I'm a sophomore undergrad and I'm thinking of applying to research interns in various labs for the following summer. I do not have an excellent GPA because my freshman year had been a mess due to various reasons. I'm however working/planning to work on self/supervised projects currently which I believe might make up for the "why I'm fit" part. But, I still feel bad about my grades. It's also that most of them have nothing to do with my actual major (Computer Science) and the intern I'm applying to. This is because students of all engineering majors at my university do common courses in their freshman year. I did slightly improve my grades from the first semester to the second but they're still far below what I want. Usually, students from my batch who get interns at excellent labs have 9.5+/10 GPA, I'm merely slightly above 8.

I think that I might lose many opportunities just due to my GPA, as it demonstrates my inability to learn or focus even if the courses taken aren't really relevant (except few basic ones) but are easier to score in. Should I bother explaining my GPA in my cover letter? If yes, how can I put it so that it doesn't seem like they're just excuses to my supposed lazy-ness? Is there any other way of going about this situation?

  • Related academia.stackexchange.com/questions/29085/…
    – Iceberry
    Oct 30, 2020 at 16:52
  • Are there recommendation letters as part of the application process?
    – Buffy
    Oct 30, 2020 at 18:34
  • @Buffy They are an option. Since, some programs require them and I have seen students attaching them along with their mails too (if applying by mailing to the professor - the most common way).
    – Iceberry
    Oct 31, 2020 at 2:52

1 Answer 1


You only have one year of grades. That is not many grades at all. You said most of the grades are not from classes related to the internship.

We do not know what exactly the labs are looking for or who else is applying, so we cannot predict if you will get an internship. But if you do not get what you want, it will probably be due to lack of experience rather than low grades. Try again next year.

It is fine to say something like "My grades have improved because of..." and give a brief reason that implies the problem you had before is unlikely to occur again. In your case, your reason might be "a traumatic event during my first semester."

  • Thank you for your answer! I agree with you that it'll be my lack of experience which will play a major role, however with a common experience of various previous students, beyond that factor they are expected to have good grades.
    – Iceberry
    Oct 31, 2020 at 3:33

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