Redirecting Attention From a Low GPA

Posted By SWatts on Jun 4, 2015 |

Strategies for Redirecting Attention Away from a Less-than-Ideal GPA

There are many strategies that can be effective for redirecting attention away from a less-than-ideal GPA to successes and achievements that can potentially persuade a business school admissions committee to grant admission to you.  Essays are usually key, as are the recommendations. Your GMAT Score, an “alternative transcript”, and your work experience can also help offset a lower GPA.

Essays and Recommendations

Your application should sing praises as it highlights the credentials that indicate you are an excellent candidate from all angles.  In doing so, you should address your low GPA. But, addressing a low GPA does not mean simply writing a paragraph about it in the “optional” section of the application, which some candidates might choose to do. You can address the matter indirectly by shining a light on your other achievements that convey to the admissions committee that your defining and relevant achievements are your professional successes – not your academic performance. This should be an emphasis of your admissions essays.  You should present essay content that demonstrates the deepening and broadening of your professional skills and experiences, reinforcing the idea that you have matured into a highly effective and impactful young professional and that you are no longer defined by your undergraduate performance.

Strive to secure recommendation letters that emphasize this same message. The recommendations should rave about you, stressing how outstanding you are in general, how you are a stand-out compared with peers, and how bright your future is.

GMAT Score and Alternative Transcript

When seeking to override a less-than-ideal GPA in order to gain admission to a top MBA program, ideally your GMAT score should be strong, which will also reinforce the idea that you have strong skills and great potential.  To provide evidence of strong skills and the capacity to do MBA-level classwork, some candidates with weak GPAs take business courses after college at a reputable and reasonably prestigious institution, building an “alternative transcript” that provides evidence of their current abilities.  Such courses can be taken in person or online.

Work Experience

Having a substantial amount of work experience can help also. With at least three years of experience, you can present essay content that demonstrates the depth and breadth of your professional skills and experiences. You can reinforce the idea that you are no longer defined by your undergraduate experience.

We at MBA have helped candidates with GPAs as low as 2.7 get into top business schools such as Stanford, Harvard and Wharton. In most cases, it is ultimately your entire candidacy that matters, so take the time to put together a compelling application.

Best wishes,

Dr. Shelle and the Team at MBA