Effect of LOR on covering bad GPA

amirpouyan
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:54 pm

Effect of LOR on covering bad GPA

Postby amirpouyan » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:11 pm

Hi,
if the professors clearly mention that my abilities are not contained in my grades and they write something exceptional in LOR, how much can this cover a bad GPA? can it convince the admission office that my grades doesn't reflect my abilities?
Thanks ...

TakeruK
Posts: 815
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Effect of LOR on covering bad GPA

Postby TakeruK » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:21 pm

I don't think anyone can give a more precise answer than "it will make some difference". Maybe one of the profs who are on here can give their thoughts on what they think when they see an LOR like this. But I don't think anyone can say something like "it will be like your GPA raised by X points!" Also, while it's one thing to convince the committee that your GPA doesn't reflect your ability, it's another thing to convince them that your GPA should actually be X instead. I would guess that in the best case scenario, it would convince the committee to put more weight on other parts of your application. So, while the contents of the LOR and GPA are probably out of your control, you should do your best to show that the other parts of your application are the best it can be, to further strengthen your LOR's argument that your abilities are greater than your GPA!

amirpouyan
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:54 pm

Re: Effect of LOR on covering bad GPA

Postby amirpouyan » Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:32 am

TakeruK wrote:I don't think anyone can give a more precise answer than "it will make some difference". Maybe one of the profs who are on here can give their thoughts on what they think when they see an LOR like this. But I don't think anyone can say something like "it will be like your GPA raised by X points!" Also, while it's one thing to convince the committee that your GPA doesn't reflect your ability, it's another thing to convince them that your GPA should actually be X instead. I would guess that in the best case scenario, it would convince the committee to put more weight on other parts of your application. So, while the contents of the LOR and GPA are probably out of your control, you should do your best to show that the other parts of your application are the best it can be, to further strengthen your LOR's argument that your abilities are greater than your GPA!

i didn't say something important: i am an international from a small physics department, and i think my gpa doesn't have the same weight as a person who has studied in MIT!, what do you think about the weight of gpa for small schools? is it same as domestic applicants?

TakeruK
Posts: 815
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Effect of LOR on covering bad GPA

Postby TakeruK » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:37 pm

I think grades from different schools and especially different countries are evaluated ("weighted" if you will) differently. Even though the Canadian and US curriculum are pretty much the same, grades in Canada seem to mean fairly different things to grades in the US, and I think many major Canadian schools do not use the same 4.0 GPA system as the US. So, I noticed that when I was applying from Canada, many US schools did not want me to try to convert my grades to the US 4.0 GPA system (even though there is a box there in the application form). I asked each school that had a box how they wanted the conversion to be done and they told me that I could try to do it if I want, but they tend to ignore the box for international students and convert it on their own using our full transcripts.

For many schools, it's likely they have seen many applicants from most countries so they probably have a good feel for what grades mean in each country. They might even have faculty from some of these countries! I would try to make sure my school includes information on what your grades mean in your transcript, if possible, though. And, you can ask your LOR writers to rank you relative to the students they have mentored in the past as well as the students from your school. That is, in a pretend GPA system, an excellent student might have a "2.3/7.0" GPA. In North American terms, this seems to be pretty low, but it might actually mean that you are in the top 5% in your school/country! So, if you think your GPA will be confusing to North American schools, consider asking your LOR writers to compare you to others from their experience which will quantify this, instead of just saying "the GPA doesn't reflect the applicant's ability".




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