How to Get Into Graduate School with a “Low” GPA

Eller PDC Coach's Corner

By Matt Lehrer, Eller Career Coach

Solutions Concept

Most top ranked graduate programs prefer a GPA of 3.5 or better.  While there is no guarantee you can attend graduate school with a sub 3.0 GPA, here are some suggestions that might improve your chances:

*Try to achieve good grades in the remaining classes in your major, upper division classes or classes in your intended area of graduate study.  Graduate Admissions Committees will pay attention to an upswing in your grades or a definitive turn-around

*Acquiring research experience can enhance your chances of acceptance

*Ace the GRE (or GMAT, LSAT or MCAT).

*Work on your writing skills.  A well written statement of purpose will better impress graduate admission reviewers

*If you are a re-entry student, or had a break in your education, think about the skills you acquired and what you learned while not in school.

*Be realistic in your school selection.  Apply to programs that take your whole application into account.  Some schools look for hard numbers, while others assess applications based more on intangibles

*Don’t underestimate your relationships – making a connection with a faculty member may enhance your chance of admission.

The lesson:  Don’t let your undergraduate GPA squash your dream of getting into graduate school.  Grades are not the only deciding factor, and there are ways you can emphasize your strengths to avoid getting rejected based on a low GPA.