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I’m a sophomore in US college majoring in mathematics. I plan to apply for math PhD. I’m wondering how bad does the major GPA need to be for giving explanation? For example, do we need to provide explanations for a single A- out of straight-A’s?

Also, factors to take into account also include core courses (real analysis, abstract algebra, topology, etc.) vs. electives (combinatorics, number theory, probability, etc.), other courses taking along together e.g. 2 major classes in a semester vs. 4 major classes in a semester.

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    If the school has a cut-off, i.e. 3.5 and you have a 3.2, it would be prudent. But if the difference is 3.99 and 4.00, I would recommend that you spend the space on other topics. – Frank FYC Dec 6 '17 at 0:59
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    Your GPA really only matters if it’s below about 3.5. Above that, other factors start to matter more. – JeffE Dec 6 '17 at 4:31
  • @JeffE thank you so much for your answer! will your answer still apply if I apply to top schools and compete with other students who have similar statistics as me? In other word, between two seemingly equally qualified students, what will become a tipping point in eyes of admission committee? – user84055 Dec 6 '17 at 4:49
  • "In other word, between two seemingly equally qualified students, what will become a tipping point in eyes of admission committee?" See this question: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/45476/… – Mark Meckes Dec 6 '17 at 15:37

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