How to deal with low GPA?


Your dream to join grad school is just a few months away from materialising. As you go through the websites of various colleges accepting GMAT score or GRE score and the courses they offer, you realise that your low GPA at the undergraduate level may play spoilsport in securing admission to that prestigious grad school. Is that going to shatter your dream?

Good or Low GPA

GPA or Grade Point Average ranges from 1.0 to 4.0. Let us first understand what GPA qualifies as good or low. A GPA above 3.0 is considered good, while anything less than 3.0 is considered as low or poor. A GPA above 3.5, is an academic prerequisite for admission to excellent grad schools.

However, some schools or universities are not rigid with their GPA requirements. You need to search the internet for universities that accept low GPA. Contact online or telephonically.

Don’t despair. This article looks at some of the ways to deal with the low GPA crisis.

  • Does GPA reveal all?

Overall GPA cannot be an indicator of all that you achieved or learnt during the undergraduate years. If you have a significantly higher GPA in the subjects related to your preferred course at grad schools, highlight that in your application. Many grad schools focus on performance in relevant courses and consistent improvement in grades over the undergrad period.

  • Be honest

Your GPA is easily accessible to the admission committees through your application. But if you can give a sincere explanation for the low GPA, whether medical or personal, the college authorities may consider your application.

  • Improve your entrance scores

The onus lies on you to come up with a highly competitive score in any of the entrance exams like GMAT, GRE and TOEFL, which you plan to attempt. For GRE preparation or GMAT preparation, enrol for GRE prep courses or GMAT courses offered by any reputed institute. Your excellent performance at the entrances can provide a clear indication of your capabilities and is likely to catch the eye of the admission committees.

  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)

Write an essay highlighting your abilities, strengths, your significant failures, relevant work experience, academic intent and ambition. Make mention of your extracurricular activities like music, sport, debates, drama or art, social volunteering, your published works, if any. Participation and not winning in those activities is more important. Be sincere in your SOP. Your learning experiences can make a difference. Try to justify your suitability for the proposed course.

Secure testimonials or Letters of Recommendation (LORs) from faculty members who can vouch for your abilities in the relevant courses. Coming from the experienced faculty, these testimonials will positively impact the admission committee members. These small things in your SOP add more value to your application rather than the grades and transcripts. It is a clear indicator of your well-rounded personality. It highlights the fact that you are more capable than what your GPA indicates.

  • Be firmly grounded while applying

Everyone aspires for admission to a top grad school. But you need to be practical while applying to schools by identifying whether you meet their qualifying standards. If there is a mismatch, it is better to be realistic in your ambition and avoid applying to such schools.

  • Enhance your academic profile

Bear in mind that your GRE score or GMAT score is valid for five years. If possible, try to re-attempt the exams for subjects in which you have poorly fared intending to improve your GPA. Enrol for some extra relevant courses and try to gain good scores. Such recent achievements, if mentioned in your application, will draw the attention of the admission committees and can work in your favour.

  • Gain relevant work experience

Be it any work experience – internships, training, part-time jobs, volunteering social work, however short the duration may be, make a mention of the same in your application. Try to enrol for short term training in relevant fields and gain experience. This indicates your willingness to learn new things, adapt and work with teams. Rather than your GPA and transcripts, these are the capabilities that most grad schools seek in the prospective candidates.

If you aim to perform well at the entrance exams, Manya-The Princeton Review can help you achieve your goal. It offers well designed preparatory courses for various entrance exams like GRE/ GMAT/ TOEFL etc. With experienced and certified faculty, robust infrastructure, a rich repository of relevant information, Manya with its vast experience can help accelerate your GRE/ GMAT/ TOEFL journey.

With everyone vying for admissions to foreign universities, maximise your chances of securing admission by focusing on the aspects mentioned above. Do not let low GPA derail you from your ambitious journey.

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