I will finish my 4 year bachelors program next year, in a total of 5 years.

I had failed many many courses in 2nd year and my cgpa was around 2.4

Then I had that enlightenment and decided to become an academic. Since then, I have increased my cgpa to over 3.5 and turned all F's to A's. For last 3 semesters I get averagely 3.9 gpa each semester

I still have some C's in few courses from 2nd year and instead of graduating this year, I will graduate next year.

I have managed to boost my cgpa amazingly after such things but I want to know if this extra year will cause me any trouble during Ph.D. applications.

  • 4
    cgpa was around 2.4 — A CHALLENGER APPEARS
    – JeffE
    Jul 18, 2013 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


This sort of thing should be explained in the cover letter. This trend is pretty common; freshmen enter college ready to party, realize halfway through that their grades are actually important, and then buckle down and do good work for the rest. You simply need to state that, despite your initial behavior, you are fully committed to your education. Given a 3.5 GPA at the end, I don't imagine you would have too much trouble.

Do note that this will vary as a function of the universities to which you apply; some may take a harsher view than others. Still, you have a good explanation for the one bad year, so it shouldn't post too much of a problem for you.

  • 1
    Just want to point out my opinion here - Excuses is not the same as explanation.
    – user107
    Jul 17, 2013 at 19:08
  • 1
    @Nunoxic - That's a very valid point. I wouldn't try to put lipstick on this pig, so to speak; acknowledge that your freshman/sophmore year was bad, and simply point to your improvement in the remaining years as evidence of your new attitude.
    – eykanal
    Jul 17, 2013 at 19:20
  • 1
    Lipstick on a pig. Hehehe. I like that.
    – user107
    Jul 17, 2013 at 19:39

PhD programs do not just look at your GPA(well they do look at it, though!). They want to know that you will be a successful candidate. They put more weightage on your research experience and its novelty. They would look at your research interests that you have mentioned. They want to know that you can bear the stress of the PhD life. They want to see what is your career orientation, what do you intend to do with a PhD degree in hand. They want to see how you and your research would help in the progress of their program and institute as whole. They want to make sure they aren't wasting their resources in a bad investment(you) which is avoidable.

Show them that you are worth it. If you can prove that you will be successful in your PhD, you will get it. People have good and bad times. Good times are good, no one questions them. The question is how did you and how well did you handle the bad times.

You brought your your GPA up again, which is a good sign. Make sure it doesn't gets neglected. Mention the bad times and its challenges that you overcame, in your cover letter/personal statement/essay.

If you really want it, you will get it. Good Luck! :)

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