A good GPA (or Grade Point Average) in your graduate program can take you places, quite literally! In the case of overseas admissions too, securing a good GPA can ensure that you stay ahead in the race for your dream university. Of course, there are a number of factors that govern the admission including your profile, course, background, previous experiences, additional courses, choice of country and the university to name a few. But most universities have a cut-off GPA score for admissions which are available on their official websites.
When checking the GPA for a particular course at a university, which is generally present in the application page or the FAQ page, you must also check the average class GPA and if the university has any special requirement for the GPA of your major. However, these days, universities are aware that GPA alone cannot be a good indicator of a student’s capability since it is the opinion of a particular professor with respect to class size. Hence, most graduate schools have their own standardised test to assess a student’s knowledge and academic ability.
A stellar GPA definitely gives you an edge when it comes to admissions and can also help you get a scholarship (as entry scholarships depend on your undergraduate grades). However, professors involved in the admissions process, who have so many years of experience, opine that most of the students getting scholarships turn out to be average students; although the reason for the selection of students with good GPAs is because high GPAs are positively correlated to discipline, meticulousness, and a competitive spirit, which make such students succeed in life. Graduate applications are therefore based on the overall profile of students to give a wholesome idea about them.
When you are applying for a master’s course, it is up to the potential supervisor to decide whether or not a candidate is eligible for admission to the course. Since they also seek students with good acumen for research and dedication that they would be training for the next few years, hence they categorically look for a number of traits in students such as perseverance, zealousness, their motivation to do the course and also their reason behind taking the assistantship. Of course, a good GPA along with these traits is a cherry on top of the cake, but the score alone, or a scholarship for that matter does not make a major difference in their selection. This is because many apparently bright students, even after selection or getting a scholarship may move to a different college or course, which suits them better. On the other hand, students whose applications scream resoluteness, focus and vision have a definite upper hand in receiving admits, especially in research-oriented programs.
Another factor to be considered is that all professors receive a grant for their research, which they need to spend on their pupils along with their research. Now, if a professor has received less funding in a given year, they would likely be taking students who have received a scholarship. If the supervisor has ample funding, it would not matter to them if a student has or has not received any scholarship.
Universities understand that not much can be done about a low GPA and hence evaluate students with an additional standardised test. If you have scored a low GPA, there is no reason to be worried about as you can make up for it by scoring well on your GRE. Universities also provide students with a chance to explain why they scored low in their applications. Hence, you can make up for your scores by penning down a compelling anecdote about the reason behind your low scores. Also, it would be wise to highlight your other achievements such as your leadership roles in extracurricular activities, community service/volunteering experiences and work experiences (if applicable). Additionally, having stellar recommendation letters from other successful people who have known you personally can help you get noticed, even with a low GPA.
To conclude, your GPA is one of the vital ingredients in your applications but it is not the ultimate criterion for your selection. There are numerous ways to supplement your application to make you appear like a good choice for your prospective institutions.
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