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Should I explain a 3.4 GPA?

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Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 17:16
The avg GPA for the program to which I'm applying is a 3.5. I made a 3.43... I know it's not off the average by much, but looking at my transcript I did poorly in some relevant economics/finance/math classes and very well in many intro classes. Also, my first semester senior year I really screwed around and made a 2.8. In the application, there is a question that says "Do you think your GPA accurately reflects your academic performance (if yes, then explain)?"

Should I put yes or no? If "no", my explanation would be that I participated in too many extracurriculars, but my GMAT and work experience are a better reflection of my academic abilities. I scored in the 95th percentile on the GMAT, which is above the program's average. What do you think? Further, do you think my GPA needs further explaining in the optional essay or am I worrying about nothing? Thanks for your help.

Last edited by finance423 on 23 Jan 2008, 11:33, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 17:23
Note to kryzak: This question could be a nice addition to the knowledge vault forum.

I thought you may find it helpful to look at threads that address somewhat similar questions. This not only helps you, but other members with similar questions who may otherwise never see these threads:

Undergrad School ----> Effect on App! - 97-t48786?

how do you explain a weak GPA? - 103-t35031?

gpa weight? - 103-t38457?

Does your undergraduate institution matter? - 97-t23258?

A Conceptual view of Admissions - 97-t19450?

Reputation of Undergraduate School, Concerns About -
http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=23258

Undergrad GPA?
103-p418967?
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 17:37
Thanks... read through alot of the posts but still unclear if I should even mention this or not. Unfortunately, my grades were all over the map.... no consistency and no good "story" to tell. I graduated 6 yrs ago and all my other parts of my app are strong. This is probably the one question mark in my app.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 17:43
3.4 is still a decent GPA. If you don't really have a story to tell as to why your grades went down or were all over the map, I wouldn't say anything. How's your GMAT? Any doubts the Adcom members have could be cleared with a great GMAT score.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 17:46
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Why would you explain a 3.4 GPA? Would you explain why a 720 GMAT score wasn't a 750? And how could your grades be all over the place? To end up with a 3.4 you'd have to basically get All A's and B's with maybe a couple of Cs thrown in.

If anything you might consider attempting to explain why you got a 2.8 in your senior year, everybody says schools like to see an upward trend. If you don't have a good reason, i'd just let it ride. A 3.4 GPA is very good, that shouldn't hold you back from anything, assuming your major was something respectable, and not Phys Ed.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 18:15
Ay Ay Sir! Will put this in the knowledge vault.

As for the GPA, 3.4 is NOT a bad GPA at all. If you read books like Montauk, the GPA they use to qualify you for certain schools stop at 3.5. Above that it's just gravy. I believe the Haas and Stanford ranges for mid 80% is 3.2-3.8.

With bad math/quant classes, you might need to get a better Q score on the GMAT to compensate, or take more quant classes at community colleges to prove that you can do quant. Outside of that, there's no reason to explain your GPA.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 19:14
bear in mind grade inflation is rampant at some undergraduate schools (stanford/brown, i'm looking at you)...and not so much at others (chicago, dean's list and college honors at 3.25)

so i'm pretty sure a 3.4 is well within the generally acceptable range.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 20:22
I don't think you should explain it to any schools, especially if you're talking about putting this explanation in the optional essays. Remember, they're the last question in your application, you don't want this part to be the one thing that the adcom remembers you for.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 05:38
Hmmm. I better use the optional essay to explain my 730 gmat. :oops:
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 05:59
I don't follow how you can have a 3.4 but have grades all over the map...
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 08:02
solaris1 wrote:
bear in mind grade inflation is rampant at some undergraduate schools (stanford/brown, i'm looking at you)...and not so much at others (chicago, dean's list and college honors at 3.25)

so i'm pretty sure a 3.4 is well within the generally acceptable range.



for realz.....it's extremely unfair....its like we're getting punished for going to a tough school....
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 08:14
I think only you can answer this question. I had a 3.4 but wrote an optional essay on it. Yes my overall GPA was strong but I had a bad sophomore year (sub 3.0) followed by a two years of 3.7+. The problem was I had a few weak grades in important classes for b-schools (math ones). I did very well later on though in quant heavy courses like fluid dynamics and strengths of materials and did fairly well (48, 85%) on the gmat quant section. I had a true and valid reason for a crappy sophomore year so I wrote about that. This I think added to my show of growth not just academically but focus wise and probably helped.

That said I think a 3.4 with terrible english and humanities electives is a lot better than math. I think my math is what sunk my chances at GSB since it has such a strong quant rep that a bad math grade scares them...MIT actually asked for some math grades so they obviously care more about those than other courses. That said a 3.4 is a very solid GPA and if you were a steady 3.4 for all four years and no obvious weakpoints then trying to explain it will be like trying to explain a 690 gmat score.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 11:05
Thanks for all your help. I think I've convinced myself not to mention it in my app. I guess my grades were not really "all over the map"... basically all A's and B's with a few C's. I was an Economics major at a top-15 school with a tough grading system. However, the few C's were in economics/finance classes. Also, the low GPA my senior year was followed by a 3.9 my last semester. Just to shed more light on the topic, my GMAT was 720 (48Q 41V) and the avg score for my program is just above 690. I'm just hoping they won't focus on the C's and my one horrible semester and that the adcom will place more weighting on the rest of my app.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 11:33
Quote:
quant heavy courses like fluid dynamics and strengths of materials


Thanks RR- now I shall have nightmares again...thought that I had heard the last of these but now you bring back terrible memories... :twisted:
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2008, 11:56
finance423 wrote:
Thanks for all your help. I think I've convinced myself not to mention it in my app. I guess my grades were not really "all over the map"... basically all A's and B's with a few C's. I was an Economics major at a top-15 school with a tough grading system. However, the few C's were in economics/finance classes. Also, the low GPA my senior year was followed by a 3.9 my last semester. Just to shed more light on the topic, my GMAT was 720 (48Q 41V) and the avg score for my program is just above 690. I'm just hoping they won't focus on the C's and my one horrible semester and that the adcom will place more weighting on the rest of my app.


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you'll be ok in the gpa/gmat department. Work on your essays. Make a convincing argument.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2008, 15:36
I don't think a 3.4 GPA is really considered low at all. You have 95percentile GMAT...I don't think a 3.4 GPA is going to stir up any glaring issues from the Adcoms.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA? [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2008, 15:42
wow back from the dead.
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Re: Should I explain a 3.4 GPA?   [#permalink] 20 Jun 2008, 15:42
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