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March 28, 2005



having a cs and math degree from Penn, I know for a fact that most of the professors really do want to help the students, but first you have to show that you are worth helping. You can do this by working hard or simply by asking someone whose research you are interested in to get a cup of coffee one day and talking with him/her. Most of the time, if the professor has some free time and it is not exam period or deadline time, they will be more than happy to help. More important, then follow up this meeting and work on an independent project with the professor.

My undergrad GPA was not stellar (not horrible, but not great),but because of the professors I worked with, I was accepted to a couple top math institutions for grad school.

The Great Gazoo

That's a pretty excellent post Jeff.


My experience with getting into grad school has been similar, though I am doing a masters and not a Ph.D. I'd like to add one more thing - if you have worked on a lot of projects on the side, rather than just state that in your resume or statement of purpose, make a portfolio of these and send a URL.

Raja Khurram Shehzad

This is indeed a great article. The most interesting thing I found was the advice in the last para.

Great work Jeff.


Like the posting, I also have similar experiences uptill Masters now (and still counting)
have the lowest line CGPA (just because I never care for it)

To my experience most of the lecturers and professors would like to help you, most of the time, just remember its YOU who have to do the hard work, if you can just prove to them that you worth it (not neccessarily in academic but in practicle life) they'll surely help.

Seconds the advice of making a portfolio.

Nice Jeff


Good article. I think it is not neccessary to have a good GPA for pursuing higher education like MS/PhD. Albeit one should have to get in good university. IMHO, GRE and IELTS/TOFEL score can play a vital role in geting admission in MS with low GPA. Also you should show special interest in specific area with some real work evidence in interested field.

Hope it will work.


As an Undergraduate I have a GPA of just about 3.0 with a double major in EE and math. I am doing some research over the summer with a prof while preparing for the GRE and applying to grad schools. Do I stand I chance of getting into grad school? I am trying for schools in the top 20-60 bracket(rankings). Please let me know as that will definately give me a sense of relief....


If you are weak GPA-wise a lot of programs will provisionally accept you with enough extenuating circumstances. Make sure you get >600v and near-perfect-q if you want to get into a decent graduate engineering program.



Over the past 3 years I have found it very hard being accepted into a Pharmacy program. I have extremely good references, one being my neighbor who is a professor at one of the colleges I applied. However, If anyone has any good advice or suggestions to help me towards Pharmacy school acceptance I would appreciate it. I would be glad to share my application essays for review if anyone is interested. I am desperate and need some advice.

Thanks, Casey


I have a sorry GPA and dont know what to do. I graduated from college with a 2.8. I tended to overwork myself in college and at times ahd taken 24 units. I liked studying and reading and did very well in most of my classes. I ran into some tough luck when my grandpa died and my grades went down but next to that for the most part I maintained a B avg. GPA. But now when I try to get into grad school no one accepts me. I dont know what to do.


There should be a standard procedure for someone with bad grades to prove they have changed, be it standardized tests, provisional status, or re-taking undergraduate classes. But of these possibilities, taking tests will not offset the weight of undergraduate GPA, provisional status is rare and only for people on lower cusp of the GPA scores admitted, and re-taking undergraduate usually results in averaging the old score and the new score...a length process. Someone please tell me there is a shorter avenue than that!


Hello everyone,

I went to Simon Fraser University (in British Columbia Canada) and graduated with a Bachelors of Science with a Major in Chemical Phyiscs...My first year I did pretty good...I loved the courses...and after 2nd and 3rd year I really got...well...my ass kicked if you will...taking things like Quantum Mechanics, and upper division Electromagnetism was really difficult for me....And no I wasn't lazy, I really tried hard...again..first year was ok but then it all went downhill...
I had a case of dyslexia and it was hard for me to take tests......whenver I took tests it always seemed like I would study the wrong stuff....Anyway...I DID graduate with a 2.3 gpa (required was 2.0)....

I never really wanted to apply for grad school however I always wanted to apply for the PDP (teachers certificate) program....I wanted to teach highschool math, phyiscs or chemistry....

Well the required GPA is 2.5 in your last 60 credits...well...my last 60 credits were worse than my first 60...

What really gets to me is that there is a shortage of upper highschool teachers (grade 11/12) in Science and Math courses, and I can't get in because of my GPA....

And I KNOW I would be a great teacher....Yes, I know I was not good at the university level other than 1st year...but I understand the highschool level material very well....

I have been tutoring math/chemistry/physics for over 6 years now at the highschool level, and I now teach at a private tutoring center...However the pay and benefits are not as great...

I really want to get into this program but they wont accept me, even though I know I would be a better teacher in these subjects than half the teachers out there....

Just the other day my mom came upto me and said her friend who has a daughter in grade 12, asked her teacher a question and the teacher couldn;t answer...the teacher actually said that she was only qualified to teach upto grade 10 math....uhm....Anyone else see a problem with this besides me?

I'm not trying to do anything as great as get a PHD....I was never as good as many of the other students...and I am willing to accept that....But please....I AM at least qualified to teach grade 12 courses.....

Any advice?

Thank you for your time


Hi, I am a senior in college majoring in chemistry and math and I really want to go to graduate school for analytical chemistry but my gpa is a 2.4 and basically my instructor told me I need to start looking for a job when I graduate because he doubts that I can get into any grad school...but this is my passion..I dont know what steps I need to take to persue my dream...please help...I asked him should I talk to the instructors at the school but he said that probably will not help.

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