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Q: Gaining admission in Stanford University ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Gaining admission in Stanford University
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: vpv-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 18 May 2004 20:55 PDT
Expires: 17 Jun 2004 20:55 PDT
Question ID: 348579
My question
I want to apply for masters degree in Financial Mathematics from
stanford university.
Here are my two questions
1.  Do I stand a chance for getting admission considering fact that my
Undergrad GPA is not good.  (GPA for masters degree is 3.82)
2.  Is there any thing I can do to strenghthen my application

My Background
I am a chartered accountant qualified in India and Bachelor of
Commerce.  I hold master of Computer Science Degree from the
university of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.  I did not have
mathematics as a subject in any of my degree programs
I was working earlier in the assurance division of
PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Now I am working in India a as assistant
manager - financial planning for a US based outsourcing company

Request for Question Clarification by ragingacademic-ga on 19 May 2004 09:01 PDT
vpv, hi.  I'm a Stanford grad.  Let's see if I can help.

Here are some questions:
1) What is your undergraduate GPA?
2) Which faculty would you be applying to - mathematics?
3) Did you take GREs? How did you do?
4)TOEFL?  How did you do?
5) Roughly sketch your bio - especially positions held and for how long
6) List any other activities and organizations, honors, etc you had
received or had been involved in


Clarification of Question by vpv-ga on 19 May 2004 20:47 PDT
hi.  thanks for your response.   Find my clarifications below

Here are some questions:
1) What is your undergraduate GPA?
My undergraduate degree is Bachelor of commerce from University of
Madras in India.  Indian universities dont follow GPA system.  My
score in the degree is 67 percentage.  Percentage above 60 is regarded
as first class under the Indian system.  I am not sure how this is to
be converted into an equivalent GPA under the american system.
I had statistics as a subject in my undergraduate degree where I
scored very well 99 percentage.  I am not sure if this will be
considered in evaluating my application
I am also a Chartered Accountant (Similar to the American CPA but
involves more academic rigor than a CPA).  Chartered accountancy
requires completion of 2 examinations -  intermediate and final.  I
scored 60% in intermediate and 50% in Final examination.  I am unsure
as to how this is going to be taken by admission comittee for
Refer link if you require more details.

As specified earlier I hold MCS degree in UIUC with GPA of 3.82.  

2) Which faculty would you be applying to - mathematics?
Please refer this link.  I think it will answer this question
Similar program offered by

3) Did you take GREs? How did you do?
4)TOEFL?  How did you do?
I am preparing to take up GRE and TOEFL and will be doing so shortly. 
 However before investing my time in taking up GRE and preparing the
application I want to know what chance I stand for getting in even if
I get a very high GRE score.

5) Roughly sketch your bio - especially positions held and for how long
Three years as a trainee in assurance practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
1.5 years as an assistant manager in the assurance practice of
Refer link to know more about PWC
Currently for the past 2 months assistant manager - financial planning
and analysis in Sutherland Technologies.Refer if you need
to know more.

6) List any other activities and organizations, honors, etc you had
received or had been involved in
I scored 2nd highest in university in undergrad statistics.  Scored
Highest mark all India in Chartered Accountancy Auditing examination
and got a merit certificate for the same.  Thats pretty much it.
Subject: Re: Gaining admission in Stanford University
Answered By: ragingacademic-ga on 20 May 2004 09:20 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
vpv - thanks for all that information.  As I'm sure you can
understand, GPA does weigh heavily in admissions decisions.  However,
a stellar GRE score can overcompensate for a poor GPA.  Unfortunately,
when translated into a 4.0 scale, your GPA is indeed very low - to
convert you need to divide by 25.  So a 100 converts to a 4.0, a 75 to
a 3.0, a 50 to a 2.0.  This means your undergrad GPA would be assessed
as a 2.68.  Your Masters GPA is very good and should not be a problem
- as long as you can deliver on very high GRE scores.  Madras is an
excellent institution and well-known (although not as well known as
IIT Madras) - so that should weight in your favor.

The program you are applying to is jointly managed by mathematics and
statistics.  These are typically among the least competitive programs
in terms of admissions (and among the hardest to actually graduate
from...)  Lack of competition on entry will work in your favor,
although there are currently TONS of Chinese and Indian students
trying to make their way into any department they can gain admission
to (including very archaic ones such as Slavic studies... ;-)

Your experience will help but is not directly related.  So, what's
working in your favor?
+ Very good Masters GPA
+ Degrees from well-known and respected school
+ Honors/awards e.g. chartered accountancy score (assuming you can
back this up with a certificate or something)
+ Some work experience that is vaguely relevant

How could you improve?
+ Stellar GRE (Chinese students typically come in with close to perfect scores...)
+ More relevant work experience, if you can move into financial
analysis on the research end and spend a year or so there that will
surely help
+ Publish something in a well-respected journal, even if it is
practitioner level and not acacademic

You should try writing to see how she will
respond given your credentials etc.

Finally, applying and being rejected will not reduce your chance to be
accepted in the future, so there is no harm in trying.  Also, you
could get on a waiting list and eventually make it in.  I would
suggest you apply to 5-6 programs and hope for the best.

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Request for Answer Clarification by vpv-ga on 21 May 2004 09:43 PDT
I feel that dividing my percentage by 4 is an extremely simplistic
view of conversion indian score to an american GPA.  Having done my
bachelors degree in India and Masters degree in the US I know the GPA
system is entirely different from the percentage system.
Dividing by 4 ignores many factors. I scored 61 marks in final exam in
a course in UIUC but still scored A -.   The american GPA is based on
the assessment of each proffessor conducting the course of our
performance.  The GPA also depends on the performance of my peers. 
However a percentage from madras university is just based on the
number of questions I answered right in the final examination.

I am searching the web for reasonably accurate method of conversion
but I am not able to locate one.  A preliminary search in google lead
me to a site saying that grade above 60 is equivalent to an A.  Refer
link  However I am unsure of
the method of assessment followed by them in arriving at this

UIUC when evaluating my application for MCS admission took my
undergrad score as equivalent to GPA of 3.0.

I am unsure as to how the admission comittee in stanford is going to
do the conversion.

No I pose this question. What is the equivalent GPA that the admission
comittee in stanford will take during evaluation of my application?

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 21 May 2004 15:13 PDT
vpv - hi, and thanks for your clarification request.

Ashland's motivation is quite different from Stanford's - Ashland is
dying to get their hands on students like you, while Stanford is
trying to figure out who of all the superb candidates it sees to
admit.  So of course Ashland and similar schools will be more

The simple division is in fact how GPAs are translated.  This if from
personal experience.  I graduated from the Technion in Israel with an
undergrad in engineering - was in top 15% of my class, but tests are
quite difficult at the Technion as they seem to be in Madras and so my
equivalent GPA was more like in the top 30% of an "American" class.  I
know that this is how MIT, Cornell, U Mich and Stanford translated my
GPA.  They then factored in that this GPA came from the Technion,
which is the equivalent of IIT Madras or MIT - but this factoring is a
qualitative and not a quantitative process.  It is just one more
factor taken into consideration together with your experience, your
various honors and awards, your test scores and your admissions

It is possible that a specific department at a specific University has
developed some formulae - but this would be insider information and
not something that would be posted on a public site.

How else may I help you?

vpv-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00

Subject: Re: Gaining admission in Stanford University
From: ragingacademic-ga on 22 May 2004 16:51 PDT
vpv - thanks much for your ranking and the tip!!  Best of luck gaining
admission to Stanford, and do let me know if I can be of additional

Subject: Re: Gaining admission in Stanford University
From: garyking-ga on 08 Mar 2005 19:30 PST
This has been helpful to me. I am going to apply to Stanford soon for
my undergraduate, and I hope to get accepted.

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