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I finished this year with a cumulative GPA of 2.498 (pretty low, not gonna lie). The main concern that I have is that when rounding to 2 digits, it will be pushed to a 2.5, and I'm worried that in interviews when I say that I have a 2.5, and if the interviewer checks my transcript, he/she may think that I am bumping up to meet requirements, even through it's very close to the line.

I am already aware of past questions regarding gpa rounding, but those seem to deal with round from 2 digits to 1 digit, which doesn't fit my situtation. Am I wrong in thinking I shouldn't do this? I don't want to want anyone to think down on me.

marked as duplicate by Herman Toothrot, scaaahu, Buzz, Coder, Morgan Rodgers May 26 '18 at 17:02

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  • 6
    Ethical GPA rounding is also concerned with rounding to 2 digits. Gets messy right at cut-offs though. – Anyon May 21 '18 at 23:03
  • 78
    I would argue that, given the way GPAs are computed in general, that four significant figures are overkill. – aeismail May 22 '18 at 0:08
  • 91
    If they care enough to call you on that, they'll care enough not to interview at 2.5 in the first place. If they care at all. – Jared Smith May 22 '18 at 2:23
  • 7
    My first thought was “don’t even mention it,” but I guess you mean “if they ask.” In that case, you could say “almost 2.5—2.498.” (As Maxwell Smart would say, “missed it by that much!” – WGroleau May 22 '18 at 5:23
  • 4
    OTOH, there's a big difference between, say, 3.97 and 4.0, possibly several percentiles. – Mark Plotnick May 22 '18 at 9:53

10 Answers 10

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There's no way to know how someone will react to a given situation but I would suggest to at least have a reason if you are challenged.

For instance, it might be reasonable to supply the same number of digits that they are asking for. If they ask for a 2.5 minimum GPA, then you report a 2.5, if they ask for a 2.50 then report a 2.50, but if they ask for a 2.500 then report a 2.498. If there is no reference number then I would assume the precision is up to you and report a 2.5.

That being said, I doubt anyone would think anything unethical happened over a .002 rounding that follows all the normal rounding rules.

  • 24
    @UTF-8 - 2.498 rounded to 2 decimal places is 2.50. – noslenkwah May 22 '18 at 15:25
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    I'm not so sure. Clearly 2.498 is not "at least 2.5". Compare with if for a degree you're 1 point short (out of say 2000) for a first, they don't round you up - you get a second. Or any other boundary-based system. – OrangeDog May 22 '18 at 16:06
  • 5
    @OrangeDog Who are you quoting? The answer doesn't say "at least 2.5" anywhere. – Azor Ahai May 22 '18 at 16:14
  • 3
    @ElizabethHenning 4.0 means "perfect". Arguably, "perfect" is a boolean, and thus rounding to 4.0 might be seen as disingenuous, even when normal rounding rules would apply to any other value. – Tin Man May 22 '18 at 19:17
  • 5
    "If there is no reference number then I would assume the precision is up to you and report a 2.5." No... if there is no reference, you report what the school reports on your transcript. – Mehrdad May 22 '18 at 20:26
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You probably want to read about significant figures. The premise of significant figures is that only so many additional digits mean anything. Depending on how many digits others want to see your GPA at, yes it is ethical to round a 2.498 to a 2.5. It's well known that GPA isn't a precise predictor of any kind of future achievement, otherwise your interviewer might simply be taking the person with the highest GPA and not so much as interview.

Mentioning two digits of your GPA (2.5) is probably enough information for your interviewer. If they ask, your interviewer would probably be thinking much more about the first digits than about whether you are bumping up your GPA to meet some sort of line.

  • 4
    This is the only answer to use – Carl Witthoft May 22 '18 at 15:15
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    The only caveat I was told in college (by my coop adviser) was that NOTHING rounds to a 4.0 Basically, you add as many decimals as you can (up to 3), or truncate. I had a 3.975, so I usually reported 3.98/4.00. He also said that, generally speaking, the lower your GPA, the less precision matters. Basically, only graduate schools really care about stupid-high GPA's, because that says you are book-smart. I had a 4.0 my first term coop'ing, and couldn't get a job. My buddies with 3.2 GPA's would get 3 offers... – FundThmCalculus May 22 '18 at 18:49
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    @FundThmCalculus Arguably (no, factually) that adviser is simply wrong. They’re right only insofar as this is fairly widespread nonsense but (a) it’s not a “rule”, and (b) it makes no sense in the real world because it assumes a degree of precision which is simply nonexistent, as this answer explains. – Konrad Rudolph May 23 '18 at 11:31
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    @KonradRudolph, I actually agree with him. The implication of a 4.0 says you have perfect grades. Which, incidentally, if you have less than an "A" in anything, you do not. However, your point about significant digits is correct. Still, it's a common view, so it's something to be aware of. Case in point, answer below from a bureaucratic government job. – FundThmCalculus May 23 '18 at 11:47
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    This answer is the best one if you ask me. All that's missing is some clarification that most of the world doesn't actually care about a GPA after your first job/research position/etc. – Cronax May 23 '18 at 12:43
16

I doubt an employer would perceive you rounding to 2.5 as unethical. However, you need to be aware of how they are using that information.

If you are interviewing for some government or academic appointment, 2.49999 is not "at least 2.5" and could disqualify you from a bureaucratic technical standpoint.

If that's the case, you could end up getting fired. This would be considered misrepresenting yourself and fraudulent.

My best advice is just don't volunteer your GPA. Unless there's some requirement, don't put it on your resume. If asked verbally, say "about 2.5". If filling out some form, put down the exact answer.

8

Personally, I would report it as 2.49 for the very reason you allude to here - rounding it up may give the impression that you're exaggerating your accomplishments. Many interviewers would prob think it's OK, but I'd err on the side of caution. Let them say "oh, well that's 2.5 to me" rather than you.

6

If you're worried about it, then report the full 4 digits. The most ethical thing to do is always the thing that leaves you certain you have not lied or misrepresented the truth. If you are worried about it, then you should report 2.498 because your conscience is telling you it's the most honest thing to do. Don't do something that makes you question whether you're being honest or not. Instead, flee as far from dishonesty as you can.

There is some chance that your interviewer cares, and there is some chance that they do not. There is also some chance that they might respect you more for being straightforward that you are just barely below the threshold, even though it could potentially cost you the position. Regardless of their reaction, your conscience and peace of mind are more valuable than getting a particular position.

5

Baloney.

2.498 rounds up to 2.5 (2 figures) or 2.50 (3 figures because 2.498 rounds to 2.50 even if you are simply rounding up the 9). Anyone who focuses solely on that to determine your future is not worth working for.

If this is the cutoff to get into a selective program, without a really strong achievement test score (GRE, MCAT, etc) and/or a load of other really positive things (or later in life, experience and a proven track record), 2.5 is too low & don't focus on that. You can always go to a community college and take other courses or retake courses to boost the GPA, if necessary.

4

It's a fairly common practice to do the following: Often, you can say X.Y GPA (in major). This signals to the interviewer that you took your major seriously, and though you may not have pinged the electives, that's probably alright. In engineering especially, this is very common, because you have to take a lot of cruft that may not be relevant. For me, I did not do well in my undergrad in the forced electives, nor did I do well in chemistry, but I'm not a chemical engineer, so I could and have argued that wasn't all that important. In graduate school though, this is less common, especially because they will show you the door if you drop below a B+ average or so.

1

If you don't want anyone to think down on you, then don't fudge. When writing, just mention 2.498. When talking, you can mention about 2.5, or even say 2.498. (People will recognize just how close that was.)

Is this your final year at the educational institution? If not, your GPA is certainly expected to change.

If so, congratulations on graduating. Can you still bump up that GPA? If you live nearby, maybe a night course. Even if you need to move away, is there an online course? Even if it is "Basic Mathematics: Addition". Yeah, rather cheesy. However, it then means that you'll actually be fully compliant, instead of "almost compliant so let's just pretend like I hit that mark that, technically, I actually missed by a slight amount". Just simplifying things may be worthwhile.

Then again, it might not be worth it. A lot of places look more closely at, just simply, "did this person get the degree?" In such cases, GPA might not be looked at, at all. As mentioned elsewhere, you might decide to just not even both mentioning it.

  • 1
    These numbers are not per cent. That's 2.498 of 4.0. – firegurafiku May 25 '18 at 11:22
  • @firegurafiku : Technically, you're right. And I see that Captain Man has knocked off the inappropriate % signs. And I do approve of every single minor change of that edit. I really do dislike inaccuracies, even minor ones, and am a bit disappointed that I created those myself. But I'm also happy that they got taken care of. Thanks, Community. – TOOGAM May 26 '18 at 15:53
1

2.5 is 2.498. Don't floor it down and neglect your effort.

Though, in all honesty, I'd avoid bringing up the GPA at all, if you can. It doesn't really correlate to your workplace success, short of becoming a graduate student.

If you need a 3.0 as a cutoff for certain jobs (e.g. government positions), I'd recommend padding by getting a second degree in something easy. Alternatively, you could just work for a years, and it shouldn't matter with a decent work history - you earned your diploma.

0

I feel like any person who graduated the 3rd grade understands the concept of rounding, thus rounding up to 2.5 is fine. I can only imagine folks who even care would be those in a science or math field where numerical precision is necessary. In that case its more about the culture of the company than the validity of your GPA. Of course, my school automatically rounded to the nearest decimal and that's what went out in my transcripts.

  • Sadly this isn't really true. I've come across a statement, from somewhere that really should know better, that 0.45 rounds up to 1. – Jessica B May 25 '18 at 15:06
  • @JessicaB - Interestingly enough, that kind of rounding is discussed in this answer – J.R. May 25 '18 at 19:24

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