Does A C+ Ruin My Chances For Harvard's History Graduate Program?

I know these types of questions probably elicit an eye roll and sigh from most people on these threads, but humor me. I’m a freshman at Amherst College and I’m also a history and government major. Up until now, I’ve had straight A’s in every class, but I dropped the ball on a final for my International Relations class this semester and I got a C+. How bad is that going to look when I eventually apply to Harvard for their history graduate program? I plan on getting all A’s from here forward (that would put my GPA at around 3.94 by the end of college). I know a lot of other factors go into getting into the program, obviously, because they take about 20 people per year- but strictly speaking in regards to grades, will my C+ be overlooked? I’m even willing to retake the class and get a higher grade later on in my college career.

I mean the only person who can answer this correctly, tbh, is a Harvard admissions officer

I guess so, I’m banking on the fact that since it’s a government class and I’m applying to a history PHD they probably wouldn’t put too much weight on it

My daughter went to Amherst, got a C+ in Biochem. Still got admitted to 9 med schools. Don’t sweat the small stuff. There is much more to a graduate school application than 1 grade.


Don’t worry about it. And don’t spend the next 4 years of college stressing about getting perfect grades Not worth it. (Also, as a freshman, I would not overplan your life and hope you can still be open to various possible paths. )

It doesn’t have to be Harvard either: there are many schools with great grad programs in history. Maybe wait to see what your focus might be and what faculty you might want to work with, and talk with peers and faculty at Amherst- when you are closer to applying.


Don’t focus on the C+, unless you’re able to identify something that tripped you up, that you can avoid in the future. Just look forward. You’re at Amherst! Enjoy it. Get the most you can out of it. Don’t worry about getting into grad school. After four years of working your tail off to get into a top college, it’s time to let go of that, and focus on learning, rather than compiling a record for the next application.


The reality is…you’ve gotten only an A til now. Well you’re just a first year. You don’t know what will happen. You have three more years.

Enjoy college. Don’t stress out. Heaven forbid if you end up at UMass instead of Harvard, life will go on.

You don’t know what the future holds. That’s what’s exciting about it.

Stop thinking so far ahead. Enjoy your current experience. All will work out for you how it’s supposed to, whether that includes Harvard or not.

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Hi! I was just reading this thread, and saw that your daughter was admitted to 9 medical schools. Congratulations to her! Can I ask, what was her GPA? And MCAT? My daughter got a C+ in Intensive organic chemistry in freshman year, and is very disappointed in her performance. She is planning to apply to medical school. She also has two Bs, and the rest is As. Thank you.