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Is NE degree with low gpa worth anything?

  1. Nov 11, 2012 #1


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    I am an undergrad at UC Berkeley in my junior year. It is my first semester at UC Berkeley because I came as a transfer student from a community college, majoring in nuclear engineering. I had a 4.0 gpa at the community college, so I thought I would do good at UCB and then go to graduate school, but I have failed one of my midterms, and I'm getting C's on the others. After I failed the midterm,I keep constantly thinking about my career and get distracted from studying (kinda depressed).
    Part of the problem is that we didn't cover most modern physics at the community college, and also the classes were easy, so I don't think i was prepared enough at the community college.
    Now, if I continue and work hard, most likely I will graduate with a gpa below 3.0 (no graduate school and no job probably). Also, I keep hearing the idea that only the best students in NE get hired.

    The only reason I came to UCB is because it has NE and I can't afford out of state tuition. One option for me is to withdraw from UCB before I get the C's this semester and transfer next year to any state school (no NE though maybe ME or CHemE) where I'm sure I would do better in school.My friends from the community college are having easier transition to other state schools(san jose,sfo, sac,long beach...). I know I should only be concerned about learning what I like (NE), but the system works by gpa and berkeley's engineering is rough (hard and many restrictions so i'm not allowed to take a light course load because I must graduate in a specific time). Should I just contunue at berkeley even though most likeley I will end up with low gpa? or should I go to any other state school and do a 2nd option major?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2012 #2
    What I would suggest you do is to get some type of internship or coop. Although they usually only take students with decent grades, you may get away with putting down your CC gpa by itself. If you can't get either of those, I would seek out professors who are looking for undergraduate help with their research projects. This will at least get you some type of experience.

    The norm is that if you do not have a stellar gpa, then you must have a good level of experience under your belt in order to get a decent job. Even with a good GPA it is harder to find a good job without experience.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  4. Nov 11, 2012 #3
    I can tell you that if you want to work at a plant, it is difficult to get in if you don't have at least a 2.8 cumulative or 3.0 technical. It's not impossible (I did it, but a long and diverse work history helped, and was also a part of the reason for my low gpa). Preferred is 3.0 cumulative and 3.2 technical.
  5. Nov 12, 2012 #4

    jim hardy

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    If you are interested in a power plant career, be advised that a nuke plant is a single reactor surrounded by thousands of pieces of electrical and mechanical equipment, and increasingly , computers.... much of it older than you because we haven't built a plant since the 80's. Utilities have a difficult time finding people with technical skill and interest to dedicate themselves to such "stone age equipment".

    The reactor pretty much runs fine having been designed by geniuses shortly after WW2.
    The rest of the equipment is fraught with the troubles endemic to the 60's and 70's when it was designed. The saturated steam turbines are out of the '30's, just bigger... Fascinating equipment ! So beautifully Basic!

    If you're the type guy who changes his own oil and sparkplugs, look the recruiter in the eye and tell him so. (I found that was the single best question i could ask potential new hires).

    A smattering of 3 phase power, electronic circuits, statics dynamics and strength of materials will help you an awful lot in a plant career.

    Most plants employ just a few Nuclear engineers but scores of mechanical and electricals. Mine alternated levels of management between BSc's and "School of hard knocks" all the way to the top. A mix of practical and theory is as good for the organization as it is for the individual.

    Humility and hard work will get you farther than a high GPA. You're just starting from a little behind.

    Remember Elbert Hubbard's admonition - "The trouble with resting on your laurels is people lose sight of them"....

    good luck to you. sir...
    old jim
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