Having a crisis need advice on admissions.

<p>I am a in my first semester at U.C. Berkeley as a Junior transfer. My CC lower division GPA was 3.9.</p>

<p>My intention is to seek admission in a top graduate program for Political Theory or Political Philosophy.</p>

<p>I am currently working toward a double major Philosophy and ISF:International Political Theory.</p>

<p>However, I am doing terribly in two of my classes. I received a B+ on my first paper in a Political Science course and a B on my first paper in Political Philosophy. I am discovering there is a format and formula that it is best to follow in the department on Philosophy papers so I expect to improve in the future as I conform to the model.</p>

<p>Though it is theoretically possible to pull A- in both classes my current trend, and the very few A range grades offered (very very few in Philosophy particularly) makes that kind of turnaround very unlikely.</p>

<p>So, I am considering a few options:</p>

<li>Changing Political Philosophy to Pass/Fail but try to stay on track and hope to address the "B" in my graduate admissions letter.</li>
<li>Eating the B/B+ I anticipate getting in Political Philosophy but dropping Philosophy as a major and picking up Political Science so the "B" would be outside my major (though as a Political Theory focus it will still likely be relevant and hurt my chances significantly). This would also mean I could not expect to get in a Philosophy graduate program since they rarely take non-philosophy undergrads.</li>
<li>Deciding I am simply not good at this and do a MA in international relations and just work in the field.</li>

<p>My non-academic work experience and credentials, particularly for Political Science are pretty solid.
THe ISF major will require a research thesis so I will have had an opportunity to develop a relationship with a faculty member in the field who will be able to provide a strong letter of recommendation (assuming I don't screw that up to).
I do not anticipate my GRE scores to be low. My practice LSAT scores have been in the 172-176 range (originally I was interested in JD/PhD program in Theory and Law).</p>

<p>What does the forum recommend to help put this in perspective? Is a "B" a deal breaker? Is a P/F as bad or worse? Assuming a 3.3-3.5 GPA first semester does that already put me out of range for a top 5 program? Top 10?</p>

<p>Up until this semester my focus was on getting into Berkeley. I have not yet developed a full understanding of the graduate admissions process.</p>

<p>A " B" is not a deal breaker, so relax… DS [ a 5th year Sr at USC] was just accepted by Cal Tech for a PHD in Geophysics . His major GPA was 3.75 and overall was 3.5.+
Put your focus on doing better in class, now that you know what to look for, and if it takes a little longer for you to graduate[ and you can afford to stay longer] then find out how to do as much research, with the BEST profs available at UC as you can. Graduate schools dont care if you get your BA in 4 or 5 years. LOR’s are THE single most important factor for those applying to PHD programs.</p>

<p>Philosophy and poly sci are quite different. So it depends what you’re looking for.</p>

<p>Have you talked with the prof about your grade? I agree about taking your time. Philosophy, contrary to expectations of some on here, has a very specific and rigorous format and it grades hard. So don’t be too discouraged about the B. It’s not great but it’s perfectly respectable.</p>

<p>1st semester transfer from a CC to an amazing university and you’re discouraged by a B on your very first paper?!? Don’t be!!! It’s not only a single grade (not even a final course grade), but you’ve got several semesters left. I’ll be the first to admit that I sweat every time I get a poor grade, but if you acknowledge the fact that a lot of grad programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences report average GPA of admits around 3.8, then you can easily determine that the average course grade is an A-. You’re doing perfectly well, and bound to improve…the transition from CC to Uni is not easy for anyone, and the transfer to a top Uni is even worse (I speak from experience).</p>

<p>Use the knowledge you’ve gained about the format and formula your department expects to continue improving your papers and be grateful you’re doing as well as you are.</p>

<p>well unfortunately, by transferring to Cal for undergrad, you drastically diminish your chances to stay there for grad school. The UCs prefer that you go to a different campus for grad.</p>

<p>Philosophy at Cal is tough. Much tougher than any juco Phil course, and coursework in that department can be more rigorous than that offered at some other colleges. A B+ on your first paper is great. Keep it up.</p>

<p>The UCs prefer that you go to a different campus for grad.</p>

<p>Evidence for this?</p>

<p>In any case, as others have said, a B is considered a good grade and is nothing to worry about nor to explain in your graduate school application. I would also argue that the statement of purpose is the single most important component of your application, but I think it really depends on the school whether your LoR or SoP is of more importance.</p>