Bad Grade in area of interest

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Bad Grade in area of interest

Post by StewieVader » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:11 am

I took a graduate course in Atomic and Molecular Physics in my previous semester where I landed a 'B' grade. My professor had a really messed up grading pattern and gave only 3 people (including me) out of a class of sixty B's with everyone else below that.
I'm actually pretty concerned about this since I intend to apply in experimental AMO and am aiming for a lot of top 10 schools. I am confused about whether I should try to explain this on my SOP in addition to asking my recommender to explain the situation (I'm not sure he will :cry: ). My overall GPA is otherwise pretty good and I'm within the top 10 students in my institute (class of ~300). Is it really worth spending time explaining one grade on my SOP?

Thank you in advance.

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Re: Bad Grade in area of interest

Post by twistor » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:38 am

A 'B' in a graduate level course is fine. An 'A' is better, always, but a 'B' is not a deal breaker. And no one at the schools you apply to is going to know the grade distribution for that particular course. As far as anyone knows 99% of the class could've gotten B's.

I wouldn't even mention it in your SOP. Rather, play up your strong points. As an undergraduate you took a graduate level course and did fairly well. That shows your ability to succeed in other graduate courses as well as strong motivation on your part. And do not ask anyone to explain this grade. It doesn't require an explanation and providing one will only draw attention to it.

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