Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is it true that grad school's will disregard a bad gpa if science gpa is high?

  1. May 4, 2012 #1
    I just finished my freshmen year with a 3.5 gpa which isn't anything amazing. My gpa in the sciences, however, is a 3.75. If I continue along this path maintaining a fairly high gpa in the sciences, will prospective grad schools overlook the not-so-good overall gpa and just focus on my science gpa?

    Also, is a 3.5 too low already? I haven't had any hardcore physics courses yet and I'm nervous I've already dug myself into quite a hole. What gpa should I be working towards? I plan to major in physics and hopefully go to gradschool for geophysics.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2012 #2
    What gpa should you be working to?

    Well, as high as one can possinly get, but thats coming from the prespective of one who is highschool where gpa is simply based off dedication and not ones intelligence. Altough I assume college requires a higher dedication level and a well enough intelligence. So, I would say that you should shoot for as high as you can. Push yourself.
  4. May 5, 2012 #3
  5. May 7, 2012 #4
    The reason this question is impossible to answer is that graduate schools look at candidates "holistically". What they are trying to figure out is whether or not the candidate is going to be an asset to the program, and there isn't a "checkbox" method for doing this.

    Different graduate schools will look at different things. Different professors within the same graduate school will look at different things. This is good, because it means that if you apply to six to eight graduate schools and they all say no, that means that you were totally doomed.

    Then again maybe not.

    1) Burnout is a serious problem among physics majors. In fact, I've seen more people crash and burn from working too hard as from not working hard enough.

    2) opportunity cost is another issue. Whether working for an A instead of a B is worth the time that you spend doing other things is something you will have to work out, but in my situation, I'm glad that I ended up with a lower GPA than I could have gotten had I been obsessive about grads.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook