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Not the usual GPA question (but similar)

  1. Oct 4, 2010 #1
    So I know maintaining above a 3.8 is ideal (if not necessary) for getting into a solid (top 30-ish?) grad school. My question is: what is the practical difference in the eyes of admissions committees between a 4.0 and a 3.9 or a 3.95? The reason I ask is I'm fairly certain I might be getting my first B soon, and am worried my application will thus lose one of its most important features...
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2010 #2
    Honestly, I'm not too worried about it myself.

    If I am well-prepared, and have good recommendations, and have a GPA which for the most part reflects my level of understanding, and write a statement of purpose that effectively shows who I am, then I can't imagine being rejected for a difference of 0.05/4 = 1.25%.

    I'm aiming for a 3.925, because that's one A- for every three A's, but I really won't care if I end up with a 3.888 (Which is three A-'s for every five A's).

    Anything above a 3.9, though, I think is essentially indistinguishable. At my University, anything above a 3.9 puts you in the top 5% GPA-wise. Once you are in that range, it becomes more a matter of "Who had a difficult grader sophomore year?" than "Who is better prepared?"

    It's a slippery slope, certainly: you don't want to be dipping down into the 3.7 range. But if you are slipping, worrying about your future is the last thing you should be doing, because it helps not a bit.
  4. Oct 4, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the reply. That's about what I thought, and hopefully what the admissions people think too.
  5. Oct 4, 2010 #4


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    It'll also depend somewhat on what the B is in. If it's in something difficult it's far more likely to not matter than say if it's in... I don't know. DC electronics lab.
  6. Oct 4, 2010 #5
    Good point, and one I should have included in my original post. The B will likely be in a graduate complex variables course. Since I'm a 3rd year undergrad and have not taken the undergad version, I hope grad schools will see this as more of a good thing than a bad thing - that is, I'm trying to take challenging courses.
  7. Oct 5, 2010 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    There is virtually no difference between a 3.9 and a 4.0. Of all the things you might worry about, your very first B is not one of them.
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