possess the skill set to travel this road? If you decide to proceed, start out with a full course load on manageable classes, perhaps largely core requirements, e.g. speech, lit., math, etc., and don't try to cram advanced courses into the schedule. IMO, you need to hone your study skills. Additionally, don't jump into an advanced class until you have the fundamentals, e.g. if you suck at algebra and trig, don't jump into Calculus. Your education is a building process, and you build from the ground up. I would at least try going back to UC with a PLAN, concede your failures, but show them you have a plan to succeed. BEG for a conditional acceptance, if need be. Step-by-step is your path building from the ground up.
  19. Jun 21, 2012 #18
    Thank you very much, ThinkToday. Yes, I believe those are things I really need to do.

    By the way, what is a "conditional acceptance"?
  20. Jun 21, 2012 #19
    Conditional acceptance is when the university tells you that if you don't obtain certain grades the next quarter, you get automatically kicked out.
  21. Jun 22, 2012 #20
    I was on that for the last quarter. The school has another thing where if you fail to mean the conditional acceptance, you can meet requirements at a community college to apply to get back in. But declared Engineers must leave for three quarters (one whole academic year). By the time that I reapply, I will be competing against the other incoming juniors from the community colleges. I wholeheartedly regret applying as an Engineer. Engineers have it really difficult at this university, and I reckon it is likewise for other schools as well.

    But anyways, given that the school does have give dismissed students something similar to TAPS, where students who meet the requirements can reapply, is it still worth it to invest time and money into college?
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