My question is about applying for a US internship(4 scale GPA) as a European student(with 10 scale GPA).

I took a look at this thread. An answer mentions that 93% of grades are 'A's, thus leading to a 4.0 scale GPA. In my country, the average GPA in my school is 6.3/10, which depends on lots of factors (difficult exams, professor unwilling to help etc). Practically, students scoring A's (10/10 or 9/10) in courses are very limited and in some courses like Calculus non-existent.

I've seen many internship programs from large corporations where they require a GPA of 3.5 and above.

When only one student in the history of my school has scored 3.9/4.0 (converted to 4 scale from 10 scale system, 9.9/10 in 10 scale) only 1% every year graduate with 3.5/4.0 and above GPA, what are my chances of being accepted at a US program even with experience in my area of interest? Are European GPA's handled differently than US GPA's? I believe a direct comparison between the two is impossible since in reality they are two different grading systems.

  • 1
    Your last sentence pretty much covers it.
    – nivag
    Aug 11 '15 at 14:59
  • "only 1% every year graduate with 3.5/4.0 and above GPA" That sounds about right. I'm guessing it's the same way at my school, and I'm in the U.S. Consistently getting an A in every class is supposed to be difficult. Granted, I'm in engineering. "depends on lots of factors (difficult exams, professor unwilling to help etc)" And you think it doesn't in the U.S.? Aug 12 '15 at 1:19
  • @ParthianShot Sound legit when average GPA in US is over 3.0. Take a look here gradeinflation.com Aug 12 '15 at 12:45

As has been said, your last sentence hits the mark - a direct comparison is impossible. I would argue that it isn't necessary, either.

I am a US native. I am currently working an internship in the United States at a child company of a larger pharmaceutical business. I know that my company had a "minimum" GPA for the application, but this was never mentioned in the interviewing process. To me this implies that companies use GPA to see if a candidate meets a satisfactory minimum - it's a way to weed out applicants they know they don't want or need. I think if you explain that your GPA is good by European standards, if indeed it is, then your application will be strong.

A few of my fellow interns are from Germany. I don't know them well but I mention this to show that success is possible and that some companies in the United States, at least, have a good grasp of how grading scales work in Europe. I think it worth mentioning that Europe seems to have a relatively smaller amount of grade inflation as compared to here. That's an important point - grades are somewhat inflated here, and a 3.5 GPA probably indicates a level of performance that is different than you imagine. Given this, I would say your chances of getting a job are good, especially if you adopt the normal tactics of applying to many positions and being prepared to take a few rejections.

  • Thanks, I appreciate your answer a lot. Do you believe it's worth mentioning the average gpa of my school or my current ranking(eg. top 5%) ? Aug 11 '15 at 17:08
  • I'm not 100% sure - the aforementioned internship is my first job in industry. I don't think it too bold - in your place I would list my percentile ranking right after the point value, but again my experience here is limited.
    – Kwaaaaaah
    Aug 11 '15 at 18:54

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