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Another Low GPA Undergrad, MS in Biological Science

kirkmorgan27kirkmorgan27 0 replies1 threads New Member
Hi friends. I am a rising senior with a 2.5 GPA. I go to a top 10 university and there are several reasons its low. 1) A nine month long battle at Title IX 2) an autoimmune disease that manifested from the stress brought about by #1 and 3) the death of 2 friends and hospitalizations of 3 more. I don't like to make excuses, but the impact of those things in tandem made it difficult to perform academically.

This past quarter, I received a 3.2 even with a pandemic and a "weed-out" class for my major and I anticipate the upward trend will continue based on the classes I have selected. I have a GRE and MCAT in the 90th percentile, 3 years of research under my belt, several leadership positions, 2 research awards, as well as several professional certifications under my belt. Many programs state that they will not consider applicants under a 3.0 and I was wondering if that held true regardless of circumstance or improvement.

Do you suggest I only apply to programs that accept a 2.5? Do I apply to some that are more on par with my test scores but require a 3.0? Will programs overlook my GPA due to my strength in other areas, or will I need to speak on my experiences in undergrad?
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Replies to: Another Low GPA Undergrad, MS in Biological Science

  • PHY.PHY. 37 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Sorry I can’t contribute. But I’m in a similar boat with a 2.9 GPA. You can sort of, if you twist it, address it in your personal statement; from what I’ve read. I’m applying to grad school this fall but I’m not feeling so confident about the GRE. Don’t put yourself down, you have your reasons. Aim for the top, but also apply to schools where you think theirs more of a chance. That’s what I’m going to do.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28205 replies212 threads Senior Member
    edited July 31
    Why do you want a MS in Bio? What is your goal? Does your current "top 10" offer a terminal master's program? Have you checked with your professors for advice?

    Do you suggest I only apply to programs that accept a 2.5?

    A school that accepts a 2.5 GPA will be low ranked. Where can you go from there? (Even a high GPA from a low-ranked school is highly unlikely to get you into a high ranked funded PhD program.) Moreover, Bio majors -- of which there are thousands of grads every year -- have the worst job prospects of all STEM majors.
    Will programs overlook my GPA...

    In general, no. If they have a 3.0 minimum, they have that for a reason. Even if they would 'overlook your GPA,' the top schools have a mean accepted GPA of 3.5+, along with 'high' GRE scores, so a < 3.0 will just not be competitive.

    Good luck.
    edited July 31
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  • juilletjuillet 12849 replies165 threads Super Moderator

    This depends a lot on the program.

    Some programs are willing to 'bend the rules', so to speak, for an otherwise outstanding student with compelling reasons for their low grades. A student with three years of research experience, two research awards, high GRE scores and really, really strong letters of recommendation from professors (especially if those letters explain the circumstances behind the GPA) could, theoretically, overcome a low GPA.

    However, I will say that's usually in cases where the GPA hovers around the 3.0 mark (think like...a 2.8 to a 3.3 or so). A 2.5 is a hard sell - at that point, many programs will wonder if you have a good grasp of the requisite foundational knowledge you need to succeed.

    It's also more likely to succeed as a strategy if you put some distance, temporally speaking, between you and the 2.5. Working for a couple years after college (especially in the biological sciences) may put you in a stronger position.

    You should work with a trusted professor in your field, hopefully the one you conducted research with, to come up with a strategy.
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