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Sometimes, a low GPA is just a speed bump.
If you’re thinking about grad school but your GPA isn’t at the level you want it to be, you might feel like you’re out of luck. But that’s not true! Here are some tips for how to get into grad school with a low GPA:
- Make sure your grades are up to date.
If your grades are still lingering in the past, it might be time to submit an updated transcript. If your college doesn’t automatically send updated transcripts after every term, you’ll need to follow up with them and ask them to do so.
- Apply in the right academic year.
You can apply for admission in many different academic years—just make sure yours isn’t too far away from when you would start school if accepted! For example, if you’ve been accepted into a Master’s program and will have finished your Bachelor’s degree by the end of 2020, but won’t finish until 2021 or 2022 because of summer breaks or time off between semesters or quarters, then apply for admission in 2020 instead of 2021 or 2022 so that you have time to prepare for classes before starting school full-time in 2021 or 2022.
Getting into grad school with a low gpa
One of the biggest things that you can do to keep your spirits up is to know that you are not alone. You may think that you’re the only one applying to grad school with a low GPA, but this isn’t true at all. It’s common for students in college to have lower GPAs than they would like, and there are many who find themselves in the same position as you.
It’s important to remember that no matter what your GPA was in college or what other factors might be working against you right now, there is always hope for success!
Pay close attention to each school’s requirements.
You’ll want to start by making sure the schools you’re applying to are realistic in their requirements. Some schools require a GPA that’s well above what you’ve been getting, and others will accept lower GPAs but with higher GRE scores or other qualifications. Pay close attention to each school’s requirements and make sure that you can meet them before you apply.
If applied appropriately, this strategy will help decrease the number of applications you need to worry about while increasing your chances of being accepted at the schools that are right for you.
Find a strong reference.
You should also work to build a good relationship with the teachers you have. If you have had these professors for multiple years, there’s no time like the present to start working on it now.
Talk to them about your desire to go back to school, and explain why this is important for your future goals. Ask if they would be willing to provide a reference if requested by graduate schools or employers in the future.
Be prepared to talk about why your GPA was low.
When you’re meeting with a grad school admissions officer, it’s important to be prepared for the inevitable questions about your GPA. Your response should show that you are self-aware and have taken responsibility for your low GPA, but that you also want to talk about how it has positively affected you.
For example: “My GPA was low because I took classes at the same time as my full-time job.” Or: “I had difficulty adjusting to the new coursework, so I’m happy that my grades have improved since then.” It’s also okay—and even encouraged—to explain how your low GPA has helped shape who you are today and what motivates/interests/inspires/excites/piques your intellectual curiosity in grad school.
Discuss your successes.
When you meet with your grad school admissions committee, you should be prepared to discuss your successes. This is the time to make clear that you’re responsible and a good student, as well as to show that you’re qualified, driven and confident.
It’s important that the admissions committee understands why they should admit someone who has bad grades on their transcript. So explain how hard it was for you to maintain good grades in college even though there were extenuating circumstances that prevented them from being higher. For example: “I had many responsibilities outside of school which took up most of my time.” Or “I worked 50 hours per week during college so I didn’t have much time left over for studying.”
Focus on what you’ve learned from your mistakes.
While it’s natural to feel frustrated about your low GPA, don’t let it get you down. In fact, you should use this as an opportunity to talk about how you’ve grown as a person and what you’ve learned from past mistakes—and that’s something that can be reflected in your grad school application essay!
Talk about how you’ve raised your GPA.
If your GPA is still below a 3.0, you may have to prove that you’ve made significant improvements in your academic performance. How do you go about proving this?
- Show how you’ve raised your GPA over time.
- Focus on improvement and not just the numbers.
- Talk about why these changes are important to you, and how they will help you in grad school.
Know why you want to go to graduate school and be able to explain it clearly and specifically.
If you are thinking about going to graduate school, it’s important that you know why. You need a good reason for wanting to continue your studies. Graduate school is not just an easy way to get a degree and become employed; it’s also an opportunity for personal growth and professional development.
If you can’t clearly explain why you want to go to graduate school, then there’s no point in continuing this conversation. Instead of focusing on how much fun it might be or how much money could be earned with a graduate degree, focus on what makes this opportunity right for your life right now. What is the purpose behind pursuing advanced education? What do you hope to accomplish with this extra training?
Grad schools often accept students with a lower GPA, particularly if they’ve shown great improvement or have other relevant experience or characteristics
As you look around at your peers and the career paths they have chosen, you may feel that your GPA is too low to get into a graduate program. But don’t despair! You might be surprised by how many grad schools will accept students with lower GPAs, particularly if they’ve shown great improvement or have other relevant experience or characteristics. Many are interested in finding and admitting individuals who want to pursue their passion for learning and research—and who can contribute meaningfully to their programs.
Here are five reasons why your low GPA doesn’t have to keep you from getting into a graduate program:
- The school wants students who will succeed: Graduate schools are looking for applicants with passion for their field of study, dedication to learning new skills and knowledge, ability to work well with others (including faculty members), willingness to contribute positively within the community (e.g., provide volunteer service), etc. If these traits describe you, admissions officers may overlook your grades if they see evidence that they won’t stand in the way of success at this school or any other one!