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For those who think a low undergrad GPA is a grad school killer

HoustonTeacherHoustonTeacher Posts: 9Registered User New Member
edited May 2013 in Graduate School
I just wanted to say that I am proof that it is not. As an undergrad I had to spread my work out over 8 years, due to the fact that I had a family and no real help. I was poor, worked two jobs (one as a hotel desk clerk and one as a busboy) while I went to school and my grades suffered. I took down a BS but did so with a 2.2 grade point average. I was able to land a teaching job to gain some work experience and started making a lot more money than a desk clerk makes (but still not a ton, about 35k a year). I was able to get into a Masters program that was associated with my alternative certification program here in Texas. I made the most of that opportunity, and since I didn't have to worry about how I was going to pay the light bill or feed by children, I excelled in that program. I finished with above a 3.5 Masters gpa. I took the GRE and my scores were not out of this world, but a little above the average. I taught for the entire time I took down my Masters, so when I applied recently I had three years of work experience, a good Masters gpa and a horrible undergraduate gpa. I also had a really strong story about how I got my butt kicked by life for about 9 years, but at the age of 29 I had come out of it. Today I got my acceptance letter from Teachers College at Columbia University. If I could get into an Ivy League school, anyone can. So don't let someone on here shoot you down and tell you that you cannot do it, motivate yourself, work hard, and get it done.
Post edited by HoustonTeacher on

Replies to: For those who think a low undergrad GPA is a grad school killer

  • juilletjuillet Posts: 9,237Super Moderator Senior Member
    Congratulations, OP! Your story shows that getting a low GPA in undergrad will not ruin your life forever. But let me highlight the particulars of OP's situation:

    1) They got a job right out of college first, and worked for a while.
    2) They went to an affordable master's degree program at a public university, and achieved a high masters degree GPA.
    3) THEN they got into an Ivy League graduate program.

    This is not a story about how someone went straight from a 2.2 in undergrad into an Ivy League program - this person worked after undergrad to prove that they could succeed at a top graduate program. It would still be highly unusual for a student to go from a sub-3.0 GPA STRAIGHT into a top PhD program, or even a top master's program. But with a little work and some extra classes, this may be achieved.
  • HoustonTeacherHoustonTeacher Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    Absolutely Juillet. It won't be handed to you, you definitely must work for it. But it is possible.
  • booble2005booble2005 Posts: 22Registered User New Member
    Agreed. The undergrad GPA isn't so important if you have work experience + got a master's with a great GPA at another school. If someone has a bad GPA, they can prove themselves by going back to school and getting good grades.

    That's a lot of schooling to pay for if you're going to be a teacher, but good luck!
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