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How do you count A+'s in calculating GPA?


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For my master's degree, I went to Columbia, where they have an A+ (it counts as a 4.3) system.

If I count A+ as a 4.3, my GPA is 3.97

If I count A+ as a 4.0, my GPA is 3.92

If I count A+ as a 4.3, and convert back to 4.0 scale (i.e. 3.97/4.3 * 4.0), my GPA is 3.69.

What do I list as my GPA in PhD applications? I've heard it doesn't really matter because they will look at my transcript anyway (but on my transcript, it says my GPA is 3.97), and also because Columbia is a fairly well know school so adcoms are familiar with the grading system. But I don't want to be seen as potentially misleading them. Also, A+'s are extremely hard to come by (e.g. top 1~2 students get them) so if I put down 3.69 I feel like it's not a true reflection of my performance....


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I think you use 3.97 because that's what your transcript says. Don't account for how it's done other places, you calculate it like they do. Don't short change yourself. If an A+ is worth more at Columbia, they are probably harder to get than an A+ that's only worth 4.0 points. And, at a glance, you don't want anyone to try to match what you put to your transcript and think you screwed it up!

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Agreed. I'm sure that places you are applying for your PhD will be aware of Columbia's grading system as well. You can also call the schools you are applying and ask them. I took classes at a community college while in HS and called a grad school I was interested in to ask about calculating those grades into my GPA since they are on my undergrad transcripts but only as transferred credit. They were very willing to help! That's what the admissions assistants are there for.

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Most schools did not ask me for converted scores. They figure out themselves based on experience or whatever rules (maybe refer to WES, too).

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