How to Explain a Bad Grade or Low GMAT Score?

To err is human!

It is a widely-acknowledged fact that humans make mistakes. Many times, despite all our hard work, we end up not performing as per the expectations. However, this does not mean that we are less capable than others. This holds even more significance when we appear examinations and end up with low scores. And we need to learn and accept them.

No college in the world expects its applicants to be picture perfect. They all know that every individual has something weak about him/her. All that they want to see is that how you have minimised the effect of that weakness in your profile.

As an applicant, you should remember that the admission officers look at the whole profile of the applicant. They go through the academic credentials, leadership instances even without authority and overall see how unique is the applicant and what kind of perspective he/she shall add to the classroom.

How do we know this?
Collmission has been asking admission officers for their advice on how to explain a low GMAT score or bad grade, and this is the answer we figured out.

Through the following ways, you can cover up for your low grade or less GMAT scores:

  1. Take Certified Assistance:

 In case your quantitative score from the GMAT and transcript is low, join special classes for calculus and statistics and try to perform well in those classes.

Similarly, if your verbal scores are low, then join written and spoken communication class.

By doing this, you have a chance to convince the admission officer that you have significantly improved from the time when you scored low

  1. The Optional Essay:

Your optional essay is an opportunity for you to come up with a convincing explanation regarding your low scores.
If you scored low due to some unusual circumstances, then explain that in your optional essay, without sounding like you are giving an excuse. Excuses turn off the admission authorities.

  1. Good Essays Can Counteract Low Scores:

The admission authorities may accept that your low scores don’t deem you under qualified, provided you prove yourself as a worthy and qualified candidate.

This can be done by writing excellent essays that will reflect your skills and talent. Like we have said, it is all about convincing the admission authorities that you can contribute to the college, and you belong there.

  1. Choose the Right College:

 Not all the colleges give equal weight to all the components of your application. For some colleges, low GMAT score won’t make the difference of accepting or rejecting the candidates.

To turn things in your favour, you can shortlist colleges that don’t consider low GMAT score as a criterion to reject applications.

Yes! Such colleges exist.

And they are famous for the quality of education, they impart to the students.

  1. Get Yourself a Perfect LOR:

A good LOR that sheds light on your skills, strengths and weaknesses in a constructive way, can help you make up for your low grades or scores. The LOR is an effective way to validate yourself as a good student. It proves that your low scores were just a matter of time, and you will be a great value addition to the college.

Facts say that the top colleges, like Harvard and Stanford have accepted students with GMAT scores as low as 590. And, our experience says that it is because the scores are not the sole criterion that the colleges use to select the students.

With low grades and scores, you must work harder and smarter than most other candidates. A low score or grade in your application is not the end of the world.

You still have your chance to study in your desired college.

Just give it all you have!


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