bli wrote: Yeah that's exactly what I am worried about, my general GPA. Thanks for your advice! In addition, do you think I should explain to the schools why I have a bad overall GPA (for example, since I took some humanity classes which are requirements in my school and hard for me as an international student)? Thanks a lot for your time!
Working on the SOP myself, it seems to be a general rule to refrain from 'making excuses' unless there's something glaringly bad in your application. Since your explanation would include 'humanities classes', i.e. irrelevant to math, I don't think it's a huge issue, especially if Harvey Mudd is known for grade deflation as anwins and users on other forums point out.
As a fellow applicant, I can tell you I personally would not include the explanation. If the 3.5 GPA was the Major GPA, I would be a bit more iffy, even if I was from Harvey Mudd. By the same token, however, I am not a professor on a committee, and you may choose to explain yourself if you really wish and believe it right. If anything, I think you should focus more on your strengths, what you can contribute to the programs/how the programs are a fit for you, etc. which is already a lot for 1-2 pages.