Suspicious 4.0?

  • #1
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I've heard people say that a 4.0 GPA can look a bit suspicious to admissions committees for grad school. I'm wondering how true this actually is... I assume it depends greatly on whether the 4.0 is coming from a well known university. Lets say that the 4.0 is just coming from a large state school with an average physics program. Is grade inflation really the first thing that comes to the committee's mind?
 

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  • #2
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Do you have a 4.0? Sounds suspicious to me.
 
  • #3
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If you have a 4.0 GPA they may assume your program was too easy for you, but that's not really your fault, is it?

If your GPA was much higher than expected given your GRE scores, then maybe they credit the GRE scores over the GPA, since the GRE scores are more standardized. But even then, I doubt a 4.0 GPA with a mediocre GRE score would be worse than a 3.8 GPA with the same score.

If this is your big concern, you're in great shape.
 
  • #4
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What action are you contemplating? Tanking a few classes to get the GPA down? That would not be a good idea.
 
  • #5
lisab
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If you bomb the PGRE yet still have a 4.0, it may raise questions in the minds of some admissions officers. How does the rest of your application look (letters of recommendation, research)?
 
  • #6
HallsofIvy
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I keep telling my self that because I once had a student (a math major) who finished college with "A"s in every course except one- I had given her a B! She did well in grad school so apparently it didn't hurt her.
 
  • #7
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I keep telling my self that because I once had a student (a math major) who finished college with "A"s in every course except one- I had given her a B! She did well in grad school so apparently it didn't hurt her.

Please dear god don't tell me that you gave her that B because she had a 4.0??
 
  • #8
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If you bomb the PGRE yet still have a 4.0, it may raise questions in the minds of some admissions officers.

It might, but I can't imagine he would be better off with a lower GPA in that circumstance.
 
  • #9
atyy
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If you bomb the PGRE yet still have a 4.0, it may raise questions in the minds of some admissions officers. How does the rest of your application look (letters of recommendation, research)?

I'm not sure if my experience applies since it was for biology grad school and 20 years ago, but I did have almost a "4.0" and bombed my GRE (but did well on the physics GRE, which I took since it was easier than the biology GRE). As far as I can tell the bad GRE score didn't affect anything.
 
  • #10
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The committee is looking for patterns. The high GPA/high GRE and low GRE/low GPA patterns are the easy ones. When they don't match, things get more subjective.
 
  • #11
Choppy
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Hi Jbrussel93,

I think the people you've been talking too are presenting you with a parnoid world view.

There are two potential things to be suspcisious off (i) grade inflation, or (ii) a false transcript.

In the case of grade inflation, there are many other factors that come into consideration when evaluating prospective students that would mitigate this issue. These include the PGRE, reference letters, and even the student's ranking within each class. Every school/department has its own method for weighting each of these factors.

In the case of a forged transcript, it's highly likely that the student will be found out eventually, if not by the second set of transcripts that comes in when the student's undergraduate degree is awarded, then by any of the many exams required in graduate school. It's very likely that a forged transcript scenario ends poorly for the student.

In either case, an admissions committee is highly unlikely to red flag a 4.0 itself as "suspicious" unless there is some other evidence that would indicate that something odd might be going on.
 

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