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I prefer to avoid the "do I have what it takes to get in?" question, and would rather focus on how a particular graduate committee contemplates a few poor grades on a transcript, particularly in core introductory courses related to the major. Let's say person A gets 1 or 2 C's in his core classes (maybe discrete math and intro to programming), but then has A's and B's across the board in harder subjects such as Machine Learning or Combinatorics. How does the admissions committee view this? Do they care about the C's at all in that case? That is to say, taking other factors such as the GRE or Recommendations into account, what really matters?

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    I think people are more forgiving for your early missteps if you demonstrate strong performance later in your undergrad career. – Drecate Dec 7 '16 at 1:39
  • In my studies there was one term, where we had a lot of core classes that all took a lot of work and it was impossible (by time constraints) to be perfect in all of them. With the other subjects it was much easier to choose when and what you do and build a suitable schedule. Unless of course your studies are "catching chickens" and you failed "How to prepare for catching a chicken" twice while passing "How to cook a chicken". – skymningen Dec 7 '16 at 7:10
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