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Thread: Should I tell schools my updated GPA?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Should I tell schools my updated GPA?

    Hi everyone,

    I've applied to a few schools for admission in Fall 2010 and am graduating from college in May. I just got my grades from this past semester and I did pretty well, with an increase in my GPA (only by +0.03 in a 4.00 scale). Because I applied before these grades came out, grad schools don't have access to them. Is it worth it to contact the schools and tell them? The main schools are particularly Harvard, Penn, and Tufts (if that makes any difference in their particular admissions decisions...).

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    This is a perfect example of people putting WAY too much emphasis on GRE, GPA, etc. for admissions.

    Do you REALLY think a 0.03 difference in GPA is going to shift your admission one way or another?

    If it did, that would be a good indication that that program sucks.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Do I REALLY think it's going to shift my admission one way or the other? Of course not. However I do think it can help strengthen my case and I was wondering if other student applicants have done the same.

    If you must know, the more important thing was that I pulled a 4.00/4.00 this semester, but I didn't want to spell that our immediately in the forum. I think that is more important than the cumulative increase.

    I can see the conversation in the respective departments now:

    A: "Well, unfortunately we can't offer him a place in the class at this time"

    *Person rushes in, short of breath and clutching wrinkled, freshly-printed paper*

    B: "This just in, his GPA just increased 0.03!!!"

    A: "Why didn't you say so!?! He's just the person we need! Offer him a full-ride IMMEDIATELY. Thank the lord we didn't deny him!"

  4. #4
    Good you have a sense of humor. i would say stop worrying about your apps and enjoy yourself.

  5. #5
    I concur with chocolatechip. I think the only time a 0.03 increase would matter would be if it bumped you up from a 2.97 to a 3.0, so that you'd no longer need some sort of exception or waiver.

  6. #6
    Well, in the last "additional notes" section of my app I just decided to throw in this semester's grades since I got As in relevant classes and, like you, had a perfect semester (my first in college!). Contrary to what others say... I just don't see why it'd hurt.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    This is kind of old by now, but I just saw it. I think you should absolutely send in your new grades! If anything, it shows the program that you're really interested in putting your best foot forward. And if push comes to shove and it comes to a decision between you and another guy, you'll be the guy someone *might* remember for having bothered to send in this new update, however trivial.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by judyblume View post
    This is kind of old by now, but I just saw it. I think you should absolutely send in your new grades! If anything, it shows the program that you're really interested in putting your best foot forward. And if push comes to shove and it comes to a decision between you and another guy, you'll be the guy someone *might* remember for having bothered to send in this new update, however trivial.

    Thanks for the advice judyblume. I did end up sending my updated GPA to Penn, and look what happened! It appears you and I may be classmates there next year. I'm still waiting to hear from Tufts and Harvard, but I'm pretty sold on Penn. What about you?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Basher, I'm thinking a lot about Penn v. LSE right now, but it'll depend a lot on Penn's funding because LSE has a cheaper annual tuition and, on top of that, is a one year program. I'm also waiting for Harvard (didn't apply to MIT because I have no planning experience) and two others. If it comes down to Harvard v. Penn with comparable funding, it's a toss up... do you have any preference yet?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Actually in the same Harvard v. Penn position. My gf has gotten in to medical schools in Philly and is waiting to hear from Boston school, so that may largely dictate the final decision. In terms of programs, Penn has a solid, reputable Env Planning/Land use specialization whereas at Harvard I would have to work harder to create my own; not that it's a huge drawback. I'm pretty ambivalent to be honest. It'll probably just come down to $. The only problem is, who can say no to Harvard?

    Of course, a rejection from Harvard would put an end to this whole internal debate I'm having...

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    (Lack of experience was my reason for not applying to MIT also!)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by Basher View post
    (Lack of experience was my reason for not applying to MIT also!)
    So, if I am interpreting this correctly, MIT places a lot of emphasis on having experience and Harvard does not? If that's the case I probably should have applied to Harvard rather than MIT.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by warderjack View post
    So, if I am interpreting this correctly, MIT places a lot of emphasis on having experience and Harvard does not? If that's the case I probably should have applied to Harvard rather than MIT.


    I'm not entirely sure this is a steadfast rule, however from my experience with the EPP faculty at MIT, the professors strongly suggested that the vast majority of their successful applicants have 1-3 yrs of planning experience and can very clearly articulate their desired course of study on the application. They essentially hinted to me that I didn't have enough work experience to be considered a fully competitive applicant, despite whatever GPA, GRE, recs, and personal statement I submitted. Not sure if this is true for every applicant, but it was the sense I got. Plus, I wasn't sold on MIT enough to bother applying after hearing this. Hope that helps!

  14. #14
    I think for strong applicants limited planning experience doesn't mean an automatic rejection, especially if a strong case can be made for the switch. It could be more the exception than the rule, but I have a coworker who graduated from MIT DUSP (EPP) that entered with a background in something like film studies.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I agree with Rainplanner. I certainly cannot speak for the entire dept but only my own experience.

    Moreover, I really only had a feigned interest in the dept to start so it didn't take much for me to decide to not apply.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by Basher View post
    I agree with Rainplanner. I certainly cannot speak for the entire dept but only my own experience.

    Moreover, I really only had a feigned interest in the dept to start so it didn't take much for me to decide to not apply.
    Ah, see I liked how friendly everybody was and the atmosphere I got from the October open house, but I was a little frustrated that Transportation wasn't it's own unique focus and that you had to pair it up with something else when you applied. I ended up applying for HCED/Transportation, and while I think I made a strong case for my interest in transportation planning, tying it to HCED was a little more challenging. I suspect that if they reject me that either that or my only experience being an internship in transportation policy will be what sunk me.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Yeah, I agree with Basher. It's just that DUSP is reputed to be the absolute best in terms of urban planning, and I think I remember a post in which a current MIT student sort of summarized the age distribution of his entering class. Overwhelmingly people had experience and were a little older, with just one or two people fresh from undergrad. It just seemed such a long shot.

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