GPA or grade point average is used by admission committees not so much to know how intelligent a student is, but because it gives them a long-term indication of how well you are likely to perform as a student. Grades can usually reflect a student's motivation or capabilities. Also, it is an indicator of how consistent your work is.
Grades can vary, and the value assigned to a grade can change depending on the context. For example, lower grades in challenging subjects may be given more value than high grades in easy courses.
Admission committees also take into consideration the overall GPA, along with the GPAs of subjects relevant to the course you are applying for. Committees also take into consideration the subjectivity of grading systems. For example a B+ assigned by one university may be of the same value as an A assigned by another university. Similarly, grading may vary from professor to professor. Apart from this, applicants from around the world come from institutions that have various grading systems. The lack of standardization between grading systems across the world, and also in GPAs, makes it harder to compare applicants’ grades.
This is the reason many universities focus on standardized exam grades, such as those secured in the GRE, MCAT, LSAT and GMAT. Students who have a low GPA should focus on scoring well in these tests to boost their chances.
The percentage system is used to grade student performance in many countries. However, US universities use a GPA format for grading. Here is how it is calculated:
How the GPA system works?
Instead of percentages, students are assigned grades (A = 4.0, B = 3.0, C = 2.0, D = 1.0, F = 0). Also, depending on the difficulty level, weights are assigned. These are called credit hours.
Suppose the three courses you take up have 3 credit hours each, and you are assigned grades B, A and A for the three courses. Your GPA will be calculated as follows:
Total grade = sum of (grade * credit hours)
= (B x 3) + (A x 3) + (A x 3)
= (3 x 3) + (4 x 3) + (4 x 3)
Total credit hours = 3 + 3 + 3 = 9
GPA = total grades/total credit hours
How to convert your GPA?
If the student applying abroad comes from a different system of grading in which the GPA does not exist, he/she should clearly mention this in the application and provide an alternate score. Students can also send a copy of their rank certificate/ toppers grades/ official average score of the class to reduce the difference between the two systems.
Since there is no way to convert grades to the GPA format, a comparison between the Indian and US systems is given below:
US 4.0 GPA Scale Systems
Since it isn’t possible to convert academic percentages to GPAs, it is better to submit them as they are, and let the colleges decide how to interpret your scores.
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