I went to college many years ago. I am a very different student today than I was at 18. And at 18 I went to a science/research-oriented university and took a lot of very diverse courses.
I took more semesters of Chemistry and Biology (including labs) than I've ever bothered to count. I took a fair amount of Calculus. I took Physics and Psychology. I flirted with several different majors before I decided on English, which I chose because it's where I was getting the best grades.
So my major GPA looks pretty decent, but my overall GPA is pretty lousy. I very quickly grew frustrated with a university experience where I was one of 450 students in a lecture hall, the professor maybe didn't care too much about teaching anyway (let alone had any notion of who I was), and the "mean" score on an exam - earning the student a low B - was 33 out of 100. End result: I had a lot of fun in college. Once I decided not to compete in the rigorous science courses I continued to take, I enjoyed myself a lot more.
Now I want to go to grad school. I am willing to take the GRE, to submit samples of my current/recent work, to write wonderful letters of explanation. But so many grad programs have a ridiculous clause about what a student's undergraduate GPA must be in order to apply.
- This is stupid for students returning to school after a break - the sort of student I was 13 years ago is hardly relevant to the student I am today, and
- What I want to study doesn't have a lot to do with Organic Chemistry. I shouldn't be penalized for taking courses that I found challenging - I could have stuck to "Science for Musicians" and bolstered my GPA artificially.