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Elite Engineering GPA

IntergalacticIntergalactic Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
I've noticed that some "good" graduate schools and organizations (like Tau Beta Pi) for engineers require a 3.8 GPA to gain entry to them. Does a 3.8 serve as a cutoff to separate the elite students from the good students?

Replies to: Elite Engineering GPA

  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,422 Forum Champion
    No. Most "elite" students (if you really insist on calling them that) get research experience. Any "elite" graduate school will be a lot more wowed by undergraduate research prowess than by a GPA.
  • jimmyboy23jimmyboy23 Registered User Posts: 608 Member
    I think GPA goes something along the lines of:

    3.0 = decent job, was able to complete the degree and you are fairly competent

    3.5 = You can get a good job or graduate school and you're highly motivated and competent

    3.75 = what you would consider "elite", in the top of your class and you can basically choose where you go from there.
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Forum Champion Engineering Posts: 7,422 Forum Champion
    I must have missed that memo when I got into a few top 10 grad school programs with a 3.3 GPA as an undergrad.

    Seriously... research experience.
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,275 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Does a 3.8 serve as a cutoff to separate the elite students from the good students?
    "Elite student" and "good student" are not terms with fixed and universal definitions. TBP divides student by GPA because it has to efficiently divide the entire engineering class and pass judgment - what faster but still plausible measure would they use?

    Grad schools and employers are both more holistic, and will consider experience and references to often be more important, depending on their exact needs. So the real question is "who's cutoff are we talking about and why are they using it in the first place?"

    Incidentally, TBP does not have a national GPA cutoff - rather, each chapter is constrained to offer admission to no more than a certain percentage of students. Most departments simply figure out the GPA that corresponds to the cutoff percentages and admit those students, but some impose more restrictive requirements. So if your chapter has a 3.8 cutoff, then that is either the top Xth percentile or else they have just decided to be more selective, as I am pretty sure that 3.8 is higher than the majority of TBP members have.
  • da6onetda6onet Registered User Posts: 653 Member
    I am the Initiation Chair for my school's TBP chapter, thought I would chime in. The academic portion of membership eligibility are top 1/8th of Juniors or top 1/5th of Seniors (top 1/5th for 2nd year or higher grad students) in engineering. So there is no strict GPA cutoff as @cosmicfish‌ mentioned.

    I haven't done an exact head count, but a definite majority of our members are involved in undergraduate research, and as far as I know nearly all of those are aiming for graduate school immediately after graduation and a smaller set wanting to gain more work experience before going. There are those who haven't done any undergrad research but still intend to go to graduate school. I see great difficulty in their decision making process because they aren't really certain what they'd like to accomplish in grad school or often have unrealistic ideas about what it will be like (they'll spout off an article they read about for an idea but haven't put in the work to understand it fully).

    Perhaps the biggest advantage I see in this self selecting group for grad school apps is their common ability to garner faculty recommendations. The good students not working directly in some professor's lab. may have impressed them elsewhere such as a long term project (i.e. honors program) that they have presented successfully.
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