I'm hoping to apply to grad schools this fall. I think I'm a reasonably good candidate, one aspect aside -- I have around a 2.5 undergraduate GPA in-major and failed several math classes in college.
That was a few years ago. In the mean time, I worked in industry for a while, and after that, I took two years of graduate-level classes and enrolled in a third, earning a 4.0 GPA and passing all the qualifying exams here; as I understand it, the remaining requirements for the MA degree are basically formalities.
If I need to, I can stay in my current program -- I am enrolled in the MA/Ph.D. track -- but the one professor closest to my interests is retiring and doesn't want to take on any more students, and the next-nearest areas are very far afield of what I want to do. I know that it's possible to get a professor to supervise a dissertation in an area that's not his/her specialty, but there don't seem to be any who want to do this, and at any rate I wouldn't have any other students to talk shop with.
I have some original, though not spectacular, results, although I'm having trouble corralling my coauthors to get things written up. I think I'm looking to take another year or so of courses before starting on my dissertation just to catch up with enough background to read papers in the field.
There's a lot of advice out there for people trying to get in to grad school, but most of it seems to start with "Make a 4.0 GPA in-major or don't bother." Does anyone have specific advice for someone in my situation? I don't want to spend a bunch of money on application fees just to have my applications discarded by a secretary before the admissions committee even looks at it.
Also, please share any advice pertaining to low undergrad GPAs, even if it isn't directly relevant to my particular situation -- there are other people out there with similar issues, and this will probably be the first thing that comes up when they hit Google looking for help.
UPDATE: I ended up getting into about half the schools I applied to, including several of my top choices! I even got some fellowship offers. If anyone out there is in a similar situation, feel free to contact me.
UPDATE: In response to some questions, here's some information about my application and results:
Unfortunately I don't currently have access to the hard drive that all my application materials were stored on so I can't say a whole lot else. And I've just checked and it should be possible to contact me through the email linked from my profile.