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Does your graduate school GPA matter?

MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 2,810 Senior Member
My daughter will be starting grad school in 2018 (she was supposed to start this year, but took a deferment due to mental and physical health challenges.) The physical issues are mostly resolved, but she has suffered from anxiety disorder her entire adult life. In spite of this, she graduated summa cum laude from a well-regarded LAC, even though the stress practically killed her.

The only reason she is going to grad school is because she needs this specific degree to launch her career. She is not a slacker, and absorbs knowledge very quickly and easily, but gets very stressed about having to do things perfectly. I've told her that all she really needs to do in grad school is get Bs and pass. (I don't even remember my grad school GPA, and yet the degree got me my first job after earning my master's). I don't think there is much measurable difference in acquired knowledge in someone who graduates with a 3.0 vs one who ends up with a 4.0.

Does this make sense? I know it would be devastating to her to give up on a dream just because she felt she couldn't measure up to some self-inflicted standard. My concern is that she will start school, and then all of the stress and anxiety from her college and high school years will come roaring back. She has this concern as well, which is why I am posting here.

And yes, she has a therapist and yes, she is on medication, and yes, she exercises, and yes, she has friends and support, and yes,....you get the picture.


Replies to: Does your graduate school GPA matter?

  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,376 Senior Member
    Is this a terminal master's program? a professional graduate degree? a Ph.D. program? What field of study?
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 2,810 Senior Member
    Terminal master's. Divinity.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,376 Senior Member
    In that case I would say GPA is not critical, unless it were near the cutoff level for continuing in the program.
  • college_querycollege_query Registered User Posts: 3,993 Senior Member
    My H is clergy - I don’t think anyone has ever considered his MDiv GPA! As stated, just needs to do well enough to continue in the program.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,542 Senior Member
    @TomSrOfBoston, I'm curious how your answer would vary if it where a PhD program, and how field of study would affect your answer for PhD students.
  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 11,376 Senior Member
    @intparent If a Ph.D. student has a GPA hovering around the minimum required there is a chance that she will not pass the qualifying exams, at least not on the first attempt. Also less than stellar performance in doctoral coursework may make faculty less willing to be the student's dissertation supervisor. That would apply for Ph.D. students regardless of field.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,206 Senior Member
    edited October 21
    A lot of it depends on what attributes potential employers look to for when hiring. For example my D is in grad school living with two friends and they are all studying very different things -- for her friend in law school GPA is very important in determining what type of firm a she will get a job at, GPA doesn't seem to be as critical for my D who is studying speech pathology, and her friend in a master's program in writing takes all of her classes P/F. I think your D will have to figure out what is needed to find employment she will be happy with in her area of study.

    I am so happy your D is doing well and hope she has a great and relatively stress-free experience in grad school.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,509 Senior Member
    You need to check the policy of the program. My masters required a 3.0 to be maintained (actually...so did my undergrad), but in MY masters program you could NOT get more than one C grade. If you did...you were asked t9 withdraw.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 2,706 Senior Member
    My daughter said that if she gets below a B- in any class, that will be considered failing and she'll have to withdraw. Ouch!
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,675 Senior Member
    edited October 21
    It does matter in general, but I have no clue about divinity programs.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,206 Senior Member
    Yes....I should add that in my S's master's program a 3.0 cumulative GPA was needed for graduation and in my D's master's program one needs to earn a C+ or better in a course to get credit. That said, it sounded to me like the professors were all aware of these parameters and seem to grade accordingly.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 2,810 Senior Member
    Thanks, all! I'm not concerned about her flunking out--she's never made a C in her life. The issue is that she should feel permission to let herself make a bunch of Bs if that's what she needs to do to stay sane. Her "all As or else" attitude in the past was seriously unhealthy.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 2,706 Senior Member
    I understand your concern about her "all As or else" attitude. That might result in a stressful grad school experience.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 2,706 Senior Member
    My point is that knowing that As are not necessary is unlikely, on its own, to reduce your daughter's anxiety.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,649 Senior Member
    I got a master's and then went looking for a job. There is only one company ever that has asked me what my grades were. This was Bell Labs, which of course hasn't existed for years. When I got my master's there was someone else in the program who had pretty much straight B's. I am pretty sure that she got a good job immediately after graduation.

    If she might want to get a PhD after her master's then grades will matter. Otherwise I don't think that they will matter at all as long as she has the grades to graduate.

    There is the old saying: What do you call someone who gets an MD degree with all B's and C's? Answer: Doctor.
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