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Engineering GPA and Grad School

EngineerjwEngineerjw Registered User Posts: 1,136 Senior Member
edited February 2011 in Engineering Majors
Yes, this is a very common topic area. I want to ask a question on a down-to-earth level. So I see that some of the top engineering graduate programs have high average GPAs. Even higher than some top programs for liberal arts majors have. I also know that for engineering, anything above a 3.0 pretty much is considered okay. So how is there so much disparity?

I mean, at these programs are the students just super students who are well above average? Are there plenty of students with engineering GPA's 3.5+? People always tell me to shoot for at least a 3.2 ish gpa, but as far as I am concerned, I want a 3.5+. Is every engineering major admitted to a law school or business school just way above average because they pulled a high GPA?

It is like the quote "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." Except I am thinking

"No one gets a high GPA in engineering; be happy to get a 3.0." Based on statistics, it is hard to believe the average GPA is so low if other students apparently get much higher GPAs - enough students to fill all the top programs. An example would be the Princeton MSF program; the admissions are extremely competitive for anyone. But since a program like this looks heavily upon grades, naturally I would think engineers have a tougher time getting admitted; notwithstanding, many do.

I want to do well in college, and I honestly believe I have excellent work habits; however, if I ever want to go a top graduate school for any field I am deathly worried that I will be sub par due to at the moment I am not a typical genius high school kid who posts on this site.

If engineers are admitted to these programs, why can't I? Engineers are all the best and the brightest. But can I actually be one of those few with a mega GPA?

Or GRE scores? If I did not score an 800 SAT math, is it at all possible on the GRE?

Seriously, do any of you know anyone who actually did break a 3.5 engineering GPA? Because if I want to live the stupid cliche dream of every overly ambitious newbie of getting into a Stanford graduate program, I at least want to know that I have a realistic chance at doing it. It was already a hard enough blow scoring a 670 on the math SAT while I break the curves in my math class. Because although I have good study habits, I am not one of those math whiz types - just a simple kid that does and wants to continue to succeed.
Post edited by Engineerjw on

Replies to: Engineering GPA and Grad School

  • norris212norris212 Registered User Posts: 456 Member
    Yes it's possible to get a 3.5 or higher in engineering. It's not easy, but it's possible. If I were to guess, on average, I'd say maybe 1 out of 5 students have a 3.5 or better.
  • you_of_ehyou_of_eh Registered User Posts: 753 Member
    Whoa 1 out of 5? Man I find that hard to believe. Just curious, would you say GPA's in engineering on average tend to go up or down after freshman year? I tend to think they would go up. Maybe down or around the same for Sophomore and then up for Junior/Senior year? I know mine has gone up since my first year which would make your 1 out of 5 estimate more believable if that was the case for the average student. Because I remember after freshman year you were doing damn good to have a 3.0. But I haven't really talked to many people about GPAs since then.

    Sorry don't mean to highjack the thread OP.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,192 Senior Member
    At Penn State, the college of engineering awards "Distinction" to graduates based on their final GPA. The lowest level represents the top 12% of graduates, and is a 3.76 GPA. I don't think that 1/5 having 3.5+ gpa is that outlandish.

  • norris212norris212 Registered User Posts: 456 Member
    you_of_eh, I think it depends on the school for gpa trends from year to year. At my school, Junior year is known to be the hardest by far, and senior year is known to be the easiest gpa wise. And for the 1 out of 5 estimate, I was thinking about the people that are still in the major, so that wouldn't include people that were filtered out in previous years I guess. But yeah, it was a guess, so it could be off. But cosmicfish's link shows that it might be a good guess.
  • you_of_ehyou_of_eh Registered User Posts: 753 Member
    And for the 1 out of 5 estimate, I was thinking about the people that are still in the major, so that wouldn't include people that were filtered out in previous years I guess.

    Ahhhh yes I didn't think of that. I was just thinking of all the people at my school that got raped first year and then thought no way 1 in 5 could have a 3.5+ GPA. But come to think of it a lot of those people did drop out.
  • EngineerjwEngineerjw Registered User Posts: 1,136 Senior Member
    Good news!
This discussion has been closed.