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Realistically, can I get into grad school with a 2.8ish GPA?

  1. Jun 3, 2015 #1
    I'm an astrophysics major. I want to go to grad school. Whether it's physics, astrophysics, or astronomy I'd enjoy anything. My GPA is not good and realistically I was wondering what are my options if I had a 2.8 GPA (hypothetically, I still have two years left but my gpa is 2.4 now).

    I am at a top 25 undergrad school in the US.

    Do I have any hope?

    If not, what are my options?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2015 #2

    micromass

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    No, that is not very realistic. And you should ask yourself whether you know the material well enough. A 2.4 now would indicate that you don't know the material at all. So I would doubt you would know it well enough to actually get all A's from now on.
     
  4. Jun 3, 2015 #3
    I appreciate the response.

    I don't want to write a sob story and frankly know that grad schools won't give a **** but I have had some issues i.e. hospitalized, depression, anxiety disorder (considering the undergrad school I got into because of GPA, SAT, ACT scores, I think I'm pretty capable of doing well academically). I think I'm starting to get better a little so I think I should be able to improve my GPA. Also I was planning on double majoring and doing five years so I'd have plenty of classes and quarters to raise my GPA.

    And no obviously I know I won't get into a great grad school. I'm just wondering if it's possible or if I should just give up now basically.
     
  5. Jun 3, 2015 #4

    micromass

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    You should definitely start thinking seriously about a plan B. Think about what you're going to do if you won't get into grad school. If you choose your options right at this stage, then you'll have quite some options of employment. If you don't choose them right, then your degree might not be very useful to get you hired.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2015 #5
    I guess this is probably something I could talk to a counselor about (and should have already done) but school's out now. What exactly are some other options? Would it be possible to get a job with that gpa? The internships are really limited for me considering my GPA.

    Honestly I just want to have a job in a related field (physics, astrophysics, or astronomy) that allows me to live without being scared I'm not going to be able to pay the bills. I feel like grad school would give me the best options because the jobs I'd apply to after finishing grad school wouldn't be concerned with my undergrad gpa, I assume.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2015 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    If you want to go to grad school, you need to be thinking about a 4.0 in the next two years, not a 3.2. In grad school a C is failing - a 3.0 is the minimum you need to stay in the program. Moving from "failing" to "barely passing" in the last two years as an undergraduate will not impress anyone. You need to think 4.0.
     
  8. Jun 3, 2015 #7

    StatGuy2000

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    To the OP:

    Here is a question for you -- I'm assuming that you have the current low GPA now because you have either failed or barely passed most of your coursework from the first 2 years, is that correct? My suggestion would have been for you to retake the courses that you have failed (or barely passed) to both boost your GPA and to demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the earlier material.

    Barring that, I would suggest the following:

    (1) Really go over and review your earlier course material with someone (whether it would be a professor at the school, a tutor/TA, a fellow classmate, etc.) and determine just how much you actually know the material. Have them quiz you or otherwise try to assess your current state of knowledge. Then really, intensively study this material until you master that earlier material. This is important because in science classes, knowledge is cumulative and sequential, so understanding the foundations is critical to understanding of more advanced material.

    (2) In tandem with (1), really examine your current study habits and determine what works/doesn't work. Determine if it takes longer or shorter for you to pick up the material than others.

    By following (1) and (2), you would be in a much better position to dramatically improve your grades so that you could aim for the 4.0 GPA in your last 2 years that Vanadium 50 is talking about. I know this sounds daunting, but it is doable, as long as your are very disciplined, organized, and extremely dedicated to improvement. In this way, your options for graduate school (and for better career opportunities, should you decide grad school is not for you) will open up for you. Best of luck!

    [Aside to micromass: I'm curious about what you meant in terms of "choosing your options right at this stage", in terms of career opportunities.]
     
  9. Jun 3, 2015 #8

    micromass

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    I agree with StatGuy that not all hope is lost, but some changes need to be made (which he listed very well). Trying to get a 2.8 will not be good enough, you will need a 3.0 at least (and even that will be very low for grad schools).

    But what I am trying to say is that while not all hope is lost, chances are very high that you won't succeed in grad school. Not only because of the grades, but because you probably don't know the material all that well/don't have good study habits. It is possible to change this, but realistically most people in your situation don't manage to do this. So what I'm trying to say is to think of a plan B. You should still try to get into grad school, but you should also make sure you will be employable if you don't make it. For example, you could try taking quite some computer science classes with the goal of getting a job as a programmer. You should try to find other such options that you can go for.
     
  10. Jun 3, 2015 #9
  11. Jun 3, 2015 #10
    Micromass is giving good advice. I think stocking up on some CS courses and aiming for some unpaid internships this and the remaining summers would be your best bet. At this point, gradschool should be your plan B I think. Plan on not going, learn some employable skills, and make your best effort to turn things around, and if you succeed then great apply and try getting in, but if not then at least you'll not be working in retail.

    Also, even if you did make it to grad school and did well, astrophysics/astronomy is not the career path to choose if you want job security.
     
  12. Jun 3, 2015 #11
    I don't think your situation is as gloomy as others are making it appear. I've known multiple people with sub-3.0 GPAs that have gone on to grad school and excelled academically, as well as in their careers afterward.

    No one has yet mentioned that some admissions boards put much more weight on your major GPA than your overall GPA. Alternatively, some put more weight on your last two years.

    A 2.4 GPA is a C+ average. While that is certainly mediocre, it does not translate into "you have either failed or barely passed most of your coursework", as others have stated or insinuated. However, you need to really focus your efforts on improving academically in your remaining years. Time management and study skills are key.
     
  13. Jun 3, 2015 #12

    Vanadium 50

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    In graduate school, a C is considered failing. Since graduate coursework is more challenging, C's and below are big red flags to graduate admissions committees.
     
  14. Jun 3, 2015 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    Yes, and people win the lottery. Would you advise people to count on winning the lottery as part of their financial planning.
     
  15. Jun 3, 2015 #14
    A) He's not in graduate school.
    B) Whether coursework is more difficult in grad school is a matter of opinion. I didn't find it to be more challenging. I thought grad school was less challenging overall, due to the fact that less time was spent in classes and more time was spent on research. The classes I did take were more interesting than the ones I took during my undergrad years, which no doubt made it seem easier.

    No, but the chances of getting admitted to a graduate program with a 2.8 GPA are much greater than winning the lottery.
     
  16. Jun 3, 2015 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    You are not doing scaredstudent13 any favors by telling him "Sure! Your plan to get a 3.2 in your last 2 years is a good one."
     
  17. Jun 3, 2015 #16

    symbolipoint

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    Not too much graduate level courses having been done, but if someone is qualified for a grad level course and gives reasonable effort, the typical minimum grade to expect should be B. The few I had, the grades I earned were A's. I did not learn much from them! (or was it a A in one of them and a B in the other? I don't remember.)
     
  18. Jun 3, 2015 #17
    I would suggest he works as hard as he can in the next two years and then consider his options then. If he can't see himself doing anything else with his life and he improves dramatically then grad school is still very much possible and others in his situation have gotten in to grad school a lot more often then someone does winning the lottery. If working hard with the chance of grad school is a motivation then he should take that.
     
  19. Jun 4, 2015 #18
    I'm not so sure that the issue is whether or not he will seem okay to the admissions committees.. To get into graduate school, you need to seem BETTER than a lot of the other candidates.
     
  20. Jun 4, 2015 #19

    symbolipoint

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    That still supports the advice of working hard and making good choices of courses.
     
  21. Jun 4, 2015 #20

    e.bar.goum

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    There's no reason scaredstudent can't do both - work hard to look good on grad school apps, and work on a plan B. A lot of the time, these goals will intersect - being able to program is beneficial to either plan.

    Personally, I think everyone, no-matter their GPA, should have a plan B. (I've also never met a student or post-doc who didn't also have a plan B - mostly along the lines of surf-shops and bakeries. :wink:)
     
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