Low GPA from top 3 school + 4yrs research

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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:20 pm

Low GPA from top 3 school + 4yrs research

Post by jorjor1886 » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:37 pm

Overall GPA: 3.0
Major GPA: 2.65 (I know it's very low -- I was extremely depressed until my final year and now take medication)
Research: 4yrs with highly respected names in my field (i.e. some of the best known experimentalists and theorists in their fields)
PGRE: 955
Current position: Industry research w/ more highly respected names in the field

First of all, please be nice -- I'm not looking for someone to lecture me about how I should have gotten a higher GPA if I wanted to go to grad school. I know that some people with low GPAs still attend decent schools with the right recommendation letters, research, and test scores. I am simply asking for practical advice on 1) explaining my low GPA, and 2) leveraging my research and connections with my former PI's and current employer. I realize I won't be able to get into a super high-end grad school, but I would appreciate recommendations from anyone who has been through a similar situation.


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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:28 am

Re: Low GPA from top 3 school + 4yrs research

Post by IMSSEQMC » Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:56 am


I had a low GPA, came from a top 10 school, did research with highly respected names in the field, and suffer from depression too.

For the Ph.D. application:

1) I didn't write anything about it in my candidate statement, I just focused on positive stuff. My letter of recommendation writers may or may not have told them to ignore my grades or look past them, I'm not sure though. I'm not sure if this is the right route to go and may vary from program to program, but it's what I did for the Ph.D. application.

Edit: I think there may have been a section that was like, tell us if you have ever been on academic probation or failed a class, if so explain. That's where I very briefly explained this, but kept it very vague if I recall correctly, so I didn't mention the depression, but I did mention that it was a temporary thing that has since been resolved or I have taken measures to make sure it doesn't happen again.

2) I told my current PI and letter writers that I was only applying to one school, because I thought I wasn't going to get in anywhere (including this one school, but people wanted me to apply anyway so I did, thinking it would be good practice at the very least), and that I would focus on upping my application for next year's cycle where I would apply to a lot more schools. Then I got in.

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