Is My GPA High Enough? (FAQ)

Posted By SWatts on May 24, 2014 |

From The Staff of MBA
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Is My GPA High Enough? (FAQ)

“Do you think my GPA is too low?” This is one of the most frequent questions I get from MBA applicants.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Research about each business school’s average GPA for matriculating students can certainly help give you a better sense of where you stand in your odds for admission. But beyond this, a candidate’s specific profile matters a great deal. Think about:

Where did you go to college? If your school was a top-ranked college in its country, the admissions committee may be a little more lenient in accepting a lower GPA than the same GPA of a candidate who attended a much lower-ranked college.

What was your major? Some majors are known to be very difficult and time-intensive. Students in these majors often graduate with GPAs that would be considered lower when compared side-by-side with a GPA from a much “softer” major. Admissions committees are aware of this. If your major was known to be tough, you should point that out in the essays and recommendations.

What is your gender? Sorry guys — girls do sometimes have an easier time.  Fewer women have historically applied to business schools than men, so women seem to sometimes receive a little more leeway on the GPA.

Did you participate in a varsity-level sport in college? If so, most admissions committees will realize you were diverting a lot of time to that sport and they might cut you a little slack on the GPA. Representing a school in varsity-level sports is generally seen as very commendable and an indication of dynamic talents. However, be aware that this same reasoning does not generally apply to other types of extracurricular activities. For most other extracurricular activities, the committee will feel you had more control over balancing your devotion to the activity and your studies. Most of the time, it will not be seen as a legitimate reason to excuse a lower GPA.

Did you have to work your way through school to support yourself or your family financially? Admissions committees are often sympathetic to legitimate hardships paired with a well-written explanation.

There are many other factors that can affect the GPA assessment. If you are concerned about your GPA, think about how admissions committees will view your GPA, and what mitigating factors you could use to positively affect that view. This simple step can help you understand whether your GPA will be seen as a strength or a weakness in your MBA application.