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Just finished undergraduate with a bad GPA, and need help!

  1. Nov 18, 2011 #1
    To give you my rundown, I finished Dec 2010 at a top 20 university with a Math BA degree but unfortunately, did not do very well; I finished with an overall GPA of 2.8 and a major GPA of 2.6. To make matters worse, I did badly because I was a lazy and disorganized student with the wrong priorities. Consequently, I do not have good major grades, no research experience, and honestly, no teachers from upper level classes (300 level or higher) that I can ask for recommendations.

    Since I finished undergrad, I've had a very good chance to think about the future, get organized and get my priorities straight. My goal is graduate school for math and well, I'm going to do what I need to do to get there. I've spent a good part of this year talking to math professors and people involved in the community to find out what I can do within the field, and am also working on a computational neuroscience research project which applies mathematical models to some specific neuroscience topics. As well, I'm auditing graduate algebra and doing my best to keep up with the material and do the homework and am also studying for the GRE mathematics subject test to take in April of next year.

    As far as I can tell from my own thoughts and the advice that I've gotten thus far from others, these don't seem like bad moves to be taking but I am also certain that they will not be enough to get me past a bad undergrad degree.

    I'd like to know what else I can do to help my case, and just anyone else's thoughts. Over the next year or so, I'm planning on retaking the classes I did badly in as well as some important upper level undergrad courses as a non-degree seeking student, knocking those out and maybe asking a couple of those teachers for recommendations.

    Essentially, I want to get into a very good graduate program and I know that none of the programs I'm looking into will give me much consideration at this point; how do I move past this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2011 #2
    You need to take some advanced undergraduate level or intro graduate level classes and get good grades in them. A lot of state schools let you take classes without actually being enrolled in a formal graduate program (i.e. you take classes as a non-degree student). If you did poorly in your undergrad coursework, why should an admissions commitee think you'll do well in graduate level coursework? You need to have evidence that you can in fact get excellent grades.
  4. Nov 18, 2011 #3
    I had a lukewarm GPA at the end of my undergrad. I decided to stay at my university (admissions are a bit easier if you stay at the same school, presumably) and get my MS. I made sure to have good grades that time around. Grad classes are a bit more challenging, especially if you loafed through your undergrad, but you typically take fewer at a time so hard work will get you far. I finished grad school with a good GPA that let me land a good job (GPA gets you caught in a lot of hiring filters).

    After working for a bit, I applied to a good graduate program to get a PhD. My work experience, references, and graduate GPA probably made up for my undergrad experience. I would not have gotten into my PhD program directly from undergrad.
  5. Nov 18, 2011 #4
    im looking to do this myself, minus the working part. . . pretty garbagety gpa, taking some more / different undergrad classes and doing well, then a legit masters program to show that i am able to do the work, and do it well. . .
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