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garceyues

Any update on the GPA policy for uAlberta?

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Has anyone heard any updates on how the U of A is going to assess GPA, specifically where having a 3.3 and up is considered equal in terms of GPA?  There seems to be no official statement as far as I know,  but I know SO many people who have said that there is truth to this,  and there was that huge thread created a while back about this.  Additionally,  if you look at the admissions statistics for the most recent years,  it seems that the average acceptance GPA has gone down,  indicating that their is more of an emphasis on ECs and being a holistic applicant now.  Besides that ancestral evidence,  has anyone heard in updates recently?

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5 hours ago, adhominem said:

I've heard from some faculty members who are aware of adcoms policies that it will be instated this cycle, and if not then the next.

Do you have any idea if this will be something officially stated on their site,  or if it will just be implemented without really announcing it?  

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Given how they've introduced new policies (i.e. CASPer, panel interviews) in the past years without meaningful notification, I'm fairly certain it will be implemented without advanced notice.

 

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Call me in the minority, but I don't think this is great. While I do support having a holistic focus on med applicants, we have to keep in mind this is a weighted GPA (with the worst year thrown out). This just opens up the playing field to more B/C students, creating more of a free-for-all for med applications. It also makes it harder to stand out by marks now, and the whole shift goes to ECs evaluation. ECs evaluation can be extremely subjective, one person's file reviewer may look very positively on someone's ECs, while another may look quite negatively at it. It's all in the eyes of the beholder, and just makes med school admissions more of a blackbox. The other problem with ECs is that many students from underprivileged backgrounds, lower socioeconomic status can't afford to commit as much to volunteering, and rely on working during the school year instead. Med school admissions in Canada tend to favour heavily volunteering, and this actually just selects for students from privileged, wealthy backgrounds who can volunteer in the summers and throughout the school year.

The other extreme of course is the Ontario schools (I'm looking at you Ottawa and Western) that almost completely focus on marks. That approach isn't good either. We need a balance and more criteria to evaluate applicants on, not less. This amendment to GPA is actually taking away criteria to evaluate applicants on.

I by all means have taken a focus on everything going through med school admissions myself, including a huge emphasis on my ECs and resume-building, but now that I'm being held (with my tough Bachelor's degree) in the same conversation as a 3.3 applicant? I think it's disingenuous and counterproductive at best to say GPA isn't important. It isn't the strongest predictor of future physician success, but it does show how much effort you have put in. Yes others will disagree with me by saying that those students have been granted privileges and resources or are just insanely bright students, but we all know medical school can be incredibly demanding and we need to select students who have proven they can handle a heavy academic workload. GPA is the most objective measure there exists to show this.

 

Maybe an approach that UofC is taking is the way schools need to shift towards evaluating GPA. GPA shouldn't be just simply taken at face value as a number and objectively used to screen applicants (ignoring anything else), it should be inspected more carefully. UofC I think has a section called Global Assessment of Academic Merit. It would be a subjective evaluation, but this would help reward applicants with lower GPAs who took more commonly tougher degrees like engineering and computer science, while screening out applicants who just took fluffy courses where the student gained nothing valuable and applicable to the real world, except a high letter grade.

 

Overall, I am disappointed that UofA is taking this approach. It seems we have completely flip-flopped from all objective evaluations in med school admissions to now all subjective evaluations in med school admissions. Now it's becoming more of a crapshoot, and more like CaRMS.

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I think the best argument against having a ranked GPA assessment nowadays is that U of A has removed prerequisite requirements and allows people to take whatever they want. Without a relatively standardized path (i.e. everyone doing a degree with the same 'core' courses), its hard to say whether comparing those GPAs is truly meaningful. 

That being said, I would still like it to be assessed competitively, since I agree with a lot of silver_08's points.

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18 hours ago, adhominem said:

I've heard from some faculty members who are aware of adcoms policies that it will be instated this cycle, and if not then the next.

How sure are you of this information?  I personally know a person who has been applying for 6 + years and has received no interviews because of their GPA (~3.35-3.4), but this year they got an interview and got in. I've a feeling that they got an interview at U of A because the way U of A calculated their GPA this past cycle; there probably was some modifications in how the GPA was weighted this past cycle. 

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4 hours ago, Dr. End Poverty said:

How sure are you of this information?  I personally know a person who has been applying for 6 + years and has received no interviews because of their GPA (~3.35-3.4), but this year they got an interview and got in. I've a feeling that they got an interview at U of A because the way U of A calculated their GPA this past cycle; there probably was some modifications in how the GPA was weighted this past cycle. 

In the past cycle they've already modified how they ranked people-- they have been clear about that. This is why they removed the information they used to have on the website regarding weighting (i.e. off the top of my head I think it used to be 30% ECs, 30% interview, 13% MCAT and 27% GPA). They have not disclosed how they assess applicants since the removal of that information (to my knowledge). Your friend getting in likely reflects a shift in the weighting formula, not necessarily the ending of GPA as a scored criteria. 

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Hope they dont do that. There are undeniable major differences between a 3.3 and 4.0 student. I can see them placing a cutoff rather than ranking based on gpa but 3.3 is too low. 

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