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LOW GPA: What you can do

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LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 12 Dec 2012, 10:36
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LOW GPA: What you can do


What is a low GPA?


Technically, the yardsticks for GPA are quite flexible and school specific and you should not bother about absolute high/low figures. What you should be concerned with is the median range of the GPA of the school you are applying to, and it’s always good to be on the higher side. However, that said and done, undergrad GPA, just itself, is not a complete piece of information as business schools look for your story, and not absolute figures that you have achieved in life. So a low GPA is definitely not a deal-breaker and let’s try to explain why.

Why GPA is important:


  • GPA is a clear indication of how you performed in college in the past, so business school can have a fair idea of how you will perform in the school by simple correlation.

  • Often, the progression in GPA values is more important than the mean GPA itself, as an ascending GPA is often regarded as a highly valuable asset in your profile. So even if you have a relatively lower GPA than the school median figure, the fact that you have improved throughout your college semesters mean that you have been persevering and consistent.

  • Higher grades, especially those in quant subjects, is indicative of your reasoning abilities and acts as an assurance that you will be able to survive the academic challenges of a business program.

How to overcome low GPA in business school application:


  • Ace your GMAT: Chances are that, if you are an international candidate, your high GPA might not be as valued as those studying in US/Europe. The GMAT is a common platform and your score is equally valuable as that for your international competitors and becomes the most effective way to stand out. A 700+ score is always helpful and especially if you get a score which is higher than the median score of the school you are applying to.

  • Alternative transcripts and certifications: These are great add-ons to your academic evaluations. Of course, these cannot increase your GPA but it can surely act as a guarantee that you can do well in the MBA program. Make sure to take quant courses such as finance, accounting, calculus, probability and statistics and make sure you get all A’s. Community colleges or even online programs can come of help with these, but please be certain that alternative transcripts do not erase your GPA problem. See this link for a couple of courses to consider: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x459.xml#5
    Cerifications such as CFA, PMP, CSQL can come in handy, but make sure they are strongly tied to your story and goals for them to make a stronger impact.

  • Your story: As always, your story is your best bet when you want to overcome/compensate for your low GPA. Explore the reasons that led to your GPA problems and make them your strengths. Were you working somewhere part time/full time while you were in college? Were you involved in very strong extra curricular and achieved significant results albeit with some sacrifices on the GPA front? Were you into serious national level sports? Not only these can give you tools to defend your GPA but also they can act as incredible story telling topics which the adcoms will love, provided they are aligned with your short/long term goals.

  • Other facets of your application: Like your GMAT score, your GPA is also one part of your entire application and thus has limited effect in your admission. Make sure you use your essays , LOR, EC and most importantly your story so as to compensate for your GPA issues. There have been and still continues to be a massive number of applicants who did not get straight A’s but got admitted in top 10 schools and so can you. Here are a couple of inspirational profiles who got in with a relatively lower GPA/GMAT: profiles-admitted-to-top-b-schools-w-low-gmat-or-low-gpa-73999.html

Correlation Data with GPA and GMAT


               
Undergraduate GPA range (10th-90th percentile) and median GMAT
SchoolUndergraduate GPA range (10th-90th percentile)Median GMAT
Harvard Business SchoolN/A724 
Stanford GSB3.36-3.97730 
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)3.18-3.87718 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)3.1-3.86710 
Northwestern University (Kellogg)3.19-3.88712 
University of Chicago (Booth)3.08-3.9719 
University of California--Berkeley (Haas)3.39-3.9715 
Columbia University 3-3.8716
Dartmouth College (Tuck)3.2-3.84718
Yale University3.1-3.87719 
New York University (Stern)3.02-3.79719 
Duke University (Fuqua)3.06-3.79689 
University of Virginia (Darden)3-3.8701 
University of California-Los Angeles (Anderson)3.2-3.86704 
Cornell University (Johnson)2.78-3.77691 

More discussions on GMATClub about low GPA:


http://gmatclub.com/blog/2011/03/mba-ad ... a-low-gpa/
http://gmatclub.com/blog/2012/07/is-my-gpa-too-low/
profiles-admitted-to-top-b-schools-w-low-gmat-or-low-gpa-73999.html
what-are-my-chances-at-top-b-schools-lower-gpa-129420.html
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 13 Dec 2012, 22:19
Thank you souvik101990, helpful. Regards
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 17 Dec 2012, 23:44
Thanks for the important info! the questions is - can a high GMAT compensate for low GPA? according to this online calculator looks like it can:
http://www.aringo.com/MBA_admission_cha ... ulator.htm

Would love to hear more opinions about this - can a good explanation for the low GPA and a high GMAT be enough to overcome low GPA?
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2012, 06:20
It worked for me.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2012, 06:38
Expert's post
mappleby wrote:
It worked for me.

Hey mappleby
It would be awesome if you could elaborate a little about your GPA and your story.
I think it would really help people who are dreading some GPA issues.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 18 Dec 2012, 08:22
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Sure. My first GMAT attempt I broke the magic 700 so I thought I was set, but as you can see from all the red when I applied last year that with a low GPA a 700 GMAT just wasn't enough to make the cut. I also think that my applications probably weren't as polished as they needed to be but the combination of having both a GPA and GMAT well below the median was a big red flag.

So I went back to studying for the GMAT in earnest, bought some better study materials and took the Kaplan Advanced Online class. There really wasn't much in the class I couldn't have learned from the books but for me it added a timing and structure that I found helpful. Also the course has a great quiz bank with tons of customization options to help you focus where you need it. Second time around I scored a 750 and broke the 80/80 percentile split people love to talk about.

My undergrad degree is in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and I had 3 F's on my transcript. I would think that the admissions committee probably gave me a little more leniency considering all of my F's were in challenging engineering classes and I got 2 A's and a B when I re-took them. I used the optional essay for each school to address the F's on my transcript. I didn't make excuses I just told the truth; I over-extended myself in extra-curricular activities and lost focus on school work. My last year in college had my highest GPAs for any 2 semesters so that also probably played to my favor.

Even with the poor GPA and F's and I got accepted ED to Columbia and invited to interview at Booth. I think I would have been accepted at Booth as well but I withdrew my application after hearing from CBS. So even with a bad GPA it can be done. I'm also a white, American male in case that matters.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 07:22
Hi Souvik101990, Thank you for this awesome thread. Can you please refer some institute or Body where we can get our GPAs (percentage to Grade point) done . Thanking you ,
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2013, 11:29
Under "what you can do" I thought I would also add that your recommenders can be part of your story and help address concerns about aptitude or attitude. So recommenders + essays can help alleviate concerns. I did this and thought it was a good strategy as they are obviously more objective and a valued perspective.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2013, 10:24
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kumudkantish wrote:
Hi Souvik101990, Thank you for this awesome thread. Can you please refer some institute or Body where we can get our GPAs (percentage to Grade point) done . Thanking you ,
Regards,
kumud

Hey kumudkantish
It really depends as most schools do not ask you to convert your grade point because they are well aware of the grading systems in different colleges.
However, if a school does ask then it will also provide a conversion guideline (Columbia for example).

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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2013, 16:41
what about the opposite situation? low gmat but a high gpa?
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 14 Feb 2013, 16:46
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chamisool wrote:
what about the opposite situation? low gmat but a high gpa?


This is pretty easy and a better situation to be in: re-take the GMAT. You can't change your GPA, but you can improve your GMAT score. Keep in mind you can even take it again after the application deadline because some schools will accept an updated score, and also, if you application is strong but the GMAT is lacking and you end up on the waitlist, providing a higher score is a good way to stand out from the WL pack.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 19:04
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I've some questions.
I've a low-ish GPA (3.09) with upward trend (2.83>3.42>3.7>3.83 for last 4 semesters) I've no excuse for my low GPA during Freshman and Sophomore years. That's mostly due to DotA Allstar and too much clubbing. At that time I didn't really care about GPA. and I also didn't do well in some quant classes (Stat-C, Fundamental Math-C, Finance-C+ but Managecial Accounting-A, Fundamental Accounting B+ and Business Quantitative Analysis B+). Do you think that will hurt my chances despite the upward trend?
Do you guys think I should have alternative transcript or just concentrate on the GMAT preparation?

PS. I've graduated from one of the most competitive B-school in Thailand, where only one of my classmate (from about 80 Marketing majors) manage to get more than 3.5 GPA. If that can help.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2013, 19:58
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iVoRy wrote:
I've some questions.
I've a low-ish GPA (3.09) with upward trend (2.83>3.42>3.7>3.83 for last 4 semesters) I've no excuse for my low GPA during Freshman and Sophomore years. That's mostly due to DotA Allstar and too much clubbing. At that time I didn't really care about GPA. and I also didn't do well in some quant classes (Stat-C, Fundamental Math-C, Finance-C+ but Managecial Accounting-A, Fundamental Accounting B+ and Business Quantitative Analysis B+). Do you think that will hurt my chances despite the upward trend?
Do you guys think I should have alternative transcript or just concentrate on the GMAT preparation?

PS. I've graduated from one of the most competitive B-school in Thailand, where only one of my classmate (from about 80 Marketing majors) manage to get more than 3.5 GPA. If that can help.


Yeah so upward trend is a clear winner :)
Also another important aspect is, what was your class percentile in terms of GPA?
I think if you haven't taken the GMAT yet, that is where you should start!
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2013, 11:34
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iVoRy wrote:
I've some questions.
I've a low-ish GPA (3.09) with upward trend (2.83>3.42>3.7>3.83 for last 4 semesters) I've no excuse for my low GPA during Freshman and Sophomore years. That's mostly due to DotA Allstar and too much clubbing. At that time I didn't really care about GPA. and I also didn't do well in some quant classes (Stat-C, Fundamental Math-C, Finance-C+ but Managecial Accounting-A, Fundamental Accounting B+ and Business Quantitative Analysis B+). Do you think that will hurt my chances despite the upward trend?
Do you guys think I should have alternative transcript or just concentrate on the GMAT preparation?

PS. I've graduated from one of the most competitive B-school in Thailand, where only one of my classmate (from about 80 Marketing majors) manage to get more than 3.5 GPA. If that can help.


Yeah so upward trend is a clear winner :)
Also another important aspect is, what was your class percentile in terms of GPA?
I think if you haven't taken the GMAT yet, that is where you should start!


No question that a high GMAT will do a lot to mitigate a low GPA. To a lesser extent, the opposite is also true. And as mappleby and souvik101990 also point out, grade trends and the difficulty and relevance of cousework to MBA studies also is a factor. Your story also counts. Finally, as soumik notes, taking business classes and earning A's in them is a highly effective way to mitigate a low GPA, especially if getting a mid-700 GMAT isn't in the cards. This is particularly valuable if you don't have business classes on your transcript. A's show additional aptitude for business and the coursework you will encounter in business school.

For a good summary of how to handle a low GPA or low GMAT, please see "MBA Admissions: Low GMAT or GPA" For more detail and suggestions on handling these and other weaknesses, please see "Overcoming MBA Application Weaknesses."

Best,
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2013, 18:08
Thank you for both of your answers, It been very helpful.
For now I think it'd best for me to focus on my gmat prep first and aiming for mid-700.

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As I did my undergrad in business. I have quite a few business related courses that I got A namely quantitative marketing research, marketing strategy, accounting and a few others. Do you think I'd benefited from taking courses in business related subject.

Edited As I read your article I think It might be a good idea to enroll a statistic or calculus course from local university.
May be I'll think about this again after I take GMAT.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 04 Mar 2013, 23:18
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iVoRy wrote:
Thank you for both of your answers, It been very helpful.
For now I think it'd best for me to focus on my gmat prep first and aiming for mid-700.

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As I did my undergrad in business. I have quite a few business related courses that I got A namely quantitative marketing research, marketing strategy, accounting and a few others. Do you think I'd benefited from taking courses in business related subject.

Edited As I read your article I think It might be a good idea to enroll a statistic or calculus course from local university.
May be I'll think about this again after I take GMAT.


I think it's a matter of time. Certainly a few recent A's in business courses can only help. On the other hand, if you had that upper trend, A's in quant courses, and earn an above average GMAT, then those recent A's are probably a little less important and then it's really a time-budgeting question. Where can you spend your time most effectively? If work is slow and you have the time for a class like this, do it. However if work is crazy or other commitments call and you're struggling to get the applications done, rely on the other elements.

I'm a big believer in the art of the possible. :-)

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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2013, 23:47
My GPA is 6.0(scale of 10).If i convert that to a scale of 4, GPA becomes 2.4 :oops: .Thats really bad.Also, If u consider my class, i will be in the bottom 15. But earlier to that, my All india rank (in 400s) and state rank (single digits) are really good and i went to one of the top 10 engineering college in India. So what are my chances of getting into a good bschool :(
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2013, 11:25
I'm from India and I got 73.28% in my undergrad. That's a really good score (first class with distinction) in India but on converting it to GPA, it becomes a paltry 2.66. One Booth alum I talked to suggested that I write an additional letter explaining how 73% is a good score in India and that very few people get a GPA above 3.0 (80%) in Indian undergrad courses.

Is this a good idea? Or is it over compensating?
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2013, 06:41
krr15h wrote:
I'm from India and I got 73.28% in my undergrad. That's a really good score (first class with distinction) in India but on converting it to GPA, it becomes a paltry 2.66. One Booth alum I talked to suggested that I write an additional letter explaining how 73% is a good score in India and that very few people get a GPA above 3.0 (80%) in Indian undergrad courses.

Is this a good idea? Or is it over compensating?


You should list your class rank and a note about the conversion or your app will be thrown out.
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do [#permalink] New post 08 Oct 2013, 11:31
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sibanmishra wrote:
My GPA is 6.0(scale of 10).If i convert that to a scale of 4, GPA becomes 2.4 :oops: .Thats really bad.Also, If u consider my class, i will be in the bottom 15. But earlier to that, my All india rank (in 400s) and state rank (single digits) are really good and i went to one of the top 10 engineering college in India. So what are my chances of getting into a good bschool :(


Your high school performance isn't important when applying to a top masters program. Your grades, professional progression, and test score show you more recent academic ability as well as your ability to apply yourself in a tough academic setting.

That being said your ability to be accepted at a top program is not determined solely by your undergrad performance and I can't assess your profile based on what you wrote above. People are accepted to good MBA programs with low GPAs. Please click on the link in the preceding sentence for suggestions as to how you can make yourself competitive at good programs with a low undergrad GPA. Great professional progression, additional coursework with high grades, and a high GMAT go a long way towards mitigating a low GPA.

Also, while I agree that a 6.0 is a disadvantage when applying to top U.S. business schools I urge you not to translate it to the U.S. GPA system unless the school you are applying to requires you to do so. Allow the admissions directors to interpret it themselves. They know the different grading systems and schools, certainly the more prominent ones in India.

You may also be interested in MBA Admissions for Indian Applicants. It doesn't directly address your GPA question, but it does address several issues that Indian applicants face.

Best,
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Re: LOW GPA: What you can do   [#permalink] 08 Oct 2013, 11:31
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