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Does your GPA matter if you already have a potential research advisor in the wings?

I ask because I realize that I may struggle when applying for graduate schools. It looks like I will do a masters after undergrad, but I will apply for a PhD in the future nonetheless. I have read that if you reach out to a potential advisor, and they agree to advise you for graduate school, the requisites of grad school admissions are largely redundant. Is this true?

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    Where did you read such a thing (which is false)? Feb 6, 2023 at 22:19
  • Where is this happening? And the field might matter also, especially if outside the US.
    – Buffy
    Feb 6, 2023 at 22:33
  • Oh, I apologize. I remember reading it somewhere (might have been a CS prep guide for admissions into graduate school?) but I do realize that they may have been mistaken Feb 6, 2023 at 22:46
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    A summary of my answer here: academia.stackexchange.com/a/192702/63475 would be that, for the US, having a supportive advisor (supportive = will pay your costs) will allow qualified students to be admitted to a graduate program that is only unable to admit them otherwise because the program doesn't have enough money.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 6, 2023 at 23:24

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It does matter. An advisor can strongly encourage an admissions committee to accept you, but the ultimate decision belongs to the committee. That said, it also varies a lot from country to country, and from institution to institution.

For instance, Canada tends to be on the harsher end about this, and you can get rejected even with a supervisor batting for you if your GPA is below their required minimum. I know two people for whom it was the case, and in both cases their GPA a bit over 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, while the programs wanted 3.3 minimum.

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