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Progress to recovering from a low GPA is too slow?

  1. Dec 18, 2013 #1
    Hello, I'm currently a sophomore at a top private university. In high school I had a 3.9 GPA, and never really had trouble with getting A's. I had top percentile SAT scores, and using this I now attend a private university ranked in the top 30 of the U.S. Unfortunately, my first year adjusting to college was abysmal, and my progress this first semester of my sophomore year was better, but still very bad. I had a 1.57 cumulative GPA (1.39 my first semester, 1.72 my second semester) my first year. This was because of a variety of reasons: poor study skills, poor social skills, varying motivation, etc, etc. It wasn't that I didn't try to do the work, as I'd spend all my time doing work (I don't socialize much), but I had trouble with asking for help and didn't schedule my exams well (I would take two or three on the same day, thinking it would be alright.) Much of this was induced by my high function autism, but I try not to use that as an excuse. This semester, after having my academic probation extend one last time, I started out pretty strong. I was getting A's and B's on my assignments, and A's, B's and C's on the first exams. My mid-semester grades were an A, B, and two C's, with a GPA of 2.8. The second half of the semester turned out quite bad, however. Time management was a struggle, and I couldn't address every class. Furthermore, my finals were very much difficult (the average grade in my Diff EQ class was 57% on the final, I got a 33%.) Right now my grades are B, C, C, and D, giving me a semester GPA of 2.05. While this is sufficient for my academic probation to continue, I feel as if my progress is too slow and that my final GPA at the end of my undergraduate experience will not be satisfactory for further education. I initially started as a Physics/Mathematics double major, but have since dropped the Mathematics major. I've been trying as hard as I can, but I can't seem to make a jump to A's and B's. Is there any hope I can go to graduate school for physics, if my progress to A's and B's continues to be this slow? I've calculated how to bring my GPA to a 3.0 by the end of the four years, and I would have to get a 3.75 average every semester for now on. I don't know how possible that is. Nevertheless, despite all of this, I feel as if I've learned so much, and get very excited thinking about these topics that I've learned. It is very confusing, and I just don't understand what I'm doing wrong when it comes to exams (my homework grades average in the 80's and 90's.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2013 #2


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    You should talk to your adviser and look at the requirements of different grad schools online. A 3.0 will definitely not stop you from getting into lower tier schools. Don't be too concerned about the school's prestige, there's lots of quality lesser-known universities out there.

    Have you gained any research experience?
  4. Dec 19, 2013 #3


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    Is your course load fixed?

    Are you having problems adjusting from being a stellar highschool student to an average student in your classes and being discouraged, resulting in your grades slipping further?
  5. Dec 19, 2013 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    But a 2.999999 will close a lot of doors.
  6. Dec 19, 2013 #5
    It isn't fixed, but there are many limitations to what I can take, especially in the order of my major classes. I do think that my confidence has been affected negatively, and that, in turn, might affect my grades, but this last semester I was doing much, much better, and I - for some reason, couldn't sustain it at the same level that I started the semester with (usually I get better as the semester goes on.) I'm quite happy that I am not suspended from school and that I've met the 2.0 GPA minimum, but I also am not sure what else I can do to boost my grades at a satisfactory rate, nor am I even sure that I'd be qualified to move on after I get my bachelor's. I attend all of my classes, copy down notes for memory and read them after class, ask professors and TAs questions when I have them, and I do very well on the assignments, primarily because I have as much time as I need on them, and they're stress-free. When I get A's and B's on the assignments, I fall into a false sense of security that I should do similarly on the exam. However, when the exam comes; it feels as if I have months and months of content to review, and I have no idea what to focus on the most when studying. The classes that I have done better in were classes that had more than three exams, and which had them more frequently, or those in which the exams mattered less than homeworks, projects, and experiments.
  7. Dec 19, 2013 #6
    Is it possible to retake classes to replace the old grade with a new one? A semester of that could really help, if its possible.

    That's something I am doing to boost my gpa to fix past mistakes.
  8. Dec 19, 2013 #7
    This can help as well when you get a different prof as well. When my year of engineering took DE and Vector Calc. The class average was a D. A bunch of people retook the classes in the summer with a different prof where the average was an A.

    Another thing you should take a look into is most universities offer seminars on exam preperation and study habits. Perhaps this is something you should look into?

    Or find yourself a study group. IF you can explain to someone else how to solve a problem its pretty certian that you understand the concept :D
  9. Dec 19, 2013 #8


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    To me this sounds like you're grasping concepts, but not refreshing enough for the exams.

    How about trying to spend 2 hours each night on each of your classes, one hour doing homework and assignments and one hour doing questions from previous sections that weren't assigned or other supplemental review. This way you're constantly reviewing throughout the semester. you can try that and adjust the time as needed.
  10. Dec 20, 2013 #9
    I'm going to give the advice my father gave me a one point. I honestly just think that particular university is not a good fit for you, you would be much better off going to a good school that's a lot better fit for you even if it's not the top 30. Honestly after your first job and you prove what you're capable of nobody is going to give a rats *** that you went to a top 30 university. So maybe explore different options. Maybe consider going to a tech school and retaking some courses you failed at a slower place and then transferring to a university that is a better fit for you.
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