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Which one is the most important to grad. school?

  1. Feb 18, 2009 #1
    Research, GPA, recommendation, GRE, etc..
    There are many things to go to grad.
    Which one is the most important?

    One of my friend had very good GPA, but he did not get admission from any schools.
    His GPA was 3.95. Actually, his major was BIO, and he got all As from major, and only one B from general course. Of course, he got good GRE score, but He had never been research or publication. I don't think he got bad recommendation...

    I know some math or any science student go to engineering school, but I can't know what the student is different.. who can go.. who can't go..
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 18, 2009 #2


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    Education Advisor

    The first thing to keep in mind with resepect to graduate programs is that it's a competative process. A school will have N spots and M applicants. Once the student meets a minimum criteria for a spot, he or she will become part of the applicant pool considered. Every graduate program has it's own weighting system and from this the candidates are ranked. In general, offers of admission will go out to N+R students in descending order of their ranking. (R accounts for the number of students they estimate will reject the offer of admission.)

    I suspect that you'll get different answers to this question, since the ranking system varies considerably from institution to institution. I, for example, would argue that your marks are probably most important. I know that others will argue that research experience is the most important factor as it can distinquish the "book learners" from those who will actually be productive in the lab.

    This being said, I wouldn't fret too much over an anecdotal case such at what has been presented. Despite this specific student's high marks, we don't know the reason he was rejected. Maybe he had a poor letter of reference (some professors will actually write letters telling the institution NOT to accept a student). Maybe his GPA wasn't quite as steller as he would have everyone believe. Maybe he only applied to popular programs where everyone who got in had a 3.96 or higher, and didn't bother with a backup program.
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