counts GPA and the total number of credit hours spent on studying
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GPA (Grade Point Average) is an average score of all grades in the general certificate of secondary education or diploma during the entire period of study. Each university has its own entry requirements for GPA and establishes a certain threshold for an average score, adherence to which is a necessary requirement for the university admission. Before applying to the university, an entrant should check whether his/her average score of the general certificate of secondary education or diploma meets the university requirements.
The admissions committee will most likely pay attention to the performance in the main subjects and recalculate GPA for verification. Therefore, only true information should be provided, otherwise the committee will not consider an applicant. You should understand that if your average score is significantly lower than an entry one at the chosen university, the chances of admission are quite small.
You can also find out the exact GPA by consulting a company that is engaged in diplomas translation. If an entrant does the translation by him/herself, it is better to clarify the method of GPA calculation at the chosen university. A number of universities request GPA for the last 3–4 years of studying, some schools consider GPA only in certain subjects. Therefore, the below mentioned formula cannot be applied in all cases. This method is quite suitable if you try to assess your chances of admission and determine the list of universities you can apply to.
The methods of the average score calculation at educational institutions of different countries have some distinctions, since each country has its own scale of knowledge assessment. For example, in the USA GPA is calculated on the basis of a 4-point scale, in Germany the average score is based on the Bavarian Formula and the highest score is ‘1’. There is an entirely different assessment scale in the UK — a verbal one.
An example of the average score calculation for admission to the USA universities
To calculate the average score we will take 4 subjects as an example. As a rule, there is the number of hours indicated in parentheses opposite each subject devoted to its study in the general certificate of secondary education or diploma.
Astronomy (75) — B (‘good’);
Mathematics (110) — A (‘excellent’);
Physics (148) — A (‘excellent’);
Chemistry (120) — C (‘satisfactory’).
To begin with, it is necessary to establish a correlation, for example, between the UK and USA grading scales, which is quite simple.
90-100 %, ‘excellent’
80-89 %, ‘good’
70-79 %, ‘satisfactory’
To calculate the average score, the number of hours each subject counts for are multiplied by the points earned from the class.
1. Multiply the point by the number of hours for each subject
75 х 3 + 110 х 4 + 148 х 4 + 120 х 2 = 1497
2. Find the number of hours spent on all subjects
75 + 110 + 148 + 120 = 453
3. Divide the result of calculations of the 1st step by the result of calculations of the 2nd step
1497 / 453 = 3.304.
In this case the GPA is 3.3.
An example of the average score calculation for admission to the German universities
In German educational institutions, the Bavarian Formula is used to calculate the average score of the diploma or general certificate of secondary education, which is the following:
1 + 3(Nmax — Nd) / (Nmax — Nmin)
Nmax is the highest score in the applicant’s country;
Nmin is a minimum required grade for a ‘pass’;
Nd is an applicant’s average grade (of several subjects).
When using the Modified Bavarian Formula to convert American grades, it would look like this:
We calculate the average score for 5 subjects:
Nmax = 4, Nmi = 2
1. Let us find Nd:
Nd = (3 * 3 + 2 + 4) / 5 = 3
2. To calculate the average score, we put all the figures into the required formula:
GPA = 1 + 3 (4 — 3) / (4 — 2) = 1 + 3 * 0.5 = 2.5
GPA for admission to the UK universities
The British system of knowledge assessment is very different from the American or European one. GPA should meet the following requirements:
First-Class Honours, which is equivalent to the general certificate of secondary education or diploma with honours (70% and above);
Upper second-class honours (60% to 69%);
Lower second-class honours (50% to 59%).
‘Credits’ consideration for GPA calculation
University entrants who apply for further education after the bachelor's program completion mostly likely will have a ‘credit’ in some subjects in their diplomas. Accordingly, some questions concerning the influence of credits on the GPA total score arise. As a rule, subjects without grades are not taken into account during GPA calculation, but this point should be clarified directly at the admissions office of the chosen institution of higher education.
For example, an applicant needs to calculate GPA for 4 subjects with grades and two credits:
Astronomy (75) — B (‘good’)
Mathematics (110) — A (‘excellent’)
Physics (148) — A (‘excellent’)
Chemistry (120) — C (‘satisfactory’)
Labor protection (100) — credit
Science of culture (200) — credit
Usually the credit is regarded as ‘excellent’. Thus, the GPA calculation will be the following:
(75 х 3 + 110 х 4 + 148 х 4 + 120 х 2 + 100 х 4 + 200 х 4) / (75 + 110 + 148 + 120 + 100 + 200) = 2697 / 753 = 3.58
Obviously, applying this method an entrant will receive a much higher GPA index. To avoid any confusions, it is necessary to clarify the information on GPA counting by asking a contact person at the chosen university. In any case, universities request copies of documents, including a diploma with grades of all years of studying, so the admissions committee can recalculate the GPA index on its own. If the applicant’s result is higher, the committee will regard it as a bungling or fraud, which will significantly reduce the chances of admission.
What should GPA for admission to the university be?
Even entrants with not very high average score have an opportunity to enter the university. The question is how prestigious this educational institution will be. Certainly, to become a student of the best universities abroad or in your own country, it is necessary to have a high GPA.
What you can expect with the following GPA scores:
4.0 — an applicant with the maximum possible score has the right to apply for admission to any of the most prestigious universities;
3.8 — the lower limit among high scores for admission to prestigious universities;
3.7 — a rather high result, but it is not enough for admission to the universities of The Ivy League;
3.6–3.4 — an applicant can apply for admission to the universities of the first hundred;
3.0–3.3 — a low result, but sufficient for entrance to a regular university;
2.7–3.0 — a low result, but there is still a chance to enter a university;
2.7 — an academic failure, with such a score you can enter no university.
How to indicate the GPA result in the application?
You should not only inform the admissions office of the average score of your diploma or general certificate of secondary education, but also indicate what a maximum possible score for this academic program is. It is very important because different countries can have different maximum scores — 4, 5 or 10. For example, if at the educational institution where an applicant studied a 5-point grading system is adopted and the applicant’s average score is 4.2, the following should be indicated in the application form: GPA 4.2 out of 5. Examples of certificates with the GPA indication in English for admission to the university can be found here.
If GPA is low
Not every entrant can boast about getting a high GPA score of the diploma or general certificate of secondary education, but this does not mean that the chance of entering a prestigious university is irrevocably lost. Of course, the GPA indicator can not be called a strong point of such an application, therefore the emphasis should be placed on other documents that are submitted by an entrant to the admissions office. GPA is only part of the application, which is considered together with other documents submitted.
You should make the committee pay attention to the essay and motivation letter in which you can explain the controversial points of the academic past and try to reveal your strong points. A low average score should be tempered with your past achievements: wins in sports competitions, participation in volunteer and other projects, excellent writing of a term paper. In the USA, undergraduate students may have similar types of compulsory assignments, participation in which brings entrants some advantages.
To calculate GPA, you can use special sites on the Internet that provide this service on a paid or free basis. As a rule, such calculators almost do not differ from one another, since GPA calculation uses a simple method that does not take credits into account. Many universities also have calculators on their official websites, which should be used by applicants. You can find more detailed information on this topic in the FAQ section of the chosen university.
Contemporary grading system
Common mistakes in the average score calculation
scores calculation without taking credit hours into account;
the discrepancy between scores received in your native country and the American (or another) grading scale;
calculation by applying the wrong formula (in case when an applicant has not inquired a correct method of calculation in advance of a university or college representative);
taking credits and grades received for term papers into account (as a rule, they are not taken into consideration during the average score calculation).
Is GPA important for enrolling on MBA programs?
As a rule, during years of study few people think about the importance of grades, the understanding of their significance comes only if a graduate has a desire to continue his/her education at a foreign university. The bad news is that GPA can not be changed, except that you retake the whole previous education course. On the other hand, talented applicants are rarely refused to be admitted to the university because of the average score. The applicant’s analytical and mathematical abilities that can be demonstrated with the help of GRE and GMAT tests are much more important for the admissions committee.
In addition, very often applicants who enroll on MBA programs already have some working experience, which means that at least 3 or 5 years have passed since the graduation from the university, and the admissions committee members are interested in the current level of applicant knowledge, his/her potential and achievements. If the applicant's work experience is measured not in years but in months, the GPA index will play a decisive role in course admission.
You can become a student of a business school even having a low average score, but only if the reason for your poor performance is the early career start. If you have a low GPA and necessary certificates with good points (GRE and GMAT), the admissions committee will most likely decide to consider your application in more detail. If the low applicant’s average score suffered from humanities results (history or philosophy), but the scores in mathematics are quite high, it is possible that such applicants will be admitted to join the ranks of business school students.
Assistance in documents preparation
This article takes into account only the main points of the application writing procedure. In order to take all details into consideration, you can contact us for professional help with the motivation and recommendation letters writing. We also offer our help with completing an electronic university application. With reference to many years of our professional experience, we can prepare your documents needed for the university application quickly and guarantee 100% admission to the foreign university.