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Question about a low GPA

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Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 15:37
Hello,

I graduated from a top 20 school with a GPA of 3.22. I know this is low, or at the lower end of the 80% of accepted students. However, that GPA is mainly attributed to 3 C's in my 2nd year of college. My GPA rose the following year and a half (I graduated a semester early) and I averaged a 3.4/3.5 for those last 3 semesters. I basically had a 3.0 my first 2 years of college, and then a 3.4 for the last years. I know the admissions committee likes to see a rising GPA, however is the change really that significant? Because a 3.4 is mediocre compared to the averages of many of the schools I'm applying to.

Also, I got 3 C's my second year because I had leadership positions in 2 college organizations, another position with a heavy workload in another organization, and I was taking 2 very hard classes. Do you think I should use the optional essay to explain why I got those C's? Or should I just leave it be since it wasn't a medical condition or anything like that?

Thanks in advance
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 16:05
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I had several C's and a few late withdraws, and I didn't address it except during one interview where it happened to come up. I don't know what your major is, but if it's something like engineering I don't think they consider 3.22 to be low. Unless you're dead set on Harvard or Stanford, I would try to get the highest GMAT score you can (700+), and it should offset any worries the admissions committee may have about your GPA. I wouldn't attempt to explain it away in the optional essay because they might take that to mean you can't handle a heavy workload.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 16:08
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I agree. I don't think you should worry about it. How far out of college are you, by the way?
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 16:35
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well I know I don't have any admits yet, but I can chime in. I have a 2.1 from a university ranked right below yours. I was interviewed by Ross twice, and WL'ed by Kellogg the first time. I am waiting for my results for reapp.

I only say this because, your GPA is WAY above mine. Also look at people from last year. one member had sub-3 with H/W double admit and isa with a gpa lower than yours had Booth/Kellogg double admit
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 00:39
Thanks for the replies guys, I really appreciate it.

To answer coakleym's question above, I graduated in December of 2008. So when I apply this September, I'll only have had 1.5 yrs of experience and 2.5 yrs at matriculation. I feel that this amount of WE will do nothing to mitigate my GPA, however, I hope it doesn't hurt me. What do you guys think? I definitely have an interesting story to tell (interesting to me, at least) and I'm an international applicant and not Asian or European.

Oh, and my major was Economics, so not Engineering. That won't help me much in terms of my GPA other than the fact that Economics at my university is a math-intensive major (less so than Engineering, of course). I also hope to get a 700+ on my GMAT, so that should help. I should also add that I'm applying to the top 15 US universities + LBS, Oxford, and Insead, with Columbia as my top choice.

Anyways, my follow-up questions are:

1. Will 2.5 yrs of quality WE (not at blue-chip) hurt me?
2. Will 3.22 in Econ look bad since it's not as hard as Engineering (some would say)?
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 04:57
osdihg wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys, I really appreciate it.

To answer coakleym's question above, I graduated in December of 2008. So when I apply this September, I'll only have had 1.5 yrs of experience and 2.5 yrs at matriculation. I feel that this amount of WE will do nothing to mitigate my GPA, however, I hope it doesn't hurt me. What do you guys think? I definitely have an interesting story to tell (interesting to me, at least) and I'm an international applicant and not Asian or European.

Oh, and my major was Economics, so not Engineering. That won't help me much in terms of my GPA other than the fact that Economics at my university is a math-intensive major (less so than Engineering, of course). I also hope to get a 700+ on my GMAT, so that should help. I should also add that I'm applying to the top 15 US universities + LBS, Oxford, and Insead, with Columbia as my top choice.

Anyways, my follow-up questions are:

1. Will 2.5 yrs of quality WE (not at blue-chip) hurt me?
2. Will 3.22 in Econ look bad since it's not as hard as Engineering (some would say)?



Your GPA is just fine. I graduated with a 3.2 with a Management Major and I made it into Darden with results still pending at Duke/Michigan.

Also, I hope you weren't inferring that you're applying all ALL the top 15 US universities and those additional INTL universities...there is no way that'll happen and if you try the quality of your applications will suffer dramatically, not to mention what a pain for your recommendation writers. I suggest figuring out what you want to do, where you want to live afterwards and what kind of atmosphere you're looking for in an MBA and shorten that list to 4 schools. 6 at most.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 05:10
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I have a slightly lower GPA at a slightly lower ranked school and did explain my GPA. But, my GPA was a mess. It would go from 2.5 with 3 easy classes to 3.8 with 5 harder classes (liberal arts so I can't call them hard).

If I were you, I'd take solace in the fact that your GPA alone will def not keep you out of schools from Columbia to whatever school is ranked 15th. Just concentrate on your GMAT. A solid score really makes it a non-issue.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 07:45
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One thing I would highly recommend is getting a high GMAT score. A high GMAT score would go a long way to prove to the Ad-Com that maybe you made a few mistakes during your undergrad days, but would be fine academically.

Summary: For both GPA and GMAT, at least one of them should be in the higher end of the 80% median for the school one applies to.

PS. Check the low undergrad gpa success stories thread, it would give you a better perspective on things: low-undergrad-gpa-success-stories-79977.html
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 07:53
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osdihg wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys, I really appreciate it.

To answer coakleym's question above, I graduated in December of 2008. So when I apply this September, I'll only have had 1.5 yrs of experience and 2.5 yrs at matriculation. I feel that this amount of WE will do nothing to mitigate my GPA, however, I hope it doesn't hurt me. What do you guys think? I definitely have an interesting story to tell (interesting to me, at least) and I'm an international applicant and not Asian or European.

Oh, and my major was Economics, so not Engineering. That won't help me much in terms of my GPA other than the fact that Economics at my university is a math-intensive major (less so than Engineering, of course). I also hope to get a 700+ on my GMAT, so that should help. I should also add that I'm applying to the top 15 US universities + LBS, Oxford, and Insead, with Columbia as my top choice.

Anyways, my follow-up questions are:

1. Will 2.5 yrs of quality WE (not at blue-chip) hurt me?
2. Will 3.22 in Econ look bad since it's not as hard as Engineering (some would say)?


On 1 -> My personal opinion is that you should wait and gain some more experience before applying. Experience trumps GPA any day and if you have an interesting story right now, you have nothing to lose by waiting a year or two to make your application bullet proof and saving money to put towards your education. This will also help you figure out what your goals really are.

On 2 -> Econ does not look bad at all esp since it is a quant intensive field. What is more important is what you have learnt from this major and how this has helped you in your career choices and your future goals. so don't worry.

All this being said, there are exceptions to all rules (as an econ student you should know) and I haven't been admitted to any of my schools yet so my advice could be worthless. But given my experience completing applications this year, it was a lot easier to talk and write about my experiences with five years of WE under my belt than it would have been 3 years ago.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 15:39
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i also recommend a bit more experience. you shouldn't be in a rush, and more experience will help you get more value out of your mba - especially if you're looking to do mgmt or consulting afterwards, less so for ibanking.

i had a 1.9 gpa and that's rounding up lol. but i've got quite a few more yrs of work experience than you, and hence the european 1 yr programs were more interested in my profile and admitted me.

also i agree with what others have said about the gmat. score as high as you can, cuz you'll need it to really shine and offset your gpa. although i wouldn't even call your gpa low...it's still high enough to get you in to most of the top programs if you have a good story to tell.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 26 Feb 2010, 19:46
I'd kill for a 3.2. I think the advice on this board is very sound. Get your GMAT as high as possible and that GPA won't hurt you much. 3.2 and 780 and you're all set, 3.2 and 600 is another story.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2010, 01:30
Wow, I'm extremely grateful for all the replies. I appreciate it.

Regarding all your replies, I understand that working for another year or two will help my application, but considering my current personal situation, it's best that I apply for Fall 2011 matriculation. Also, I'm on track to get a 700+ on the GMAT, but I think I can pull off a 720 or 730, not a 780. I say that because I've read on the forums that going from a 700 to a 760 requires at least a month of studying, and I'd rather use that time to focus on my application. What do you guys think? Shoot for the 760+, which I may not even get, or get a 700-730 and focus on my applications considering my WE and GPA?

Again, Thanks in advance.
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Re: Question about a low GPA [#permalink] New post 27 Feb 2010, 23:51
not addressing any specific question, but for those interested in this topic, please make sure to check out this thread as well: low-undergrad-gpa-success-stories-79977.html
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Re: Question about a low GPA   [#permalink] 27 Feb 2010, 23:51
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