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Undergraduate to Graduate

JebarPolskyJebarPolsky Posts: 766Registered User Member
edited June 2010 in Graduate School
Hi, I am actually still a junior in high school but the prospect of universities is freaking me out. I really hope I can get into some top Ivies but I may only get into some tier 1 schools that aren't of Ivy level in prestige.

I was wondering if I do, say, get into a university like University of Michigan (which is a great school by all means) instead of, say, UPenn then what differences would I need in terms of my GPA and work experience to get into an Ivy for graduate school?
Post edited by JebarPolsky on

Replies to: Undergraduate to Graduate

  • WilliamCWilliamC Posts: 785Registered User Member
    The short answer is no.

    The long answer depends on your major and your graduate field. Keep in mind that the Ivies are not necessarily the "best" for any given field and given a school like Michigan you'll find there are quite a few fields where UM is demonstrably "better" than even the holy trinity of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

    Read the first couple of pages of the Graduate School 101 thread - it covers all the basics of graduate admissions.
  • juilletjuillet Posts: 5,787Registered User Senior Member
    We get asked about 3-5 different permutations of this question every day.

    The University of Michigan is a *great* school - for both undergraduate and graduate programs. It has top researchers, lots of research programs, great research opportunities, lots of money for grants and all kinds of things. The University of Michigan is, for example, a far better place to go for an undergraduate psychology degree than Penn. Their psych program is in the top 5 in the nation and outranks most of the Ivies.

    You're not even in college yet. You don't know whether you'll even go to graduate school, much less what you'll be interested in doing once you get there, and without that knowledge there's no way you can begin to narrow down graduate schools. Just concentrate on doing well in your last year of high school and getting into the best college you can get into - for you. That may be Harvard, may be Michigan. Once you're a sophomore in college then you can begin to gauge your interests and what grad schools (if any!) you're interested in.
  • JebarPolskyJebarPolsky Posts: 766Registered User Member
    I already decided that Business is the path I am heading down. I want to go to Wharton for undergraduate but if I do not get in there I plan on going there for graduate studies and getting a MBA.
  • sefagosefago Posts: 1,707Registered User Senior Member
    LOL you are definitely a high school kid:

    What do you want a PhD or MBA?

    Apart from the fact that it is too early to think of these, I think if you want an MBA this is the wrong board.

    However, forget these jokers, the undergrad you went to plays an important role in any grad school you get into, even if the department in that school sucks lol. I have seen threads claiming otherwise but i usually ignore them.

    Going to williams college would get you noticed at Ivy league graduate schools, regardless of the reputation of the department- even for MIT engineering. Penn state would likely not garner that much attention even though penn state has a strong engineering program.

    As for MBA, your undergrad is supreme. :)
  • SerricSerric Posts: 119Registered User Junior Member
    When I started college I was dead-set on an B.A. in English with a minor in Business and achieving proficiency in Japanese while I completed my degree (my school didn't have a Japanese department, and I'd already gone fairly far on my own). My ultimate, immutable goal was to graduate, move to Japan, and open a chain of English/Japanese bilingual schools. This was five years ago: in three weeks, I'll be starting my Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Michigan.

    I'm not saying this to discourage you (far from it; if you have a passion, pursue it), but rather to encourage you to keep an open mind. Most people's college paths are FAR from the myth of the 'straight and narrow' with no deviations from what they'd originally planned. This isn't a bad thing, either, since you get a world of experience out of it.

    As for your original question, there's no 'magic GPA' that guarantees you admission to Ivies over other schools. Grad school, with the notable exceptions of medical/veterinary/law/professional schools, is relatively holistic: I had a relatively low GPA and little research experience, but it was offset by my letters and my statement of purpose. Some schools accepted me, some didn't, and there's no such thing as guaranteed admission. Long story short: work hard, enjoy your undergrad, and read Admissions 101 at the top of this page.

    As for sefago, he's partially right: going to a well-known school is a point in your favor (although he's an idiot for telling you to disregard the good advice of other people in this thread). It's one of the many things considered by adcoms, but not one of the top: I went to a virtually unknown school and was accepted to Michigan, along with nearly half of the schools I applied to. From both this board and people I spoke to during the process, this was a common occurrence.
  • sefagosefago Posts: 1,707Registered User Senior Member
    "As for sefago, he's partially right: going to a well-known school is a point in your favor (although he's an idiot for telling you to disregard the good advice of other people in this thread)."

    I was actually joking. But seriously i think your undergrad counts more than people give credit for. It would be more common for people with lower GPAs fro top schools to get into good PhdS. I have seen undergrads with less than 3.5 from "Top schools" get into top 5 programs
  • sefagosefago Posts: 1,707Registered User Senior Member
    ^ By the way these people did not have that exceptional research experiences
  • mochamavenmochamaven Posts: 878Registered User Member
    If it's an MBA you're after, chances are about 99% that you will not get it straight out of undergrad. Most MBA candidates go back to school after working for a few years, which is the path you'll most likely take. At that point in your career (you'll be 25 or 26 instead of 22 when you're applying) they'll look more at your work experience than they will at your GPA, and certainly than at your undergrad institution.

    And yes, I know, I know, you're "absolutely 100% dead set" on business, and there's 0 chance of you changing your mind ever since this is what you've wanted to do since you were 4, etc. But guess what? We were all 16 once, and all thought we were dead set on a career path that has long since been scratched off our list of possibilities. Most of us change our minds. I was 100% sure I was going into electoral politics, got to college and discovered I hated it. So please keep an open mind. Don't drive yourself nuts by thinking 10 years into the future.
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