I am a senior undegraduate CS student who is interested in applying for a good grad school (current GPA 3.76/4.00, distinguished in engineering competitions, written a lot of code, has 2 papers - one before university and is currently working on multiple research projects).

I am now filling in the application form of some particularly demanding grad schools (e.g. Stanford, MIT) and I am faced with the following dilemma:

I have some remaining courses to pass (since I have not completed the 10 semesters that are required) until the end of this year. Moreover, I have not defended my thesis yet (although I have almost completed it). My thesis counts for 20% of the grade (and it is almost impossible to get a grade different than 4.0/4.0) and all the courses (passed and ongoing) count for the rest 80%. Having this in mind and being optimistic enough, I suspect that my finishing grade will be about 3.8/4.0.

I am finalizing my SOP and CV and I am faced with the following question:

Should I list my expectation for a finishing grade along with the current GPA that is on my official transcript?

My problem is that on the one side, I feel not being fair to myself since it is a feasible goal and the overall work I have done is not directly depicted in my current transcript. On the other, I am afraid that I may get a conditional offer like "maximize your graduation GPA" and in a semester which I am currently doing research and, personally, optimizing course grades is my primary objective.

  1. I would like to hear advice, especially incidents of (if they exist) of such offers, as well as experience from other students who were in this quandary.
  2. Would that really count given my academic profile?

1 Answer 1


First the difference between a GPA of 3.76 and 3.8 doesn't seem very big or relevant to me. Beyond that, in general I would not put the two numbers in the application. Put the GPA of your already graded courses, so the 3.76 and write next to it that it is preliminary and in particular does not contain your thesis grade yet, which accounts for 20% of the total grade. With that information anyone reading your application can make their own estimate of what your final GPA will be.

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