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What Happens If My Undergraduate GPA Is Low?

Undergraduate GPA is the most common criterion used in admission, but it is not an infallible predictor of graduate success.

If you discover that your GPA is low, either in terms of being below the minimum required for admission, or low by comparison with other persons applying to a particular program, you need to find some ways to offset the lack of a high GPA. Since graduate programs often use multiple criteria for admission, this is not as difficult as it may seem at first. By gathering strong recommendation letters, scoring well on admissions tests, doing internships or post-baccalaureate employment in the field, you can offset the effect of a low GPA.

It is also appropriate to call attention to non-academic circumstances which may have prevented your GPA to accurately represent your capacity, so as to place your record in an appropriate context. If circumstances affected your performance, you can describe them and indicate what steps you have taken to overcome those circumstances. Such explanations can either be incorporated in your statement of purpose or written up as a separate statement to be included with your application form. The important thing is to phrase your explanation so that it does not sound like excuse-making. Having others read and critique your statement can be very helpful here.

If your GPA was the result of a learning disability or other such condition, you will have to decide whether or not to disclose the disability in explaining your academic performance. Federal law prohibits discrimination in admissions on the basis of disability. It is even illegal to require applicants to disclose disabilities on an application form. But many students feel that disclosing their disability in the admissions process places them at a disadvantage. I can’t argue that they are wrong.

I will say this: if you can show that, once your disability was identified and you began to receive necessary accommodations, your performance was much stronger than it previously was, or better yet equaled or exceeded the minimum required for admission, you have placed yourself in a strong position. If you show that reasonable accommodations put you on an equal footing with the other applicants to the program, the program can’t disqualify you on the basis of your disability.

For More on GPA also see :

Advice about low GPA

4 Responses

  1. Hello, I have 2nd lower degree in mechanical engineering and would like to get a masters,can I apply, if not which university can I try. Please send me application forms

    thank you

  2. I am currently a Nursing student, will obtain my ADN in May 2010….my current GPA is 2.5. I am interested in Graduate school. I also have a 4 year degree (GPA 2.6). ARe there any MSN programs that accept GPA’s 2.5 +…I have only found schools that are looking for GPA’s 3.0+.


  3. Thanks and Please hold updating your Net site. I are going to be stopping by each time you do .

  4. hello every body , i have just completed my bachelors in BSc. IT and now i look forward to get admission in top universitioes of UK. please tell me what is my GPA my grades are 1st semester 70%,2nd =81%, 3rd 88%,4th 73% the 5th 68% then 6th 61% , i have always worked hard towards my goal up till 3rd semester i have kept rising 4th is ok but due to some reason and extreme disturbance both at the family and because of my competers in the class imy 5th and 6th semester percentage went down . so my graph goes up and then descends down but i am not a bad student , whether you call it my bad luck i faced some crisis and difficulties during exam time which resulted in the deterioration of my grades ,
    hope to get a positive reply from you soon

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