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I recently applied to a PhD program, now accepted and planning to attend, in my CV I entered my GPA as 3.8 although the true value is 3.78.

Will that be a problem when I send the hardcopy transcripts to school?

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    This seems like a rounding issue. Saying a 3.51 gpa is a 4 would be odd and calling it a 4.0 would be lying. You rounded to one decimal place and only reported one decimal. Don't see an issue – StrongBad Mar 16 '18 at 12:42
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    I would be very surprised if your GPA is exactly 378/1000, as opposed to 464⅔/123 or something similar. – JeffE Mar 16 '18 at 15:57
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    Plot twist: It's later revealed that your true true GPA is a 3.778, and you get in trouble for calling it a 3.78. But then after correcting that, it turns out you actually had a 3.7778, and you again get in trouble... – Nat Mar 17 '18 at 15:26
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As pointed out in the comments, you didn't lie. Your actual GPA was a 3.8. By contrast, it'd have been a lie if you claimed a 3.80.

I suspect that reviewers who see this may have one of three reactions:

  1. No concern. They'll see this as entirely correct rounding and not bother thinking about it any further.

  2. Concern about fudging. They'll wonder why you chose to report your GPA on your CV to just 1 decimal place, as this is a bit atypical, and coupled with the fact that it resulted in a round-up, it may come off as a bit of fudging.

  3. Think it dishonest. Committees in STEM fields should really understand that a 3.78 is a 3.8; that's basic numeric literacy. However, if you're applying to a field that doesn't use math, they may perceive it as dishonest.

Personally, if I read a 3.8, I'd have taken it as implying anything from a 3.75 to a 3.84999..., such that the revelation of a 3.78 would be entirely expected. I'd have found your decision to report only 1 decimal place to be dubious, but I'd have already judged you for that upon seeing your CV. Seeing the transcript confirm that the GPA was on the lower end of the spectrum would strengthen the suspicion of intentionally trying to fudge the numbers, but since I'd already have been suspicious of that, it wouldn't really change much.

  • I would never have thought a self-reported "3.8" actually meant a 3.84. There's simply no reason for an applicant to report a less impressive number. If I read 3.8, I understand it to be within (3.795, 3.805) such that their transcript would read "3.80" as two decimal points is typical. – Alex Reinking Mar 18 '18 at 23:24
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It depends on why the GPA on your CV reads "3.8" as opposed to "3.78".

If the committee decides the discrepancy is due to you willfully "puffing up" your resume, then they would be justified in rescinding your offer of admission. If, instead, you simply missed the "7" key on the keyboard while entering it and didn't catch it while proofreading, you might be able to convince them of your honesty by proactively pointing out the issue and asking for forgiveness. Even if they believe you, they might still decide to rescind the offer because you have a responsibility to ensure that everything on your CV is accurate.

On the other hand, they might not see that 0.02 difference as qualitatively different, and maybe they'll overlook it. But at the very least, it will leave a bad taste in their mouths. You would not be well-served by letting them discover that issue on their own.

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    I think the accuracies of GPA’s are generally overreported. My school uses a 4/3/2/1/0 scale. For the most part, reporting more than one decimal place is pointless and doesn’t tell me all that much. – aeismail Mar 17 '18 at 13:34
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    3.8 is accurate, it's just not precise. On a more serious note, I agree OP shouldn't get in the habit of selectively rounding in order to look more impressive, but I can't see anyone caring enough about a 0.02 difference for this to lead to negative consequences. – user37208 Mar 17 '18 at 15:43
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Being a professor, I will not supervise any student who lie to me in his/her resume. So, yes you may face problem from supervisor side, and probably from admission committee as well.

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