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I need some serious academic advice.

  1. Apr 28, 2012 #1
    I am a combined math/phys major (rising junior) and my first year is hurting me from scoring almost all research positions and a lot of scholarships. Don't get me wrong, my gpa is improving - very slowly (low 80s). I am currently acing most of my math/physics classes (think high 90s, only got one B in one class because the prof locks his assignments and no textbook was used) and only being brought down by art classes.

    I have a really nice math prof who really wants to take me on for some math research. The prof even went out his way to nominate me for a math award which I won and got 1st place (they make a big deal out if it, but to me it's just a piece of paper that says I am good in math. The award is based on faculty nomination and math grades alone - so in short, I got lucky).

    I know the first and foremost thing to do from now on is keeping acing my classes, meaning to work for every mark for assignments and exams, but after doing some calculations I find that my GPA will be over 90 when I graduate which will probably be too late for me. I am concerned, depressed, and feel a little unmotivated sometimes because of this fact.

    I'll be taking PDE and Probability Theory this summer and reaffirming all my physics/math knowledge I have in the past. I have some TA experience during my sophomore years and I got a TAship for Multivariable Calculus, so I already have a firm grasp of the basic math classes.

    Do you experts have any more advice for me? Anything little is fine.

    EDIT: I forget to add one really important thing in amidst of all this, I want to go to grad school

    Thank you for reading
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2012 #2
    Grad schools aren't stupid. If you had a really bad first year and then show a very good improvement the next couple of years, then they will know you are a good student and will treat you like one.
    For example, if you had a C in introductory physics, but A's in quantum and E&M and stuff, then you are an A student, even if your GPA disagrees.

    However, I think it's really important to get into research somehow. Maybe you can talk to some professors in your school to see if they got anything for you??
    Getting into research is not only good for getting into grad school, but also to see whether you will even like grad school. So I suggest you go and talk to professors now.
  4. Apr 29, 2012 #3


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    The art classes will not be considered by math grad schools, mainly math and maybe physics will be looked at.
  5. Apr 30, 2012 #4
    Is this the US, since the grading system seems unfamiliar. What's important is how this translates to letter grades. This can vary wildly from school to school and country to country.

    In most US universities, the grading isn't on a fixed scale. At my undergraduate school, class average on tests was routinely in the 60's.

    It may not be. One reason that my undergraduate graded so harshly was to reinforce the message that *no one* aces the class. GPA in the US system is determined by letter grades, and people in other countries often find the US system to be rather inflated.

    If a professor likes you, then that's a good sign.
  6. May 10, 2012 #5
    In my university, it's either NSERC or outside research and typically outside research is very demanding on cumulative GPA. Thank you for answering though
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