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Uoft Interview Discussion 2017

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Just watched the 37 minute video on the UofT Admissions. So the way I understood it is that your GPA is competitive but there is a competitive cutoff that they expect you to reach (~3.8). Once you have reached that cutoff, your GPA does not matter and you move from the file-screening phase to the detailed file review phase. Is this true? If it is not true then is your GPA given a score too just like your detailed file review? My instincts say no because the file screening phase is just for cutoffs (MCAT cutoffs, application bureaucracy and logistics, appropriate references etc.). They do mention that they have a very fluid standard for the competitive GPA but once you reach that, then it all comes down to your essays, ABS and whatever is available in the detailed file review stage.


Any confirmation/denial? 

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Just watched the 37 minute video on the UofT Admissions. So the way I understood it is that your GPA is competitive but there is a competitive cutoff that they expect you to reach (~3.8). Once you have reached that cutoff, your GPA does not matter and you move from the file-screening phase to the detailed file review phase. Is this true? If it is not true then is your GPA given a score too just like your detailed file review? My instincts say no because the file screening phase is just for cutoffs (MCAT cutoffs, application bureaucracy and logistics, appropriate references etc.). They do mention that they have a very fluid standard for the competitive GPA but once you reach that, then it all comes down to your essays, ABS and whatever is available in the detailed file review stage.

 

 

Any confirmation/denial? 

Highly doubtful given the super high wgpa averages of the uoft classes

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Just watched the 37 minute video on the UofT Admissions. So the way I understood it is that your GPA is competitive but there is a competitive cutoff that they expect you to reach (~3.8). Once you have reached that cutoff, your GPA does not matter and you move from the file-screening phase to the detailed file review phase. Is this true? If it is not true then is your GPA given a score too just like your detailed file review? My instincts say no because the file screening phase is just for cutoffs (MCAT cutoffs, application bureaucracy and logistics, appropriate references etc.). They do mention that they have a very fluid standard for the competitive GPA but once you reach that, then it all comes down to your essays, ABS and whatever is available in the detailed file review stage.

 

 

Any confirmation/denial? 

I cannot confirm, but simply offer my interpretation of the information. The MCAT cutoff is static @ 125/section, and the adcom cuts the pool of prospective applicants in half by implementing a competitive GPA that fits the current pool of applicants (those w/ inappropriate refs/incomplete apps/sub-par MCAT also cut at this stage). Once you have passed the primary screening process, you are apart of a pool ~ half the size of the initial one, where you will be given a composite score based on the individual assessment of the following components: essay's, LOR's and ABS/ABS statements. The top 600/1800 who reach full file review receive interview invites (based on composite score), with the final rank-order list determined by 50% composite score and 50% interview score. The top 260/600 interviewed (~43%) receive first round offers. 

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Highly doubtful given the super high wgpa averages of the uoft classes

 

Really? They have to shed about 66% of the people who pass the file screening phase (that number is from last year; 1-(599/1777)). I think 3.8 may be enough to get to that number. Keep in mind, UofT sends the most invites out of any school so I can see them using 3.8 as a metric. Also, some posters in this thread have spoken about how their GPA is really close to 3.8 but they have not been given their rejection. If their GPA didn't make the cut then as per the policy during the file screening phase, they would've been given immediate rejections. The fact that they are still in contention means that they have cleared that phase and ultimately the entire file screening phase and are in the detailed file review phase. 

 

 

Just my analysis. Any thoughts?

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I cannot confirm, but simply offer my interpretation of the information. The MCAT cutoff is static @ 125/section, and the adcom cuts the pool of prospective applicants in half by implementing a competitive GPA that fits the current pool of applicants (those w/ inappropriate refs/incomplete apps/sub-par MCAT also cut at this stage). Once you have passed the primary screening process, you are apart of a pool ~ half the size of the initial one, where you will be given a composite score based on the individual assessment of the following components: essay's, LOR's and ABS/ABS statements. The top 600/1800 who reach full file review receive interview invites (based on composite score), with the final rank-order list determined by 50% composite score and 50% interview score. The top 260/600 interviewed (~43%) receive first round offers. 

Your interpretation seems more or less agreeable with mine. From what you've said, I can infer that you think that there is a competitive cutoff to be met and once that is met, GPA sort of becomes moot and its based on the results of the detailed file screening?

 

 

A scenario to demonstrate what I am trying to say.

 

Lets say you have two competent applicants, one with 3.99 GPA and one with 3.85. If the competitive cutoff that year is 3.8 then they both make it but in terms of that GPA criteria, they have both made it in terms of the same status. They both received a "pass" on the competitive GPA cutoff and the applicant with the 3.99 is not superior to the 3.85 applicant solely based on the GPA. 

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Your interpretation seems more or less agreeable with mine. From what you've said, I can infer that you think that there is a competitive cutoff to be met and once that is met, GPA sort of becomes moot and its based on the results of the detailed file screening?

 

 

A scenario to demonstrate what I am trying to say.

 

Lets say you have two competent applicants, one with 3.99 GPA and one with 3.85. If the competitive cutoff that year is 3.8 then they both make it but in terms of that GPA criteria, they have both made it in terms of the same status. They both received a "pass" on the competitive GPA cutoff and the applicant with the 3.99 is not superior to the 3.85 applicant solely based on the GPA. 

I agree with your interpretation as demonstrated by the scenario; it appears as though once you've passed the initial cut, it is exclusively on the merit of your file that you receive an II. How high the GPA is; however, is another story... with the employment of the wGPA I could see the cutoff being significantly >3.8. Unfortunately, I do not have any conclusive data to back up this assertion. 

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The average wGPA for the past few years has been mid-3.9. This includes masters students who are put into a pool with lower GPA cutoffs and as such will have lower GPAs than non-MSc applicants.

 

Considering the average wGPAs, how can you suggest that it is simply being used as a threshold? I am sure there are students with GPAs well below the average who would have the ECs to pull them up (see Queen's applicant demographic) if this were the case.

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Really? They have to shed about 66% of the people who pass the file screening phase (that number is from last year; 1-(599/1777)). I think 3.8 may be enough to get to that number. Keep in mind, UofT sends the most invites out of any school so I can see them using 3.8 as a metric. Also, some posters in this thread have spoken about how their GPA is really close to 3.8 but they have not been given their rejection. If their GPA didn't make the cut then as per the policy during the file screening phase, they would've been given immediate rejections. The fact that they are still in contention means that they have cleared that phase and ultimately the entire file screening phase and are in the detailed file review phase. 

 

 

Just my analysis. Any thoughts?

If the school first screens out the applicants who won't reach full file review (and sends these rejections right away) then I would say this reasonable- the school seems to suggest in the vid that they do this. <3.8 wGPA were invited last year and I think accepted? The high acceptance wGPA average may just be from undergrad stream also? Lower GPAs probably tend to be grad students

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I agree with your interpretation as demonstrated by the scenario; it appears as though once you've passed the initial cut, it is exclusively on the merit of your file that you receive an II. How high the GPA is; however, is another story... with the employment of the wGPA I could see the cutoff being significantly >3.8. Unfortunately, I do not have any conclusive data to back up this assertion. 

 

I went to the admissions office this reading week and I talked to them about the academic explanations essay and the wGPA. They are known to give partial weighting or full weighting based on the circumstances. Partial weighting meaning that some years do not qualify for the wGPA but other do. This would allow students with extenuating circumstances that prevented them from taking a full course load to be eligible for the wGPA scale. They told me that the extent of the scale is to get the applicant up to the competitive standards and the language that they used makes me feel that they use it simply as a threshold. She talked about how different parts of the file get different scores and those scores are added up to the final detailed file review score that determines an interview invite.

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If the school first screens out the applicants who won't reach full file review (and sends these rejections right away) then I would say this reasonable- the school seems to suggest in the vid that they do this. <3.8 wGPA were invited last year and I think accepted? The high acceptance wGPA average may just be from undergrad stream also? Lower GPAs probably tend to be grad students

 

They don't suggest, I think they explicitly say this. They say that anyone who does not pass the file screening (which includes GPA evaluation) gets an immediate rejection. It is only when you reach the detailed file review stage (so your GPA has been accepted as something that they won't necessarily say no to) that your rejection can be withheld for however long. 

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The average wGPA for the past few years has been mid-3.9. This includes masters students who are put into a pool with lower GPA cutoffs and as such will have lower GPAs than non-MSc applicants.

 

Considering the average wGPAs, how can you suggest that it is simply being used as a threshold? I am sure there are students with GPAs well below the average who would have the ECs to pull them up (see Queen's applicant demographic) if this were the case.

 

See my comment to anbessa. I genuinely think I am not pulling this out of my ass and have somewhat decent rational for assuming all of this. 

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My assertion would be that the GPA threshold for full file review is around the 3.9 region for undergraduate students; I don't see it being much lower than this figure, as they have to eliminate ~1700 applicants essentially by virtue of wGPA alone.

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My assertion would be that the GPA threshold for full file review is around the 3.9 region for undergraduate students; I don't see it being much lower than this figure, as they have to eliminate ~1700 applicants essentially by virtue of wGPA alone.

They would have to be lying in all of their e-mails and responses then as they all say 3.8. I understand your reasoning behind it and this is all trivial speculation (so as to understand the big picture of this discussion) but with the transparency they give to applicants, I do not see them as an institution that would deliberately suggest that a competitive GPA is 0.1 lower than what it actually is. 

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They would have to be lying in all of their e-mails and responses then as they all say 3.8. I understand your reasoning behind it and this is all trivial speculation (so as to understand the big picture of this discussion) but with the transparency they give to applicants, I do not see them as an institution that would deliberately suggest that a competitive GPA is 0.1 lower than what it actually is. 

.

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They would have to be lying in all of their e-mails and responses then as they all say 3.8. I understand your reasoning behind it and this is all trivial speculation (so as to understand the big picture of this discussion) but with the transparency they give to applicants, I do not see them as an institution that would deliberately suggest that a competitive GPA is 0.1 lower than what it actually is. 

Fair point; there are many factors at play.. it seems as though a lot of self-selection occurs with regards to applying to UofT meds (lower number of applicants to begin with). My concern is that they state a ball-park term for a competitive figure; however, they do not explain to which cohort this pertains. Is this simply a "realistic minimum" (i.e. GPA that is passible for Masters/PhD candidates w/ significant academic experience.. this seems to be the likely scenario), or is this truly a broadly competitive wGPA. The average numbers would contradict the latter. So the figure quoted may not be a lie, but notwithstanding is rather ambiguous with regards to it's applicability.

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This may be a silly question but can I confirm that you're all talking about the wGPA being competitive at 3.8, not cGPA? Curious because I'm a grad student with a wGPA of 3.82 and have been losing hope because the grad students posting on the Invites thread have >3.9 wGPA. Thanks!

Yessir/ma'am, UofT seems to operate exclusively with the wGPA (unless of course you do not qualify, which puts one at a significant disadvantage).

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I went to the admissions office this reading week and I talked to them about the academic explanations essay and the wGPA. They are known to give partial weighting or full weighting based on the circumstances. Partial weighting meaning that some years do not qualify for the wGPA but other do. This would allow students with extenuating circumstances that prevented them from taking a full course load to be eligible for the wGPA scale. They told me that the extent of the scale is to get the applicant up to the competitive standards and the language that they used makes me feel that they use it simply as a threshold. She talked about how different parts of the file get different scores and those scores are added up to the final detailed file review score that determines an interview invite.

Someone posted here at some point that there were pretty sure the wGPA was applied to their file even though the reason they gave was pretty standard (no extreme circumstances just dropped a course in one year I think)- this would be consistent with your info- just unsure how this leads to threshold being reasonable instead of gps correlating to some point score in the final detailed score

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I went to the admissions office this reading week and I talked to them about the academic explanations essay and the wGPA. They are known to give partial weighting or full weighting based on the circumstances. Partial weighting meaning that some years do not qualify for the wGPA but other do. This would allow students with extenuating circumstances that prevented them from taking a full course load to be eligible for the wGPA scale. They told me that the extent of the scale is to get the applicant up to the competitive standards and the language that they used makes me feel that they use it simply as a threshold. She talked about how different parts of the file get different scores and those scores are added up to the final detailed file review score that determines an interview invite.

This seems quite sensible and likely.

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wGPA has to be a component of the composite score, otherwise the average GPA would not be 3.96 (2015) especially since they also consider subjectively scored components of the application pre-interview (LOR, ABS, essays). It isn't a coincidence that GPA has been rising with increased competition/applications (2956 vs. 3488 applications in 2011/2015, respectively).

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Someone posted here at some point that there were pretty sure the wGPA was applied to their file even though the reason they gave was pretty standard (no extreme circumstances just dropped a course in one year I think)- this would be consistent with your info- just unsure how this leads to threshold being reasonable instead of gps correlating to some point score in the final detailed score

My point with that anecdote was that I think that they are concerned with only having students meet the competitive threshold rather giving them a score on their GPA. I came to this conclusion based on my discussion with them and the language they used. I will e-mail the associate registrar of admissions and talk to her about it though. 

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Yessir/ma'am, UofT seems to operate exclusively with the wGPA (unless of course you do not qualify, which puts one at a significant disadvantage).

To add on, the wGPA that they suggest is competitive includes all candidates. Same with any of their GPA stats. Includes everyone from grad students to undergraduates. As anbessa said, it is difficult to ascertain the wGPa from the cohort. We are just given a blend. 

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wGPA has to be a component of the composite score, otherwise the average GPA would not be 3.96 (2015) especially since they also consider subjectively scored components of the application pre-interview (LOR, ABS, essays). It isn't a coincidence that GPA has been rising with increased competition/applications (2956 vs. 3488 applications in 2011/2015, respectively).

This is what I was looking for; a serious rebuttal against my thinking. I think you've made the best case so far against my argument. My only reply would be that this number is skewed as it contains the GPA of different cohorts (i.e. graduate students, md/phd applicants, and undergraduate students) so I am not sure how accurately this reflects particular cohorts. 

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wGPA has to be a component of the composite score, otherwise the average GPA would not be 3.96 (2015) especially since they also consider subjectively scored components of the application pre-interview (LOR, ABS, essays). It isn't a coincidence that GPA has been rising with increased competition/applications (2956 vs. 3488 applications in 2011/2015, respectively).

I have trouble with this assessment as it is a direct disregard for the information given by the committee on admissions. An increase in the competitiveness of the applicant pool results in a higher threshold wGPA. Just because the average MCAT score was 33 in previous years, I don't believe that they consider the MCAT anymore than the mere 9/9/9 threshold. People apply to multiple medical schools; this requires a high GPA. Most applicants applying will be in a position to be competitive for schools WITHOUT this weighting (so with the weighting, one can imagine how competitive these GPA's now are). The paradigm of admissions is constantly changing, and becoming more competitive, and this will be reflected by the numbers at every institution.

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I have trouble with this assessment as it is a direct disregard for the information given by the committee on admissions. An increase in the competitiveness of the applicant pool results in a higher threshold wGPA. Just because the average MCAT score was 33 in previous years, I don't believe that they consider the MCAT anymore than the mere 9/9/9 threshold. People apply to multiple medical schools; this requires a high GPA. Most applicants applying will be in a position to be competitive for schools WITHOUT this weighting (so with the weighting, one can imagine how competitive these GPA's now are). The paradigm of admissions is constantly changing, and becoming more competitive, and this will be reflected by the numbers at every institution.

 

Very good point you raised. An increase in applicants will correlate to a higher wGPA cutoff. That is not the same as giving scores to GPAs and holding that against the applicant. 

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I have trouble with this assessment as it is a direct disregard for the information given by the committee on admissions. An increase in the competitiveness of the applicant pool results in a higher threshold wGPA. Just because the average MCAT score was 33 in previous years, I don't believe that they consider the MCAT anymore than the mere 9/9/9 threshold. People apply to multiple medical schools; this requires a high GPA. Most applicants applying will be in a position to be competitive for schools WITHOUT this weighting (so with the weighting, one can imagine how competitive these GPA's now are). The paradigm of admissions is constantly changing, and becoming more competitive, and this will be reflected by the numbers at every institution.

The MCAT score argument is not very strong because they are very explicit when they say that 9/9/9 or 125/125/125/125 is a hard cutoff, whereas the we are not told if GPA is used merely as a cutoff. The average was 33 yes, not because they valued higher scores, but because that score is very attainable for such a bright cohort.

 

Your last point is exactly why I think GPA is assessed by U of T. Institutions that do value GPA for final acceptances have shown the same trend in the same timeframe as the stats UofT posted. You'd expect that if GPA were merely a threshold at UofT, that their stats would stay relatively steady, even after accounting for any change in the cutoff (there are undergrads with <3.9 who have interviews). For what it is worth, 3.8 was being cited as "competitive" by admissions for quite some time now. So to me, either there is a GPA threshold they are not being entirely truthful about (that is likely no longer 3.8), or they do value GPA in the composite score.

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