The competition in US universities has been increasing and so is the difficulty level of getting admitted to a good university. In this highly competitive arena of higher education admission, these are some of the questions regarding GPA when pursuing higher education in the US:
Simply put, GPA or Grade Point Average is an average score of a student’s grade achieved across the course duration from a university, college, or school. It is often weighed against the credits assigned to a course. Understanding it further, here is how the system works. When you enroll in a college (be it graduate or postgraduate level or even a school), you are required to select various subjects that have designated credits.
For example, if you are taking a course of English that has four credits then the Grade Point Average will be calculated on all your subject matters for which you have availed those credits. GPA is an average score of all grades achieved by a student throughout his/her academic career at the college level. So, how does GPA affect admissions? The average, simply put.
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GPA is a very important factor that US universities consider for admissions. It accounts for around 15% of the total admissions score and so it is essential to have a good GPA if you want to study in the USA. In order to be considered for admission to top universities, your GPA should be somewhere above or equal to the average. Play it safe and achieve at least a 4.0 GPA.
In order to get admitted into an American university, you will have to clear a minimum threshold of grades that correspond with your chosen field or discipline. For example, if you are applying for a course in medicine then obviously the minimum GPA requirement would be higher than for a course in arts or humanities.
US universities use the GPA as an indicator of your academic performance and how it is calculated by different universities varies slightly depending on their own grading system. Yet this is one of the metrics that is weighed when considering a prospective student and should be taken very seriously early on in one’s academic career.
The first step would be to understand what grades are assigned during your college years. The second is to find out the credit hours or weightage of each course.
Now that you have these two values, it will be easier to calculate your GPA score. Suppose you scored grades A, B, and C in three different courses respectively then your GPA for that semester would be (A+B+C)/(number of credits). Not to worry, if this is confusing, the university will calculate your GPA for you.
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If you are an international student, it is advisable to get your transcripts evaluated by a reliable agency such as WES (World Education Services) so that the GPA conversion is accurate. The evaluation will also list the courses and credits assigned to them which will come in handy for future reference.
The best way would be to find out how your college calculates this score and use an online tool such as the GPA calculator to convert it into the American system and determine where you rank in relation to a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Play it safe and aim for over 95% or above if you are applying to competitive courses such as medicine, engineering, etc. Remember that this figure will vary depending on various factors such as the university, your chosen field of study, and your country of origin.
The bottom line is that a good GPA is required to get into any American university and should be one of your top priorities while you are still in college. Start working on those A grades early so that you can increase your chances of getting into the desired institution.
What this article aims to do is provide a basic understanding of how GPA works and how you can use it to your advantage when applying for admission to an American University. Stay tuned for more such articles!
Now that you know what a GPA is, here are some important things to keep in mind while applying to US universities:
As an international student, do your diligence and find the best way how your college to calculate this score and then convert it into the American system.
Again, it is important to keep in mind that your GPA is just a part of the bigger picture and various other aspects such as your SAT/ACT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation, and the interview. There are various factors involved when assessing students for undergraduate admissions including your SAT/ACT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation.
If you are still feeling overwhelmed or confused about how the GPA affects your admission process, don’t worry—our team of experts is ready and waiting to partner with you to consider every aspect of the admissions process.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.