We receive many questions from international students about how grade point average (GPA) is calculated for the WES course-by-course evaluation, the credential evaluation required by international students for graduate admissions, undergraduate transfer admissions, and professional licensing purposes. The course-by-course evaluation determines your GPA equivalent under the U.S. higher education system, which operates on the 4.0 grading scale.
One of the questions we will answer in this blog post is:
“If I went to a prestigious school, will the GPA on my evaluation be higher?”
The GPA on your evaluation is determined by a variety of criteria, including the grading culture and practices of the country where you studied. However: The quality or rank of the institution where you studied does not factor into the GPA. In other words, if you studied at a particularly prestigious or rigorous school, that doesn’t translate into a higher GPA.
However, you can still highlight the quality of your foreign education elsewhere on your application.
How to Emphasize the Quality of Your Foreign Education on Your School Application
Most U.S. undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programs, including those in law, business, liberal arts, engineering, science, and medicine, require applicants to submit a personal statement, essay(s), letter of intent, or some other writing sample that demonstrates your written communication skills and your reason(s) for applying to the school.
Your writing sample is the perfect place to:
- provide clarification or additional information regarding your prior academic performance
- highlight the selectivity of your foreign educational institution
- explain any gaps in your work history (this is particularly relevant if you are applying for a post-graduate program where work experience is important)
You cannot change the GPA on your transcripts or credential evaluation. You cannot alter your TOEFL score, or any other exam scores. However: You can decide what to write in your personal statement.
Your writing sample is the one part of your application that you have complete control over.
The writing sample is typically the only part of your application where you have the opportunity to elaborate on the contents of your application.
For example, you can:
- explain any weaknesses in your application
- emphasize your strengths and unique skills
- persuade the admissions office that you’re a highly qualified applicant
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In sum, since the course-by-course credential evaluation analyzes the courses and grades from your foreign institution. It is up to you to emphasize the academic standing or prestige of your foreign university in your graduate school application. Specifically, you should make sure that you do this in your writing sample.
If you’d like to calculate your U.S. GPA, try our free WES GPA Calculator. This tool estimates your GPA on a 4.0 scale.
Please note that the results for the WES iGPA Calculator are for informational purposes only and may not be used as a proof of courses completed or grades achieved. If you plan on continuing your education in the U.S. or Canada, we recommend using our credential evaluation service for the most accurate results.