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Should you convert Marks/ Percentage to GPA 4.0 Scale for USA Applications ?

Most of the times when we apply to US schools, they mention all the time about GPA, Grades and 4.0 Scale, etc. Few of the questions that comes to mind when you are applying are :

  • How to convert percentage to GPA 4.0 scale ?
  • How to convert marks into letter grades ?
  • Should I convert my marks to GPA ?
  • What do US schools look ? How do they convert my percentage to GPA ?

Convert percentage to GPAIt can be very frustrating when you are filling out application and you are not sure what to do. I was exactly in the same boat few years ago. I will address try to address these question including some of my communication with some of the best Graduate Schools in USA.

Background: USA Grading system for GPA:

The grading system for education in USA is completely different when compared to other countries. USA grading system is on a 4.0 scale and there are letter grades that are given for a particular marks or score on the test. There is a bit of calculation involved here. You should really understand how the USA grading system works. You may read this article for better idea: How is GPA computed in US schools? GPA Computation formula? Though some of the schools across world are trying to embrace this, it is not very common though to have your score in GPA 4.0 scale.

Should you convert percentage to GPA 4.0 scale ?

Short answer: NO, you should NOT Convert marks or percentage to GPA 4.0 scale. Before I explain why, read the communication I had with top Graduate schools in US.

Here is the email communication that I had with some top Graduate schools in USA and their answers.  Below is the exact email I have to schools.

Hello,

I am from India and plan to apply to Grad School. I have this question about GPA. I have seen many schools asking for GPA. How to convert Indian Percentage to GPA of 4.0 Scale. Both systems are different. Can you please help me with this question on How to Convert Indian Percentage to GPA ?

Here are the responses that I got from these Universities.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Do not convert it. We are familiar with the Indian grading system. Just report your overall percentage.

Stanford  University :

Stanford does not ask you to convert your GPA when you apply online. If it is not already on a 4.0 scale, then you fill in some information about your grading scale on the online application. The admission committee of the department to which you apply will see your transcript, which should have grading information. Some departments preliminarily convert the GPAs before their admission committee reviews applications – but not all do and our office does not.

Ohio State University :

“ Students who attend institutions outside the U.S. should enter the cumulative (total) average as provided on your academic record and indicate the scale used to calculate the result (for example, 88/100 or 9/10). If your institution does not provide the average or you attended more than one institution, please calculate your average using the following formula:

  1. Add all the numerical results for courses taken during your undergraduate study.
  2. Divide the sum total number by the number of courses taken. This is your average result.
  3. Enter this result. Do not convert this result to a 4-point scale.

Please note: Applicants who are recommended for admission will have their cumulative grade point average verified before being offered admission. A misrepresentation of information concerning cumulative average from other colleges and universities will negatively impact your admissibility.”

Harvard Graduate School of Design

I cannot speak for other schools, but for the GSD application, you are allowed to skip the GPA question if your school uses a grading system that cannot be converted to the typical US 4.0 system.

Why should you NOT Convert Percentage or Marks to GPA 4.0 Scale ?

Simple logic, both systems are different and you should not . Example, you can only compare apples to apples. You cannot compare Apples and Oranges. Well, some may argue that why don’t we convert GPA to percentage or percentage to GPA and them compare both of them equally. Think about it guys, every University is different in India, Sri lanka, Pakistan or any international country. Each have different standards different professors, different coursework, etc.  Some universities may give high percentages to students but some may not at all give any percentage. Some Universities are certified and some are not. There is no General law or standard that all these different universities in other countries follow. This means their grading standards are not consistent and you cannot really use a general formula to all these. All in all the logic is, you should NOT convert and if you read carefully, none of the schools ask you to convert percentage to GPA 4.0 scale. They ask you send the exact mark sheets and indicate the scale. It is the job of the admission committee to decide. There might be always some exceptions depending on university. You should ask the university you are applying to for more info as needed.  Also, check the article about : Wrong formulas to Convert Percencetage to GPA 4.0 scale by International students for Applying to US Schools

Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/40140783@N08/3686813587/

56 comments… add one

  • Shiv Nov 18, 2014 Reply

    Hi,

    I seriously need your advice. My CGPA (CBSE) in class 9 & 10 was 9.4 and 9.8 respectively. In Class 11, I scored 90.5%, however, in 12th grade due to certain unforseen circumstances I scored a D in one subject-Economics. In spite of sending my paper for revaluation, there was no positive result. This brought down my percentage from 90%to 75%. I took a gap year and scored 1840 on my SAT in my first attempt and am planning to take it again (Aiming for 2000s this time). I have heard that US universities consider your entire high school report and not just the 12th marks. Do you think that my 12th grade marks will strongly affect my admission to Universities like University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of California Irvine/Riverside/Santa Barbara, University of Washington, Bucknell etc.? The other option that I have is to go through Community College. Will that be really necessary or can I join university straight away? Also, I have a strong co-curricular record and do not intend to major in anything related to Economics.
    Thanks
    Yours Sincerely
    Shiv

  • siva kumar t.r Jan 13, 2014 Reply

    hi sir am siva studying thiagarajar arts college b.sc(chemistry)2 nd year
    after joint in american college m.sc(chemistry)how many pecentage will apply american clg.

  • Arindam Bortamuly Sep 18, 2013 Reply

    I am currently in Class 12. I have got 87.% in class 10. I wanted to study Computer Engineering and also Music Production, can you give some advises on how can I get into a good college. I love programming and also have passion to play the guitar. Please Recommend some good colleges where AVG need met is 80%, in which I have to pay only 20% of I have choosen University of Southern California, I wonder how it will be for my interest fields.
    I will be giving my SAT also in the month of January. Is TOEFL necessary even if I take SAT..??
    Your advises could lead me to a long way up. I would be really grateful to you..!!

  • salma Mar 2, 2013 Reply

    hello
    I’m from Morocco and I want to apply for a scholarship abroad . but in Morocco we operate with mark (x/20). The application demand to convert our mark to GPA and percentage but I don’t know how. And they demand a percentage higher than 80%. Actually I feel quite wronged because operating with marks is totally different, 20 is rarely given and in university a 12 or 13 may be the best mark you can get.
    how can I give them a GPA grade?

  • rehan Dec 4, 2012 Reply

    so many thanks for this articul………………….

  • Rajat Oct 22, 2012 Reply

    Hello,

    I am currently studying in 12th class in India.

    My percentage are:
    9th class : 8.6 CGPA (82%)
    10th class : 9.6 CGPA (93%)
    11th class : 75%
    12th class : 75% (Half Term)

    My SAT Score : 1800
    SAT Maths Level 2 : 780
    Physics : 800

    TOEFL : 100/120

    Will I get undergraduate admission in “Purdue University”, “North Carolina State University”, “Penn State University Park”, or “University of Illinois at UC”
    What are my chances?

    Please help me, I need help a lot.

    THANK YOU

  • harika May 11, 2012 Reply

    hello..
    im planning for phD in US.. i got 76%in my m.pharmacy and 67%in b.pharmacy and 89%in 12th and 86.8%in 10th.. can u pls tell me what gpa i will get with this %…
    and i need to know one more thing.. i.e., is there any funding available for phD courses during spring intake because i came to know that funding is not available for phD courses during spring intake..
    please give me your valuable information as soon as possible..

  • arbnor Mar 3, 2012 Reply

    hi! I am from kosova! I wanna study agriculture, but my GPA is 4.3 from 5 is it here? can be admitted in a U.S. university? If I come there? please return answer?

  • SAM Dec 31, 2011 Reply

    Dear Sir,
    I have done my B.Sc degree in Physics,Chemistry & Maths from Mangalore University (In karnataka we study all the three as major Subject) In chemistry my percentage is 60 but Overall including language is 51% ,I have also done M.Sc in Applied chemistry from Same university (Percentage is 57) since 12 years I am working in Pharma Analytical field (Analytical scientist) Even i worked in USA also under H1B visa right now i am in India I am Planning to go for studies ie MS degree Could Please write the details how to approach the universities & also Please let me know do they give any weightage for work experience in the admission process?Seeing this mark what are all chances to get an admission?

    Regards
    Sam

  • Sanchali Singhal Dec 6, 2011 Reply

    Hi! I’m Sanchali, studying in class 12th! my board exmas are in a 2 months’ time, and i really want to know how much role does the board exam percentage play in getting admission in these colleges!!! Will a good board percentage be sufficient for me to get through? What is the minimum %age required?

  • J SUBHASH Nov 18, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for the informations pl replay me one process marks system and another system is GPA .examiner direct grade calculate it is possible

  • Swapnil Nov 10, 2011 Reply

    Hi Kumar,

    Fantastic work! You really have given me a great relief! I don’t have my GPA and was worried about it.

    Thanks a lot about the info! You really don’t know but you have done a great job!

  • Alaq Sep 26, 2011 Reply

    I got overall 58% marks in B.sc Engineering . Please covert this marks into international Grading system (GPA).

  • sharad bhalla Sep 14, 2011 Reply

    Hello Sir,
    My name is Sharad Bhalla and i want to apply to US or Canada for Ms in electrical engineering.
    my B.tech percentage= 63%
    GRE=1130/1600
    TOEFL=100/120

    U do not have any idea what a relief you have given to all the students who wish to apply to US universities but are not sure about GPA\ issue. I Share the same platform with you that we shall not compare apples with mangoes.
    But i have one doubt and i would be thankful if u will take the pain to clear it.

    1) As we know the application fees for universities is around 70$. So being an Indian student from a middle class family,i would like to know the eligibility criteria of the university before applying. I mean on what basis can i conclude that i met the requirement of 3 or 3.5 GPA. How will i be sure about this to avoid my application being rejected at initial stage itself and end up wasting some dollars!

    2) Also would u be able to guide me for CANADA application also. There also m having apprehensions in applying because i do not know if i met the minimum GPA requirements.

    I would be very thankful if u can please clear the air around these doubts as i have to apply for fall 2012 and time is running by.

    • sharad bhalla Sep 14, 2011 Reply

      I Would appreciate every single comment and reply on this query of mine as i have no other means but internet to clarify my doubts! :)
      thanking in anticipation

  • srikanth Aug 8, 2011 Reply

    Hi my name is Srikanth,i did my msc in microbiology and my percentage is 59.8 with 3 backlogs in theory and i was absent for 4 of my 1st and 2nd sem practicals,later i cleared them with my junior batch.i have applied for 4 universities,Alcorn state univ,NY poly,cal state uni eastbay, and university of Findlay.I got admm from one university that is uni of findlay in environmental engineering technology.which is not my background,mine is microbiology.My visa got rejected 2 times on may 19th and july6th.now what i have to do.pls help me.i want to reapply will i get admission in good universities……

  • Nishant Arora May 16, 2011 Reply

    thanx… thanx… thanx… relaxing article… can I get your e-mail id for further communication?… got some doubts…

  • NONA Apr 7, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for the informations , it’s really relief . I got 58% in general chemistry and i am trying to apply for master degree and i feel hopless when i saw some GPA website . I just have a question i sent my degree for I.E.R.f to evalute my degree and find out my GPA to send it to the university admission but should i sent this evaluation or just send my original degree which is translate to English ???

    • Kumar Apr 11, 2011 Reply

      Nona, you should check with th IER or your school on what they want…In general, I would not send my originals to anyone. I would just send transcripts.

      • NONA Jun 5, 2011 Reply

        I recieved my evaluation from I.E.R.F and they evalutae my GPA 2.22 i feel really bad, but i checked with the university and they said they have their own evaluation. Is that real 2.22 GPA :(

      • NONA Jun 5, 2011 Reply

        I recieved my evaluation from the IERF and they evaluate my GPA 2.22 i feel very bad , i checked with the university and they said we have our own evaluator but is this my real GPA 2.22 :(

  • Bishwanath Prasd Yadav Mar 22, 2011 Reply

    I have received “12 ecxellent”, 12 satisfactory and 22 good on russian grading system where 5 (excellent), 4(good) and 3 (satisfactory).Please convert my these grades into US grading system on US grading system 4.,

  • sir please tell me the minimum gpa that dental schools in USA accepts for admission. iam from india and dental graduate.iam preparing for NBDE in USA

  • Jaimman Feb 21, 2011 Reply

    I am planning to take the SAT in the next couple of months ! If I do well ( Say 2100 on 2400 because that is the average on the mock test’s ) , will the fact that I got 60% in 11th Grade dampen my chances of getting into a good college ? Do I have to take the TOEFL ? Thank you

  • Richard Jan 27, 2011 Reply

    HEY,
    I AM THINKING OF TRYING TO US UNIVERSITIES BUT I GOT 49.2% IN 11TH STANDARD AND 81.2 IN 12TH STANDARD AND 81.3 IN 10TH STANDARD.I HAVE EXCELLENT SCORE IN IELTS AND SAT.IN THIS CONDITION WILL I GET ADMISSION IN US UNIVERSITIES.PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS.

  • vidish Jan 12, 2011 Reply

    I got 85.5% in my boards 10 standard. :( Then i started CIE the school gave me a gpa ofn 3.5 on 4.0. so do i have a good chance in a good university like Michigan Ann Arbor or Wisconsin Madison.

    • Kumar Jan 12, 2011 Reply

      Vidish,
      Schools do not really give importance to 10th, 11th and 12th standard marks. Your GRE, TOEFL and Bachelors performance is more important for admission decision.

      • ajai Feb 17, 2011 Reply

        Hi ..Kumar.
        Is it really true dat US School do not really give importance to 10th and 12th standard marks?
        I got good score in GRE, TOEFL and Bachelors but i have poor score in 10th and 12th,at what extent dey consider 10th and 12th marks .tell me frankly ,no issue. i NEED right information.
        Thank you.

  • Shweta Jan 10, 2011 Reply

    Hi,

    Im here on my L2 visa, want to become a registered dietitian here.I completed my MSc (Ag [FSN]) , my marks are already in GPA Scores (which is exactly the US grading system 1-10), how they are going to convert them into US GPA Scores? My MSc score is 9.2

    The ADA( American Dietetic Association) authority asked me to convert it to US grade system, does it differ too much ?

    • Kumar Jan 11, 2011 Reply

      Shwetha,
      I do not think you should directly convert them using some formula as I explained above. I would contact the ADA and ask for options or go with their education evaluation agency.

      • Shweta Jan 12, 2011 Reply

        thank you kumar..

  • ananth Jan 6, 2011 Reply

    i got 60% in my 11th standard but got 85% in 10th, what are the chances that i ll get into purude university for engineering?

    • Kumar Jan 7, 2011 Reply

      Ananth, I do not advise on schools. Also, US schools do not consider 10th and 11th for admission.

  • Ashish Jan 1, 2011 Reply

    Hello..
    Read your article and its a fantastic one but Would like to seek an opinion that i have scored 58% in my BDS (agreggate) so should i be giving national boards(DDS) for the US?? or there’s no point in giving as my gpa would come out to be less then 3??What do i do?
    2- Am keen to do DDS only but as i will be having a low gpa so can i go for Masters in hospital administration(MHA)?Thats only a 2nd option but unlike for DDS,will am gonno be accepted for MHA??
    Thanks..

    • Kumar Jan 3, 2011 Reply

      Ashish, I am not sure what your real goal is…I am not aware of BDS and DDS stuff. If you really want to study in MHA in US, look at any university that offers the program and see the requirements and act accordingly. As I said above, you should not directly convert you marks to GPA…

  • Mohit Sep 23, 2010 Reply

    Thanks for the informaion

  • raghava Sep 2, 2010 Reply

    thanks ….but every university lists the minimum gpa in admission requirements…..atleast to know whether we are eligible for that university we need to know under wat gpa my aggregate lies in……sir, i got an aggregate of 70%….so approximately wat will b my gpa???

    • Kumar Sep 3, 2010 Reply

      Well, I am not sure if every University lists minimum GPA, they list the average score or minimum TOEFL score. Either case, when you are not sure, the best thing to do is to email the school and ask them. You can see the responses above why schools say you should not convert.

  • Ashok Aug 10, 2010 Reply

    Hey my name is ashok. I have just completed my b.com at one of the best colleges (Loyola College). I got 60% and I know that its impossible to convert this into gpa. What would be the approx GPA for this Mark

  • Ronit Jul 28, 2010 Reply

    thank you so much for al these informations…
    I studied my bachelors in Microbiology Hons from St. Xavier’s college Kolkata(under Calcutta University)…there the evaluation is quite stringent..i got 58% in my undergrads..
    Am currently doing my masters from MS Ramaiah College, Bangalore(under B’lore university) There i have scored 73.2%in my first semester( second topper in the college, 1st being 73.6%), my second sem results are yet to be published..am planning to write GRE nd TOEFL in September….Was a little woried about these grading systems….
    I wxpectyour reply in my email…
    regards,
    Ronit.

    • Kumar Jul 28, 2010 Reply

      Ronit, do not worry too much about grading system. The school understands every school is different thats why they ask not to convert the percentage to GPA. Focus on GRE and TOEFL for now and get good score.

  • Rahul Jul 9, 2010 Reply

    Oh so conversion isn’t necessary?? WOW that’s a relief. I got 86% in 10th and 87.4% in 12th. I kept thinking of ways in which i could convert my grades into US GPA. This relaxes a few nerves. Though im still not sure how it all stacks up :P. But thanks a lot. It made my research a lot easier. All up for giving sat now :D

    • Kumar Jul 9, 2010 Reply

      Yes, you do not need to convert. You will be fine… Good luck !

  • Tapas Mandal May 24, 2010 Reply

    I want some advise from you.In Russian 3,4 and 5 system I have 4s in 14 subjects,5s in 11 subjects and 3s in 8 subjects[out of 33 subjects].Can you please tell me if I have also IELTS 7 and GRE score 1300+,and 1.6 year job experience in programming where is the best possibility of my getting accepted for admission with some kind of funding?I mean in Ranking where I can apply say to 1-20/20-50 universities like that..Because to choose varsity according to your criteria is the most difficult task:(And how will be my CGPA or how to convert this Russian 5 grade system to US 4 scale system to have an idea where to apply?

    • Kumar May 24, 2010 Reply

      Honestly, it is just hard to say that just GRE and Grades are sufficient to get admission or get a denial. There are many other things like SOP, Recommendation letters, etc too. You have to look at average scores in the institutions you plan to apply. That will give you an idea of the scores they look for, just go to the department home page and look around or just search on google. I understand it can be hard, but you have to put in some work…. As they said in the responses, you should NOT convert your Russian Grade to 4.0 Scale in US. Some credential evaluation services give you a guide like WES , but still it should not be taken and converted unless the school asks for credential evaluation from them.

  • Arijit May 13, 2010 Reply

    Hi,

    Thanks for your information. As you have studied in many US Universities, I’d just like to ask you if a student with 60% average in class 12 [post secondary] is eligible to study in US Universities with the aim of doing BS in Computer Science.

    The SAT 1 score is 1120. Most Universities require GPA 3.0 or higher, but I absolutely have NO IDEA what percentage of marks obtained in India is equivalent to GPA 3.0.

    When I first read a few articles informing how to convert percentage to GPA, I saw that 80% – 83% was categorized as B [GPA 3.0] & that 60% was 0.1 GPA. I was shocked to see that kind of result. However, later on your article I found out that those numbers were based on US numbering system, not Indian or International. So that made me ask you this question.

    Although there’s no universal way to convert percentage to GPA, I’d like to have a rough idea from you about what GPA the 60% mark is equivalent to. Can you tell me roughly how much that 60% is in GPA since you are familiar with both Indian & American grading system?

    I got 70 in English, 65 in Chemistry, 65 in Physics, 70 in Maths & 90 in Computer Science.

    Am I eligible to get admission??

    Thanks in advance…

    • Kumar May 13, 2010 Reply

      Honestly, I am not very familiar with Undergrad admissions. Do not directly match your percentage with US GPA grade, it is wrong. There is no proper standard and you should not convert as I mentioned above. If it makes you feel better, according to WES credentials evaluation agency, 60% is an ” A “. check this agency site and select India. http://www.wes.org/gradeconversionguide/index.asp and also read this article. http://redbus2us.com/percentage-to-gpa-conversion-credential-evaluation-services-usa-univ-responses/
      As I am not very familiar with SAT and UG admissions, I cannot really judge your score. But, I recommend you to check this average SAT scores of few Universities to get an idea listed in this site: http://www.eduers.com/sat/score.htm . You can also go to admissions page of any University website for some requirements like TOEFL and other stuff : http://www4.uwm.edu/cie/futurestudents/80/

      • Arijit May 14, 2010 Reply

        Thanks a lot… You gave me such a relief by letting me know 60% was an A in US Grading system.. Thanks… That’s all I wanted to know….

        And thanks for your quick response.

        • Kumar May 14, 2010 Reply

          Welcome ! Do not convert percentage to GPA by yourself and send to schools. Just send your marks as it is and let them do the conversion…. Good Luck !

  • Emil Apr 10, 2010 Reply

    Hello! Yes, you may be right that converting is not necessary, but what if I was ASKED to convert my marks (Russian 5-grade system)?

    You mentioned all the wrong methods of comverting the scale, but didn’t provide any right one though. Is there one?

    • Kumar Apr 10, 2010 Reply

      NOPE. There is no standard process of doing it. Honestly, you should not do it. You should talk the school you are applying to and ask them or tell them. Most US schools are familiar with the situation and you can see in above article the email communications.

  • Puneet Mar 16, 2010 Reply

    i love ur website….made my research a lot easier…thanx..
    i will share my experiences as i go through…cheers!!

    • Kumar Mar 16, 2010 Reply

      Welcome ! Please email me if you like to share anything with our readers.

  • Mradul Mar 10, 2010 Reply

    Excellent work

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