How to deal with a low GPA

One of the biggest fears many prospective applicants express when seeking admission is about their low GPA.

There is no doubt GPA is one single factor largely influencing admission committees.

However it is not the only factor which influences admission decision in your favor.

So how do you put a positive spin on a low GPA? The trick is to actually put down two different GPAs on your application.

The first will be your cumulative GPA up to that point. The second GPA should be a grouping of classes that has a calculated GPA higher than your cumulative.

Let’s look at some examples of groupings you might use :

Computer Engineering Major GPA
English Literature Specialization GPA

So after choosing a grouping the process becomes pretty easy. You just get a copy of your transcripts and calculate the GPA of the grouping you choose.

So finally let’s put it together and see what your Education section might look like on your resume:

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
University of ———–
December 2007
Grade Point Average: 3.05
Senior level engineering class GPA: 3.44

What you are doing is really two-fold. First, you are giving a visual indication of solid academic performance. And man whenever I see this dual GPA method I just love the way it looks! Really it is just human psychology that makes that second GPA really jump from the page.

More importantly you are indicating to the graduate school that you have a deep understanding of some target subject or set of classes, in the example above, in senior level engineering coursework. This also shows the recruiter that your academic performance got better with time and that you were able to improve towards the end of college. For that reason, my advice would be to try and create a grouping from the second half of college. Choosing from the later half of your college career demonstrates improvement with time and involves more relevant classes that have occurred more recently.

I hope you find this useful.

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