‘Translating’ Qualifications

If you come to Oxford with qualifications other than the standard UK qualifications (GCSEs, A-levels, or a 1st, 2nd or 3rd class degree), then to help a potential British employer, you should try to contextualise your academic results so that they can understand your achievements.

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You have two options when it comes to describing international academic grades:

Explain and provide context

List your international qualifications, providing an explanation and/or include the maximum achievable grade. This is the preferable option as many firms are familiar with international applicants and this avoids any mistakes (inflation or deflation) in “converted grades”.

See examples below:

A-Level Equivalent

  • Lycee La Citadelle, Limoges, France. International Baccalaureate 40/45 

Degree Equivalent

  • Michigan State University, USA. BA in Politics and Economics
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) 3.78 (max. 4.00)
  • 750 GMAT (top 2%)

Providing this additional information will help the employer to better understand how you have performed.

With regards to professional qualifications (eg: law, medicine) we would recommend that you check with the relevant UK professional body whether they are valid in the UK.

Convert

If you do want to “convert” your international grades into UK grades, the NARIC website (which is the official and government supported, national agency for the recognition and comparison of international qualifications and skills) can provide this service, however, there is a charge involved.

N.B. There are many websites that claim to offer “grade conversion”. However, we recommend that you use these carefully, as there is often no way of verifying that their conversions are correct and reflect those that employers will accept.

If you are still unsure about what to do, contact the employer/organisation to explain the situation and ask them for advice on how best to present your qualifications.

If you have a UK undergraduate degree and you are applying for jobs in North America, be aware that US degrees don’t use our classification system. Stating that you are ‘predicted a 2.1′ will not necessarily be understood by a US employer unless they tend to recruit heavily from the UK. Providing information on your first/second year exam results (if they are requested) in a percentage format (eg: 68%) can also be helpful in conveying your academic ability.

You might not need to include any degree classification, but if it forms part of their requirements, you should. If you cannot find further information on how to do this on the organisation’s website, we would recommend contacting the employer’s HR or recruitment team for assistance.

If it’s only an approximation that you need, you might find the Fulbright Commission GPA conversion guidelines useful.

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