Application tips and Strategies: Part 1

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shradha rao

Updated on Apr 29, 2021

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ABOUT ACADEMIC EVAL- %, GPA and WES EVALUATION: (and all the stress in between)

You all must have heard (or asked) one of the following questions:
“How to convert % to GPA???????????”
“My GPA is on a scale of 10. Should I divide by 2.5 to get it to a scale of 4??”
“How much % coverts to 3.0 GPA??”
“Is WES evaluation worth applying for??”

I will tackle each question individually


“HOW TO CONVERT % TO GPA”:

Comparing % and GPA is like comparing apples and oranges. Both these methods are graded differently and are hence, evaluated separately. Most universities do not “convert” a two digit % to a single digit GPA, simple because it is illogical. Most universities view % the same way we Indians see %- above 70% distinction, then First Class, Second Class, etc.
universities are more likely to say “___ % is good enough for us from an international student”. universities are also familiar with Indian University education system and which university is harder than the other. So universities have a approximate idea how much to expect from “Mumbai University”, “Pune University” and so on. Some universities DO have their OWN method of conversion (on based on weird stuff you see on the internet”. But these methods are not publically displayed for your perusal. There are also some universities which ask for your transcripts to be evaluated by a foreign agency like WES but I will deal with that question separately.


“MY GPA IS ON A SCALE OF 10. SHOULD I DIVIDE BY 2.5 TO GET IT TO A SCALE OF 4”:

Studying at a college which follows the GPA system of evaluation might give you a fair and painful idea about the woes of GPA and the grading system (at least in India). It may also make you feel that your on-10-gpa can be converted to match the US ones.
Again. NO. universities do NOT convert these GPA to their GPA. Many, many Indian colleges base their GPA grading on percentile (which is calculated based on the topper’s grade, class average, the passing marks) and some base the GPA on percentage of marks secured. Most US universities and colleges give GPA based on marks secured too (eg 90 marks = A grade, 85-89= A minus grade). universities have a general idea about how Indian universities differ on grading and they also take into account that the no. of student at Indian Institutes is more (making percentile-based GPA a painful experience for some students). US coursework is also graded differently and offers opportunities to students such as withdrawing from a difficult course you are failing in, taking up extra credit, retaking courses to secure a better grade, etc. These opportunities are lacking in Indian education- so yes, universities are aware of all this. Like the % drama, each universities sets a minimum standard international GPA they expect from international students (which they do not state on their website). Remember, that students from countries apart from India also apply for grad studies.


“HOW MUCH % COVERTS TO 3.0 GPA”:

You may come across the “3.0 GPA being the required perquisite for applying”. Again, this is the condition mostly stated for US students or students who are pursuing a 4-yr degree program in the US. Uis do not state international requirements explicitly simply because people from many countries will be visiting these sites. And again, universities are aware of discrepancies in marking systems and understand them. So chill. Treat your percentage as it is and stop inspecting it under a microscope.


“WES EVALUATION- THE HIGHS AND LOWS”:

WES evaluation is the third-party answer to all of the above question. Many universities do not set separate academic norms for different systems of education. They want ALL applicants, irrespective of nationality, and evaluation system, to be graded at the SAME LELVEL- ie the 4.0 GPA scale. (US evaluation system)

You will come across stuff on websites such as
“International applicants must have their transcripts evaluated by WES”
“Unfortunately, transcripts need to be converted to a scale of 4.0 before being sent to us. Please have your transcripts evaluated by a third party agency like……”

You will need WES if
• Universities wants all non-4-scale-GPAs to be brought to 4-scale GPA (even if your Uni follows 10-point GPA)
• Your college has a 4.0GPA but University wants ALL international transcripts to be evalauated by WES, or other evaluation agencies.

WES is basically a multi-million dollar enterprise living off the agony of students and high demands of universities. Your marks and you “on-10” GPA are converted to the ever-charming on-4 GPA (US-happy standards). The “how does WES do this evaluation” is beyond my mental horizon and the scope of this post. (and no, WES does not divide 10point GPA by 2.5)

PART 1
APPLY TO WES- set up your online account. You will need this account to track the status of your application, see you online evaluation, and send your scores. DO NOT LOOSE YOUR ACCOUNT DETAILS.
One you register with WES, there are several evaluation option for STUDENTS

  1. WES ICAP- International Credential Evaluation Package: This option allows you to store your evaluation for future use
  2. WES Basic : not for you

You should select WES ICAP. After this there are other options, namely

  1. Course-by-course evaluation $250. You need to SELECT THIS
  2. Document by Document evaluation (more suitable for employment, does not evaluate GPA) DO NOT selct this

After selecting your type of evaluation, you will be given a general set of instructions, regarding how you want your copy to be sent to you (standard mail or courier)

There are other options regarding evaluation speed

  1. Standard evaluation (7business days) No applicable charge
  2. 3-day evaluation: additional $ 100
  3. Same-day Evaluation: : additional $ 200

PLEASE for the love of god, DO NOT use the 3-day or sameday evaluation packages. They incur additional costs. If you are running short of time, calculate the time reaining. REMEMBER, the working is done according to BUSINESS DAYS (which means Saturdays and Sundays cannot be counted) and the counting begins from the day your transcripts are RECEIVED by WES and not when you couriered them.

Eg. 15th July (Tuesday): Couriered from India
17th July (Thursday) : transcripts RECEIVED BY WES: COUNTING BEGINS FROM HERE
Business Days: 18th (Friday), 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th (Friday), 28th (Monday)

YOUR EVALUATION IS MOST LIKELY TO BE DONE BY MONDAY 28TH JULY. This is how business days work.

There are fees for this as well. Trackable courier costs $60 dollars. There are other fields like couriering your evaluated report yo your individual Uni. Each Uni needs one report and each report costs $30. There are $7 and $12-20 dollar courier rates as well. You can even send the reports to the Unis nad additional Unis AFTER you see your evaluated report. However, entering early means your reports will be sent earlier.

PART 2

Get attested copies on your semester marksheets and submit at office

  • Office will prepare 1 copy of original transcripts and submit it to you. (each college has a fees for preparing transcripts ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1000)
  • Take 1 set of photocopies of the prepared transcripts
  • Get the set attested and signed with Institute seal and Registrars (or whoever is in charge) sign.
  • Place into envelops.
  • Get envelop signed and sealed by your college
  • Courier or mail to WES address.

PART 3
You receive your report. Send reports to additional Uni (sent by WES to your Uni. Ask your Uni to provide the mailing address for transcript sending).

WHAT IF YOUR UNIVERSITY WANTS YOUR TRANSCRIPTS AND WES REPORT:

  • Some universities want only your college transcripts and NO WES
  • Some universities want only WES (no not mail your transcripts to the Uni)
  • Some universities want both (You can courier your college transcripts to Uni and use WES account for WES to directly send your report to the Unis. Alternately, WES also sends SEAL REPORTS to you at an ADDITIONAL RATE. Do not open the sealed reports once you receive them. Put your college-sealed-transcript-envelop and WES-sealed-report-envelop both into one huge envelop and send to your University address.) Unis will specify how they want the WES report to reach them.

IMPORTANTS

If you have already completed your 4yrs of study, WES evaluation is a bit advantageous. After your academics are evaluated they are stored permanently in your record. Meaning, you can use your evaluated marks for future use- like jobs, PhD applications.
On the otherhand- let’s say you are in your 4th year of studies (eg. Sem 7) and you need to get your transcripts evaluated. You will submit Sem 1-Sem 6 marksheets and your evaluated GPA will be based on your Sem1-Sem 6 marks only. What if you want you get your evaluated GPA after Sem 8? Can you upgrade your transcripts to your existing ones? NOPE , sorry. If you want Sem 1-Sem 8 evaluation, you will need to apply all over again (from the same account) and pay the fee (again) and etc. Want to apply for PhD studies after MS to a universities with WES application?? You guessed it? Apply and pay and send again. Basically, these Sem 1-Sem 6 WES GPAs are pointless after the application process is over. Want a WES GPA after you graduate for jobs? Too bad- re-apply and pay again.

POINTS TO NOTE

  • Do not use WES unless your Uni asks for it. There is no advantage of using WES evaluation for a Uni which does not want it, since each Uni evaluates transcripts differently.
  • WES is expensive. Please find out whether you really, really want to apply to this Uni.
  • OK, WES is important for your application to xxxxx University. But going throught the WES nonsense for only 1 Uni is weird. Then atleast try to find 1-2 others Unis which need WES evaluation and apply to them (even if you have to pay the $30 fee to send the scores). Imagine you are a Sem 7 student- you want to apply to 1 Uni which needs WES. You pay the $ 250 fee and send the score to one Uni. These scores have no use after Sem 8. Might as well make the best of this opportunity and apply to more WES-greedy places.
  • Send your transcripts to WES well-before your uni deadlines. Even though they promise, 7-business day evaluation, delays are possible and stress is unavoidable. Be smart and apply early.
  • Make sure your transcripts are SIGNED, ATTESTED and envelops are SEALED, SIGNED, and attested properly. If WES is dissatisfied, they will ask for documents to be SENT AGAIN!

WES ALSO HAS A 5 DOLLAR option for users to manually calculate their 4-point-GPA. Note : this DOES NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ACTUAL REPORT. If your Uni wants a WES report, you need to use the expensive route. No option.

IMPORTANT TIPS

  • Do not worry about converting to UG %. Unis knows what they are doing.
  • Some Unis are bored and want WES to do the job for them.

Cheers!

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