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GPA Considerations


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Hi guys,

I've got a couple of questions regarding the conversion of a UK GPA to a US GPA.

Firstly, do US grad schools take account of the weightings UK universities give to each year of UG? In the UK, first year marks do not count towards your final GPA and second year marks account for only 25% of your final GPA, with third year accounting for 75%. Do US grad schools take this into account or will they include all marks and weight them all equally? This would be a problem for me as, due to rather serious health issues, I received the equivalent of a 3.0 in both my first and second years, but I received a 3.7 in my final year and the equivalent of a 4.0 in my thesis.

Secondly, how do US grad schools view discrepancies in grades? I was struggling with health issues for my first 2 years and so, as mentioned above, didnt get good grades. However, after taking a year out to recover, I completed my final year with much better grades. I believe my final year is much more indicative of my academic abilities, but how do I go about showing the universities that that's the case? Do I write an addendum to my sop or will they view this as a weakness?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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To your first question -- Canadian grades are also slightly different than US grades (although much more similar to US than UK grades!) Some US applications specifically instructed non-Americans to NOT enter a "GPA" in the application. Instead, they just wanted to see our transcripts and determine our academic level themselves. At other schools, when I ask how the GPA should be entered (had to convert from a 100 point scale to a 4.0 scale) and they said to not bother doing it -- again, they will determine academic standing themselves using the full transcript.

 

Of course, you should still clarify with each school, in my opinion, but you don't have to worry about the different systems. I am sure many schools get a ton of applicants from the UK and they might even have faculty who studied in the UK so there are probably standardised methods in place to evaluate transcripts from the UK (and other countries where they have lots of applicants).

 

To your second question, maybe someone more familiar with you and your situation can answer better since I think this is really dependent on the circumstances. Maybe you have a mentor or advisor at your current school? From what you have said, I would probably mention that health issues forced me to take a year off between 2nd and 3rd year but not say that health issues affected my grades in the first two years (sounds too much like an excuse). But of course, this depends on the circumstances!

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