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Uoft Interview Discussion 2017

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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 (that is likely no longer 3.8, despite what they claim), or they do value GPA in the composite score.

In the admissions video, it is explicitly stated that a threshold wGPA does exist, is used as a means of reducing the pool size prior to file review, and is not assessed thereafter. My argument is the same as your MCAT argument; a wGPA of 3.96 is quite attainable for such a bright cohort. What remains unclear is what this illusive threshold is. I do agree that 3.8 seems to be an antiquated value, as the pool of applicants is as formidable now as ever before. This is why I believe that different thresholds exist for graduate and undergraduate applicants, with 3.8 being the lower-bound graduate threshold. The value is likely significantly higher for undergraduate applicants.

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In the admissions video, it is explicitly stated that a threshold wGPA does exist, is used as a means of reducing the pool size prior to file review, and is not assessed thereafter. My argument is the same as your MCAT argument; a wGPA of 3.96 is quite attainable for such a bright cohort. What remains unclear is what this illusive threshold is. I do agree that 3.8 seems to be an antiquated value, as the pool of applicants is as formidable now as ever before. This is why I believe that different thresholds exist for graduate and undergraduate applicants, with 3.8 being the lower-bound graduate threshold. The value is likely significantly higher for undergraduate applicants.

agree- consistent with the posts from last year-I believe those at <3.8 were grad students

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I looked at 2014 and 2015 statistics for UofT and the change in applicants was practically 0 but the wGPA rose 0.02. This means that they used a higher threshold in 2015 because people got smarter or that year had a lot of bright applicants. However, we all know that this GPA went down the following year to 3.95 (from 3.94 to 3.96 to 3.95) so it isn't necessarily that people are getting smarter. I am lost on the issue now. 

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I looked at 2014 and 2015 statistics for UofT and the change in applicants was practically 0 but the wGPA rose 0.02. This means that they used a higher threshold in 2015 because people got smarter or that year had a lot of bright applicants. However, we all know that this GPA went down the following year to 3.95 (from 3.94 to 3.96 to 3.95) so it isn't necessarily that people are getting smarter. I am lost on the issue now. 

When the numbers begin to approach perfection, marginal and insignificant variations may be observed year-by-year.

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When the numbers begin to approach perfection, marginal and insignificant variations may be observed year-by-year.

They use a very robust method of GPA cutting. Everything subjective is in the Reference letters and file review. I suppose the arbitrariness is insidious.

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Essentially we're super sure that if we haven't heard yet we've made it to the detailed review at least- this is something I wasn't assuming recently but its reassuring despite the potential for their holding tons of detail reviewed rejections

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Essentially we're super sure that if we haven't heard yet we've made it to the detailed review at least- this is something I wasn't assuming recently but its reassuring despite the potential for their holding tons of detail reviewed rejections

 

Yeah - The issue is that not everyone here is in the same boat so the nuance is required so that we can take a look at our prospects accurately. This allows us to readjust our expectations and give us the proper closure that we need to commit to other things in our lives. But instead we are all stuck in limbo because the lines are so blurred that we have to stick with it whether or not our prospects have born fruit. 

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Yeah - The issue is that not everyone here is in the same boat so the nuance is required so that we can take a look at our prospects accurately. This allows us to readjust our expectations and give us the proper closure that we need to commit to other things in our lives. But instead we are all stuck in limbo because the lines are so blurred that we have to stick with it whether or not our prospects have born fruit. 

Yeah it would be nice to have an answer this week- not being in school this year has exacerbated the limbo for me- I'd almost want to be worrying about studying or research stuff right now- I'm sure some in that position would disagree however

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Yeah - The issue is that not everyone here is in the same boat so the nuance is required so that we can take a look at our prospects accurately. This allows us to readjust our expectations and give us the proper closure that we need to commit to other things in our lives. But instead we are all stuck in limbo because the lines are so blurred that we have to stick with it whether or not our prospects have born fruit. 

On the bright side, if you're an X-Men fan you can go see Logan for a cathartic vicarious release of pent-up aggression  ;)

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Yeah it would be nice to have an answer this week- not being in school this year has exacerbated the limbo for me- I'd almost want to be worrying about studying or research stuff right now- I'm sure some in that position would disagree however

There is no consensus amongst anything these days. Thats why the only alternative is to stick with you convictions as they represent the only thing that you can ever be sure of; your own identity.

 

I'm not even applying this year. I am here to gauge the process and get a feel for it so I don't waste money. My GPA situation is pretty hopeless if I apply next year but it would be better if I applied the year after. 

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On the bright side, if you're an X-Men fan you can go see Logan for a cathartic vicarious release of pent-up aggression  ;)

I never really get that catharsis from such movies. Theres places in Toronto where you can pay to break shit with baseball bats. That and batting cages is my catharsis. 

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Based on all this GPA talk.. why haven't I been cut yet then? I have a 3.78 wGPA and still no rejection. If there was a cut point, it should be at the beginning, and since I'm still technically in the game, it leads me to think that it may not be as hard set as they claim. GPA probably carries weight in the final calculations, so higher GPA= more points in the application = higher chance of getting in.

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Based on all this GPA talk.. why haven't I been cut yet then? I have a 3.78 wGPA and still no rejection. If there was a cut point, it should be at the beginning, and since I'm still technically in the game, it leads me to think that it may not be as hard set as they claim. GPA probably carries weight in the final calculations, so higher GPA= more points in the application = higher chance of getting in.

Undergrad?

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Based on all this GPA talk.. why haven't I been cut yet then? I have a 3.78 wGPA and still no rejection. If there was a cut point, it should be at the beginning, and since I'm still technically in the game, it leads me to think that it may not be as hard set as they claim. GPA probably carries weight in the final calculations, so higher GPA= more points in the application = higher chance of getting in.

What are your full circumstances? Did you write the essay? What are your ECs like? 

 

 

The only way to gauge a proper response is for us to have access to that info. Not trying to pry or anything. 

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Undergrad?

 

What are your full circumstances? Did you write the essay? What are your ECs like? 

 

 

The only way to gauge a proper response is for us to have access to that info. Not trying to pry or anything. 

 

Yes I have just completed undergrad. I wrote an academic explanation essay saying I screwed up my first year because I was immature and stupid, but I've learned from that and it taught me how to work harder and develop my learning style. 

 

ECs: Lots of research in different labs, 2 1st author pubs with a couple more in preparation, a couple poster/conference presentations, currently working full time as a lab technician in a biotech start up company

Worked part-time during summers/christmas breaks at Costco throughout undergrad.

Played soccer a ton, various levels of competitiveness throughout my life, writing articles on a big online sports website on soccer news

Alzheimer's Club on campus for 3 years, last year as an exec

Played lots of music throughout my life, 3 instruments, volunteer guitar teacher right now at campus guitar club

Helped improve/expand the curriculum of my life sciences program in my fourth year/after graduation

 

Nothing too special imo. These are the main ones that are most recent and long term.

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Yes I have just completed undergrad. I wrote an academic explanation essay saying I screwed up my first year because I was immature and stupid, but I've learned from that and it taught me how to work harder and develop my learning style. 

 

ECs: Lots of research in different labs, 2 1st author pubs with a couple more in preparation, a couple poster/conference presentations, currently working full time as a lab technician in a biotech start up company

Worked part-time during summers/christmas breaks at Costco throughout undergrad.

Played soccer a ton, various levels of competitiveness throughout my life, writing articles on a big online sports website on soccer news

Alzheimer's Club on campus for 3 years, last year as an exec

Played lots of music throughout my life, 3 instruments, volunteer guitar teacher right now at campus guitar club

Helped improve/expand the curriculum of my life sciences program in my fourth year/after graduation

 

Nothing too special imo. These are the main ones that are most recent and long term.

It's possible that they found the honestly and introspection to be rather unorthodox and refreshing. The entire process is quite subjective, and nobody but those who preside over academic explanation considerations know what adjustment you've ultimately received. 

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Yes I have just completed undergrad. I wrote an academic explanation essay saying I screwed up my first year because I was immature and stupid, but I've learned from that and it taught me how to work harder and develop my learning style. 

 

ECs: Lots of research in different labs, 2 1st author pubs with a couple more in preparation, a couple poster/conference presentations, currently working full time as a lab technician in a biotech start up company

Worked part-time during summers/christmas breaks at Costco throughout undergrad.

Played soccer a ton, various levels of competitiveness throughout my life, writing articles on a big online sports website on soccer news

Alzheimer's Club on campus for 3 years, last year as an exec

Played lots of music throughout my life, 3 instruments, volunteer guitar teacher right now at campus guitar club

Helped improve/expand the curriculum of my life sciences program in my fourth year/after graduation

 

Nothing too special imo. These are the main ones that are most recent and long term.

Your situation is very similar to mine. I have a lot of really high quality ECs (imo ofc) but my GPA is on the low side. The fact that you're still here gives me hope on applying next year. 

 

First things first. Apply a partial wGPA to your raw GPA. They are known to do that. So most likely, keep your first year raw and apply it to 2nd and 3rd. Then apply the full wGPA and compare. They could be using either one of those GPAs as your application GPA. Also they do care about upward trends but only slightly.

 

I would like to share another anecdote that I got from the admissions office. They told me that before they even look at your GPA or ANYTHING substantial, the first thing they look at is your Academic Explanations Essay and come to a decision on what to do. Therefore they make the decision to apply the scale before looking at your actual GPA and subsequently your full file. That application can be partial or full. So off the bat you are a special consideration for them and they will not necessarily use their regular means to dismiss you. I suppose the best they could do was withhold a decision until a spot opened up. I can see why they would give you that since you have a lot of high end research stuff which covers a lot of their CANMeds. They are not willing to throw calibre like that away because of a bad GPA. 

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Your situation is very similar to mine. I have a lot of really high quality ECs (imo ofc) but my GPA is on the low side. The fact that you're still here gives me hope on applying next year. 

 

First things first. Apply a partial wGPA to your raw GPA. They are known to do that. So most likely, keep your first year raw and apply it to 2nd and 3rd. Then apply the full wGPA and compare. They could be using either one of those GPAs as your application GPA. Also they do care about upward trends but only slightly.

 

I would like to share another anecdote that I got from the admissions office. They told me that before they even look at your GPA or ANYTHING substantial, the first thing they look at is your Academic Explanations Essay and come to a decision on what to do. Therefore they make the decision to apply the scale before looking at your actual GPA and subsequently your full file. That application can be partial or full. So off the bat you are a special consideration for them and they will not necessarily use their regular means to dismiss you. I suppose the best they could do was withhold a decision until a spot opened up. I can see why they would give you that since you have a lot of high end research stuff which covers a lot of their CANMeds. They are not willing to throw calibre like that away because of a bad GPA. 

but when you say they wont necessarily use the regular means to dismiss what does that mean? If they looked at the academic essay and made a decision that would have happened by now-going with everything on here and what the 4th year adcom members have said this person has reached full file review- this is my understanding and im assuming yours

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but when you say they wont necessarily use the regular means to dismiss what does that mean? If they looked at the academic essay and made a decision that would have happened by now-going with everything on here and what the 4th year adcom members have said this person has reached full file review- this is my understanding and im assuming yours

What I mean is that regular wGPA cutoffs may not necessarily be used on him. When you submit the essay, you basically fall into arbitration in the hands of UofT. They are free, within their discretion, to make whatever decision they want. That decision does not even have to be related to GPA. Therefore, regular means (i.e. what was said in the admissions video), would not be used in traditional manner. For example, they may choose to be lenient on ECs or they may choose to be lenient on whatever. I mean your essay compels them to lean in one direction but it is still their discretion. 

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It's possible that they found the honestly and introspection to be rather unorthodox and refreshing. The entire process is quite subjective, and nobody but those who preside over academic explanation considerations know what adjustment you've ultimately received. 

 

Haha that would be great lol. We shall see. I'll keep everyone updated if I hear anything 

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Wait, so, is there any point of writing an academic explanations essay if we already have weighting and a 3.8+ wGPA? From what you guys are saying it sounds like the most they'll do GPA-wise is bring someone up to full weighting if they didn't previously qualify. 

 

Your situation is very similar to mine. I have a lot of really high quality ECs (imo ofc) but my GPA is on the low side. The fact that you're still here gives me hope on applying next year. 

First things first. Apply a partial wGPA to your raw GPA. They are known to do that. So most likely, keep your first year raw and apply it to 2nd and 3rd. Then apply the full wGPA and compare. They could be using either one of those GPAs as your application GPA. Also they do care about upward trends but only slightly.

I would like to share another anecdote that I got from the admissions office. They told me that before they even look at your GPA or ANYTHING substantial, the first thing they look at is your Academic Explanations Essay and come to a decision on what to do. Therefore they make the decision to apply the scale before looking at your actual GPA and subsequently your full file. That application can be partial or full. So off the bat you are a special consideration for them and they will not necessarily use their regular means to dismiss you. I suppose the best they could do was withhold a decision until a spot opened up. I can see why they would give you that since you have a lot of high end research stuff which covers a lot of their CANMeds. They are not willing to throw calibre like that away because of a bad GPA. 

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Wait, so, is there any point of writing an academic explanations essay if we already have weighting and a 3.8+ wGPA? From what you guys are saying it sounds like the most they'll do GPA-wise is bring someone up to full weighting if they didn't previously qualify. 

 

 

They say that you should only write an essay if your transcript does not accurately portray your abilities.

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Based on all this GPA talk.. why haven't I been cut yet then? I have a 3.78 wGPA and still no rejection. If there was a cut point, it should be at the beginning, and since I'm still technically in the game, it leads me to think that it may not be as hard set as they claim. GPA probably carries weight in the final calculations, so higher GPA= more points in the application = higher chance of getting in.

From last year personally and from my friends: you don't get an auto rejection in the beginning if you meet the cutoff. They literally go through each batch and looks at who makes the gpa/mcat cutoffs. I didn't make one of the mcat cutoffs last year and i didn't get a rejection until March

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