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8 Ways to Make to a Top B-School Despite Low GPA

A low GPA shouldn’t be seen as a thwart to your MBA dreams. While it does pose some challenges, you can get admission in top business schools, despite a weak GPA, by tackling other factors smartly.


A Score Named GPA


GPA stands for – Grade Point Average. This number indicates the average academic scores on the scale of 1.0 to 4.0. GPA score is used for assessing the students on the standards of an academic program of a college or a university. 


GPA Scores & Grading Systems


There are multiple grading systems throughout the world using different letters, numbers, etc. An average score system is used to make varied grades comprehensible to different colleges/universities.


Cumulative GPA & Overall GPA


While cumulative GPA covers shorter courses (a semester or a term), overall GPA includes grades from complete course modules.


Calculating GPA


Every grade obtained by a student (a number, a letter, or percentage) links to a quality point. Generally, a quality point is on a 4.0 scale between 0 and 4 (or a multiple of 4). 


For example, in an American college, ‘A’ is the highest grade, and it equals either 4, or a multiple of 4. After attending a few classes, a student accumulated several points. They are added up and then divided by the total credits of the course. The final number obtained is the Grade Point Average. 


See the table to understand the calculation of GPA for 3 courses – 


Physics  2 credits
Mathematics  2 credits
English  3 credits


Assuming that the aspirant has received the following grades for these 3 courses

  • Physics – C (2.0 on the GPA scale)
  • Mathematics – B (3.0 on the GPA scale)
  • English – A (4.0 on the GPA scale)


After multiplying the grades with the number of credits for every course, the aspirant will have – 

  • Physics – 4-grade points
  • Mathematics – 6-grade points
  • English – 12-grade points


Total 22-grade points.


For determining the GPA, divide this number by the total credits of the courses (2+2+3=7). 


And the GPA will come out to be 3.14.


Calculating GPA for Indian Colleges


India has hundreds of universities that follow a different grading system. Therefore, it may not be easy to ascertain your GPA purely from the marks obtained. WES iGPA calculator offers an easy way to know your GPA. However, this only gives you an idea. To ascertain your true GPA, you’ll have to get it professionally evaluated by organizations like WES. 


It is important to get your GPA from renowned bodies instead of doing it yourself. 


What is a Good GPA?


Gauging GPA score depends on the education level. While a good grade point is easier to achieve in a high school, the same score may take more effort in a college or a university. Also, grade points are considered contextually. An aspirant securing an average GPA in a difficult course may be preferred over the one who secured a higher GPA in an easier course. 


Precisely – 

  • GPA required depends on academic objectives and the university/study program
  • Generally, a GPA of 3.5 to 4 is considered good by reputed academic institutions


You can also look at your preferred B School’s class profile that should give you an idea of the average GPA of the students enrolled. For instance, Wharton’s Class Profile gives an idea of the average GPA and GMAT scores of the student enrolled in the previous year. 


Low GPA Score? We Tell You How to Tackle This


A low GPA isn’t healthy while applying for an academic course, especially for a top business school MBA program. A low GPA in an MBA application form may not go down too well with the screening authorities, but then it is not the end of the road.


Certainly, GPA scores cannot be altered. However, there are ways to tackle this. We tell you how –


  1. Look Beyond GPA


Let’s not peer too hard on the GPA. It is important but not an ultimate decisive factor. Several other parts of the MBA application can be worked upon to diffuse the impact of a low GPA. Use letters of recommendation, professional resume, and personal essays to showcase your stronger aspects.


  1. GMAT – The Flag Bearer


GMAT score is the yardstick of business schools to measure the credibility of an applicant. This single element will weigh down the most in your MBA application form. A good GMAT score will diminish the negative impact of your low GPA and prove your ability to handle an MBA program competently. This story of a student explains how he got into a top US business school. 


  1. Extra Courses


Pick useful courses to leverage your MBA application form. Use your college vacations by enrolling into a course you are inclined to, and which would be beneficial further like – a foreign language course, a software course, etc. You can even enroll in a bridge course that would let you study that one subject that you couldn’t take in the undergraduate program. Additional courses will highlight your receptivity towards academic programs and projects.


  1. Write Earnest Personal Essays


Write sincere personal essays that would present genuine reasons for your low GPA. Without evading the reasons or playing the victim card, explain what affected your GPA. The reason could be any – an illness or a part-time job. Communicate it. Your essays should reflect your honesty, convictions, and values. Admission officers will understand that scores and grades can be earned anytime, unlike deep-seated honesty. 


  1. Crisp Statement of Purpose


Draft Statement of Purpose precisely to highlight your serious intent to be part of the business school. Mention your prospective contributions to the upcoming projects, volunteer projects, community roles, etc., in sync with your earned laurels. This statement should brush aside your past low scores and project your progression towards an excellent business career. 


  1. Ensure Good Letters of Recommendation


Ensure that your letters of recommendation say specific things about your abilities to be a good business school student. Mention of qualities like leadership, multitasking, computers, oratory skills, etc., will place you in a glowing league. Your recommenders should not just speak well about you but also include all the praises in the letter. 


  1. Let Your Job Speak Volumes


If you have been successful in getting a good and competitive job despite a low GPA score at the undergraduate level, this will go in your favor. A good business school prefers committed job skills to empty GPA scores. And if you can grab a job with a company that is affiliated with an internship program of business skills, it will speak volumes about your placement potential. 


  1. A Brilliant Resume


A brilliant resume will make a final and lasting impact. Spend enough attention on your resume, for it should cover your skills, academic and co-curricular accomplishments, along with your credentials for definite roles. Your resume should resonate with your aspirations of joining an MBA program in a reputable business school. Address gaps (If any) in your MBA Resume to optimize your application. 


Despite low-grade points, it is possible to get admission to an MBA program by leveraging other significant aspects. So look past your low GPA to fulfil your dream of getting into your favorite business school and stand out proudly.

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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