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First of all, I am not asking whether it is ethical to round one's GPA. I essentially rounded my GPA by accident and want to know the possible consequences of this.

I applied to the NSF GRFP. Recently, I read that when and how to round one's GPA can be subtle questions, but at the time I wrote the application I did not realize that. The GPA on my transcript is 3.887 but I wrote 3.9 on the application, not thinking twice about it because I was just using typical rounding rules. In addition, I kind of thought that, since reviewers will see my transcript, it didn't really matter if I wrote 3.88 or 3.9 because they will have the official GPA in front of them anyway.

Now I am worried this will negatively affect my application. There is no GPA "cutoff" of 3.9 for the GRFP so it won't disqualify me or anything, but I wonder if it will change reviewers' opinions of me.

Please tell me - what would you do if you saw this on an (otherwise very strong I think) application? Would this make you more likely to reject the applicant?

Thanks.

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    It's pretty standard to round your GPA. Regardless, I doubt the reviewers will notice it or give it a second thought - the other aspects of the application are far more important than the GPA differing by 0.02 Nov 9, 2021 at 6:30
  • In every US university I've heard of, GPAs are only awarded with one decimal place anyway, so based on significant figures, reporting anymore than that is excessive, IMO Nov 9, 2021 at 14:56

2 Answers 2

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In a way, it doesn't matter at this point and so you shouldn't worry about it. Save your energy for things you can control.

But I think you really shouldn't worry about it, because this is almost certainly not a big deal. I've submitted a lot of resumes for academic jobs (and even got offered some of them) and never once thought to look up rules around rounding my GPA to more than 2 digits. I also agree with your original logic. Anyone who wants to know all the digits will look at your transcript, not your CV. It would take a very special kind of reviewer to assume the difference of 0.013 points (0.3% of your GPA!) is because you lied and not because you rounded.

The only situation I can possibly think of where the extra digits might matter, is if they have decided on a hard cutoff that your GPA must be greater than or equal to 3.9 for them to consider your application. But... I really doubt this is the case. If they really do have a policy like this, I assume they will check your transcript (lest they risk giving a fellowship to... gasp!... GPA rounders!), in which case what you wrote in the data entry field won't matter.

I know waiting to hear back from a fellowship can be very stressful, but try to keep busy with other things instead of thinking about it. Easier said than done, I know.

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It doesn't matter since there is nothing you can do about it now. I personally believe in 'playing safe' especially when I'll have to pass through the hands of others. You see, you're not there so what you put on paper should be advised. Just be careful next time because people formulate different opinions based on what they see.

All the same, to answer your question, if i were the reviewer, it wouldn't matter to me.

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