How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

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How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Worried that you won’t be able to get into the graduate school of your dreams because your GPA is low? Don’t be. Less-than-stellar grades can be overcome as long as you have a plan.

Almost all graduate school applications require transcripts. But a large reason for that requirement is to (1) verify that you earned an undergrad degree, and (2) ensure that they have an official record of it. In short, just because a transcript is required doesn’t mean it’s of paramount importance.

Your transcript is one component of your application, and it is considered together with your statement of purpose, recommendation letters, and usually some samples of past essays or other work. Many schools also require standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Others may ask for additional materials, too.

Some programs weight GPAs heavily. But others might be more interested in how you did in courses relevant to the program. Certain programs might look foremost at your portfolio, recommendations, or statement of purpose to provide a sense of how you’ll fare in their program. Still others might want to see relevant experience, such as work or an internship, and not be particularly concerned with a GPA.

The bottom line: You’ll need to know how the programs you’re interested in think about GPAs during the admissions process. Here are eight steps you should take to gain admission to your top-choice graduate programs, regardless of your undergraduate GPA.

1. Know the requirements

You’ll need to do your research to find out whether the graduate programs you’re interested in have specific requirements regarding GPAs. Check to see whether a minimum GPA for applicants is listed on each program’s website. Some sites may also give average GPA scores of past successful applicants.

It’s a good idea to research GPA requirements for all the programs you’re considering. Ultimately, you should plan to apply to about five graduate programs: two safety schools where admission should be pretty easy, two solid schools where your chances are good, and a dream-but-still-possible school.

Then, assess how you stack up vis-à-vis the requirements. Maybe your GPA gives you a fighting chance after all. Or maybe it seems as if the school is going to look at that one number and send a thin envelope, not a fat one. If it’s the latter, read on to find out what you should to next.

2. Talk to the faculty

Make an appointment with some faculty members you’re interested in working with. After demonstrating your interest in (and research of) the program and discussing how your experience makes you a solid fit, ask them frankly how your application would be viewed, given your GPA. If there are any mitigating circumstances surrounding your low GPA, let them know. If you were going through difficult life circumstances, for example, some programs take that into account.

If, however, you were thrown by the material, the response may vary, depending on its relevance to the program. Going for a master’s in computer science? If your transcript shows a C in calculus, eyebrows might be raised because calculus is very important in computer science. But admissions committees are likely not to care as much if your lower grades are in not-so-relevant areas. Earning a C in French literature may not sink a computer science application, as long as you can meet the program’s subject-specific requirements.

3. Complete additional coursework

If the program wants you to demonstrate more or better knowledge than your GPA signals, taking one or more courses might do the trick. Earning an A in a standalone calculus class would show that you’ve mastered that key material. Depending on the subject matter, you may also be able to earn a certificate for completing online courses.

4. Pursue relevant field experience

You can also demonstrate skills mastery via work experience. Look for internships, research assistantships, volunteer opportunities, and other professional leads that will help you acquire hands-on experience in your prospective graduate field. The network you’ll cultivate in that pursuit is also likely to help you establish yourself in the field—during graduate school and beyond.

5. Publish in your subject

If you do original research, work on an exciting project, or otherwise make a contribution to your field, then write about it—and get your work published! Showing that you can pass muster in peer review will be a significant plus for your candidacy.

6. Use your statement of purpose

Write a thoughtful, clearly formulated statement of purpose in which you communicate—by showing, not telling—your understanding of and passion for your chosen field. Write with specificity about the research you hope to do in graduate school. Demonstrate your familiarity with the faculty by expressing how—and why—you hope to work with a few specific professors. You’ll need to make a compelling affirmative case, with plenty of specifics. (That’s true regardless of your undergraduate GPA!)

7. Consider submitting a separate letter of explanation

Depending on a program’s GPA requirements, you may be advised to submit a separate letter of explanation. (In some cases, your explanation may be included as part of your statement of purpose; you’ll need to follow the guidelines of each program to which you’re applying.) In your explanation, you’ll want to be clear and concise. If your relatively low GPA doesn’t reflect your abilities, explain why. If, for instance, you had a family emergency one semester, you can explain that your grades fell due to those personal circumstances—but in that case, committees will probably want to see that you successfully pulled them back up. If the cause of your low GPA is still ongoing, the committee will want to ensure that you’ll be able to complete your graduate work satisfactorily.

8. Focus on recommendations

Most graduate programs ask for recommendation letters. Your recommenders can discuss your qualifications, including your GPA, and make the case for the kind of work you are capable of doing (and have done for them!). Say you have a GPA on the low side, but your environmental bio research project really blew your professor away. If she recommends you as someone with great potential for research, her endorsement can significantly strengthen your application. If you’re able to do research-assistant work for someone in your field (perhaps even someone in the graduate program you’re hoping to gain admission to), then that person’s recommendation may carry even greater weight.


In short: There are several ways to overcome a low GPA. Grades are an important—but not exclusive—signifier of future academic success. If your grades alone don’t make your case, then let the work you have produced and the relationships you have nurtured earn you admission to your chosen graduate program. While you don’t need to act on all of the suggestions presented here, you should strive to set yourself apart from other candidates. If you ensure that the other (non-GPA) parts of your application shine, you may very well earn a coveted spot in your dream graduate program.

If you are considering opportunities to further your education but are self-conscious about your undergraduate grades, there are still a few options for you. To stay competitive, your application will just have to stand out in other important areas.

Admissions officers consider several factors for each applicant. While GPA is always one of them, it does not have to be the be all and end all of your acceptance or rejection. If you know your GPA will not work in your favor as you apply to graduate schools, you may want to make sure you excel in a few of the following areas.

Practice in a Relevant Field

  • Internships: If you’re fresh out of an undergraduate program, consider pursuing an impressive internship if you haven’t completed one already. Depending on your program, this could include research, an apprenticeship program, or a summer job. If you have interned with a respected company or department, your relevant experience and display of competence could help override any red flags in your GPA.
  • Work Experience: Whether you just graduated with a bachelor’s degree or are thinking about continuing your education after a hiatus, relevant work experience can also help surge your application forward. If your GPA does not reflect your competence as a student, you will want to make sure you have work experience that does communicate your ability to learn quickly and retain information.

High GRE Scores

  • The GRE is an entrance exam for which many programs require score submission. If you diligently plan, study, and then kick butt at the GRE, a high score could help offset a low GPA. This aptitude test helps measure your readiness for graduate school. A high score may even do more than your GPA to communicate your capability as a graduate student. Start preparing for the GRE a few months in advance so that you can have plenty of time to practice and study.

Stellar Recommendations

  • Most graduate programs require recommendation letters for you to be considered for admission. If you have a professor who thinks highly of you and can speak to your work ethic and performance in school, you will want to request a recommendation from them. If you don’t have an impressive GPA, many programs would be willing to overlook it if there are professors who are willing to vouch for your research, character, and abilities.

Get to Know Your Options

  • Researching different programs and familiarizing yourself with their requirements will always work in your favor. Many of the most competitive, top-tier schools heavily weigh undergraduate GPA, usually just so they can use their exclusive selectivity as a way to help them climb the rankings lists. Choosing to focus your efforts on programs that are not as concerned about an excellent GPA, but rather your potential to excel, may give you a better chance of acceptance if you know your grades are lower than your competitors’.
    Take the University of Wisconsin–Parkside as an example. While its programs do require a transcript as part of the application, many other factors play into the application and can make up for whatever you might be lacking. In fact, its MBA program waives the need for students with high GPAs to submit standardized test scores, but it otherwise weighs prior work experience and test scores very heavily for everyone else. Great schools like UW–Parkside structure their flexible applications mindfully with the knowledge that all students have different strengths.

Explain Your Situation

  • If a personal crisis (health issues, family emergency, etc.) kept you from performing to the best of your abilities for a semester, you may want to consider writing a letter to the admissions office and including it in your application. If an essay is required, describing the context in your essay may be appropriate. Admissions officers understand that simply looking at your GPA and comparing it to your course schedule does not account for an entire story. It is your responsibility to communicate effectively why your GPA suffered, especially if there had been any reason that was out of your control.
  • Keep in mind that a “difficult” major will not suffice as an explanation for a low GPA. Graduate programs are extremely competitive, and if you assume programs will ignore a low GPA because they understand your major was very difficult, you may be misplacing your faith.

While important, your GPA does not have to be the reason that you don’t get into graduate school. If you know your GPA isn’t going to help your application, you may want to focus the other required elements. Relevant experience, high scores on the GRE, impressive recommendations, and applying to programs that put GPA lower on the priority list will help compensate for a GPA that is not above average. If outside circumstances caused your GPA to be abnormally low for a semester or two, you will definitely want to contact admissions officers to let them know what happened and what they can expect from you in the future. As you seek out graduate programs, keep in mind that Abound has many of the answers to your questions conveniently located in one place.

Both count—and strength in one area can help make up for weakness in the other

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

A degree from a top-tier graduate school can open a lot of professional doors, and savvy students do everything they can to get into the best program possible. Here’s what you need to know about the admissions process and how applicants are evaluated.

Key Takeaways

  • Most graduate schools take a holistic approach to applicants, looking at both academics and other factors.
  • When applying, focus on your strengths but don’t neglect to address your weaknesses.
  • Solid work experience may help offset a less-than-spectacular GPA.

How Admissions Officers Judge Applicants

The graduate school admissions process is not always transparent, but a successful application will typically include the following:

  • Undergraduate transcripts, including course grades
  • Graduate school test results (usually the GRE, although some fields have their own specialized exams)
  • A resume with work history
  • Letters of recommendation
  • An essay or statement of purpose
  • An interview (either in person or by phone or Zoom)

Which of these matters the most to universities? According to many education experts, graduate admissions committees usually take a holistic approach to selecting candidates. They may have certain thresholds for GRE scores or undergraduate grade point averages (GPAs), for example. But as a general rule, they consider all aspects of an application in making a decision.

Recognize Your Weaknesses and Use Your Strengths

The best approach when applying to grad school, according to higher-ed experts, is to work hard to address the weakest components of your application. You may have stellar test scores, a high GPA, and enthusiastic letters of recommendation, but don’t be complacent and submit a lackluster essay.

If, on the other hand, standardized tests are your Achilles heel, try to improve the numbers by taking an extra test preparation class. Schedule the exam far enough in advance that you have time to retake it if need be.

According to ETS, the company that administers the GRE, you can take it once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous 365-day period.

Does this mean that every factor in your application has the same weight? Not necessarily. Vijay Chidambaram, assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, ranked application components from most important to least important as follows:

  • GPA
  • Recommendation letters
  • GRE scores
  • Research/published papers
  • Industry internships
  • Experience as a teacher’s assistant

Similarly, a 2014 survey by Kaplan Test Prep found that 44% of graduate school admissions officers said the student’s undergraduate transcript was the first thing they looked at.

Unfortunately, if your undergrad GPA is weak, there’s not much you can do about it now. But you can emphasize your strengths to help compensate.

Keep in mind that certain fields will have a different set of criteria from others. While GPA is important, some schools may place greater emphasis on a student’s work experience, which might trump a mediocre GPA.

by Rich DeMatteo on November 17, 2021

Graduate school is an excellent way to improve your job prospects and open up new opportunities. If you have just graduated college with excellent grades, you have the pick of the grad schools. But what if you didn’t do so well?В

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

A lot of people find that they want to go to grad school to further their careers but they are concerned that they won’t get in. They might be returning to school later in life or maybe they just have a low GPA. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get into grad school. It will be tougher, but it is still possible if you get your application right. Here’s how you can get into grad school with a low GPA.В

Before you give up on grad school, check the GPA requirements of some schools you want to attend. You might find that you meet the requirements of some, and in others, you may only be slightly below the threshold. When picking schools , have a few backups that you can definitely get into, a few that are a bit of a stretch but still possible, and one dream school that you want to take your chances with.В

If you’re applying to grad school with a low GPA, then you need to write an excellent essay. This is your opportunity to show them that you are dedicated and you will work hard, even if your GPA is a little low. Before you start writing, check out some examples of gsb essays so you can see how applications to the top schools look. You need to put lots of work into your essay and give yourself enough time to draft it a few times so it’s perfect.

Having some relevant practical experience in your field can help you make up for low grades in a lot of cases. If you plan to go into research, for example, then getting a job in a lab or doing some volunteer work can be helpful. If you haven’t been very academically successful in your field, then this is the time to compensate with practical experience that demonstrates dedication and initiative. Some people are less effective in the classroom even though they have the necessary skills in a real-world situation. Getting some work experience can help you demonstrate this. This is also a great option for people that are returning to education part way through their careers because they can focus on their relevant experience in the application.

If your GPA is close to or below the requirements of the school, but you have other qualities that are impressive, then submitting a letter of explanation can help. For example, if you took time off between college and starting grad school or you’ve had some health problems that affected your grades, then these might be worth mentioning in an application. The college will naturally assume that your poor grades are down to a lack of work or a lack of understanding. If there is another reason, you need to explain this to them.

Getting into grad school with a low GPA is hard, but it’s possible if you keep these tips in mind.В

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Apply for masters with low GPA is a challenge that many applicants for Master’s degree face. You will need to provide various conditions to be submit and accept your application for the Master’s course. Some of these credentials are related to undergraduate degree. Another of these documents is the letter of recommendation. However, some universities also include GPA scores in their applications for admission.

What is GPA?

What is the GPA? What GPA is required for Masters? Why we need GPA score for master acceptance? Some students confuse by these questions.

GPA is Abbreviation of Grade Point Average, which determine the level of students’ academic ability in the US education system. Its score range is from 0 to 5. To study in the United States, Canada or any countries that follow the American education system (such as Turkey), the student needs to equate his / her scores average to GPA.

Universities simply use the GPA score as a criterion for accepting applicants. Others focus more on your performance in related applications. Some others may use portfolio, recommendations, or statement of purpose as their criteria.

The ways to apply for masters with low GPA?

There are some ways to could get into master program with low GPA or even regardless that.

Zoom in on your other chances

esearch the institution of your choice and field of master study. You need to know what grade point average and what requirement you need to get to the desired educational position. In this way, it may not be necessary to have a high GPA at all by providing the desired conditions.

Show that your level of knowledge is beyond GPA assessment

You can show off your academic ability by participating in independent courses and earning top rankings in these classes. Such achievements like A score in standalone calculus class are more important for some universities than the highest GPA score.

Add to your work experience

Sometimes you can show with your work experience in the field that you deserve the desired master. Therefore, it is better not to miss opportunities like internships, research assistantships, volunteer opportunities, and other professional leads.

Take this opportunity with your words

You should write a letter explaining why your GPA score is low. A family problem or illness or any other critical situation may be the cause of your GPA score drop.

You can also use the letter of purpose. In this letter, you state what your goal is and what efforts you have made to achieve it. This letter downplays your low GPA score.

You can even talk about the hope that you will be accepted to this position and work with the professors of this university. Letters of purpose is the other chances you can use in your own words.

Use the letter of recommendation

In this letter, you can use the credit of one of your professors to explain the reason for your low GPA score and show your eligibility to get the desired degree.

Can I get into a master’s program with a 2.5 GPA?

Yes. There are many universities that are willing to give another chance to those whose GPA score is lower than its average. Many universities do not take this criterion very seriously.

We will introduce the best universities that accept low GPA for masters:

Universities that accept low GPA for masters in Europe

Southern New Hampshire University: education, finance, information technology and MBA are some of the most known program in this university. Graduate students must apply with a GPA of 2.75 for full acceptance or a GPA of 2.0 for provisional acceptance. In addition, accepted students must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in each of their first two terms.

Liverpool John Moores University: There are also various master’s degree programs at this university for which applicants with a GPA of less than 3 or 4 can also apply for admission.

Universities that accept low GPA for Masters in United State

Colorado Technical University: business, computer science, nursing, and other career-oriented areas are present in this university. Applicants to graduate programs at Colorado Technical University must have a minimum GPA of 2.0, among other requirements.

Strayer University: accounting, education, health service admin, HR, cyber security, information systems, management, MVA and public administration are some of the best programs in this university. Strayer University ask that students cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.

Universities that accept low GPA for Masters in Canada

  • Memorial University of Newfoundland: based on this university rules, GPA 2.0 is needed.
  • University of Victoria: 2.5 is the minimum GPA for master application for this university.
  • Carleton University: 2.5 is the minimum GPA for accept in this university.
  • University of Manitoba: this university determines 2.5 as minimum GPA for master applicants.

Which is the best country for studying Masters with a low GPA?

The United States is one of the best countries to study for a master’s degree with low GPA. There are hundreds of universities in the country that offer a variety of master’s degree programs for students with 2 to 3 GPA.

Is 2.7 GPA Good for Masters?

The answer to this question depends on the university and field of study you are interested in. But you can addition to the GPA, get a high GRE & TOEFL score, write a strong statement of purpose, research and do a thorough research of the University you intend to apply.

Interestingly, this page has the list of the best Schools (Universities) in the US that accept low GPA between 2.0 GPA, 2.3GPA, 2.5GPA, 2.7GPA, or lower for Masters in the U.S in 2021 for grad students.

If you wish to know the best grad schools that accept low GPAs for Masters and the list of graduate schools with low GPA requirements in the U.S for 2021, then here is the best solution for you.

We are teaching students how to make $500 monthly while in school without affecting their studies. It’s 100% free! Join Here

To make it easier for graduates that wish to study in the United States to find out master’s programs that accept low GPAs in the U.S, we have listed out a comprehensive list for them to scan through and make a choice.

But before we go further, we advise you to read and adhere strictly to all the information shown on this page so that you may know the right thing to do at the right time.

Table of Contents

Graduate Schools with low GPA Requirements in the U.S for 2021

We believe that knowing the best grad schools that accept low GPAs in the U.S will help Master’s applicants with low GPAs that wish to apply for Master’s in the U.S to make a good choice.

Interestingly, there are good Universities in the U.S that do not require CGPA for Masters and many other Grad schools that accept low GPAs from 2.0 to 2.5.

It is also very important for all Grad applicants to note that it is not all the colleges and universities in the U.S that require GPA as an admission determinant.

There are a good number of grad schools in the US that also accept applicants with low GPAs as long as they have good experience, skills, and recommendations required for admission.

Importantly, we advise applicants never to feel discouraged because any University is clear about the required GPA for admission.

Although many Grads schools emphasize GPA, many of them admit students with low GPAs as long as the student has other achievements and recommendations.

Note: GPA is of two scales. One is for the scale of 4.0 while the other is for the scale of 5.0. But on this page, we use the scale of 4.0 only.

What To do if your GPA is Below Grad School Cut off Point

If your GPA is below the GPA Cut off mark of the school that you wish to apply for, then we advise you to do the following;

1. Try Your Luck: the fact that your GPA is below the required GPA of your school of choice doesn’t mean you cannot be admitted.

If you have a low GPA but still interested in applying for admission at your school of choice, then make sure you do the following:

  • Build a good Profile. This should include internships, projects, and publications.
  • Have good recommendation(s)
  • Share your experiences and achievement
  • Have good extracurricular activities

2. Change Your Mind: if the first option does not work out for you, then opt-in for other Schools that accept low or no GPA. See such schools below.

Grad School That Accept 2.8 to 3.49 GPA in US 2021

Below are grad schools that accept any GPA between 2.8 to 3.49. Please kindly check the bottom for the schools that accept 2.0 to 3.0:

Graduate School in U.S That Accepts 3.0 GPA Requirements

Grad Schools in U.S That Accepts 2.7 GPA 2021

Graduate School That Accepts 2.5 GPA Requirements in the U.S

Graduate Schools That Accept 2.0GPA Requirements in the U.S

Below are the graduate schools that accept 2.5 GPA requirements for Masters’s admission in U.S 2021.

Grad Schools That Accept 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 to 2.49 GPA 2021

Those are the grad schools in the U.S that accept low GPA of 2.0 GPA, 2.3GPA, 2.5GPA, 2.7GPA, or lower for Masters in 2021.

Finally, we encourage you to build a better record and attach it to your GPA to boost your chances of being considered by the above-listed Universities/Colleges.

Know Your Graduate School Grade Requirements

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How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Your GPA or grade point average is important to admissions committees, not because it signifies your intelligence, but because it is a long-term indicator of how well you perform your job as a student. Grades reflect your motivation and your ability to do consistently good or bad work. Generally, most master’s programs require minimum GPAs of 3.0 or 3.3, and most doctoral programs require minimum GPAs of 3.3 or 3.5. Usually, this minimum is necessary, but not sufficient, for admission. That is, your GPA can keep the door from shutting in your face but many other factors come to play in getting accepted to graduate school and your GPA usually won’t guarantee admission, no matter how good it is.

Course Quality Can Trump Your Grade

Not all grades are the same, though. Admissions committees study the courses taken: a B in Advanced Statistics is worth more than an A in Introduction to Pottery. In other words, they consider the context of the GPA: Where was it obtained and of what courses is it comprised? In many cases, it’s better to have a lower GPA composed of solid challenging courses than a high GPA based on easy courses like “Basket Weaving for Beginners” and the like. Admissions committees study your transcript and examine your overall GPA as well as the GPA for the courses relevant to the programs to which you’re applying (e.g., GPA in science and math courses for applicants to medical school and graduate programs in the sciences). Ensure that you’re taking the right courses for the graduate program to which you plan to apply.

Why Turn to Standardized Exams?

Admissions committees also understand that applicants’ grade point averages often can’t be meaningfully compared. Grades can differ among universities: an A at one university may be a B+ at another. Also, grades differ among professors in the same university. Because grade point averages are not standardized, it’s hard to compare applicants’ GPAs. Therefore admissions committees turn to standardized exams, like the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT, to make comparisons among applicants from different universities. Therefore if you have a low GPA, it is essential that you try your best on these tests.

What If I Have a Low GPA?

If it is early in your academic career (for example you are in your sophomore year or beginning your junior year) you have time to boost your GPA. Remember that the more credits you have taken, the harder it is to raise your GPA, so try to catch a spiraling GPA before it does much damage. Here’s what you can do before it’s too late.

There are many factors that contribute to an unsatisfactory grade point average (GPA) as an undergraduate student. Perhaps you struggled to find the area in which you excel and made a few mistakes in class selection your first semester or two. Maybe the transition from high school to college was more significant than you anticipated and your grades suffered during the adjustment period. Choosing a particularly grueling field may have also caused a lower GPA, even if you worked extremely diligently.

If you are determined to attend graduate school but do not meet the GPA requirement for the programs you are interested in, there are a few options to consider. We want to address your desire to improve your undergraduate GPA after you have completed your degree, while also reminding you that for many programs, other factors will be considered for your admission.

To put it frankly, improving your GPA post-graduation is almost impossible; however, there are a couple of different paths you can pursue to make an attempt.

Grade Forgiveness

One option for you to look into is repeating a course you have already taken. For this route, it is a good idea to check your school’s policy on grade forgiveness, because many institutions will not allow you to repeat a course if you passed it the first time, even if you are unhappy with your final grade. If you received a D or an F in a class, you will likely have the opportunity to retake it and improve your grade. Keep in mind that many graduate programs are only focusing on your grades in core classes—if you are not satisfied with your grade in an elective, it likely will have no effect on your application to graduate school.

Private and for-profit colleges are other options for retaking courses, but you should always check with the graduate program you are interested in before committing. If you do choose to retake a course at a different college, keep in mind that a better grade will not actually change your GPA, but your desired graduate program may be willing to overlook your previous attempt and count the improved grade instead.

Post-baccalaureate Degree

Aside from grade forgiveness, there is also an option to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree—a second bachelor’s degree—after you graduate. If you wish to enter into the health field, for example, you might have the opportunity to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree also known as a postbac program and take the required science courses to boost your GPA before applying to medical school. These programs usually take less than two years and might be a good option for you if you are looking to pursue a graduate degree in a different field from your undergraduate major.

It is important for you to research all of your options. If you are planning to retake a class or pursue a post-baccalaureate degree, you should speak to an advisor and be certain of the requirements and implications for you. The process of improving your GPA could be very costly. If you are granted the opportunity to retake a course, you will likely have to pay the full cost of the class without the expectation of financial aid. For many postbac programs, your only opportunity for financial aid may be acquiring additional student loans. It is important to consider all of these scenarios before making a final decision.

Other ways of increasing your chances of getting into a grad program:

If improving your GPA does not seem like a viable option, don’t get discouraged just yet! Many programs view applicants from a holistic perspective. There are several other factors to consider such as your test scores and relevant experience. If you can stand out among other applicants in these areas, you may still be a competitive candidate. Consider these resources as you weigh your decision about how to approach your graduate school endeavors:

Take advantage of your undergraduate career services.
Call to schedule an appointment with a career coach or counselor to talk about your goals and graduate school application.

Talk to a professional career counselor.
If you no longer have access to your undergraduate career services but you have health insurance, you may be able to find a counselor in-network—which could be relatively inexpensive. Use to search for a counselor. You can narrow down your options by zip code, health insurance provider, and “career counselor” as the specialty.

Reach out to the Graduate Program Coordinator or admissions office.
Contacting the appropriate people from the program you are interested in can help you get some of the answers you are seeking. They may breakdown the requirements they are looking for and help you understand where your GPA and other credentials fall in relation to previous students they have admitted. They may also offer advice about how to increase your chances of admission if your GPA is not quite up to par. Some schools/programs have the option to first earn a certificate or specialization in your desired field before transferring into their graduate program.

Consider using test prep resources.
Increasing your test score in the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT will definitely help your overall profile for admission. Seeking resources at your local library may be helpful—they usually have free tests available. Test prep services, such as Kaplan often offer free practice tests and occasionally will provide discounts for full courses.

Don’t discount your current experience!
Your work and life experience in a relevant field may give you an advantage. Be sure to mention any significant skills or practice in your personal statement and essay portion of the application process. No one can bring the exact same experience and perspective to the profession as you! Your personal journey makes you a unique candidate.

Your undergraduate GPA definitely counts when applying to graduate programs, but how heavily your GPA is considered in the admissions process will vary by discipline and college. Never discount yourself because your grades are not as high as other prospective students’—you may have options! Seeking advice and direction from your undergraduate advisor, a career coach, and/or graduate program coordinators can give you a clear picture of what your best options are for improving your GPA after graduating to become a competitive graduate school candidate.

More About Abound: We’re here to help. Abound: Grad School narrows down your options and gets you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced . Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.

A reader asks: I want to apply to two highly competitive graduate schools. My concern is my GPA, which is a 2.5. However I have a wealth of experience. The two programs do not specify GPA. Other schools require a mandatory GPA of 3.0. Should I apply, with the risk of not getting accepted and reapplying next year? Should I wait and improve my credentials?

GPA questions are tough. There’s no guarantee when it comes to graduate school admissions. While some graduate programs apply cutoff GPA scores in order to weed out applicants, this is not always the case. We can make predictions, but there are many factors at play — even factors that have nothing to do with you can influence the availability of slots in a given program and your chances of getting in.

Now, to consider your specific situation, remember that graduate programs look at your overall application. Grade point average (GPA) is one part of that application. Several other factors, outlined below, are also important components of the graduate application.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Grade point average tells the committee what you did in college. Scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are important because the GRE measures an applicant’s aptitude for graduate study. Academic performance in college often does not predict academic achievement in grad school, so admissions committees look to GRE scores as a primary indicator of applicants’ capacities for graduate study.

Admissions essays are another important part of the package that can make up for a low GPA. If you address the topic and express yourself well it can allay concerns that arise because of your GPA. Your essay may also offer you the opportunity to provide context for your GPA, for example, if extenuating circumstances harmed your academic performance during one semester. Beware of griping about your GPA or attempting to explain four years of poor performance. Keep all explanations concise and don’t draw attention away from the central point of your essay.

Recommendation letters are critical to your admissions package. These letters demonstrate that faculty are behind you — that they view you as “grad school material” and support your academic plans. Stellar letters can trump a less-than-stellar GPA. Take the time to nurture relationships with faculty; do research with them. Seek their input on your academic plans.

Not all 4.0 GPAs are equal. The value placed on GPA depends on what courses you’ve taken. If you take challenging courses, then a lower GPA can be tolerated; a high GPA based on easy courses is worth less than a good GPA based on challenging courses. In addition, some admissions committees compute a GPA for major coursework to assess a candidate’s performance in the courses that are deemed essential to the field.

All in all, if you have a solid application package — good GRE scores, an excellent admissions essay, and informative and supportive letters — you can offset the effects of a less-than-stellar GPA. That said, be cautious. Carefully select schools to which to apply. Also choose safety schools. Consider delaying your application to work hard to increase your GPA (especially if you don’t gain admission this time around). If you’re looking at doctoral programs also consider applying to master’s programs (with the intention of possibly transferring to a doctoral program).

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

The road to completing a bachelor’s degree can be very challenging. It requires time management, achieving a balance for other activities (especially for recruited athletes, those who are employed, etc.), and having the patience and willingness to study hard. Besides these, some students are forced to deal with grade deflation and tough graders, whether those people are teaching assistants or professors. Students who are interested in pursuing graduate school afterwards are further stressed by the requirement of earning an above average GPA.

However, learning how to get into grad school with a low GPA is important for giving yourself a real opportunity at earning admission. Keep in mind, GPA is just one of many requirements for applying to most graduate school programs. Schools, and professors in general, are interested in the rest of your application as well, which consists of many important pieces that build your graduate school application profile.

Review the Data and Choose Wisely

At some schools, applying with a low GPA and getting accepted is very unlikely, especially if the institution is publishing data that proves your GPA is significantly lower than their most recent cohort of accepted students. If you find that your GPA is below even the 5th percentile of accepted students, it means there’s a chance, but that 95% of accepted students had a higher GPA. However, you might find that your low GPA is closer to the 10-40th percentile at other schools, and use this data to make an informed choice. It’s always important to create a balanced school list, so try to avoid including too many schools where you would place relatively low on their scale.

Reach Out to Strong Recommenders

Some graduate programs require more letters of recommendation than others. Letters of recommendation are always important, but usually, the schools that allow you to include more letters, or have them required instead of optional, put more value into the content of those recommendations. These are the schools that want to hear what your professors, colleagues, and others have to say about you. Academic performance, after all, is not the only part of an application. When deciding on who to ask for letters of recommendation, keep in mind how well they know you and support your goals. Choose someone who will write a glowing recommendation that will awe the admissions readers and focus on your strengths, instead of your lower GPA.

Display Interest in the School

Sign up for newsletters, get in touch with professors, and attend webinars or virtual meetings that the schools offer. Many graduate school positions are limited, and your commitment to pursuing a program is displayed through your actions. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to a professor and discuss their research interests, especially if they align with what you’re interested in studying in graduate school. Many schools have archives, libraries, and other resources that will be fundamental to your research, and acknowledging that through dialogue will be a good sign to the department.

Work Diligently on your Personal Statement

Your personal statement for any program answers many important questions that you may only have the chance to expand on during an interview. The personal statement shares valuable information to help your position change from applicant to admitted, by stating what your plans are and why the university is a perfect fit. Writing a great personal statement is a culmination of the previous steps – by researching a school and communicating with their faculty, you’re not only displaying interest, but learning more about why that school belongs on your list of graduate programs. It is even permissible to refer to a professor in hopes that you can perform research with them and take their courses. A personal statement can convey many things, and it should contain clear reasons for applying to a university and ultimately, convincing the admissions committee that you are perfect for the program.

Take More Courses

If you are applying to graduate programs following the completion of an undergraduate program, taking additional courses could help. These courses can be at any accredited institution, such as a community college, or even courses that are offered at the institution you’re applying to, as long as they don’t require you to be an accepted, full-time student. Taking courses and doing well is another way to display your commitment to the program you’re pursuing. However, if you are far-removed from your undergraduate studies and have plenty of work experience, consider leveraging your professional experience in the form of a fantastic resume, glowing letters of recommendation, and referring to your work experience in the personal statement.

Focus on the Standardized Exams

Standardized exams may be required or optional for the graduate school program you’re interested in, which include the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and others. On data sets that include GPA ranges, oftentimes, the range for standardized exam scores is also shown. To help balance a low GPA, earning a high score on a standardized test can improve the strength of your application. Keep in mind this is easier said than done – these exams are difficult, requiring three or more hours to complete, and much more time from you while you’re studying and preparing. Put together a feasible study plan and use the abundance of resources available to help you earn the highest score possible.

Publish in your Topic of Interest

In addition to these, you could also publish research in your area of expertise, but this is also time consuming and requires long-term planning, sometimes years ahead. Usually, the best way to go about publishing is to continue the research and writing you did for your undergraduate thesis or a capstone course, but it’s also possible that you pinpoint a topic of interest and pursue it aggressively. If so, good luck! The more dedicated you are to a subject, the more likely you are to publish, with lots of patience, of course.

Final Thoughts

Remember, having a high GPA doesn’t guarantee admission into any school. This is just as true as knowing that a low GPA doesn’t automatically prevent you from earning admission into any school. By learning how to get into grad school with a low GPA and following these steps, you’ll be putting yourself in the strongest position to earn a well-deserved spot in a suitable graduate school program.

A good undergraduate GPA, without a doubt, is an important component of graduate admissions process. It measures how well you performed during your undergraduate years and hence it’s looked upon as an indicator of your motivation, hard work, interest and future success by prospective schools.

In some fields like law and medicine, graduate admissions heavily rely on the test score and undergraduate GPA whereas in other fields, it may not be the top deciding factor.

We’ve already covered average GPA for top medical schools and average GPA for top law schools in earlier articles.

MS in the US – What’s a good GPA for graduate school

Depending upon the field or specialisation you chose and the reputation of the college or university you apply to, the GPA required to get in would vary.

If you’re planning to apply to the elite top tier programs or the Ivy League programs, you’d need to have a competitive GPA of 3.5 or above whereas for other schools, with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.5, you’d still have a good chance of getting in.

For example, to apply for MS in computer science, at prestigious universities like Columbia, Stanford, UCLA, a GPA of at least 3.5 is required. The program website usually has the minimum GPA requirement mentioned, so make it a point to check this before applying.

Average GPA for top MS programs

The average GPA of those admitted at a particular school varies depending upon the specialisation or major taken.

For example, at the University of Texas at Austin graduate school, the average GPA of admitted applicants varies from 3.70 for aerospace engineering, 3.88 for chemical engineering, 3.66 for petroleum engineering with the average being 3.73 across various streams.

Here’s a list of some of the universities and schools offering MS programs in the US and the average GPA for each

Admission requirements for MS in the US

Admission prerequisites

  • Most of the programs require sixteen years of education.
  • Some of them may have some specific undergraduate course requirement, for example, at Georgia State University, for MS in Computer Science, a baccalaureate degree in computer science or equivalent is a prerequisite while those with non-computer-science degrees are also eligible to apply though they may need to complete some foundation courses.
  • Some programs may have some previous work experience requirement.

Application requirements

  • Online application
  • Academic transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Recommendation letters (usually 2-3)
  • GRE / GMAT score
  • English language proficiency test like TOEFL or IELTS

MS in US – Applying with low GPA

Starting your application research early would ensure that you’re familiar with the school requirements so that you have enough time to put in a strong application. Apply early when you have a greater chance of being accepted.

In case your GPA is lower, you can take additional courses. Work hard on all the aspects of your application. Let your application highlight why you’re keen to attend a particular school and how the school is the right fit for you.

Try getting feedback from someone who may be familiar with the process. A high test score, extracurricular involvement and good work experience, well-written Statement of Purpose (SOP), good quality recommendations from the right persons will go a long way in making a big difference to your application.

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Depending on the type of graduate program you’re pursuing, that GPA left over from your college days may play a large part in your chances of admission. In fact, many graduate schools have a GPA cutoff for applicants. Though these cutoffs vary across programs and fields, Master’s programs tend to have a lower cutoff than PhD programs. The most common cutoff for Master’s is 3.0.

Cutoffs are easy to find on most school’s websites. They are usually located either on the application requirements or FAQ pages. While you’re there, check to see if the program lists either the average GPA of its incoming class, or any differing requirements with regard to your Major GPA. Though most schools don’t tend to list this information on their websites, there are some exceptions, so it’s always a good idea to look.

However, schools know that there exists no reliable standardization system for comparing GPAs. A 3.3 at one college is not the same as a 3.3 at another, so to understand exactly what rigor your GPA represents, graduate admission committees will often turn to course selection. What was the class you got that B- in, again? “Advanced Euclidean Geometry” or “Intro to Western Music”? It matters. Schools are aware that grading is a highly subjective process, dependent on anything from a professor’s private opinion to class size. That’s why applications can be so comprehensive; no school would dare rely on GPA alone.

Standardized test scores can also help schools to determine the abilities of prospective students, so if you’re lugging around a lower GPA than you’d like, doing well on the GRE will greatly impact your chances of admission.

Another helpful step in mitigating the impact of a lower GPA is to take some space in your application to provide explanation for your grades. Tell a compelling story about yourself—including any important extraneous circumstances that may have affected your GPA. Also, be sure to mention leadership positions you took on in extracurricular activities, any relevant volunteer work, and—especially if it’s been awhile since you attended college—your relevant work experience. Getting high quality recommendations can also undo some of the damage done by a sub-par college record, so ask people you know will speak highly of you, and extra points if they’re particularly successful themselves, or happen to have taught you during college.

All of this said, don’t spend too much time fretting about your GPA, as it’s the one part of your graduate application you can’t change. Instead, if you have a GPA that isn’t as competitive as your peers, do your best to supplement your application with other experiences that prove that you’ve learned how to do your job as a student well. There are many ways to package yourself as a strong applicant to prospective schools, and GPA is only one ingredient of a stellar application.

Hi! I am considering a post bac program, but my GPA is a 2.6. I had personal complications during my college career. Some post bac programs require even a higher GPA. Should I even consider/bother going to medical school? I know for a fact that I can do extremely well. in preparing for it. Also, if I can’t get in a post bac program, can I take classes at a local University?
Jason’s Reply:

Initially, you need to decide if you want to be a doctor in the first place, because I sense some hesitation with the fact you’re not sure if you should consider going to medical school or not. Although, this most likely stems from concerns surrounding your GPA.

Don’t let personal complications from your undergraduate career prevent you from pursuing medicine. There are some post baccalaureate programs geared specifically towards people who find themselves in a situation such as yours. These are called the Academic Record-Enhancer post bac programs.

These post bac programs are for students who need another chance to show they can perform at a level required for admission to medical school. Additionally, it will help you to gauge whether medicine is something you truly want to do as well. These post baccalaureate programs can be at two levels: Master program or simply Academic Record Enhancer. If you feel you can perform well now that your personal issues have been resolved I would encourage you to go the Master level route.

I encourage you to go the Master route because you will have already completed many or most of your premed requirements and this is where medical schools would like to see you go on your next step to getting admitted.

Before going any farther you’re going to have an uphill battle with an undergrad GPA of 2.6 and wanting to get into medical school and even for post bac programs. Here’s the steps you need to take to give yourself a fighting chance with post bac admissions committee members.

You show the persistence medical schools are looking for and I think you should definitely go for it, especially after acknowledging you are confident you can do extremely well.

If you are concerned about your numbers preventing you from getting into a post baccalaureate program you’ll want to check out my ebooklet, “How to Get Into a Post Bac with a Low GPA” you can learn more here.

In the ebooklet you’re going to discover a solid plan of action you can follow, how the AdComs are going to view your application and tactical advice you can implement immediately to get you closer to your dream of becoming a doctor.

Obviously, with subpar numbers it’s going to be a lot harder but you can still get into a post bac program, do well and finally get into medical school.

Comments for Low GPA Can I Still Apply to Post Bac Programs?

Average Rating

HI I got my bachelor’s degree in decemeber of 2021 and my GPA was a 2.8 trying to to get some research experience too but Really want to improve my gpa enough where I can save my chances of getting into med school and I know that Post bacc programs do help with raising GPA but it’s very competitive do you know which ones are less competitive and accepts lower GPA?

You would want to check out my Post Bac Guidebook for Getting into Medical School where I share everything you need to know about post bac programs and there’s a section specifically for applicants like yourself who need to improve your credentials to be competitive for medical school.

This guidebook would be an absolute gamechanger for you especially the section on Academic Record-Enhancer programs along with Special Master Programs (SMP).

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

The majority of emails we get at The PA Platform are about how to get into PA school with a low GPA. Once your GPA drops, it can be very difficult to overcome, but Marian is an amazing example of how it CAN be done. It wasn’t easy, but Marian kept working hard and didn’t give up, and now she’s going to be a PA! And she rocked her mock interview, so I wasn’t at all surprised to hear of her acceptance.

Undergraduate education:

  • Undergrad – University of California Riverside – BS Biological Sciences
  • Graduate – Chatham University – MS Biology


  • Overall GPA: 2.85
  • Science GPA: 2.76
  • Post Bacc GPA: 3.34
  • Graduate GPA: 3.89

GRE: 301

Total HCE hours: 6,280

Total PCE hours: 10,396

Shadowing hours: 1,560

Other volunteer hours: 1,134

LORs: 1 PA, 2 Science Professors

How many times did you apply?: 2

Age: 28

Gender: Female

How many programs did you apply to? 15

How many programs did you interview with and what were the outcomes? 1 interview invite, 1 acceptance, waiting to hear back from 6 programs.

Any red flags on your application? My undergraduate GPA was the biggest red flag in my application. I did everything in my power to compensate for that by completing a post bacc, a masters and having lots of patient care and volunteer hours. I also excelled in getting my Masters in Biology, which I felt I had to pursue to she admission committees that I could handle the rigor of PA school.

Anything you found surprising about interviews? I found it comforting that when I interviewed I felt so relaxed. The faculty and staff made Interview day fun and i really felt at home with the program.

Were there any helpful resources (books, websites, apps) you used to get through prerequisite courses, the application or interview process? I basically studied everything on the PA Platform! Lol. From the webinars, the Top 100 interview questions, to the practice Mock interview I wanted to be prepared as possible. I also read the book “How to Ace the Physician Assistant Interview” by Andrew Rodican (Amazon affiliate link).

Any other advice for pre-PA students?

As a student with a lower undergraduate GPA, I never thought I would see the day I got accepted. The first time I applied, I thought I did everything the right way but I made so many mistakes. So here are my tips.

1. Apply Early. Submitting your Application in April or May is key especially for schools that utilize rolling admissions.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

2. Research the programs you’re applying to. I only applied to programs that had a holistic view on my application, due to my lower GPA. Therefore I applied to schools that had “recommended” GPA requirements or would put heavier emphasis on the last 90 units of my coursework. I also applied to schools based on the mission statement.

3. Don’t Give up! No matter how hard reality may seem, just hold on to your dream! It’s never too late! Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from fulfilling your destiny! Sure, It may take longer..but if you don’t give up on yourself, stay focused, and trust that you can do it. YOU REALLY CAN! All it takes is one interview and one acceptance letter and I am a living testament to that!

Where can we find you? Instagram: @_mae0711

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of physician assistants to increase by 37% in the next ten years, making it one of the fastest-growing professions in the medical field. However, this increased demand has also led to a lower acceptance rate in many PA schools, along with a corresponding increase in the average GPA of accepted students. Do you want to know what the easiest PA schools are? We’re going to go over what the easiest PA programs are to get into, what the program curriculum looks like for each PA school, and more information you should know about when researching the best physician assistant schools to get into, so we can make your decision making process as easy as possible.

If you want to be a physician assistant but you feel that your GPA isn’t high enough to get into a good PA program, you still have hope. Many schools accept lower GPAs or have less stringent admissions requirements. Instead of giving up on your dream of becoming a physician assistant, consider applying at the schools on our list.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

What is a PA School and How Do You Get into One?

Physician assistants, or PAs, are medical professionals who work under a doctor’s supervision. Since physician assistants need extensive knowledge of the medical field and advanced training, the requirements for becoming a PA include obtaining a qualifying bachelor’s degree and earning a Master’s degree at a graduate PA school.

As with many medical graduate programs, many PA programs will require a science and biology-focused Bachelor’s degree. The most common prerequisite courses include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Microbiology. Some PA programs may have other necessary courses, so you should investigate before applying to PA school. As you can see, a strong science background is highly encouraged.

Registered and accredited PA schools offer a comprehensive physician assistant program that consists of several weeks of coursework on topics such as clinical radiology, medical ethics, and introductions to various specialties. After the coursework stage, learners in the PA program will finish several eight-week rotations in an array of medical areas.

Once PA school students graduate from the accredited PA program, they can apply for the national certifying exam, which allows the PA students to practice in the state. The requirements for licensing vary by state, so you must get the information specific to your location before taking the exam.

What is CASPA?

The Centralized Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) is a web-based PA application system that allows students to submit one application to multiple PA programs. Students can register using their email address and upload all their documents, transcripts, and GRE scores onto the site, which then compiles it into a comprehensive PA school application.

Any PA schools on the CASPA system are part of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA), the leading body in PA education.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Are There Online Entry Level Physician Assistant Programs?

Yes, several universities offer online PA programs. However, these entry-level programs only cover the coursework component of a physician assistant program. They will not give you the clinical and care experience needed to become a state-licensed PA, which is why they are the easiest PA schools to get into.

The following schools offer online entry-level PA courses:

· University of North Dakota

· University of Nebraska Medical Center

· University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

· The Touro College and University System

What is the Typical PA School Acceptance Rate?

Like many other medical schools, physician assistant programs are notoriously difficult to get into for most students. According to the PAEA, the average acceptance rate into a PA school is around 20%. But this acceptance rate can vary by state.

Are There PA Schools with Low GPA Requirements?

Almost all physician’s assistant programs have some form of GPA requirement for admission. However, several schools accept a relatively low GPA, so even students with a low GPA can apply as long they have an otherwise strong PA school application and personal statement.

The schools with low GPA requirements include:

· University of Utah

· A.T. Still University, Central Coast

· Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Can I Get into a PA Program Without a GRE?

Like many other graduate programs, PA schools require the potential applicant to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test. This standardized test is a staple for most graduate school admissions, but some physicians assistant programs don’t require students to have a GRE score on their applications. These schools include:

· Arkansas Colleges of Health Education

· Bethel University in Minnesota

· Loma Linda University

· University of La Verne

Three Ways to Overcome a Low GPA When Applying to a PA Program

A low GPA doesn’t mean you won’t get into PA school. While students with a higher GPA may be more competitive, you can strengthen your PA school application in other ways to overcome your low GPA. If you want to get into PA school, here are three things you can still do before sending in your PA school application.

Ace the GRE

Most accredited PA programs will require a GRE, MCAT, or other formal standardized test scores. Getting a high score on these tests can show that you’re a well-rounded PA student with potential that reaches beyond your GPA, even if you got C grades in high school.

Before discussing the possible measures you can take to offset a low GPA, it is important to first understand what a “Low GPA” is? In general, any GPA below 3.2(on a scale of 4) is considered a low GPA. However, the notion that any GPA less than 3.2 is a low GPA is far from reality as a lot of factors go into assessing one’s GPA. A more accurate way to describe a low GPA is “GPA below 80th percentile”. This is because different schools have different grading systems, some schools might award a 3.5 GPA to only one or two students while others award it tens of students. Therefore, the important question here is “Are you in the top 20 percent students?”

Another way is to look at your target program’s average GPA, if the difference between your GPA and its average GPA is less than 0.1-0.2 points, your GPA may not be considered very low. On the other hand, if the difference is more than 0.3 points, your GPA will be considered low even if it is more than 3.2. For example, if you have a GPA of 3.2 while your target program has an average GPA of 3.6, your GPA is low- whereas, if your target program has an average GPA of 3.25 and your GPA is 3.15, your GPA will not be considered low.

In short, do not judge yourself by your absolute GPA rather see your percentile, and the difference between your GPA and your target program median GPA since they are better indicators. If your GPA is low, the following tips might help you offset it to a degree.

Select the right schools.

Doing your university research thoroughly is the most important step. Select an array of universities, some of which you think are too ambitious for you, some moderately risky and others completely safe. Since this article deals with students who have a low GPA, another aspect to look at while selecting university is how much they value undergrad academics? Some schools have a cut-off GPA and reject any applications below that GPA. Look for schools that emphasize on the overall application.

Personal Statement: Narrate your story.

The personal statement is your chance to narrate your story. Take this as an opportunity to describe the reason for your low GPA. Were you doing a job besides your studies to fend for yourself? Were there any problems that you couldn’t have controlled but were affected by? Was it difficult for you to adjust in your university initially and that accounted for Low GPA in the initial few semesters? Did your GPA increase in the last two years of your degree? You may like to discuss any of these questions in your Personal Statement.
In short, mention the reasons behind the low GPA and what you have done to make up for it.

Test Scores

Test scores (GRE/GMAT/LSAT etc) are a great way to prove that there is more to you than what your GPA portrays. Test scores can’t completely offset a low GPA but they certainly bring credibility to the claims you lay in your Personal statement and, show your willingness and determination towards pursuing the Graduate program.

Research Experience

Research experience adds a lot of weight to your application. If you have done great research, it will enormously boost your chances of admission. Graduate programs are often looking for candidates with proven ability and there is no greater proof of ability than your past research experience.

Letter of Recommendation

Graduate programs are mostly about students working for Professors on some project, if a Professor can vouch for your ability, it will certainly strengthen your position. This and the last two points together can enormously increase your chances and almost certainly offset low GPA to a degree. Keep in mind that a strong Letter of Recommendation (L.O.R) does not mean an L.O.R full of praise, rather it needs to address a lot of aspects. Writing more about them in this blog would make it too long, there is another blog dedicated on this, you can read it here.


If you can get an internship in which you learn relevant material and work on relevant projects, you will be able to add a lot on your resume. Getting internships is comparatively easy, you can contact anyone from the faculty or apply to organizations that interest you. Always try to get an internship that challenges you, the only kind of internships that do not help at all are the one’s where you learn nothing new.

Work Experience

Fresh graduates are often at an inherent disadvantage because they have hardly any work experience and need to prove their skills solely on the basis of their academics. A few years of work experience definitely helps, your performance in the past few year is also an indicator of how you have improved. Besides, you have learnt relevant field related knowledge and gained leadership experience, all of this adds to your application.

In short, if you can prove that you understand your goals and are really driven, the projects that you have done in the past are in alignment with your goal and your Professors/ Managers are willing to vouch for your credibility, you will definitely have a good chance of making it to the target school even if your GPA is slightly low.

I want to get into MS in Computer science in the US, specifically in data science. I have a Masters in Physics but my GPA is low. I have scored 51% in my undergrad and 62% in my postgrad. I have cleared my postgrad with 10+ back logs. But I have an international conference paper published in radio astronomy. I have also worked as an intern in web team of leading daily as a science writer. I also have 2+ experience in teaching Physics. I have also volunteered in outreach activities by TIFR, Mumbai. In my undergrad, I have also won prizes in working models related to science. I have an 8.0 score in IELTS and gearing up for my GRE. what are my chances to get into a decent college?

To make my application better, I have enrolled myself into John Hopkins Data Science program by Coursera and I am also learning Python. Will it help?

The reason I had for backlogs is financial troubles in my family. I was doing odd part-time jobs which caused so many backlogs.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

2 Answers 2

Without more information from the OP, this answer will be a bit tentative. I’m not sure that a low GPA is your biggest issue, though some schools have rules that they enforce quite rigidly.

I think the biggest obstacle for you now, that you can correct somewhat at least with time and effort, is that your academic background seems to be haphazard rather than focused. Normally a master’s is quite focused and depends on the student having certain skills, usually from their undergraduate years. You don’t seem to obviously have that.

Learning Python, of itself, will help you very little, actually as it is just a tool. But you may be missing most of the content of the undergraduate education, including, perhaps the vital Algorithms and Data Structures courses, as well as Database and a few others.

Physics (at most levels) is an actual science. That seems to be your background. Computer Science isn’t a science at all (in most areas) and hasn’t been for half a century. Data science is a bit between, however, as it can be experimental, not just constructive. In CS, we mostly build things, rather than search for the truths provided by the cosmos.

It might be, that if you want to study big data in Physics specifically, that you might find a program somewhere that focuses on that, though it would likely be in a Physics department. If you can find that, your background might be seen as helpful.

But in general, if you want a MS (MSc) degree you should spend some time (not a small amount of time) focusing your studies in one area primarily that will help you be seen as having the needed skills.

While broad interests in life are valued and valuable, academia mostly values specialization. Studying data science online may help you provided you do enough of it and do it well enough, but your broad background may only make it harder. If you can find a way to get some of the background in an actual educational institution (with a mentor) it would (for most people) be better than online courses, which are harder to judge no matter how good they are. There is too much variability in student outcomes to trust them completely. Focus.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Getting into Law School with a Low GPA

Getting into Law School with a Low GPA

If you are reading this blog, you’re probably already aware of the two numbers critical to your law school application success: your LSAT score and your GPA. Different schools assign different weights to each of these numbers, but both numbers will play a large role in where you will end up studying law. While the best route to a relatively stress-free application cycle is to make sure your application features both a strong LSAT score as well as a high GPA, not everyone is fortunate enough to have these assets. What do you do if one of your numbers is lagging? What’s the trick for getting into law school with a low GPA?

If you don’t happen to fall into the enviable category of top applicants, don’t abandon hope just yet: There are strategies you can use to enhance your application in the face of a low GPA or LSAT score. For this article, we’ll focus on getting into law school with a low GPA.

First, some clarification. What, exactly, is a low GPA? Well, it depends on the school. Given the disparate landscape of GPA ranges for admitted law students, a 3.5 might mean something very different from an admissions perspective at one school than it does at another. As a general rule, if you find your GPA hovering near or below the 25 th percentile for a given school’s admitted class, then you can consider it a low GPA for that school.

It’s important to note, however, that not all similarly low GPAs are equal. For example, a student with a low GPA who started off with poor grades freshman year but who has shown steady improvement ever since, is better situated than a student with the opposite grade trend.

If you find yourself in the low GPA boat come application season, there are a number of actions you can take to improve your odds. Here’s some advice for getting into law school with a low GPA:

Explain any mitigating circumstances surrounding your GPA

There are many reasons an applicant might be applying to law school with a subpar GPA; some of these reasons are more compelling to admissions readers than others. Suffering the death of a close relative, battling an illness, or facing other uncontrollable life events that would impact even a top student’s academic performance—these are all explanations for a lower GPA that should be highlighted in an addendum to your application. If, however, your GPA suffered because you simply didn’t take college seriously, then it’s best not to explain your poor performance. Consideration of context can make a difference for getting into law school with a low GPA, if you can point to something that has changed in your ability to succeed as a student.

Become a “splitter” by conquering the LSAT

Most applicants without all-around impressive application numbers fall into a category informally termed “splitters”—because they split their performances across the relevant metrics. If you’ve got either a high GPA and a low LSAT score, or a low GPA and a high LSAT score, then you’re a splitter.

With a low GPA, your LSAT score becomes all the more important. If you have a low GPA, you should aim to become a splitter with an LSAT performance well above the target school’s 75 th percentile. It’s worth spending more time preparing for the test than you otherwise might in order to increase your chances of getting into a law school with a low GPA.

My colleague David, a Harvard Law School alum, talks more about becoming a “splitter” and other tips for getting into a law school with a low GPA here:

Secure strong recommendations

Although recommendations won’t typically make or break a law school application, these can be extremely important in borderline admissions cases. With a low GPA, it is critical to secure the strongest possible recommendations for your application. This means finding recommenders who truly know you, enjoy working with you, and can speak to your strengths as a student outside of purely grade-based assessments. Glowing praise can be the key for getting into law school with a low GPA.

Consider working full time before applying

More and more law schools have come to value work experience in their student bodies. In addition to offering you an alternative venue in which you can showcase success, such work experience will put a bit of distance between you and your GPA (the longer you work, the greater the effect).

Unfortunately, law school isn’t quite like business school where longer-term, stellar work experience can nearly negate a less-than-stellar GPA, but there is still some benefit to be had here. Try to find work that is substantive, meaningful, and relevant to your legal goals. Another factor to keep in mind: adding work experience to your resume is also an opportunity to secure an additional recommendation for your application. With a few years of successful experience, you can display a new slate of positive accomplishments separate from your grades.

Lower your sights to more realistic target schools

While this may not be as attractive as some of the other strategies mentioned, it’s prudent to expand the scope of your applications if you are aiming to get into law school with a low GPA. If your goal is to ensure that you gain admission somewhere, then you need to include schools where your GPA is comfortably at or above the 50 th and 75 th percentiles of incoming students. Paired with the other strategies, this will ensure that you have the best possible selection of schools from which to choose.

Applying to law schools with a lower GPA than you would like isn’t ideal, but it also isn’t the end of the world. Be realistic about your overall goals, and incorporate as many of the above strategies as possible into your applications. These steps should help you when striving to get into law school with a low GPA.

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The bad news is that getting into grad school with a low GPA is not going to be an easy ride. There will be a lot of research to carry out, and there might be one or two other things that you need to do to convince the admissions team that you’re worthy of a place.

There are two pieces of good news, though: Firstly, getting into grad school with a low GPA is still totally possible (only with really impressive English waiver letter of course), as there are a number of graduate schools that accept low GPA.

And secondly, we’re here to help!

Lots of students are in the same position as you, and all of them will at first be feeling a little down about their low GPA scores. But many students just like you have got into grad school with a low GPA – which means you can too!

Getting Into Grad School With A Low GPA – Be Proactive

A low GPA score reflects badly on your motivation and discipline, as well as your focus at school. Naturally, this won’t go down all that well with admissions teams. But if you can demonstrate to them that standardized tests just aren’t your thing and that you are committed and dedicate to doing well at grad school, that are a number of graduate schools that accept low GPA scores who will be willing to talk to you. You need to be proactive and build up some experience that showcases your talents and abilities. For example, you could do some volunteering, and you could do an internship. Experience counts a lot on your application – so go and get some!

Getting Into Grad School with a Low GPA – Write a Personal Statement

Graduate schools with low GPA requirements are plentiful, but they’re not going to consider you unless you can explain the reasons behind your low GPA score. To help you explain why you performed below average, you should write a personal statement in a non-complaining tone that objectively presents the facts. For example, if there were any extenuating circumstances at the time – such as illness – you can note this in your personal statement. As well as explaining your low score, your personal statement should also make it clear that you will perform better at grad school, and that your focus will be much sharper.

Graduate Schools With Low GPA Requirements:

  • Mitchell College (Connecticut)
  • Wesley College (Delaware)
  • Calumet College of Saint Joseph (Indiana)
  • Kentucky State University (Kentucky)
  • Nichols College (Massachusetts)
  • Dean College (Massachusetts)
  • Rust College (Mississippi)
  • Lincoln University (Missouri)
  • Saint Augustines College (North Carolina)
  • Central State University (Ohio)

Graduate schools with low GPA requirements are out there, and often it’s just a case of doing some research to find them. Naturally, despite them only requiring a low GPA score, they will want to see some evidence that you are the right student for them.

If you are looking for colleges with low gpa requirements, then this info might come in handy.

Worried that a low GPA might hurt your MBA application? Meredith Shields of Vantage Point says there’s plenty you can do to strengthen your application

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Meredith Shields, co-founder of Vantage Point MBA Admissions, explains how to overcome a low undergraduate GPA in this week’s Applicant Question

Whether your low GPA was because you chose the toughest major at your university, had a little too much fun, or were so involved in extracurriculars that you didn’t have enough time to study, it is one of the easiest items to mitigate in your MBA applications.

For most people, college was several years ago, and you’ve come a long way: started your career, accepted a promotion, and maybe even started managing a team.

Though your progress since college will be advantageous in addressing the admissions committee’s questions about your leadership potential, skill set, and sometimes analytical skills, it doesn’t answer the question of how well you can handle a classroom or academic environment.

So, what can you do if your undergrad GPA is not at or above the average for your target schools?

Whenever I’m advising an applicant with a low GPA, I focus on two things: one, explain and two, overcome.

Explaining a low GPA

Note that I did not use the word “justify”.

Explaining is not making excuses. It is simply stating how it was and how it’s better now. Importantly, don’t sweep anything under the rug or be cagey.

If your GPA was low in your first two years because you were struggling with over-committing and not managing your time well, then it’s okay to say that it took you a while to really perfect your time management skills and figure out how to prioritize effectively.

In fact, it shows a great deal of maturity and self-reflection. However, you must immediately follow that statement by pointing to how you’ve overcome that issue (for example, point to something like a higher GPA in your previous master’s program, or the fact that you manage multiple projects at a time now with no issues.)

Be brief but be specific—you don’t want to leave anything to assumption or have them think that you are being vague because the real reason is that you just partied too much.

All of this information, in addition to any other necessary explanations, will go into the optional section of the application. This section is where you can directly point out that certain areas of weakness, including a low GPA, are not reflective of the strength of your candidacy.

Overcoming a low GPA

In addition to explaining why your GPA from undergrad was low, you also want to note in this section what you’ve done to prove your academic ability.

The best “proof”, of course, is to take a post-grad class and show the admissions committee that you can handle the academics like a champ.

A large percentage of Vantage Point MBA clients take some sort of online or in-person class to bolster their applications. Fortunately, there are great options for every work and life schedule.

Pre-MBA courses to consider

On the higher end of commitment level would be in-person (or in the time of COVID-19, live virtual) classes at a local community college or university continuing education department.

These work well for people who learn best in a group setting and want to hunker down and complete the class on a more concrete schedule.

Attending an in-person class, per se, isn’t necessarily viewed more favorably in this day and age, but it has the advantage of more structure for those who prefer that setting.

Online classes offer more flexibility and are the most popular choice for applicants in recent years. Go-at-your-own-pace programs are appealing to those with demanding jobs or who have less control over their day-to-day schedules. Online classes also range in commitment level and costs.

On the lower end of the commitment and time spectrum, costs $149 for modules spanning subjects such as statistics, accounting and financing that can be completed in 20-40 hours.

Read Another Applicant Question

On the higher end of commitment and time is Harvard Business School Online’s CORe, which costs $1,950 and is estimated to take approximately 150 hours to complete. Of note, many estimate that 25% of HBS admits have taken CORe (this is anecdotal, of course).

Other popular options include Wharton’s Coursera courses (the graded versions—there are many different classes and you can subscribe to the specialization for free right now) and UC Berkeley’s extension (approximately $1,000 for an accounting course that spans approximately 45-50 hours).

The most popular courses to take generally include accounting, statistics, or calculus if you didn’t take any of these in college.

This of course depends on how much quant work you’ve done in the past and how you performed.

By doing well in one of these courses, you can ask the admissions committee to look at your additional coursework grades as an indication of your ability to succeed in the classroom instead of your undergrad coursework.

Typically, this demonstration, paired with a strong GMAT score, will help an admissions director to feel more comfortable with that aspect of your application.

Aside from increasing your chances, taking additional coursework shows your commitment and willingness to prepare for the MBA experience, which signals that you are ready to get as much value out of the program as humanly possible (and they like that!)

What GPA Do You Need for Grad School Applications?

Your undergraduate grade point average is an important metric when applying to graduate programs. However, GPA recommendations will vary based upon the field of study, school, and circumstance.

Find out how your GPA will affect your graduate school application and what grade you need.

What’s a Good GPA for Grad School Applications?

Typically, students should have a GPA of 3.0 when applying for grad school. That’s a B average.

Each school that you apply to will specify a minimum GPA cutoff, which usually ranges between 2.5 and 3.5. However, meeting the minimum doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be accepted. You can also use a school’s average GPA for accepted students to see how your grades compare to that of an incoming class.

Keep in mind that your GPA doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Graduate admissions officers will also consider the intensity of your degree program, and they’ll review your transcript to assess how rigorous your course schedule was.

For example, a student with a slightly lower GPA across a difficult set of courses could potentially be seen as a more favorable applicant than the reverse.

What Fields Need the Highest GPA?

Your chosen field of study can impact the competition you’ll face when applying and how high your undergraduate GPA needs to be for acceptance.

Overall, med school and law school applicants face the strictest GPA scrutiny.

For example, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports that medical school applicants had an average GPA of 3.56. For students who went on to attend med school, grades were even higher with an average GPA of 3.72.

There’s even a difference in grades based upon bachelor’s degree field. Non-science majors had average GPAs that are 0.15 points higher, earning a 3.80 GPA compared to the 3.65 GPA for science majors.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Medical schools with the highest average GPA of 3.92 include Johns Hopkins University, Harvard, and University of Texas. Med schools with the lowest averages include Howard University at 3.42, Meharry Medical College at 3.52, and California Northstate University at 3.58.

How Much Do GPA Requirements Vary by School?

Not all schools require equally high GPAs, and your GPA could be a key indicator of whether a school is within reach.

For example, incoming law school students pursuing their J.D. degree at the top 10 schools had a median GPA of 3.8. Schools in the bottom 10 were nearly a full point lower with a median GPA of 2.95.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

The average incoming law student GPA for schools in the middle of the pack is 3.4; however, top law schools accept students with top GPAs. Yale Law School and the University of Chicago Law School have averages that are at least 3.9.

How Much Does Your GPA Matter to Your Application?

The weight of your GPA on your college application will vary based upon both the school and program to which you’re applying.

In particular, MBA programs typically place less weight on an applicant’s GPA and instead seek “candidates who demonstrate the originality, charisma, initiative and grit necessary to become business titans,” reports a survey of MBA admissions officers by U.S. News and World Report.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

The average GPA for incoming students attending MBA programs ranges from 3.53 for top-tier programs to 3.37 for other ranked programs. Students who don’t have a stellar GPA can compensate on their application by demonstrating leadership skills, professional accomplishments, a strong network of connections, math and analytical skills, and a long-term commitment to goals.

Which Grad School Programs Are Within Reach?

Some master’s programs are known as being accessible to students with low GPAs. These schools include Full Sail University, which requires a 2.5 GPA; Grand Canyon University, which requires a 2.8 GPA; Colorado State University, which offers provisional admission for students who don’t meet the 3.0 requirement; and Benedictine University, which has no minimum GPA.

Whether you’re interested in a Master’s Degree or a Doctoral Program, apps such as GradTrek allow you to search for schools that match your GPA. If you’re concerned about your GPA, plan to apply to a safety school or one that doesn’t weight GPA as heavily.

How Can You Improve Your GPA to Be a Stronger Applicant?

A high GPA is typically seen as both an indicator of your classroom success as well as how hard you’re willing to work to get good grades.

College students are increasingly discovering how online tools can help them outsmart their grades and work smarter rather than work harder. For example, millions of college students are using OneClass’ high-quality online resources to stay on top of classwork and to study more efficiently. In fact, more than 90 percent of OneClass users have improved by at least one letter grade.

The collaborative platform can give you access to shared lecture notes, study guides, on-demand homework help, practice tests, and more. Simply search for your school to see what material is available to help you improve your GPA.

Can You Still Get into a Good Grad School with a Low GPA?

Remember that GPA is only one aspect of your application, and it may be possible to gain acceptance into a great graduate school even if your GPA is lower than you’d like.

The key to building a strong application is leveraging other aspects that can supplement or offset your grades. For example, you can use your statement of purpose to add context about why your GPA may be low. Offering an explanation helps the admissions officer understand your situation while demonstrating that you’re a thoughtful and committed student.

Admissions committees can also be impressed by applications that have strengths beyond the classroom. High standardized test scores can demonstrate your aptitude for success. A meaningful recommendation letter can highlight your strong work ethic. You can also offset a low GPA with an entrepreneurial venture, stellar internships, or impressive work experience.

Learn how OneClass has helped millions of college students improve their GPA.

Can you get accepted into an Ivy League or top-tier college with a low GPA? The short answer is yes. While not everyone with a 3.3 GPA will get in, we’ll discuss some of the nuances of how to get into ivy league with a low GPA and how you can play the right cards in your favor.

We’ve seen students with perfect 1600 SAT scores and 4.0 GPA’s get turned down by the Ivies. We’ve also helped and worked with lower-achieving students with 1180 (out of 1600) SAT scores and 3.3 GPA get accepted into an Ivy League (Yes, 3.3 GPA – you heard that right – and he was Asian American too).

What it all comes down to is how you demonstrate your personal qualities, leadership, and commitment to your community through the application. This takes the form of personal statements, extracurricular activities, and recommendation letters that help the admissions officers determine whether to accept or reject you.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

The biggest mistake that students make is not taking their application seriously enough. This tends to happen with overachievers, who believe that their grades, test scores, and even national academic awards are enough to get them in.

So yes, do pursue your passions and your interests, and work as hard as you can during your four years of high school. Just remember to capture and express all of your personal qualities in the college application itself, and write a genuine, palpable personal statement that helps the admissions officers understand the qualities that define you.

Because at the end of the day, the bitter truth is that admissions to Ivy League schools are highly dependent on how well you present yourself on paper and draft your personal statement.

And maybe, you can get into a top-tier college with a low GPA.

Let’s face it: a higher GPA, a higher SAT score will increase your chances of getting in. But in a day and age when there are literally tens of thousands of students with perfect GPAs and SAT scores, that isn’t enough to get you admitted into the school of your choice, either.

At AdmissionSight, we always stress the importance of crafting together a strong application to demonstrate your story to the admissions officers.

How you think and approach the world around you, your sense of intellectual curiosity, leadership or community involvement will be important.

Who you are as a person – and the values that ultimately define you – are at the end of the day what the admissions officers want to know beyond the test scores and grades when they evaluate your application. And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA.

We’ve always stated that the lowest GPA student we’ve ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we’re not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too. How this was able to transpire was precise because of the powerful personal statement and application we put together. We’re proud to say the candidate is graduating from University of Pennsylvania with a degree in biology.

So yes, you can still get into a top university with a 3.3 GPA. But you need to supplement that with a powerful essay that showcases your story. First-time applicants, especially the highest achieving students, tend to devalue the importance of the essays, which creates an opportunity for the students with lower GPA’s.

The high-achieving students tend to mistakenly believe that their scores and grades are enough to carry themselves through. But we can tell you every student who has gone through this process and ultimately received that acceptance letter will tell you the essays mean everything.

While it’s rare for someone with a 3.3 unweighted GPA to get into Stanford, for example, it’s not impossible. You can compensate with some national awards, or super strong extracurriculars. Or, you might have a killer personal statement that seals the deal for you. Other factors involved include demographics, your upbringing, your ethnicity, among various factors outside of the GPA.

Contrary to common misconception, there’s no “minimum” GPA at these Ivy League schools. If you take a look at their website, however, they’ve accepted students with as low as a 2.5 GPA – probably athletes. At AdmissionSight, we’ve gotten a non-athlete, non URM into an Ivy League with a 3.3 GPA before and the candidate was Asian American as well.

We’ve many other cases like these. In fact, we’ve even helped a student with a 3.0 GPA and

1100 SAT score get into Berkeley. We’ve helped another student with a 4.0 GPA, 1450 SAT, 680 Math Level 2, 730 History, and 2’s and 3’s on AP exams get into Yale. Yes – it’s totally possible. And we have their applications to prove it.

While the odds are against you with a weak academic profile, we’ve helped many students with poor GPA’s / grades get into top universities. With a stellar application put together (personal statements, supplemental materials, recommendation letters, supplementary essays, extracurriculars, interviews), you stand a fighting shot. But this application has to be perfect in every way that showcases your personal qualities, leadership, commitment to your community, and passion in areas you can claim your niche.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

We’re proud of the work that we have done. Our track record of accomplishments of helping students get into a top tier college with a low GPA include:

  • an Asian American student with 1180 SAT, 3.3 GPA get into the University of Pennsylvania
  • a student with 2090 SAT / 690 SAT Subject Tests and literally 2 years of high school transcript get into UC Berkeley
  • a student with 3.7 GPA, 2090 SAT / 700 SAT Subject Tests get into the University of Chicago
  • a student with only 3 AP exams under the belt and no Subject Tests get into Yale
  • a student with a 2.7 undergraduate GPA and 720 GMAT get into Harvard Business School.

…the list goes on.

We’ve many more cases like these. Not saying that we can pull some magic by any means – these candidates also faced numerous rejections from other schools – but ultimately you only attend one school and that’s all that counts.

Admissions is a holistic process. And sometimes, candidates can get in without displaying qualifying academic standards that these universities uphold if they can share a compelling story through the application. This is ultimately what you need to execute upon if you want to get into college with a low GPA.

It’s definitely not fair for those who do have the academic stats and got rejected. But this is the game that admissions officers want to play – the “holistic process” that is more than just about strong academic standards, and supposedly they can measure a candidate’s personality through the essays.

Unfortunately, this is the game that we play in this day and age, and a process that students and families have to go through to get a spot at a coveted institution in America.

So we play the game we’re dealt, and for the students who realize how important their application is and work with us to present a strong case to the admissions committee, our students tend to perform remarkably well.

We list four medical schools that accept low GPA and how to apply to schools to heighten your chances of acceptance. You’ll also learn valuable tips to boost your chances of getting in to compensate for less-than-perfect grades.

Medical schools might be notorious for their stringent application policies, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the running!

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

Medical Schools That Accept Low GPA

It’s normal to assume that a stellar grade point average is mandatory to enter medical school. If you’re wondering, “can I get into medical school with a low GPA?” the answer may surprise you.

Here are four medical schools that accept low GPA:

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, GA

Augusta University’s Medical College of Georgia demands a 3.84 GPA, and the acceptance rate is a little over seven percent.

Canadian students might get accepted on a case-by-case basis, but out-of-state and other international applicants are ineligible.

University of Mississippi School of Medicine, MS

The University of Mississippi School of Medicine has a median GPA acceptance of 3.77 with an acceptance rate of just over 37 percent. However, this university only accepts candidates within the state of Mississippi: international and out-of-state students can’t apply.

Mercer University School of Medicine, GA

Mercer University School of Medicine requires a 3.68, with an acceptance rate of slightly over 10 percent. Only applicants in the state Georgia can apply: MU doesn’t accept international and out-of-state students.

American University School of Medicine, Aruba

Our medical school, located in Aruba, accepts prospective students with a GPA of 3.0 or above. Additionally, AUSOMA has a flexible acceptance policy for students from all countries. We offer guidance and support for visa application to Aruba too.

Applying to Medical School With a Low GPA

Now you know there are medical schools that accept low GPA, let’s discuss how to apply. You can overcome the drawback of a low GPA through persistence and strategic planning.

Firstly, aim to collect as much clinical experience as you can to demonstrate your commitment. If you can’t find employment opportunities, volunteer instead. Consistency is critical: you don’t want significant gaps in time when you weren’t seeking to further your medical knowledge.

Approach the admissions committee from your target school and discuss your options. Show that you’re eager to join the faculty and begin your career as a medical student. You never know, they could offer helpful advice to improve your chances of getting accepted.

Try to find a mentor who will guide you through the application process, such as preparing for the MCAT.

Dedicated support can make all the difference: if you have a counselor or advisor discouraging you, cut them loose and find someone else. Since pre-med advising will play a sizable role in helping you transition into medical school, look for an institution with good advisors.

Last but not least, your personal statement matters—write one that’s bound to impress the admissions committee. Highlight your clinical experience as well as your unique reasons for wanting to become a doctor.

Do extensive research on your target medical school to learn what values they appreciate, and tie them into your statement.

What is Considered a Low GPA for Medical School?

You might be curious about the exact numbers: what is considered a low GPA for medical school?

There’s no universal value, as every institution has its standards. Most medical schools set a cap at a 3.0 GPA.

Generally, a low GPA is less than a school’s 75th or 80th percentile.

You can also review your chosen school’s average GPA for accepted students. If your GPA is more than 0.3 points below that average, you can assume the school will consider it low.

If your next question is, “can I get into med school with a 2.0 GPA?” unfortunately, the chances are unlikely.

How to Get Into Medical School with a Low GPA

Your grades are important, but they aren’t the sole acceptance criteria. Here’s what to know about applying to med schools if you’re unsatisfied with your GPA:

Address Your GPA

You need to confront your GPA situation head-on and remember that a low GPA is relative.

Your 3.4 GPA may be low for a school with an entering class average of 3.7. However, this same GPA will be above-average if a university’s entering class average is only 3.3. Similarly, less than a point of difference isn’t usually worth worrying about.

As we touched on, GPA isn’t the only thing that determines your worth as a potential medical student. Schools look at other facets, such as personal experience and admissions letters.

Improve Other Scores

Improving other scores is an excellent opportunity to prove that, despite your low GPA, you’re a competent student.

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one such avenue. An exceptionally high score can demonstrate you’re ready to handle the rigors of medical school.

Invest the time into studying for the MCAT properly. Although you might be eager to take it straight away, take practice tests, and review the material until you’re confident.

You can also establish that your flagging grades are on the way up. Sign up for a pre-med post-baccalaureate program if your GPA is dramatically low, or take related classes and ace them if you only need a few more points.

For the latter, be careful when you’re selecting your classes. You don’t want to inadvertently drop your GPA further by taking on subjects you can’t handle—the easier, the better.

To conclude, if your GPA is lower than you would like, don’t despair. A medical career is still within reach as long as you persevere.

Expand your clinical experience, seek to get a top-ranking MCAT score, and better your grades through other classes or courses. Take the initiative to consult with your target school’s admissions committee, and acquire a mentor if you don’t have one already.

Remember that a career in medicine demands dedication, which begins with intensive study—focusing on your educational endeavors early on is good practice.

How to apply to graduate schools with a low gpa

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.

When your business school application lands on an MBA admissions committee member’s desk, the member takes a hard look at two important metrics: your GMAT or GRE score and your GPA.

Your GPA matters because it tracks your performance over four or more years and demonstrates your ability to execute in an academic environment. Unfortunately, by the time you apply to business school, it’s too late to do much about a low GPA.

According to the most recent Kaplan survey of business school admissions officers, 32 percent said a low undergraduate GPA is an application killer. A GPA below 3.0 could be hard to come back from, but that said, if you have your heart set on attending one of the best business schools in the world but worry your undergraduate GPA could harm your chances, know that you generally still have a chance.

This is a holistic process – every piece of the puzzle matters. When one aspect of your MBA application is weaker, you want to maximize other areas.

Keep in mind that there’s no specific cutoff for a GPA or test scores. Every year we work with clients who have had sub-3.0 GPAs and they are still accepted into their target MBA programs.

If you do have very low numbers, you’ll need to address this somewhere in your application. You don’t want to sound whiny or make excuses; just confront the issue head on.

Take a look at these MBA application tips for offsetting a spotty academic performance in college.

Explain extenuating circumstances: Use the optional essay to let the admissions committee know if your grades suffered because of extenuating circumstances, such as when you had pneumonia in your sophomore year. If a death in the family drew your attention away from school or if you also worked during college and had to divide your time between studying and supporting yourself financially, note this.

If in all honesty your academic performance suffered because of excessive social and extracurricular commitments, you can explain in your optional essay that you have since learned better time management skills and have continued your community involvement without sacrificing your work performance.

You don’t want to get too personal or detailed here. Rather, show awareness of the reasons for your lower GPA and any lessons you have learned. Then reassure the admissions committee that this will not characterize your performance in business school.

Show strong GMAT or GRE scores: High test scores offer you two advantages – they prove you can handle the quantitative work in the program, and they are a more recent example of your academic abilities. Many admissions committee members agree that a strong GMAT or GRE performance offsets a low GPA.

For example, the average GMAT score at schools such as Stanford Graduate School of Business and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is around 730. If you can hit or exceed the average test score at your dream program, you know you have a chance at admission. However, if you aren’t happy with your test scores, weigh whether retaking the GMAT is a prudent option.

Excel on the job: When making their admissions decisions, business schools place a high value on an applicant’s relevant professional experiences. As such, showing strong recent work performance will go a long way toward convincing committee members that you have what it takes to succeed in an MBA program.

If your work experience is at a nationally or internationally known company, that’s even better – the admissions team will feel more comfortable knowing that Proctor & Gamble, Credit Suisse or McKinsey & Co. felt confident enough take a chance on you first.

When you ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation, ask that the individual specifically address your quantitative abilities and your ability to multitask in order to further mitigate your low GPA.

Other considerations: Finally, the level of your major’s rigor could be an important consideration when evaluating your GPA. For example, you may receive more leniency for a mediocre GPA as a physics major than if you studied theater. The admissions officer may also look to see in which specific classes you struggled.

If you had trouble in quantitative subjects, that’s more problematic. You should address this by taking – and acing – a college-level calculus or statistics course through your local community college before you apply. This will show that you are ready for graduate school.

Every part of your MBA application is important. If your low GPA is keeping you awake at night, shift your energies toward killing the GMAT, getting stellar letters of recommendation, writing compelling essays and –fingers crossed – wowing your MBA interviewer. Your admissions success depends on your ability to knock it out of the park in every other way.