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Mentor Program: Undergrad QA4

NAPA Mentoring FAQs: Undergraduate Scenarios

Scenario Four

Q.  I have been thinking about a way to spend my summer productively that will best serve my interests in anthropology. I have been talking to my current archaeology professor about going with her this summer to Latin America as a field hand in her current project. We are waiting to see if that will work out. I also thought about volunteering with the regional museum. We happen to have a Native American reservation in my state and that could be a volunteer possibility, too.  I plan to study abroad program in my junior year and and thinking about graduate school. My GPA is OK but not great. Am I on a good course?

A.  Your Latin America plan sounds excellent.  Your decision to consider and develop a back-up plan is also wise, and the options you noted all seem useful.

You will need to review your GPA, however.  Graduate schools will not be eager over a transcript that does not have a lot of “A”s and any grades below a “B.”  Reviewers see the grade record as perhaps the best measure of how you will succeed within an intensive academic program at the graduate level, and you probably should see it that way, too.  While grades often do not have great importance if you stop at the BA level, if you seek advanced academic training, they matter a lot.

There is also the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which students applying to graduate school take, usually in their senior year.  You will need to be ready to do well on that. There are books and tutorials available to help. The GRE website page on preparation is a good place to start.


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