Not proud of your undergraduate GPA? Concerned it may ruin your chances of getting into a top MBA program? It’s time to tackle this issue head-on and create a plan for success.
In the previous posts, we discussed how to determine if you really do have a “low GPA” and how to address that low score. Now it’s time to provide an explanation.
Adding Context to Your GPA in an Optional Essay
“So, what happened? Why is your GPA so low? How do we know it won’t happen again?”
That’s what the adcom readers are thinking when they take that first look at your transcript. And now it’s your turn to respond.
You’ll respond by showing them the additional coursework and all those beautiful A’s. You’ll show them that awesome GMAT score. And maybe you’ll show them a recommendation or two that speak to your academic abilities.
You’ll also want to write the optional essay in which you provide context to your GPA, showing that whatever contributed to your poor performance is either not a factor in your life anymore or is something that you’ve learned how to deal with so that it doesn’t affect your performance any longer.
Whatever your reasons may be (extenuating circumstances or circumstances totally beyond your control), explain the situation in a straightforward, honest manner. For real mistakes that you’ve made, fess up, take responsibility for your actions, and indicate that you are a changed person who has learned lots and moved forward. No whining please!
Keep in Mind: A Holistic Matter
MBA admissions is about much more than your GPA. You cannot look at any single number and focus exclusively on it, certainly once you weigh in the circumstances that led to your low GPA and the trending direction of your GPA. Your GPA also doesn’t at all reflect the impact of your diversity and non-academic experiences – important factors taken into consideration by adcom members.
When you are admitted to b-school (or rejected, for that matter), it is due to the complete package, the holistic sum of all your parts. Yes, your GPA is extremely important, and you’d be unwise to think otherwise – but it’s not the be-all and end-all of your admissions profile. Work hard, demonstrate your academic abilities in other ways, and prove to the adcom that you’re ready to hit the books and ace the heck out of b-school.