Low GPA for grad school

So here I am, a rising senior at NYU. So NYU was a stretch for me, but I got in 3 years ago with a 3,4 GPA and 31 ACT. Now that I’m on my last year, I’m stating to think about grad schools. My GPA is on the low side, 3.2 and going to graduate from NYU CAS with a major in Psychology and double minor in Business Studies and Sociology. I also work part time as an intern and have been working since summer of my sophomore year. I work about 20 hours a week.

Do I stand a chance at top 50/75 grad schools? How is a 3.2 GPA viewed from an admissions standpoint? Thanks!!!

For what degree?

Hi @collegemom3717. I was thinking MA in Psychology, or Organizational Psychology, or Sociology or Human Development. Thank you!

Admission to a top 50 to top 75 graduate school for a masters in psychology is not difficult. You should be fine with a 3.2 GPA.

It is true that there is overlap in the Venn diagram of those four directlons- but it’s not as big as you might think, and the starting incomes in most of the relevant fields are known for being relatively low.

Of course, If your parents have paid for NYU (so not debt), and are able & willing to pay the fees and support you while you do another degree, you may feel that those are not important factors.

However, ime, doing a Masters b/c you aren’t sure what you want to do and you know that you will want/need a Masters at some point can end up with wasted time, effort & $$.

Look at the programs you are considering in more detail, including both what you study and where the graduates typically go with their degrees. If you haven’t worked/done a relevant internship, do that before choosing a grad program. Knowing more about what you want from your degree will help you choose a program that fits you. For example, if you are thinking that you want to work in a clinical setting, you will want a program with a lot of clinical placements.


Thanks for your responses @Publisher @collegemom3717.

To be very honest, my real goal is to go to law school but I know my 3.2 GPA is too low for that and I have to crush the LSAT! So probably no chance.

My internship since June 2020 is in legal and HR. I work about 20 hours a week and I’ve got some great projects under my belt (from example I rolled out an ethics training program for the whole company).

I’m really interested in the corporate setting and not clinical, so more like industrial psychology or labor relations. Will I stand a chance at the top ones? Some of the top industrial relations/org psych programs are Cornell, NYU, Columbia, Northwestern, University of Illinois, Purdue. I’m really lucky that I don’t have any student loans, and my grandmother pays for my education.

What can I do to stand a chance ? Would really appreciate any thoughts.

There are 200 ABA approved law schools. Although a 3.2 GPA is too low for a top 40 law school, you should have a lot of options if willing to attend a non-top 40 law school.

If you break 160 on the LSAT, you will have plenty of options for law school. If you score in the high 150s on the LSAT, you will still have options for law school.

The problem that you are likely to face with respect to law school is the cost. If you get a high LSAT score, you might be offered scholarship money at some law schools.

With respect to a masters in psychology, relevant work experience should help.

You are putting the cart before the horse. The process of finishing college and starting the next chapter is challenging by it’s nature, and avoiding the challenging part by jumping to the next thing without doing the hard thinking work only postpones the reckoning.

So, do the hard thinking work: why is your real goal law school? What about law school / being a lawyer attracts you? Once you have diploma, what will you do with it? I’m not asking you to answer here- this is for you! so, be honest with yourself, and include things that you might not like to say out loud (such as, there’s somebody I want to impress, I’ve told everybody that’s what I’m going to do and it will be embarrassing to change my mind, lawyers make a lot of money, somebody told me I would never make it, etc). The more you understand about why you want that specific qualification the better. Consider why, if that’s truly what you want, you aren’t in a law-oriented internship now? Then look at your current internship/job: what do you like about it? what have you learned about how you work, about environments that suit you better/less well? Work your way through all the thought pathways that these questions start you down, before you waste your time, waste your profs time, and your grandmother’s money getting a degree you aren’t committed to.

Unless you can get into a top-40 law school or your state’s top public law school, I would pass on law school. The top state law school should be able to place the top half of their graduates in good jobs and instate tuition won’t kill you with debt.

‘Among top 100 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, the one with the highest gap between earnings and debt is the University of Miami School of Law. Students there who used federal loans borrowed a median of $163,000. Two years after graduation, half were earning $59,000 or less, according to the Wall Street Journal.’

Yeah, I also wouldn’t recommend going to law school unless you get into a top 40 program. Sure, there are a lot of law schools, but all of them will require significant debt and most of them don’t have job prospects that will allow you to repay that debt.

Industrial/organizational psychology is actually one of the few psychology fields in which it’s good to get a master’s - there’s a good amount of work in that field.

Once one is beyond the top 14 law schools, the difference between a law school ranked number 40 versus number 140 is geography = where one would like to practice law after graduating law school.

“…but all of them will require significant debt…” is incorrect. Many law schools offer significant scholarships to applicants with above median numbers for that particular law school whether ranked #14 or #144. Any applicant with reasonable numbers can have the opportunity to attend law school either tuition free or for a low fee. Additionally,many lower ranked public law schools are very inexpensive for state residents & offer opportunities to those who want to practice in that state.