So, I'm currently an upcoming sophomore in undergrad and my grades during freshman year weren't the best. I got a F during my second semester which gave me an overall freshman GPA of 2.9

I'm not too worried about the GPA since I still have time to improve it. However, the F on the transcript is really stressing me out. As of now, my school says I cannot retake and replace the F on the transcript.

Even if I increase my GPA to at least a 3.7 but still have 1 F on my transcript, how badly will if affect my chances of getting into a good grad school or getting internships?

  • Until you know where you will be applying, then there is no definitive answer. – Solar Mike May 20 '19 at 9:05
  • Also, nonacademic internships are off topic. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 19 '19 at 11:06

DISCLAIMER: This is based on my personal opinion.

I am studying in the UK, I failed a module during the second year of my undergraduate. I couldn't re-sit the module and took it on the chin.

I eventually worked extra hard and got a First class degree.

I went onto graduate school, MSc and PhD.

The grades are important, the Professors I spoke to told me, and it seemed to be the first thing they asked about, BUT, the average always appeared much more important for admissions etc.

You're not a robot, you can have a couple of bad grades.

Just keep working hard to get that GPA up!

The honest answer is yes it will have an impact, some firms or schools only want the perfect students, but for the majority, the overall average will have a bigger impact!

  • Actually, I wouldn't say the "overall average", but rather the "overall record". It goes beyond mere grades. – Buffy Jun 19 '19 at 11:09
  • @Buffy great addition! – Francis Origi Jun 19 '19 at 13:32

Good grades help you getting accepted, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient. What you need to do to get an academic position is to convince your prospective advisor that you are up to the task and can do a good job. Having good grades is but one argument in the whole list of arguments you ought to have. It is way more important that the prospective advisor gets to see you and get a feeling whether you would be able to work together well. Hence, I would recommend, if you can, to always get an appointment with a professor before you apply for anything. Talk to him/her and get yourself known (and also get to know them!). Then, an application is much easier and you will also know what you should focus on. This way you will not only know what the professor cares for, but also whether you are able to fulfill the requirements.

TL;DR: a failed course or two don't matter, as long as you know the stuff the prospective advisor cares about.

But: After you graduated (MSc or PhD) things take largely different dynamics. Grades are then far less important than what kind of output you produced and what kind of knowledge you gained and, more importantly, retained. Grades then become only something looked at, if there is nothing else to judge someone on. But if that happens, you've lost already.

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