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  • #28905

    grw
    Participant

    I have read that grad schools typically don’t post average gpas, but that the top ones are looking for gpas well over 3.5. I also have seen gre scores for the different schools, but these numbers often are very aggregated, and I don’t know how they weight the different components. What do you think would be the chances of admission to a top biomedical/genetic/computational engineering program (eg Berkeley, MIT etc) of a an Ivy league engineering school biomed major undergrad with a 3.65 gpa, a gre quant score of 800 but only a 530 verbal, and lab work in the area the past three years for both university professors and Sloan Kettering (with excellent recommendations)? Is the gpa too low for top programs? Will the verbal score be a significant problem (grades in humanities courses at the university were nearly all A’s and A-s)? Thanks

    grw

    #28907

    hmacneill
    Participant

    Hello and thank you for your questions. Admissions committees will look at several things when reviewing applications. Many will start by making sure the applicant has a competitive GPA and standardized test score. Certainly, if there is any part of these that cause concern to the committee they will look to other areas of the application for further explanation. Keep in mind that equally important to the committee is the applicant’s letters of recommendation and supporting essays. They will look to these aspects of the application to help personalize the application and identify unique and competitive aspects to the applicant. In your case, they will likely be looking closely at your major GPA and quantitative GRE scores. They will look at your transcripts to make sure that the verbal GRE score is not part of a pattern and your English/Writing grades should ease any concerns. I think your 3.65 GPA can certainly be competitive assuming the other areas of your application are competitive as well. Best of luck to you.

    Heather MacNeill

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    quote:


    Originally posted by grw

    I have read that grad schools typically don’t post average gpas, but that the top ones are looking for gpas well over 3.5. I also have seen gre scores for the different schools, but these numbers often are very aggregated, and I don’t know how they weight the different components. What do you think would be the chances of admission to a top biomedical/genetic/computational engineering program (eg Berkeley, MIT etc) of a an Ivy league engineering school biomed major undergrad with a 3.65 gpa, a gre quant score of 800 but only a 530 verbal, and lab work in the area the past three years for both university professors and Sloan Kettering (with excellent recommendations)? Is the gpa too low for top programs? Will the verbal score be a significant problem (grades in humanities courses at the university were nearly all A’s and A-s)? Thanks

    grw


    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    #28961

    katie44
    Participant

    Hi there,

    I’m planning to apply to sociology Ph.D programs, and I was wondering if you could help me figure out the range of schools where it would be realistic for me to apply…

    My GRE scores were 720/verbal, 690/quant, and 6/6 for analytical writing. My major problem is that I graduated with a 2.8 GPA.

    I had a very serious illness during my first three years of college, which was successfully treated before my final year. My GPA for my last 30 credits was 4.0. Would this make any difference to an admissions committee looking at a transcript spotted with Cs, Ds, and Fs?

    If you could, please let me know the range of schools (top 25, top 50, etc.) where I would have a chance of acceptance. I feel a little lost here.

    Thanks,
    Katie

    P.S. Should I address my illness in my application? If so, where/in which part of the application should I do so? Also, how much detail is necessary? (I would rather go into less detail than more.)

    #28964

    hmacneill
    Participant

    Hello and thank you for your questions. Grades are certainly an important part of any committee review. When an applicant comes in with a low GPA the admissions committee will often look at the applicant’s recent coursework to see if there is improvement. So, the latter half of your academic history will make things better for you. They will also look to your GRE to make sure your scores are within their competitive range. It is not uncommon to attach an addendum or cover letter to your application materials to explain a discrepancy in your academics. This should be done carefully, however, and putting too much detail can hurt you. You are better off focusing on how you changed from the experience. Keep in mind that grades and test scores are only part of a competitive application. Strong letters of recommendation and a powerful personal statement can make your application. These two aspects to the application will help identify your unique qualities and competitiveness for the program in areas that grades and GRE do not. Applying to PhD programs can be a very personal decision process. Many times, a programs’ match to your study and research interests becomes just as important as the schools’ ranking. I recommend that you identify the schools that are the best match for you and within those pick a few “top schools” along with several safety schools. Best of luck to you.

    Heather MacNeill

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    quote:


    Originally posted by katie44

    Hi there,

    I’m planning to apply to sociology Ph.D programs, and I was wondering if you could help me figure out the range of schools where it would be realistic for me to apply…

    My GRE scores were 720/verbal, 690/quant, and 6/6 for analytical writing. My major problem is that I graduated with a 2.8 GPA.

    I had a very serious illness during my first three years of college, which was successfully treated before my final year. My GPA for my last 30 credits was 4.0. Would this make any difference to an admissions committee looking at a transcript spotted with Cs, Ds, and Fs?

    If you could, please let me know the range of schools (top 25, top 50, etc.) where I would have a chance of acceptance. I feel a little lost here.

    Thanks,
    Katie

    P.S. Should I address my illness in my application? If so, where/in which part of the application should I do so? Also, how much detail is necessary? (I would rather go into less detail than more.)


    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    #28968

    girlwithambition
    Participant

    I graduated from H.S. as an honor student in 1993 with a 1200 SAT score (achieved while I was sick with mono, no less). I went to the University of Texas at Austin and the first year was so hard…I made As on tests and quizzes but ended up getting Bs and Cs in those classes. When I spoke to the professors after my grades came out, they explained that letter grades at my university were given out on a quota system and that they had already given out all the As by the time they got to me, and that in addition to having letter grade quotas, they also graded on a curve.

    At the age of 18, I thought this was so ridiculous and unfair that I got depressed and stopped trying, and pulled nothing but Cs and some Ds for the rest of my undergraduate career, except for the second semester of my junior year, when I had a nervous breakdown and got a couple of Fs. I had what can only be described as a horrific childhood, and it caught up with me at the age of 20. I managed to graduate on time, though, in 1997…still convinced that I was stupid.

    Since then, I’ve been working in the I.T. industry and living abroad. I speak four languages and have been promoted with top speed in my chosen field. Mentally, I’m fine and I handle a great deal of stress. It took a lot of therapy to get over what happened to me, but I’m fine now. It took a long time for me to realize that I’m not actually stupid, and to discover what really turns me on.

    I’ve spoken to some schools since and was advised to not even bother. I was absolutely devastated. I asked if I could take some post-baccalaureate classes to demonstrate my academic abilities and dedication, but I was told that that wouldn’t make a difference, since applicants with good grades and without a history of academic difficulties would be admitted over me.

    I feel like I can’t do anything; like I’m stuck forever where I am because nobody will give me a second chance. What can I do? [V]

    #28989

    hmacneill
    Participant

    I’m sorry to hear that your experience in college, so far, has not been positive. It is true that grades are a very important part of the application and some schools may immediately dismiss an applicant if only presented with that portion of the applicant’s background. The good news is that there are many aspects to an application. The best way for an admissions committee to learn more about your background and potential is through the letters of recommendation and the personal statement. These are both useful in showing an applicant’s competitiveness in spite of their grades or test scores. Taking more classes will never improve your GPA but it may be a good way to prove your academic competence especially if the classes are taken in subjects relevant to the graduate program you are applying to. (Like the school you spoke to stated, this alone will not help you get admitted.) Lastly, you can also compose an addendum or cover letter, explaining your first experience with college and point out the areas that you have succeeded and improved. These kinds of letters, can sometimes do harm instead of good, so it is important that they are crafted carefully. Most schools will look at all aspects of an application and not base there decision on just one element. This does mean a lot more work for the applicant that does not have competitive grades, but it is not impossible. Best of luck to you.

    Heather MacNeill

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    quote:


    Originally posted by girlwithambition

    I graduated from H.S. as an honor student in 1993 with a 1200 SAT score (achieved while I was sick with mono, no less). I went to the University of Texas at Austin and the first year was so hard…I made As on tests and quizzes but ended up getting Bs and Cs in those classes. When I spoke to the professors after my grades came out, they explained that letter grades at my university were given out on a quota system and that they had already given out all the As by the time they got to me, and that in addition to having letter grade quotas, they also graded on a curve.

    At the age of 18, I thought this was so ridiculous and unfair that I got depressed and stopped trying, and pulled nothing but Cs and some Ds for the rest of my undergraduate career, except for the second semester of my junior year, when I had a nervous breakdown and got a couple of Fs. I had what can only be described as a horrific childhood, and it caught up with me at the age of 20. I managed to graduate on time, though, in 1997…still convinced that I was stupid.

    Since then, I’ve been working in the I.T. industry and living abroad. I speak four languages and have been promoted with top speed in my chosen field. Mentally, I’m fine and I handle a great deal of stress. It took a lot of therapy to get over what happened to me, but I’m fine now. It took a long time for me to realize that I’m not actually stupid, and to discover what really turns me on.

    I’ve spoken to some schools since and was advised to not even bother. I was absolutely devastated. I asked if I could take some post-baccalaureate classes to demonstrate my academic abilities and dedication, but I was told that that wouldn’t make a difference, since applicants with good grades and without a history of academic difficulties would be admitted over me.

    I feel like I can’t do anything; like I’m stuck forever where I am because nobody will give me a second chance. What can I do? [V]


    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    #28994

    jpmciver
    Participant

    I do not have the most competitve GPA, but it is on the rise. I am a graduating senior, how do I describe that in the personal statement. Describing that i know i havent had the best GPA, but I am pulling it up. I have a lot of work experience and in the classes that matter I have made great grades. I do not how to state this in my personal statement what should i do?

    #29009

    girlwithambition
    Participant

    Thanks for that, Heather. You basically told me exactly what those other schools told me. I give up; I won’t even try. When someone tells me something “isn’t impossible,” it tells me that I shouldn’t bother. I guess I’ll just have to get used to other people dictating my future to me.

    #29011

    hmacneill
    Participant

    Hello and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It is a busy time of year and we strive for a 72 hour turnaround for feedback. I don’t always recommend putting a defense for the GPA in the personal statement, only because it can sometimes detract from the message of the essay. Some schools offer a supplemental essay or provide space to add information that “you would like to explain further” or “was not covered elsewhere in the application”. If the schools you are applying to provide this, I would recommend that you write about your grades there. Another option is to attach an addendum or cover letter explaining that your undergraduate GPA did not meet your personal expectations and highlight the areas that you feel make you a competitive applicant. Your personal statement should be about you and why you are applying to their program. Highlighting experiences and challenges that you have had that have taught you about your chosen field and prepared you for graduate study at this level. If you choose to address your GPA here, make sure you highlight it as a challenge and focus on how you have changed from the experience and why you are now a better applicant because of it. The last thing you want to do with any of these options is make excuses for the grades. Take ownership and try to show a resulting positive.
    Good luck.
    Heather MacNeill

    Admissions Consultants
    703-242-5885

    quote:


    Originally posted by jpmciver

    I do not have the most competitve GPA, but it is on the rise. I am a graduating senior, how do I describe that in the personal statement. Describing that i know i havent had the best GPA, but I am pulling it up. I have a lot of work experience and in the classes that matter I have made great grades. I do not how to state this in my personal statement what should i do?


    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    #29028

    imohdsal
    Participant

    To whom this may concern:

    I am an undergraduate student at a state school in California. I majored in math and I have applied to 5 graduate programs in math for a Master of Science leading up to a Ph.D.

    I would like to know what my chances are in being admitted to the graduate math programs from the following schools: Purdue University, UC Davis, UC Irvine, University of Arizona, and Northeastern University.

    My college background is as follows: 3.1 GPA, GRE General (Math: 720, Verbal: 550), GRE Math Subject Test (unknown), an excellent letter of recommendation from the math department chair of my school (with 2 good letters of rec), a 6-month independent research experience (1 letter of rec details this research), an A in graduate algebra I, a C in graduate analysis I, an interest in algebra and its applications (coding theory, cryptography), and a specification of a professor of interest for each of the schools above.

    Also, a modest college experience is explained. In brief: 1 semester living in a car, worked 30 hours per week (tutoring) while attending school, divorce of parents, no financial aid, and 4 deaths in the family since the year 2000.

    Please provide any pertinent information.

    Thank you,

    Sean.

    #29029

    hmacneill
    Participant

    Dear Sean. Thank you for your questions. It sounds like you have met some of the expectations that schools have for their admissions pool. The tough part is knowing how large and competitive that pool is. To pull yourself out of a large pool of applicants it is essential that your personal statement and letters of recommendation identify your strengths and unique characteristics as well as explaining any perceived weaknesses. If your personal statement was able to identify the qualities that will make you a competitive applicant and a good fit for their program, you will certainly have a chance at being admitted. At this point, you are in the tough position and having to wait and see. Best of luck to you.

    Heather MacNeill

    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    quote:


    Originally posted by imohdsal

    To whom this may concern:

    I am an undergraduate student at a state school in California. I majored in math and I have applied to 5 graduate programs in math for a Master of Science leading up to a Ph.D.

    I would like to know what my chances are in being admitted to the graduate math programs from the following schools: Purdue University, UC Davis, UC Irvine, University of Arizona, and Northeastern University.

    My college background is as follows: 3.1 GPA, GRE General (Math: 720, Verbal: 550), GRE Math Subject Test (unknown), an excellent letter of recommendation from the math department chair of my school (with 2 good letters of rec), a 6-month independent research experience (1 letter of rec details this research), an A in graduate algebra I, a C in graduate analysis I, an interest in algebra and its applications (coding theory, cryptography), and a specification of a professor of interest for each of the schools above.

    Also, a modest college experience is explained. In brief: 1 semester living in a car, worked 30 hours per week (tutoring) while attending school, divorce of parents, no financial aid, and 4 deaths in the family since the year 2000.

    Please provide any pertinent information.

    Thank you,

    Sean.


    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    #29139

    Tkekoolkid
    Participant

    First and foremost, i would like to thank you guys for this board. The information here is priceless and extremelly useful. I am a senior at Rutgers University and I have a 3.0 and a 155 on my Lsats. I have great internship expirience(office of Public defender), and law related jobs and a Criminal Justice Major (3.6) with a Social Psychology minor. I am also an Ecuadorian immigrant who came to the states with my family at an early age due to the high political corruption in Ecuador. I have also been involved in polical campigns, as being the founder of a voting registration drive. I have done research with an award winning professor and I am currently the vice-president of my fraternity. I am a strong believer of equal protection rights and contitutional law. I would like to become a public defender one day, however I would like you to let me know what chances do I have of making it into law school and which law schools should i focus on?
    Thank you for your help.

    Mario C.

    #29146

    hmacneill
    Participant

    Hi Mario,
    Thank you for your questions. The best way for you to get your question answered is to post it on the Law School message board. An admissions consultant with expertise in Law School Admissions will be happy to help you.

    Heather MacNeill

    quote:


    Originally posted by Tkekoolkid

    First and foremost, i would like to thank you guys for this board. The information here is priceless and extremelly useful. I am a senior at Rutgers University and I have a 3.0 and a 155 on my Lsats. I have great internship expirience(office of Public defender), and law related jobs and a Criminal Justice Major (3.6) with a Social Psychology minor. I am also an Ecuadorian immigrant who came to the states with my family at an early age due to the high political corruption in Ecuador. I have also been involved in polical campigns, as being the founder of a voting registration drive. I have done research with an award winning professor and I am currently the vice-president of my fraternity. I am a strong believer of equal protection rights and contitutional law. I would like to become a public defender one day, however I would like you to let me know what chances do I have of making it into law school and which law schools should i focus on?
    Thank you for your help.

    Mario C.


    AdmissionsConsultants
    703.242.5885

    #29217

    stsai123tw
    Participant

    Dear Admission Consultant,

    What are my chances of being admitted to top 10 MBA schools? My GMAT score is 590 with quant. score of 46 and verbal of 25. I have BS in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers (GPA 3.45). I have 8 years of Technical Support Engineer experience in Telecommunications Industry.

    Should I take the GMAT again? I am afraid that my score is too low to be remotely competitive. Is it too late to put together applications for Fall 2005? How much time do I need to put together a good application with excellent admission chance?

    Thank you,
    Sophia Tsai

    #29219

    moderator
    Keymaster

    quote:


    Originally posted by stsai123tw

    Dear Admission Consultant,

    What are my chances of being admitted to top 10 MBA schools? My GMAT score is 590 with quant. score of 46 and verbal of 25. I have BS in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers (GPA 3.45). I have 8 years of Technical Support Engineer experience in Telecommunications Industry.

    Should I take the GMAT again? I am afraid that my score is too low to be remotely competitive. Is it too late to put together applications for Fall 2005? How much time do I need to put together a good application with excellent admission chance?

    Thank you,
    Sophia Tsai


    Please repost this in the MBA section.

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