No chance at grad school?

<p>I'm currently going into my senior year at a competitive university. I'm majoring in Health Science with a minor in Public health. Initially I was pre-med, so I took all of the required classes (Orgo 1&2, Physics, Calc, Cell/Molecular Bio, Physiology, etc.) Freshman and sophomore years were pretty bad and therefore my GPA is hovering at around a 2.7. Yeah, I know...It's awful. </p>

<p>I'm still hopeful about graduate school though. I've been doing research since the summer after freshman year. I worked at a lab for about 2 months, and then after that did research for a year at a Biochemistry/Molecular Bio lab, and now just ended working at another lab at Harvard for the summer in the same department (basically continued the same work I did) and now I'm getting published! I've also presented posters at two conferences. So this is really big and I'm super excited. </p>

<p>Now, assuming I do well on the GREs...I've been studying for them quite a bit and plan on taking them next month, do I have a decent chance at grad programs? I was looking to go into Cell/Molecular Biology or something of that sort. I know I'll have amazing recommendations from people at Harvard and my old lab as well so that shouldn't be an issue but will my GPA really bring me down? Will I have to take a year off? I'm not saying I won't take a year and do more research/ take grad level classes but if I can get into a decent phd program right away, I'd like that. Please help! Thank you!</p>

<p>I think you will need to take a year off. You said you’re a senior right? So bringing up your GPA a significant amount is going to be very very hard…can you get it up to a 3.0 if possible? a 3.1?</p>

<p>You have good lab experiences and lets say you do stellar on your GRE, it’s still possible of course to get into a good grad school, or any sort of grad school with a 3.0, its just very very hard. The best bet if you want to do grad school right after is to apply to schools where you have conenctions; ie where your lab mentors are and where you spent the most time.</p>

<p>If you DONT get accepted I suggest you possibly try for the NIH post bac program? It’s a 1-2 year research and training program and though it’s biomedical I saw some physics PIs that have bio medical research fused in. It may be 1-2 years longer than you wanted, but that 1-2 years will give you ANOTHER stellar recommendation.</p>

<p>Thanks, I will definitely look into the NIH program you are talking about.</p>

<p>What about applying for a masters? Would that be a good idea? And is it hard to get into masters programs?</p>

<p>What is your junior/senior GPA? There are some programs that only look at the last two years of your GPA. Such policies should be listed under admissions requirements on program Web sites.</p>

<p>And yes, I highly recommend taking a year off before applying - that way, your improved senior-year grades will be included in the GPA calculation. You are not going to get into any Ph.D programs as a senior applying with only one year of an improvement trend and a 2.7 CGPA. Frankly, it’s just not going to happen.</p>

<p>Instead of paying to start a master’s program, you should investigate work/internship opportunities in the field - research assistant, etc. Many graduate students take a year off in between - it cannot hurt and can only help your application.</p>

<p>Not necessarily. If your lab supervisors/Profs are willing and end up writing great recommendations, you write a great statement of purpose essay, and you explain your undergrad performance in a separate addendum essay well…you may still have a chance. </p>

<p>However, it will be an uphill battle and you will need to use the recs, essays, interview with potential adviser at grad school you hope to attend*, and GREs to make up for what is a low GPA. </p>

<p>Knew a few alums/classmates who managed to make into respectable PhD programs despite having GPAs in your range. They are now currently in the program or recently graduated. </p>

<li>Make sure any grad schools/potential advisers have research interests which closely match yours. If they don’t match, most grad programs/potential advisers won’t take you on…and you wouldn’t enjoy the experience if they did anyways. One friend who ended up in the latter situation at an elite university had no one who could mentor him or otherwise help him with his research interest. Ended up having to go through an ordeal to transfer to a more suitable university/department and said he’d have wasted his time if he had remained in the initial school’s program.</li>

<p>So you guys think that if I took a year off and got a research assistant job in a respectable lab, that I could get in the following year? I was thinking that along with that I’d take some graduate level classes to show them that I CAN actually do well in school. Maybe if I got As in those classes it would overcome my undergrad GPA.</p>

<p>Thanks for all of this information!</p>

<p>Those would all be good steps that would improve your chances of being accepted somewhere in the following year. Your application would be much stronger.</p>