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Major GPA versus "Last 60 Units"

Tyler Durden

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When I started my applications, I calculated my overall GPA and the GPA for my last two years (or last 60 units).

I now see that I mistakenly used the "last 60 units" GPA for two applications when asked for my "Major GPA."

The difference between the two figures is not insignificant-- the GPA I reported (last 60 units) is approximately 0.25 higher than the major GPA (the GPA for the program of courses that constitutes the major).

I have now submitted two applications with this error. Should I contact these programs to notify them of my mistake? Or should I wait to see if they contact me about the discrepancy?

Anyone have firsthand experience with this type of problem? Or know what sort of "verification" procedure admissions committees undertake? (i.e., do they calculate the "last 60 units" or "major GPA" themselves and verify that the reported numbers match their calculations?)

I can see how it might be prudent for me to make them aware that it was an honest mistake immediately. On the other hand, if I can reasonably expect that they would ask me about any discrepancy before, say, throwing out my application, I can imagine it might be best to just wait and see.


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If I were in your position, I would contact the programs right away to correct the mistake. Without any inside knowledge in your programs (as I am really only familiar with the MAs I am applying for), I would assume a program might use the discrepancy as a reason to throw out application (I doubt they would contact you to ask as they have a large volume of other apps to sift through and would rather clear out a "dishonest" app or one with errors than try to give you a chance to explain).

I also don't now if they do their own calculations but I think a .25 difference might be visible enough to the committe to make them calculatre it.

That said, I doubt it would be a big deal to them if you just contact them. I don't think that's a mistake that would really hurt your application :) But if you did get in under "false pretenses" then you might run into some trouble if anyone finds out.

Edited by clairea12
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Yep, I had this problem, only with mixing up alma mater GPA and cumulative undergrad GPA (I studied abroad, etc.).

I called the four schools for which this had been a problem. One wants me to send in a hard copy correcting the error, which will be added to my file and may or may not be seen by the adcomm (the correction, that is). One manually fixed it in the computer while on the phone with me. One requested I send an email giving them permission to change it before they made the correction via the computer system for me (presumably to have evidence that I requested said correction). The latter said it wasn't a big deal since the difference was relatively insignificant and was kind enough to glance over the rest of my app and told me I wouldn't have any problem getting an interview invite either way so he suggested I just leave it (and I did).

Still, I felt better knowing that my acknowledgment of the error was on record, and fixed. I hope that if attention is drawn to this, the adcomms will appreciate that I took efforts to rectify the problem as soon as I recognized it.

Even if they don't -- what's the quote? Integrity is doing the right thing, even if no one is around to see or appreciate it.

Edited by gellert
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Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions.

I've since discovered two additional applications with the same problem; I wrote each of the four programs. Happily, a representative from one of the four has responded, agreeing to revise the GPA with a written statement from me. No responses so far from the others (where deadlines were back in early December). I'm quite disappointed to have discovered this problem so late in the process (I fear now it may be too late to repair!) I've painstakingly refined every other aspect of my applications and I have an interview scheduled for February 3rd, so this surprise is disheartening to say the least. Has anyone else had any experience with self-reported GPA issues? Any success stories I might pin my hopes on?

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I always wonder if they even take the time to calculate Major GPA, since it isn't anywhere on most transcripts, and they get so many applicants. It is best to send a note in, but I doubt it's even noticed most of the time. Of course, you don't want to be that unlucky person who does get noticed for it.

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