Right now, we have a seemingly "catch all" question of this sort. It reads in part, "My transcripts suck. There's no way to dress it up." A number of other questions have been linked to this as a duplicate.

But at least one of other questions showed "skewed," rather than uniformly bad grades that CAN be "dressed up," IMHO. The thrust was, "I have six years of grades. They averaged 2.0 in the first three years of undergraduate work. I "found myself" in my senior year, and my grades average 3.6 for that year, plus two years of a Masters degree. Most PhD programs require a 3.3 average to graduate, and base their admittance criteria on this fact. Given that I have good research and recommendations, how can I convince them that I'm really a 3.6 student (over the last three years) and not a 2.8 student (cumulative over six years)?

Then there was a question (left open) with the basically opposite "problem" profile to "smart but lazy," (the premise of the first question cited above). It came from hardworking "grind" who gets good grades, but whose test scores, research efforts and faculty members may call his "talents" into question.

Why was the question with the 2.0-3.6 GPA "progression" closed as a duplicate of the first one, when it was really more like the open question from the grind?

  • Can you please link to the other questions, too?
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:10
  • @ff524: I added a link to the "grind." The formerly "smart but lazy" person is a 40-something full professor who shall remain nameless (but whom everyone knows). I couldn't find the link to the freshman D in real analysis.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:15
  • Tx. I changed the duplicate on this question that you linked to a more appropriate one.
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:16
  • The "grind" post was not closed as a duplicate. I'm a little confused about the purpose of this meta post; are you trying to say that the posts you link to have been closed as duplicates even though the "duplicate" is much more generic? Or are you trying to make some other point?
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:21
  • I couldn't find the "bad grade in real analysis" post you mention, but I found this similar one which also was not closed as a duplicate.
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:23
  • @ff524: No, it was not closed. I added it as an example of the variety of issues, that may be faced. The real question was, can we create separate categories for polar opposites?
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:23
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "categories"?
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:23
  • @ff524: That was not the one I had in mind, but close enough. Maybe the thrust of my meta question was, "why was that one question closed, when IMHO, it was "similar" to the others?"
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:24
  • Which is the one question that was closed, that you're mainly concerned about? Perhaps you could clarify this meta post a bit. Right now, it's not clear to me what kind of "answer" you're looking for.
    – ff524
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:26
  • @ff524: I reworked the question by asking 'why was the one question closed when there are other open questions with similar thrusts?" Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:37
  • 2
    I can't make heads or tails of this. What is the fundamental question or issue to be resolved?
    – aeismail
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


Your main concern seems to be this question, asked by thinking.

Originally, the question asked:

Would I have any chance to get admitted to top universities? I feel that the BSc GPA is a problem.

This was closed as a duplicate of How do you get a bad transcript past PhD admissions, which has a lot of good, general advice on how the other things thinking mentioned (such as publications and good recommendations) can help get someone with a poor academic record into a PhD program. It even has this answer, which specifically addresses how a good MSc can overcome a poor BSc record.

Some 10 months later, you seem to have edited this question so it now emphasizes the difference between the BSc and MSc grades:

Will schools likely give more weight to my MSc or BSc grades?

Now it is a duplicate of Doing bad in undergraduate but good in a masters program, which asks exactly that.

The question which you call the "grind" question is like neither of those. It asks how difficult a PhD program is compared to a MS. The apparent intent of the asker is to evaluate whether a PhD would be a good choice for him/herself. It's not even about admissions - it's about deciding whether to pursue a PhD, and it doesn't even seem related to the aforementioned questions about getting into a PhD program. There may possibly be some similarities between the askers' backgrounds or personalities, but they're not asking the same question.

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