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GPA for non-US applicants?


tmck3053
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A quick question - on all of the application portals, obviously they are very interested to know your undergraduate GPA. I've just completed my undergrad in Sydney, and in Australia we make no real use of GPAs at all and it certainly isn't shown on our transcript. We have a variety of mark bands but no official GPA calculation. Most of the applications I've gone through say that they don't want you to calculate your GPA for them but just enter what is on your transcript. As a result I've been leaving the GPA section blank and attaching my transcript as per usual.

My question is - is this the best thing to do? Has anyone else found themselves in this situation? I feel slightly that I'm leaving my application bare or undersold, especially seeing as though I have (the equivalent of) a 4.0 in philosophy and feel like it would be worth stating this somehow. I've only really thought to ask advice for this now and I've submitted half of my applications, but if anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

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Do you get percentages? If so, I'd try putting those into the boxes. If not, then you can try putting in 'band x', or whatever. If it won't accept that input, and it won't accept something like n/a, then I wouldn't worry about it, and I'd just perform the conversion myself and put in '4.0'. They can sort it out themselves when they see copies of your transcripts. (This may have changed since my application days, but I think that the online GPA reporting is mostly for HR/general admissions purposes anyway, and the department just looks directly at your transcript.)

If you can, and if there's time, you could also ask whoever the department's point person is, or ask your own advisor(s). Your advisor(s) might not know, but it might be easier for them to find out.

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18 hours ago, tmck3053 said:

A quick question - on all of the application portals, obviously they are very interested to know your undergraduate GPA. I've just completed my undergrad in Sydney, and in Australia we make no real use of GPAs at all and it certainly isn't shown on our transcript. We have a variety of mark bands but no official GPA calculation. Most of the applications I've gone through say that they don't want you to calculate your GPA for them but just enter what is on your transcript. As a result I've been leaving the GPA section blank and attaching my transcript as per usual.

My question is - is this the best thing to do? Has anyone else found themselves in this situation? I feel slightly that I'm leaving my application bare or undersold, especially seeing as though I have (the equivalent of) a 4.0 in philosophy and feel like it would be worth stating this somehow. I've only really thought to ask advice for this now and I've submitted half of my applications, but if anyone has any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Put in your WAM.

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Every department I talked to about this during my application year advised me against converting GPA and putting in my own conversion. I was told to either: 1) enter whatever appears on my transcript (they are often open-text entry so you can enter a band if you want) or 2) leave it blank.

If you really want to enter your own conversion, don't do it in the application form unless told otherwise. Instead, here are some places you can choose to enter your own conversion:

i) Usually along with the box for GPA, there is a box for "Notes". Enter it there
ii) Add it to your CV
iii) Usually there is a page/box at the end where you can add whatever other notes you want. Try it there.

The reason for not "converting" GPAs is that grades often mean different things in different countries. For example, my undergrad grades are from Canada, where we generally award grades based on competency. An "A+" grade means that the overall percentage was 90% or higher, which indicates the student mastered all or almost all of the material and learning goals. However, after studying in the USA, I learned that grades there means something quite different. An "A+" grade often means you are the best student in the class or one of the top few percent. Not all US schools work the same way, but most of my US friends were surprised to hear that you "only" need a 90% to get an A+ in Canada (it's often 97% or higher in the USA, but again, points are awarded differently).

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