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Really- what are my chances?

  1. Jan 8, 2010 #1
    Ok- I graduated from a CA state school in 2005 with a bs in math and an overall gpa of 2.98. I started off strong (I was the valedictorian of my high school) but then with work and other obligations in the last few years of my degree my grades sucked big time. For some odd reason I was even admitted into my school's MS program in math, but I did horribly- got an F, a withdrawal, and then a C on the only 3 grad math classes I took before I withdrew. My dream still is to get my phd in math or physics and do research. I am now at a better point in my life where I can focus entirely on these studies and I think do well in them!. I don't think I could even get into a masters program right now in math or physics. I was thinking about starting fresh with a second bachelor's in physics instead, doing REALLLLLLYYYYY well in it, and then apply directly to a phd program in physics. What does everyone think- should I get a second bs in physics, or simply take grad courses through open university, do well in them, and then try to get into the masters program and eventually into a phd (contingent that I do well enough in the masters!)?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2010 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Every place is different, but my reaction to an application like yours would be "this person has already demonstrated that he can't handle graduate school". That's going to be a huge barrier to overcome. Doing well on undergraduate classes won't address this, and doing well on a graduate course or two doesn't go very far. Terminal MS courses are not always as in-depth, and in any event, there is a difference between taking one or two courses at a time and going to grad school.

    I'm not sure what to tell you. I'd be inclined to admit some other student, one with less risk.
  4. Jan 9, 2010 #3
    First of all, you need to ask yourself why you want to get a Ph.D. A Ph.D. involves a lot of pain and agony, and you really, really need to ask yourself why you want to abuse yourself that way. Also, most of research is not particularly glamorous.

    I think you'll be better off trying to get a job at some research institute or maybe teaching high school for a few years, and take a few courses on the side. If you can convince people that you can punch a time clock that will overcome the past problems. Teaching high school physics is useful here, because it's really tough work, and if you can do it successfully, that will help convince people that the problems that you had aren't problems any more.

    Also you need to be really realistic. If you had problems with graduate school in the past, then you really have to ask yourself how likely it is that you won't end up with similar problems if you retake your bachelors. One thing that is disconcerting is that the stress and time commitment in a masters program is no where near the amount of stress and time commitment and pain of a Ph.D. program.
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