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how do you explain a weak GPA?

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how do you explain a weak GPA? [#permalink] New post 10 Sep 2006, 13:38
I've read that certain schools will appreciate you taking the time to explain this in the optional essay...

I assume there really is no right answer to this but quite honestly, my gpa (2.9) was weak in undergrad for no reason other than the fact that i didnt take certain classes too seriously and just didnt put a heavy emphasis on studying.
The first two years were just awful (2.4)
the second two years, the grades came up but in each semester (except the 1st and last) there was always just one class which would bring the gpa down. So it wasnt that i performed poorly in all classes, it was just that one D or C- in those particular classes which I either never really went to or jsut never concentrated on.

The only plus is during the last semester i took 5 high level classes and got 3.4 for that semester

how does one jsutify such a case so that it will seem postive in adcom eyes?
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 [#permalink] New post 11 Sep 2006, 08:02
A couple of things:

1. Did you come from Europe to the US (or from another foreign country to another country?) This could be a mitigating factor. Adjustment. This only works of course if your year over year GPAs improved.

2. It wasnt terribly clear to me if your sophmore year was better than your freshman, and your junior better than your sophmore, etc. But you can use this to show improvement. Maybe, depending on your situation.

3. Can you weave in other demands? Maybe you had a full time job?

4. Are there other mitigating concerns you can think of? Death in the family?

5. Did you change majors during your stay? Did this improve your performance?

6. How does your GPA looks if you "discount" freshman year as an "adjustment period" (for example, mine jumps by almost .40)

7. Were you an economics major or math major or otherwise a "hard science"? Maybe highlight a few "hard" courses you did well in. For example, "Although my overall GPA is regrettably lower than I'd like in signficant analytical courses such as X and Y, I flourished."

8. Can you tie any particular courses you took to the school's teaching style? For example, maybe you took one that was focused on case studies rather than fundamentals and you got an A in that course. Or maybe one was focused on team projects, and you got an A in that. This experience, and the method of learning you witnessed are what have made you interested in school X.
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 [#permalink] New post 25 Sep 2006, 21:23
I also have a question regarding this.

How do you explain if the grades were worse in the final undergraduate year?
My grades are very good in the first 3 years, but they are getting worse starting from the 2nd semester of 3rd year, and the final year was the worst with only 2 subjects. :shock: The main reason is I didn't like the project I was doing, and also I lost interest in studying it at that time.

any idea? certainly it is worse than improving grades, isn't it? :cry:
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 [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2006, 14:17
tennis_ball wrote:
I also have a question regarding this.

How do you explain if the grades were worse in the final undergraduate year?
My grades are very good in the first 3 years, but they are getting worse starting from the 2nd semester of 3rd year, and the final year was the worst with only 2 subjects. :shock: The main reason is I didn't like the project I was doing, and also I lost interest in studying it at that time.

any idea? certainly it is worse than improving grades, isn't it? :cry:


You got me. Maybe you can cite other circumstances? A job? A death in the family? I have no clue.
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 [#permalink] New post 27 Sep 2006, 20:23
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How do you explain if the grades were worse in the final undergraduate year?

exactly the same situation for me.
I did my undergrad in Electrical engg(EE). Sometimes in the penultimate and the final year i lost interest in EE.Unfortunately in my country it's almost impossible to change major midway during the degree course. I did non credit projects in Computer Science and ignored most of the core EE subjects;which is the reason i have a good GPA in year 1 and year 2 but a terrible GPA in year 4.
Subsequently after finishing my degree i have been working in the software industry for 3 yrs(could not think of working for an Semiconductor,Telecom or core EE company).

Questions:

1) Can a high GMAT mitigate a low GPA.

2) Would it be prudent to explain these factors indicating the change of interest to the adcomm in the optional essay?
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2006, 03:13
imjimmy wrote:
Quote:
How do you explain if the grades were worse in the final undergraduate year?

exactly the same situation for me.
I did my undergrad in Electrical engg(EE). Sometimes in the penultimate and the final year i lost interest in EE.Unfortunately in my country it's almost impossible to change major midway during the degree course. I did non credit projects in Computer Science and ignored most of the core EE subjects;which is the reason i have a good GPA in year 1 and year 2 but a terrible GPA in year 4.
Subsequently after finishing my degree i have been working in the software industry for 3 yrs(could not think of working for an Semiconductor,Telecom or core EE company).

Questions:

1) Can a high GMAT mitigate a low GPA.

2) Would it be prudent to explain these factors indicating the change of interest to the adcomm in the optional essay?


High GMAT can (and does) absolutely mitigate a low GPA. But... be forwarned here. It isnt everything. There will always be another applicant with the same numer of years of experience, same gmat and a higher gpa. But yes, it does mitigate.

I dont know if I'd suggest "lost interest" as an explanation. How will the adcom know that you wont loose interest in your MBA?
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2006, 05:09
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I dont know if I'd suggest "lost interest" as an explanation. How will the adcom know that you wont loose interest in your MBA?

You got me there :)

Thanks for the reply.

I guess that's why it would be hard(if not impossible) to get into a top school with avg or below avg GPA.

Oh well..GMAT is the only hope now.

Last edited by imjimmy on 07 Dec 2006, 04:51, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2006, 04:13
[quote="rhyme]
Quote:
High GMAT can (and does) absolutely mitigate a low GPA. But... be forwarned here. It isnt everything. There will always be another applicant with the same numer of years of experience, same gmat and a higher gpa. But yes, it does mitigate.

For Low GPA-

I read somewhere that there are certain websites/services which offer online courses(Maths,Stats,Accounting and the like) which one can do and that these services give grades and transcripts which can be used in the application as evidence that one has improved. (Ofcourse if one does well in these subjects)

Is there someone who is aware of such a course.

I am not in the US and we do not have community colleges/evening colleges where one can sign up and do additional courses.

I really do want to mitigate the GPA part somehow to have a decent shot at the good schools.

I have a good GMAT 770(50,47) -however, as rhyme rightly said, perhaps that will not be enough.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2006, 04:26
Well, with 770, I wouldn't really suffer actually. Develop some credible reasoning of why has your focus changed from courses you had to something else, kill the adcoms with cool essays - and they'll forget about the GPA. (IMHO.)
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Dec 2006, 08:22
Quote:
Develop some credible reasoning of why has your focus changed from courses you had to something else, kill the adcoms with cool essays -

I'm doing the best i can on my essays.
Actually i started hating my major in the 3rd year itself. But our education system is so dogmatic that there is no question of changing majors. Furthermore there are no electives also.Curiously i have done well in courses which were outside my major. And right now i work in something which has no relation to what i majored in!

I think i will write down all this stuff in the optional essay.

Quote:
and they'll forget about the GPA. (IMHO.)

I earnestly hope they do.
Thanks very much for your advice.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2006, 21:08
Depends on how the adcomm views view you.

If you have a 2.5 GPA and a 650 GMAT, they might think you don't have the brains for the school.... that means you have to take extra classes at the community college and get some As.

If you have a 2.5 GPA and a 780 GMAT, they might think you were lazy. You just have to spin off something about being immature blah blah and now you've changed. You have a great work ethic blah blah....
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2006, 21:17
what if you got a 760 on gmat (above the school's mean of 705)

but undergrad gpa was 3.28 (below school's mean of 3.6) with a slightly downward trend?

also the degree is from a solid undergrad business program (McIntire at Univ of Virginia)

gmat makes up for gpa in this case?
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2006, 21:21
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This is an over-generalization, but your GPA probably needs to be at least below 3.2 for it to be a red flag. A 3.3 with a 760 will take care of any academic concerns for any school.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2006, 23:39
A few thoughts come to mind:

1) If you are converting your GPA from a foreign system, make sure that your conversion is sound. A naive conversion to a 4.0 system is almost guaranteed to introduce a substantial downward bias (e.g., a 75% percent of a 100% scale is almost certainly better performance than a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale).

2) Compared to other graduate/professional school applicants, MBA candidates tend to have much older undergraduate records. The older the GPA, the more plausible your story that it no longer represents your true performance.

3) Relative to other graduate/professional schools, MBA programs have rather modest GPA expectations. Even schools in the top clusters have a mean not far above a B+.

4) Be careful with "cherry picking" when describing your GPA trend. In other words, if you wish to point to some sort of favorable trend in your GPA, it should make intuitive sense and be easy to explain.

5) As a gross overgeneralization, schools are wary of the "bright but lazy" concept. This can be a risky profile and higher cluster schools have a ready supply of students students with similar overall strength but less risk.

6) "What" and "Where" really do matter. The major and the school that awarded the degree are important considerations when evaluating a student's undergrad performance.
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Grades conversion for internationals [#permalink] New post 10 Dec 2006, 11:21
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Hjort, I agree with you. When converting from Argentine system in the 4.0 system I felt frustrated that my GPA was so outside schools' range. But then I did some research and figured that what I thought was a 2.4, was actually equivalent to a 3.2.

On this matter, try this link:

http://www.wes.org/gradeconversionguide/

It may help.

Cheers. L.
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Re: how do you explain a weak GPA? [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2008, 21:14
I had a 2.0GPA, 570 GMAT

I am 24 yrs old.
I speak Chinese, Japanese, and my native language is English.

I am on the board of directors for a textile company, trading company, and account executive, and assistant to CEO for an IT company in Taiwan. My grades are a weakness, but it represents only those years in college.

My grades were awful because I spent my 3 years of college working. I started my own part-time car wash business, made pocket money ($23,000 US), and spent some of it on auto racing. That is my story.

I say be bold about your GPA. There must be a reason for it to be bad or good. Come out strong and most of all, clear with your explanations.
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Re: how do you explain a weak GPA? [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2008, 21:23
1) This post is 2 years old. When posting to ancient threads, make sure it is really necessary.

2) I agree on the "make a strong explanation" point, but in your case I would be concerned about having a weak GPA *AND* low GMAT score. That might raise a red flag with adcoms regarding your quantitative ability.
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Re: how do you explain a weak GPA? [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2008, 05:35
Where do you want to apply to? I would suggest raising your GMAT score.
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Re: how do you explain a weak GPA? [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2008, 10:23
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braindancer wrote:
1) This post is 2 years old. When posting to ancient threads, make sure it is really necessary.


Course, if he hadn't, someone would have told him to search for threads and probably linked this one anyway. :)
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Re: how do you explain a weak GPA? [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2008, 05:16
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Honestly, the answer is it depends. If you're 5 or 6 years removed from undergrad, and you have a great record of performance, and you have a high GMAT, there really isn't a great need to explain your gpa unless its just awful, I'd say under a 2.5. That would especially go if you had a difficult undergrad degree, i.e. engineering.

If you only have 1 year of work experience, and had a weak gpa, its more difficult. If you worked full time, or did collegiate athletics, site that as a reason. Really, you don't want to focus on the bad part of your application. I would mention it briefly in one of your other essays that is talking about the strong parts of your background, speaking about what you've learned from that experience. If you lost interest in your major, talk about understanding how important doing something your passionate about is. If it was a difficult major, talk about how you like to challenge yourself. If you worked, talk about how that made you more responsible and that the trade off was either eat food or get a high gpa, and food was more important. Seriously though, if you're scoring in the 99th percentile on the GMAT, and you are a good performer at work, great extra curriculars, good essays, good recs, the gpa isn't that important anymore. Remember its only one part of the application, and not everyone getting into the top schools is amazing at all of them.

I speak from experience. I had a 2.88 gpa in undergrad, chemical engineering. GMAT 760. You can get into good schools, just make everything else great.
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Re: how do you explain a weak GPA?   [#permalink] 19 Sep 2008, 05:16
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