I am Masters student in France and I am considering pursuing PhD in the US. Grading in France seems to be less uniform then in other countries, which results (from my experience) in that getting 90% of max grade is hard. US universities have GPA requirements, some pretty harsh such as 3.5/4.0 GPA.
A broad question is: what should I do, except from trying to get as high grades as possible, to be admitted to a high rank institution in the US despite being on the verge of a GPA cut-off? A more specific one is: how are GPAs handled when the direct conversion of grades is difficult.
I am looking for answers from people who have first-hand experience. There are a lot of answers in the internet, related to grade conversion for undergraduate school applications (that is, about conversion of high school grades), and there are conversion tables posted by some US universities. However, these answers does not answer my question well: I am interested in how thing are done in math/cs departments on the graduate level.