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Question #89450 posted on 04/24/2017 6 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board Alumni/Any Writer,

I think I'm going to get a C- in one of my classes--as a junior who wants to apply to grad school in the fall, this is making me panic. I've heard of people not doing well freshman year and recovering but am worried this is going to kill my application (GPA is now a 3.5). So Board writers who are in/went to grad school, did any of you get a bad grade in a class? Did you end up a homeless failure in a cardboard box? Please say no

-My Name Here


Hello Kitty,

I got a D in my last semester. But, you know. D's get degrees except in my case I was only allowed to get one D, I think. Here's the full disclosure for you:

[A, A], [P, A, A, A, A, A, A], [A, A, A, A, A, A, A-], [A, A-, A], [mission], [B+, A, A-, A, A-, A], [A, B+, B+, B, A, A], [A, B, A, B-, B-, W, A], [A, B, W, W, W, W, A], [B+, B-, A, P], [A-, A-, A, B-, C, P], [B-, A, B, D, A-], [B+]

It's a fun way to visualize my depression as a timeline.



Dear MNH:

I flunked out my last semester, had to retake all those classes four years later, ended up with a 3.2 overall. Got admitted to the #35 graduate program for my discipline. (I did have basically perfect GREs.)

The homeless failure phase is clearly going to come after I take out six-figure loans for an English degree and follow some dude out to San Francisco. Remember, it can always get worse before it gets worse!

--Portia, motivationally  


Dear MNH,

I got a B+ last semester. That's a bad grade, right? Oh, you mean before I got into grad school? No, I never got anything lower than an A.

Wait, was this supposed to be motivational? Oops. Sorry.

-The Entomophagist


Dear reader,

I failed two classes at BYU. One was during my freshman year, before my mission. The other was during my junior year (my third out of five years, that is). I don't remember the rest of my grades, but they were a mix of mostly good and occasionally very bad. I barely passed a required stats class in my last semester at BYU, and until I actually saw my grade I was afraid I might have failed it. My final GPA was 3.37. Because I completely mishandled the job search process, I was unemployed upon graduation and was still unemployed when I submitted my graduate school applications several months later.

I applied to two schools, and I was accepted to one of them. I'm currently studying at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and I believe this is exactly where I should be.

There are a lot of factors that go into graduate school admission. My GRE scores probably helped me, for instance. But for most programs, I don't think any one factor is so important that it overrides everything else. One bad mark on your application won't invalidate all of the good parts. And honestly, if a C- is the worst grade on your transcript and your GPA is still in the A range, then you're in better shape than a lot of your competition.

I won't tell you not to worry, because grad school applications are something that should be worried over. But don't let the worry get out of hand. The worst-case scenario right now is that you are an average applicant, and average applicants get admitted to at least one of the schools they apply to most of the time. And honestly, from what you've told us, I suspect you'll do even better than that.

Keep working hard, and best of luck. You're doing better than you think.



Dear grad aspirant,

I got a couple of C's during my undergrad, one in Econ 110 and one in a New Testament class. But I got into BYU's MA program and I'll be headed off to a highly-ranked PhD program in the fall. So far, no one has put up a fuss about my grades.

Given the employment rate in my field, though, the cardboard box may still lie somewhere in my future.

Yours, &c.

Heidi Book


Dear you,

Do you know what they say to a person with a bunch of Cs on his transcript? "Give that man a degree!"

In all seriousness, getting a whole buncha Cs (like every major class in my last three semesters) did not hinder me in the slightest. I got into a good grad school and got a great job off the bat. Now, no one even wants to see my transcripts other than to prove that I do indeed have a degree.

With experience,

The Man with a Mustache


Dear person,

It will depend on your program. A 3.5 GPA is decently competitive in most fields from what I understand, but I can't be certain about what you need because I have no idea what your field is. If I were you, I would move on with my life, make sure I apply to programs where my GPA is about average/at least considered competitive, and just be prepared to explain the grade should anyone ask you about it. 



Dear Friend,

I got a D- in a core class for my undergrad major (psych statistics) and a C- or something like that in a couple other classes. Turns out my grades were just fine to graduate and get into grad school. I got my Master's a couple years back in Computer Science, I'm a Major in the USAF and will pass 11 years this week. You'll be fine. In the immortal words of Ok Go, this too shall pass.

::: Latro :::