Which T20 business schools are most forgiving about low GPA?

A reduction in GPA can happen to any student for various reasons, including family problems, illness, a change in teachers over the school year, or a lack of maturity. Moreover, during the pandemic, the move from offline to online classrooms impacted the performance of a large number of students. Adcoms take this into account; they believe an applicant’s GPA isn’t always indicative of ability, but students should honestly explain their grades.

Most candidates have no idea how to articulate their answers regarding their low GPA, and they make a blunder. Their application gets rejected, which is why we gathered all of the probable questions and combined them into an essay about low GPA.

This article bridges the gap between understanding what a low GPA is and how to make your application stand out even if you have a low GPA.


A poor grade point average(GPA) prevents you from accomplishing what you desire, and a poor GPA in college is a relative word.  For example,  you will most likely need a qualifying GPA to get your degree.  For example, you may need a 2.7 or a 3.25 to enter business school (accounting, marketing).

There is no one answer, although usually, a GPA of less than 3.0 may be deemed “poor GPA,” at least for Tier 1 MBA programs.  If you want to apply to the best MBA schools (M7) or T10, 3.2+ is a good starting point.

Overall, each business school places a distinct value on GPA, and even if you have a 2.5, you still have an “excellent” chance of getting into your desired school, no matter how difficult it is. 

For example, the lowest range for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, one of the M7, is 2.8, and for Kellogg, it is 2.5!


Your GPA is the only indicator or computation that shows how excellent a student you are throughout your university career and if you’ve been performing well.  Although you will undoubtedly know if you passed and excelled in your classes, your GPA provides a more comprehensive picture of your total grades and scores.


A low GPA is not a show stopper, provided the rest of your application is outstanding.  When an MBA admissions committee member receives your application, they look closely at two key metrics: your GMAT or GRE score and your GPA.  Your GPA is significant because it shows your performance over four or more years of undergraduate programs and reflects your ability to function in an academic setting.

A poor GPA will need you to work hard to contextualize, which is what the rest of your application is for. 

  • – GMAT or GRE score – Your GMAT score will be used to exhibit your academic competence.  Your letters of reference will be used to demonstrate your credentials.  Your CV will be used to summarize your professional background and your writings to show your drive and ambitions.
  • High test scores provide you with two benefits:  they demonstrate your ability to manage the quantitative tasks in the program, and they represent a more current indication of your academic talents.  Many admissions committee members feel that a high GMAT or GRE score compensates for a poor GPA.
  • -Good letters of recommendation that show your strengths and abilities- Make sure that your recommenders speak to the specific qualities that make you a strong candidate for business school.  If you believe you have a strong hand at multitasking or have particular examples of leadership that you think are noteworthy, remember your recommenders to bring up those aspects.

Yes, you may get into your preferred b-school even if you have a poor GPA.  However, this does not mean that your GPA is meaningless; it is crucial for your MBA application and carries a significant amount of weightage.

To learn more about “How Important Is Your GPA for Top MBA Programs?” read our in-depth article on the subject.


SchoolGPAAcceptance Rate
Wright State University-Main Campus2.589%
University of Southern Indiana2.587%
Marshall University2.587%
Northern Kentucky University2.587%
Longwood University2.585%
Louisiana State University-Shreveport2.581%
East Tennessee State University2.579%
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville2.579%
Emporia State University2.574%
University of North Carolina at Pembroke2.573%
Sam Houston State University2.572%
Morehead State University Morehead, KY2.571%
Prairie View A & M University2.570%
Rowan University2.591%
University of Central Arkansas2.794%
Jacksonville State University2.788%
Wichita State University2.7586%
Western Kentucky University2.7584%
University of Nebraska at Kearney2.7578%
University of Nevada-Reno2.7576%
Saint Cloud State University2.7575%
Lamar University2.7575%
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire2.7589%
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater2.7589%
Radford University2.7587%
South Carolina State University2.7587%


After reading hundreds of undergraduate admission essays over the years, adcoms acquire a sense of who’s making an excuse for a lower GPA and attempting to hide it. Students who attempted to justify a low GPA in an essay were unsuccessful. It’s not because the topic you’re writing about is bad; it’s how you express yourself that counts.

Want to pursue an MBA but not sure if your profile fits?

Talk to our Profile Experts to know your chances for a top MBA Program.


Take advantage of the chance to describe your academic history in an essay question or an interview.  Tell the adcoms the truth in your essay.  Perhaps you faced extraordinary difficulties as an undergraduate, such as illness or the death of a family member.  Or maybe your focus wasn’t as strong as it should have been, but you’ve since matured and acquired better time management strategies.  Tell the adcoms what went wrong and demonstrate your determination to succeed in graduate school.


Poor GPA is not the end of the road; candidates are frequently intimidated when they have a low GPA; low GPA can be due to various causes; nevertheless, what adcoms want to see is how they dealt with that GPA thrived in other ways areas. Business schools seek a varied incoming cohort, and just accepting persons with near-perfect GPAs would result in a very similar group of b-school students.

The main question now is how can you strengthen your application even when you have a low GPA?

  • – Well, you cannot go back in time and change your GPA, so compensating your GPA with an excellent GMAT/GRE score gives you an edge. Your GMAT score must be at least 20 points higher than the average GMAT score of the previous entering class. A GMAT score of 730 or more is considered good and can considerably boost your chances of admission to top business schools.
  • -Ask the right person for your LORs – The appropriate person might be your employer, boss, HR, principal/head of a school you attended, or Dean. The guy should get to know you better since he will include your traits in the Letter. So, while you’re working, build some solid connections. Obtaining a great LOR will lend credibility to your application, demonstrating that you have experience in that field and can do wonders with practical approaches.
  • -Your resume should highlight your soft skills if you apply to top-tier business schools. Sure, you’ll need to include your qualifications, extracurricular activities, and job experience, but Adcom is seeking soft skills like communication, teamwork, and leadership in your resume. Get additional certification in the field or courses that helped you in addition to your undergraduate degree
  • -Try to obtain some international exposure, and if you already have some, express it in a way that indicates how it helped you gain knowledge.

Overall, you must make extra efforts to overshadow your poor GPA and persuade adcoms that your low GPA had no impact on your overall achievement during your undergrad.

To summarise the article in a few sentences, one – there’s no need to be concerned about your GPA right now because you can’t go back in time and fix the mistake; instead, concentrate on what you need to do to compensate; a low GPA can be an issue if you don’t make extra efforts to make your application stand out.

This is where our experts step in to assist candidates with low GPAs; they strive to bring out the best in you and design an application that stands out from the crowd, so what are you waiting for? Schedule a call with us, get your free profile evaluation, and learn about the gaps you were previously unaware of.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I get into top business schools with low GPA?

A low GPA is not a problem if the rest of your application is excellent. When a member of the MBA admissions committee gets your application, they attentively examine two essential metrics: your GMAT or GRE score and your GPA. Your GPA is crucial because it indicates your accomplishment in undergraduate programs across four or more years and demonstrates your ability to operate in an academic atmosphere.


Can I get into an MBA program with a 2.0 GPA?

The odds are stacked against you, but that does not imply you cannot succeed. The easy answer is, if you have a poor GPA, in this example, a 2.0, be sure you acquire an excellent GMAT/GRE score to compensate for your GPA.

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