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Community College ----> grad school?

emilsinclair9emilsinclair9 Posts: 2,597Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2010 in Graduate School
I have a question regarding grad school admissions:

So currently I'm a California Community College student, and when I transfer after this semester I will have a 3.8 GPA.

I will either be transferring to UCB (if I get in) or Davis (I have a TAG) and my major is Psychology.

My question is this: Will the fact that I attended a community college for 2 years affect my chances of being admitted to first and second tier grad schools?

Also, while I was in my first semester at my CCC I received 2 F's and a D for a ton of personal reasons that I'd rather not openly discuss. Despite this, I've had great grades since then, and received Academic Renewal toward those 3 poor grades. At my CCC, Academic Renewal basically makes those grades exempt from my GPA, and none of those classes were part of my major.

Will that 1 terrible semester (my first semester when I was barely 16) adversely affect my chances? I'm hoping that the Academic Renewal would be honored in the same way it will be at the UC's I applied to.

Any help would be great! Thanks so much :).
Post edited by emilsinclair9 on

Replies to: Community College ----> grad school?

  • cccdudecccdude Posts: 44Registered User Junior Member
    I'm pretty sure that once you transfer to a university of california your community college GPA won't matter. In other words, I'm pretty sure that the only GPA that will matter will be your UC GPA.
  • ixingtonixington Posts: 118Registered User Junior Member
    Hi,

    I attended a community college in the Solano area (started when I was 24) and majored in Chemistry. I transferred to a UC and did well, participating in research (YOU MUST BE PROACTIVE - email professors the Summer before you start about open research positions) and internships.

    I applied to seven top physical chemistry/chemical physics programs and I was admitted into all of them. I'm talking about USNWR #1 ranked programs.

    So no, your community college experience only holds you back if you let it.
  • juilletjuillet Posts: 5,724Registered User Senior Member
    First, no, going to a community college won't affect your chances at all. As long as you do well and get good grades, do research, and get excellent letters of recommendation you should be fine.

    However, it's NOT true that your CC GPA doesn't matter once you transfer. Graduate schools require official transcripts from ALL schools you attended, and they will see your CC grades including those 2 Fs and a D. However, graduate admissions committees generally care far more about your last two years than your freshman year, and the fact that you got two Fs in your first semester will not matter as much, especially if they are mitigated by personal reasons that you can explain in a statement (or have a recommender explain). I had an F and two Ws during my JUNIOR year of college and still got into a top tier program in my field. It looks like you have a fierce upward trend if you're going to leave with a 3.8, and if you do well at the UC you transfer to, the Fs and Ds probably won't hold you back too much.
  • emilsinclair9emilsinclair9 Posts: 2,597Registered User Senior Member
    So juillet, you don't think that the grad schools will honor the Academic Renewal attached to those poor grades? If not, I'm still very glad to hear that since it was my first semester freshman year and have a strong upward trend that it shouldn't look that bad. I really hope to go to Cal for undergrad and then grad school there as well for a ph.D in Psychology. I know Psych at Cal is pretty much the 2nd best program (for psych) in the nation. Do you think, in this ultra-competitive instance, that those two F's and D will significantly hurt me? I mean if the same school disregarded those grades for undergrad (due to the Academic Renewal) wouldn't it be the same way for grad school? Or....is that just wishful thinking? lol.

    If I kept up that 3.8 throughout my last 2 years, do you think I'd have a solid shot? Thank you guys for your insight.
  • ParAlumParAlum Posts: 439Registered User Member
    Grad school admin committees are looking at who the student is now and how that will predict who they'll be in the future. you have a great trajectory. As previously mentioned, you will need to concentrate and keep up your GPA when you transition to the much faster quarter system of the UCs. Once you have established that you can keep you GPA up (and not before!!), then I recommend that you explore volunteering or interning on research with a faculty member in a field related to your grad aspirations. Strong GPA and LORs will be your strongest weapons to get into a top grad program.
    Your transcript will show all of your grades from CC and your UC. Your GPA will be calculated on the retaken courses. But it is fair to other candidates that the admin committee knows you received the new better grades after going through the material twice (as compared to students who acheived those same grades going through the material once). However, as long as this behavior isn't repeated too often and especially if its limited to your early years, this shouldn't hinder your application. As I said at the beginning, they will look at your trajectory (and GRE's, LORs and total GPA) as predictors of your likely success in your chosen field.
  • CantabilenApathyCantabilenApathy Posts: 304Registered User Member
    I saw on one grad school admissions website that they only required transcripts from colleges that you attended full time for at least a year.

    I attended 4 schools, none full time, over the last 3 semesters, and now I'm also part time at 2 more schools. That's 6 CCC transcripts. I plan on taking all of my prereqs at UCB (assuming I get in), and just sending that transcript to grad schools.

    @emilsinclair-I also had a horrible 1st semester when I was barely 16 lol. But even if we have to send all of our transcripts (please please no, I think sending 7 transcripts would get me automatically denied), our UC GPA doesn't include the CCC grades. So they would see those grades, and see your other grades, but the ultimate GPA they would see is the UC one.

    To answer your question, it depends on what you mean by "1st and 2nd tier schools." I don't know much about psych, but I do know that names matter a lot- so a degree from UCB will help. Writing samples and research experience are much more important than where you took GE.

    Can anyone else verify the transcript thing? CC transcripts are absolutely ridiculous, and I'd like to know how many schools only require transcripts from schools that you attended full time for at least a year, or if there are schools that only require transcripts from the school from which you received your degree.
  • MomwaitingfornewMomwaitingfornew Posts: 5,821Registered User Senior Member
    Most programs require transcripts from ALL colleges attended, whether full- or part-time. If you are using those college credits to get your bachelor's degree, then there's no doubt that you must include them. Of course, different programs take different approaches to CC and first-year grades. Some will look for any excuse to reject you, while others will be impressed by your upward trajectory.

    The most important thing for you to do right now is excel from the moment you step on campus, wherever you end up.
  • CantabilenApathyCantabilenApathy Posts: 304Registered User Member
    Office of Graduate Admissions - Prepare Required Documents

    "Arrange to have two official transcripts from every postsecondary institution you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student sent directly to the department to which you are applying."

    Please let all grad schools be like Stanford.
  • ParAlumParAlum Posts: 439Registered User Member
    ^^^
    this doesn't always work for you as planned if there are gaps in the submitted transcripts
    and, most grad programs ask for ALL transcripts
  • ixingtonixington Posts: 118Registered User Junior Member
    I was accepted at Stanford (ranked #1 in my discipline), and although I attended a certain community college for only 1 month (Winter Intersession), I still sent them the transcript.

    Stanford doesn't care if you went to a community college as long as you've shown you can succeed in a research environment.

    Elitism is a myth.
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