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How to deal with bad marks in early years?


New Member
When one applies for an MFE-type degree, how does one deal with bad marks in early years?

My situation is this: In my first year of university my marks were terrible (I wasn't even thinking about marks/grad school at the time), however they've been improving and in my last 3 years its been close to 3.9-4.0. I have also completed a masters degree in stats with pretty much perfect marks.

How would I deal with such a thing? Is there any hope at all to be admitted into a top-10 program? Should I say something about it in the statement of purpose?

I was thinking of writing the Math subject test GRE and try to do well on it. That's pretty much the only thing I can think of.

Any advice would be appreciated.


If you completed an MS in stats with good grades and got close to 800 on the GRE quant then I don't think anyone will care about your first year of college.

Another answer would be to work for 5-7 years in a related field before going back to school. Work experience can help overcome some mediocre grades.

If you mention your poor grades in your letter, my advice would be to not try to give excuses. Just say that when you were 18 your priorities were not clear, or something like that, and have maintained good marks after year one. Like in debate tactics, the more you mention it, the more of an impression you give that you had bad grades.

Just my opinion of course.


Active Member
The only thing you can do:

Explain it in your cover letter/following interviews. Everyone's human. We're not perfect.


New Member
I have a similar situation. I have reasoning for this, but should I go into detail to explain?

The short story is my parents were divorced suddenly, this caused me to have to make quick decisions about college. I had to make changes where I now must live and support myself on my own. It was a turbulent experience and my grades suffered greatly because of it. I am now working full time and my grades have improved significantly.