Do grad schools care about overall GPA / grades that aren't math?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Do grad schools care about overall GPA / grades that aren't math?

Post by supergremlin » Wed Mar 29, 2023 9:59 pm

One of my profs told me that schools do not care about anything except math grades (I guess also math adjacent course grades maybe). Can anyone confirm this? My overall GPA is 3.7, math GPA 3.9, but I have a D+ on my transcript in a non-math class and I just want confirmation that grad school admissions only look consider math grades for admissions.

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Re: Do grad schools care about overall GPA / grades that aren't math?

Post by Scathrules » Thu Mar 30, 2023 2:00 pm

So from my personal experience and many others including professors and grad students, grad admissions absolutely do care about your overall GPA. However, your math GPA will obviously be the far more important metric and if you have an overall GPA of maybe at least 3.4 and above, they wont care and will defer to your math GPA, which should be very strong. However, if your overall GPA is really bad (< 3.4), it will tremendously hurt your application even if you have a strong math GPA. I obviously think it's unfair but the admission committees have hundreds of applications to go through so overall GPA is an easy way to filter the applications. In your case, you're honestly fine and I don't think you should mention that one D+ on your SOP because they most likely won't notice it since a 3.7 GPA is still pretty good. If that D+ had been a math class, I would've briefly mentioned it on your SOP and talked about how you overcame it.

Think of it like this, if you have 2 min to go through each application, you're quickly scanning to see if there are any red flags. If you see a GPA of <3.4, it'll be burned into your mind, even if the math GPA is strong, and you probably won't care to look further unless the application has other things that can make up for the GPA (e.g. amazing rec letters). If there are other components of the app that compensate for the GPA, only then will you delve deeper into the app and realize that this applicant is actually good at math. Just my 2 cents.

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