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What are my Phd prospects if I graduate with a 3.3gpa

  1. Nov 30, 2015 #1
    If I graduate with a 3.3 gpa with a markedly better GPA in my last 2 years(3.5<) and suppose a great GRE score(optimistic/naive) what am I looking at when it comes to grad school admissions?(do I even stand a chance?)
    I'm a ambitious Junior Physics/Econ dual degree/major who let freshman year get the best of him. Freshman gpa was around 2.3 and sophmore was 3.6. Anticipating a graduating 3.2-3.3 CGPA. Have a tiny bit of research experience.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2015 #2
    It depends on the reputation of your school, what the GRE scores really turn out to be, what grad schools you aspire to, and of your research advisors will write good letters of recommendation for you (and how good). Your odds are much better if you are at a top 30 school or a military academy than if you are at a school ranked below 50.

    Usually bad freshman years can be overcome with good explanations, but the believability of those explanations depends on the GRE scores and research advisors praising you highly.
  4. Dec 1, 2015 #3
    I've been told and read often that your research you have done far outweighs GPA for grad school.
  5. Dec 1, 2015 #4


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    You have to take this with a grain of salt. While research experience is certainly valuable, it's not a substitute for doing well in your courses. And a lot can depend on the specifics too. Completing a senior research project under the direct instructions of a supervisor is one thing. Publishing a paper as the primary author at the completion of a project that has largely been self-driven is another.

    With respect to the original question, it certainly looks a lot better to have done well in your upper division classes. A student who took a year to figure things out and then pulled off reasonably consistent high grades is likely to look better than a student with the same GPA who has consistent, but moderate grades. Some schools will even look only at your most recent three years.
  6. Dec 2, 2015 #5
    I'm from UT Austin, I believe it ranks decently in the realm of physics. I'm not too big on research yet though, I worked under a professor with a good reputation in Heavy Ion physics for a while but that's about it so far. Trying to get a internship at CERN or FermiLab. I'm International so I don't have alot of options when it comes to internships but research is definitely going to be a priority in coming semesters. UCLA and UCSB are sort of dream schools in my perspective so I'm not dreaming of the Ivy league even looking twice at me, I'd just really like to get into a program that covers my finances and is in the same league as my undergrad. I do think I'll be able to do well in my GRE. I've just been getting a bit disheartened by my prospects.
  7. Dec 2, 2015 #6
    Being in a top 20 school should make it easy to land in a top 100 grad school, even with a GPA below 3.5. But landing in another top 20 school will be challenging. Competition for graduate admissions at those schools is very stiff. Your best shot (even for a top 50 school) is to get involved in research as soon as possible and make sure you do a great job (no excuses) and secure top notch letters of recommendation and publications. I'd focus on one of the research groups at your undergrad institution. You may not have enough time to make substantial research contributions both in a local group and in an internship at another institution, so I'd recommend focussing on where you can spend the most time making research contributions before graduate applications are due.

    A local research advisor who is familiar with your complete resume (research, GPA, GRE, etc.) also can best advise you which schools are the best match for your interests and qualifications. Until you have GRE scores and research accomplishments in hand, I think applying to schools ranked from 50-100 would be more realistic.
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