For admission committees, how important are the (upward) trends in your GPA and how much will it remedy lackluster performance in the past?

Background: I'm an international CS applicant with an overall undergraduate GPA of around 2.8 with a GPA of 3.5 in the last two years (undergrad took 5 years total). I'm also finishing my masters with a 4.0 GPA. Considering these facts, how much should I expect my overall undergraduate GPA to hurt my chances for Ph.D. admission in the US/Canada?

(I'm aware of other factors such as recommendations, GRE and research experience. However, I would like to keep this question specific to the effect of positive GPA trends vs. overall GPA)

P.S: I have looked at seemingly similar questions/answers on the site but none of them cover this specific question.

  • 1
    If your GPA is below the threshold the admissions office is looking for, it doesn't hurt to point out any extenuating circumstances that may apply. – J.R. Jun 20 '17 at 11:46
  • If your undergraduate GPA is below the threshold that the university requires, it's possible that nobody will even see your application, and in particular, nobody will read about your extenuating circumstances. – JeffE Jun 20 '17 at 13:19
  • Grades in the first two years of undergraduate don't weigh very heavily, from what I'm seen. – aparente001 Jun 22 '17 at 5:49
  • Thank you J.R, JeffE and aparante001 for your insights :) – Abbas Javan Jafari Jun 22 '17 at 9:00

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