“I have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA; I don’t think I’ll apply…”
Recently, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of our interested prospects. It’s one of the greatest attributes of my job. However, I have been hearing a message which pains me; students are afraid to apply because they “just” meet the minimum GPA.
I would like to remind everyone that the undergraduate GPA is only part of the pie we call the application. Why is your GPA where it is right now?
Scenario A: Miss Caroline A went into her freshman year, played around too much and found college to be too overwhelming. She failed a few class and then dropped out. Miss A started working and realized that she really needed to finish her education. When Miss A re-entered school, she earned A’s in the majority of her classes and brought her GPA up significantly to a 3.1.
Scenario B: Miss Caroline B was an honor student her first and second years. When she got into her major, she decided that she was too smart to go to class and fell from a 3.6 to a 3.1.
In both cases, the Carolines yielded the same result, but which do you think is more likely to get into a program? Trends play an important role in how we evaluate candidates. Yes, you may have messed up sometime during undergrad, but how have you overcome those mistakes?
There are other ways to supplement a not-so-stellar GPA. First, you should really consider maximizing efforts on the GMAT. Just remember, the GMAT is also only one slice of the pie. Second, you should really tell us your story through your essays. Are you a Caroline A or Caroline B? (Caroline C-Z stories are also encouraged to be told!) Third, you should really take time to TALK to your references and get quality recommendations. (If you are curious as to how important this really is, there will be an entire blog post just on references).
The recipe is simple: make up for what you lack by putting extra effort in what you can control.
Good luck, folks!