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What to do about appalling undergrad grades?

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What to do about appalling undergrad grades? [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 02:16
Looking through my undergrad transcript in preparation for the application process, I was reminded of my rather appalling grades.

I double majored in Sociology and Economics... my Sociology GPA was in the 3.7 area, while my Economics GPA hovered at barely 3.0. A lot of my econ classes (the quant ones) were in the Cs.

On the flipside, for my MBA, my quant classes (Finance, Accounting, Research methodology) are in the 90s. My GMAT scores aren't outstanding, but my quant actually also outstripped my verbal.

Granted, during college I was really one of those that believed "Grades don't matter, as long as you get at least a C"... so I didn't really study. It was in my MBA that I actually worked my butt off for my grades.

I know most schools allow you to write a supplementary essay that "brings to our attention anything not immediately apparent in your transcript or application material." Should I write one such essay to explain what happened? Or let my application material speak for itself?

Much thanks on any comments or suggestions!
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 10:52
Don't emphasize your undergrad grades in a separate essay. If you have a good reason, you may want to briefly explain (like in 1 or 2 sentences) why your U GPA is such-and-such. You may want to also draw the attention to the improved graduate GPA (although I'm not sure if the grad courses that you have mentioned are "quantitative enough" for PhD).

Do be prepared for questions during your interview. I had mainly As and Bs for my undergrad (not graduate work), and I was asked "Why were your grades as such?" (the underlying question was why didn't I get more As).
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 18:41
agree with tkkoh...
mention the improvement - not the past low scores.
also - depending on your interest - this might not be an issue at all - but be prepared to talk about it. don't write an extra essay....use it for something more positive.
after all this application should convince them of 2 things:
1) you have all what it takes to become a great researcher
2) you fit the specific program. you have some value to add to it, which makes you a better candidate for this program over other candidates.

so use all the space you have to support these.
a friend told me (when i started my applications and considered to "explain" some of the weaker aspects of my application): "don't spend words talking about the downsides of the application. they will find them without your help".

good luck...
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 18:50
another thought on this matter:

when explaining your career goals in the SOP you can add a sentence like:
"once I became more focused on research, towards the end of my undergrad studies, I invested some efforts in improving my research skills, bith quantitative and qualitative"

in my opinion - this will do (but it has to make sense with what's coming before and after)
don't mention a reason for the low grades... it will dig your own grave...
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 21:55
hobbit wrote:

snip.

a friend told me (when i started my applications and considered to "explain" some of the weaker aspects of my application): "don't spend words talking about the downsides of the application. they will find them without your help".



Gotcha. Focus on the strengths instead.
  [#permalink] 24 Aug 2007, 21:55
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