I will be applying for PhD programs in USA this fall. I know there are many nuances for GPA conversions and I won't convert my CGPA. Colleges don't ask to convert GPA but still mention that their minimum requirement is 3.0 or 3.5-3.7 for an ideal candidate (on a 4.0 scale). Since, I'm an Indian student, I don't know what this means for me.

Different websites have different score conversion techniques which are confusing. For instance, 60% is said to be converted to a GPA score far below 2.5, but in India, it isn't such a bad score. My undergraduate CGPA was low (6.18/10).But, my masters CGPA is pretty good (8.98/10). So, my question is where do I stand? Should I apply to universities with minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 or 3.5? Can I have a shot at ivies like Columbia or University of Pennsylvania or Caltech? For target schools, can I choose USC and UCI? Is Stony Brook a safety school for me?

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    Hi, welcome here. There are some tools available for GPA conversion, are you looking for those? This site may not be the best for school-specific discussions. Also, a lot may depend on the disciplines you're applying to. Oct 16, 2021 at 13:18
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    For the conversion part alone, this may be of some use :gmatclub.com/forum/… Oct 16, 2021 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


Let me make a (strong) suggestion that you broaden your search to include some schools down to perhaps the 50th ranked university. Don't neglect the ivies, but Stony Brook as a "safety school" is probably too ambitious if you don't want to be utterly disappointed.

Let the school you apply to do the conversion and don't worry about it. It is what it is. Your guess or computation of an equivalent is immaterial to any decision.

Note three things. First, is that your more recent grades are more likely to be considered as indicators than earlier ones.

Second, people realize that the grading itself in Indian universities is quite different than in the US. Here, top marks are pretty common. In India, it is, IIRC, much more uncommon.

But third, and most important, your admission will be based on broad analysis of your likelihood of success, not narrow, single numbers like GPA. In particular, letters of recommendation are very important, more so than some other places. And write a good "future focused" SoP, detailing what you can about your plans for study and thereafter. Don't use it to recapitulate what is already in the CV or try to make excuses for any shortcomings.

Yes, you have a shot, but the competition is fierce at the top schools. Put together a complete application package that indicates future success. Don't worry about what you can't control.

But cast a wide net, not only top of the top schools. If you cast a narrow net, then rejection by one will likely result in similar outcome at others. All of the US R1 universities are more than merely competent in most fields. And your eventual advisor will have a bigger impact than the overall reputation of the universities. Good advisors can be found lots of places.

To somewhat answer the topline question you posed, you are probably fine. But the difference in educational systems means that everyone who does a conversion will likely come up with a different number. Even in the US, 3.5 at one place means something different at another.

At some universities in the US, a student who did 90/100 on everything, could actually have a 4.0 GPA. At others, it might be a 3.7 or so.

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    Thank you for your comment. You motivated me. The usnews ranking system confuses me a bit. UC Irvine is ranked 50 and UC Santa Barbara is ranked 67. Both are pretty good schools. Since you suggested to choose school down to 50th rank, should I follow this system? Oct 16, 2021 at 19:38
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    The overall ranking of us news is irrelevant for graduate study in a particular field. The more specific versions mean something. But you can also find a bad advisor at a good school and some are so involved with their own "thing" as to be less than helpful. Rankings give a general idea only, but not as a guide to life.
    – Buffy
    Oct 16, 2021 at 19:45
  • I will of course look into the advisors more and not be caught up with the school names. But since you said to choose schools down to the 50th ranked university, which ranking system are you referring to? My field is Statistics/Biostatistics. Oct 18, 2021 at 4:49

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