Low gpa, do I have a shot at grad school?

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:47 pm

Low gpa, do I have a shot at grad school?

Post by hardcoreXoreo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:16 am

I'm in my third year as an undergrad but I have senior status due to taking more than 15 hours each semester. I jumped around majors--biology, chem, biochem, even journalism (my minor)--before I decided on math the summer before my second year. I took calc I and II that summer, got As, and decided to change my major.

That year, I didn't do so hot. I got two horrible grades (C+ in calc III and C- in ODE :cry: ). Granted, I was only in my second year, and I also took probability (B-), statistics (B), a programming course (A, but it was super easy) and linear algebra (A-) that same year.

Now, I just finished a semester having taken one math course, advanced calculus, and I got a B. I'm taking advanced calc II right now (hoping to pull an A somehow) and two sophomore-level math courses (on top of required classes, I'm at 15 hours, the lowest I've ever taken). I'm doing research with my stats professor this semester for a thesis, and I also worked with her this past summer for an REU-like program. I want to go to grad school for statistics, but I'm so scared my grades are too low. I'm also scared I won't get into any REUs this summer because of that. I applied to five.

For grad school, I'm looking to apply to Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, George Mason, UC Riverside, USC, among others. I go to a small, liberal arts university where math isn't a focus, either. My math gpa is about 3.2, overall 3.4 (my journalism minor gpa is 3.9, I'm not sure if this matters at all). I'm planning on taking the math GRE in October and the general test sometime this summer.

Does anyone have any advice or guidance? Or is my only shot at grad school an MBA program... By the way, I'm a black female and the first female in my family to go to college (and second to my dad). I don't want to have to rely on the diversity card, but does this play big a role in admissions decisions?

Thanks in advance

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Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:25 am

Re: Low gpa, do I have a shot at grad school?

Post by sywisy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:32 am

I think your selection of schools is a good fit. Just don't do anything stupid like decline to answer your race/gender questions.

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Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:31 pm

Re: Low gpa, do I have a shot at grad school?

Post by sparkplug » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:26 am

The underrepresentated minority female status will be helpful in your admission, but regardless you also have a good solid list of courses. You've got a pretty good Statistics GPA (not counting math). It also matters that you've taken very heavy loads most semesters (are you planning on graduating in 3 years?)

I'd say you are in good shape to get into grad school. I don't know much about how competitive the rest of these schools are but UC Riverside should be no problem.

wine in coffee cups
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:01 am

Re: Low gpa, do I have a shot at grad school?

Post by wine in coffee cups » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:38 pm

What is it that you're hoping to do with a stats degree? Have you decided masters vs. PhD at this point? Or with your bio background, have you thought about biostatistics?

I think you're definitely on the right path by working on a thesis and applying to REUs. Since you've been a bit itinerant in your goals, though, you might consider not going to grad school right away and try to get some more perspective through work experience (especially if you're also thinking about an MBA, even half jokingly). I think you could get a data analyst gig in the healthcare sector pretty easily with your set of skills (the bio + statistics and programming + journalism), for instance. That would expose you to managers with a mix of MBAs and PhDs, let you clarify what you really want to do, and give you good fodder for a statement of purpose, not to mention helping you build a nice chunk of savings before you take an academic poverty vow. Just something to think about.

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