Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

Any chance that anyone has found an official written source disclosing this yet? Not that I don't believe the people mentioning it, I just would feel more confident seeing it directly from med admissions or in the University Calendar. People keep talking about all of these changes but I can't find any mention of them on U of A sources. If anyone has any links to these things, it would be awesome if you could please provide them! 

Personally, I think this move to eliminate a score for GPA is a mistake. Person A with a 4.0 versus person B with a 3.3 aren't equal and they shouldn't be considered as such. GPA is a somewhat objective measure which allows you to compare peoples achievements. In contrast, anyone can just show up for a volunteer position and rack up hours. There is no objective way to measure how impactful their volunteering/work experience/leadership is, and the problem is exacerbated when you are trying to compare vastly different activities. It is far too subjective. In my opinion, people in the 3.3-3.5 range should have far superior ECs to be accepted since they should have a reason why they under-performed in their studies compared to their fellow applicants. Similarly, if you worked your ass off for a 4.0 and didn't volunteer quite as much as the person with a 3.3, is it right for the U of A to effectively penalize you with this policy? Unless you're naturally gifted and can do everything, grades and ECs will always be a bit of a trade-off. To discount that reality seems bizarre to me. I can see policies being put in place to ensure people aren't too imbalanced (i.e. 3.3 cut-offs and minimum number of entries for ECs), but this is ridiculous. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ingredients for a great GPA often include prolonged opportunity and privilege. A GPA of 4.0 definitely says you're a hard working intelligent person. But a GPA of 3.5 doesn't mean you don't have those qualities. GPA means less past a certain point in terms of differentiating people, than other things (I would think).

 

I can see having a threshold point at which you have decided the person has the intellectual capacity for medicine, and then choosing other metrics to look at. 

 

The MCAT for example can be self taught in a relatively short period of time, and can be re-written, making it more forgiving for people who for example bombed two years of university. I see merits to both for sure, but I for one think this is a great way to limit discriminating against people who might for less obvious reasons be applying with lower a GPA (mind you I was a low GPA high MCAT applicant with diverse life experiences, so I admit my bias).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting choice by UofA and good points above.  To expand, GPA has now become an end of itself - courses/degrees are often chosen to maximize GPA rather than interest or increase knowledge.  This move by UofA will basically remove incentives to take courses only for GPA.  It will also help non-traditional and possibly students in allied health professions by giving them a greater opportunity to choose medicine.  

UofT uses MCAT only as a threshold, but the avg MCAT is still fairly high.  I suspect something similar will play out at UofA - the majority of the students admitted will still continue to be strong academic achievers.  As an aside, the admissions process is starting to look a little like Dalhousie's - where it heavily weighed towards ECs and away from GPA/MCAT.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

For medicine, a field built around communication, people skills, social skills etc a 3.3 person with superior experiences/communication skills/personality/etc will always be more desirable than a person with 4.0 who spent their days in their room studying and occasionally did a "pre-med esqe EC" for their app but doesnt have the social aptitude to lead a conversation. I am not denying that 4.0 is way nicer than a 3.3 but I would much rather admit the person A than person B and it is a good feeling medical schools like UofA are seeing it now (perhaps they have noted all those 19 and 20 year olds they admitted with 4.0's werent cutting it when it came down to deal with real people..)

UofT has one of the highest GPA (or wGPA) admission in Canada (3.96 in 2015). I can assure you that there are plenty of my classmates with GPA 4.0 with "superior experiences/communication skills/personality/etc" who are perfectly capable of "dealing with real people". There is no need to stereotype hardworking students with GPA 4.0 as bookworms who are deficient in social skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3.3 GPA IP has been the published threshold to apply for a long time.    While UoA may play around with interview selection ratios in 2018 they will still only interview about ~500 candidates and need to set cut-offs accordingly.   I doubt they will ignore GPA as you are suggesting as there is still a significant academic difference between a 3.3 and a 3.8 candidate.   Lowering the benchmark GPA range will just raise the MCAT/Casper?/EC thresholds. 

It will be interesting to see the statistical spread of GPA at the interview invite stage next February.   I think we would still see a +3.8 GPA average even with changes to selection approach.   I don't think it will create a swing in the pool of candidates that will be successful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ArchEnemy said:

UofT has one of the highest GPA (or wGPA) admission in Canada (3.96 in 2015). I can assure you that there are plenty of my classmates with GPA 4.0 with "superior experiences/communication skills/personality/etc" who are perfectly capable of "dealing with real people". There is no need to stereotype hardworking students with GPA 4.0 as bookworms who are deficient in social skills.

This!

We get it. You have a low GPA but you're an amazing, sociable, fully qualified applicant. But have you also considered that maybe low MCAT, high GPA applicants may also be just as qualified? 

There are low GPA high MCAT applicants and high GPA low MCAT applicants that are just as qualified as each other. Many medical students fall into one of these categories. There is also the category of applicants where EC's are not even considered (e.g., Western) and I am sure that they are just as qualified.

 

The truth is that many applicants are qualified and medical schools are scrambling to find the "perfect" selection formulae. Maybe CASPer is the right direction to take, or only including the CARS section. 

Regardless, let's not assume that a 3.3 GPA and 4.0 GPA mean nothing. I am pretty sure I worked really hard for my GPA and I'm pretty sure many of you lower-GPA applicants also worked hard. I'll be more likely to get an interview to Ottawa and UofT, you'll be more likely to get an interview to UofA and other MCAT/EC heavy schools. But let's not forget that UofA has been considering the MCAT, and EC's competitively as well. It's not like people with 4.0 GPA's got in even with terrible MCAT and EC's. 

 

I'm neutral towards this move by UofA, I do not think that it will change anything in the applicant pool in terms of qualification, the most it will do is create a shift in the subset of qualified applicants that will be chosen. It will benefit some, not so much the others. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

For medicine, a field built around communication, people skills, social skills etc a 3.3 person with superior experiences/communication skills/personality/etc will always be more desirable than a person with 4.0 who spent their days in their room studying and occasionally did a "pre-med esqe EC" for their app but doesnt have the social aptitude to lead a conversation. I am not denying that 4.0 is way nicer than a 3.3 but I would much rather admit the person A than person B and it is a good feeling medical schools like UofA are seeing it now (perhaps they have noted all those 19 and 20 year olds they admitted with 4.0's werent cutting it when it came down to deal with real people..)

@YesIcan55 I'm sorry but it's disgusting how insulting you've been our high GPA and/or young classmates. 

These "19 to 20 year olds" were among some of the best students in our class personally.....I speak for those in my class at least when I say that they are some of the most diligent and well rounded individuals, who are qualified to interact with patients. Not to mention.... there's like < or = to 5 in a class of ~162..... like come on ...

Or the fact that the 4.0 students "spent days in their room"..... does that explain how despite the average hovering between 3.90 and 3.96 across the country that a majority of those students just study??? are you for real? I didn't have a high GPA going into medical school but never thought those that had a higher GPA were less social than I was... if anything, having a low GPA was my fault and I should have done better.

If you want to make jabs at people at least have some actual sources/evidence before you make a claim like above. 

You have done this repeatedly in your posts.... whether it's looking down on typical science grads, or think med students feel "high and mighty" just because we got into a school in Canada, and now trying to put down people with a high GPA and marginalizing their hard work while trying to justify your cognitive dissonance with your warped perception ... 

We get you're upset with not getting into medical school and that sucks given the work you put into it, ... but seriously stop trying insulting those that have. 

- G 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ArchEnemy said:

UofT has one of the highest GPA (or wGPA) admission in Canada (3.96 in 2015). I can assure you that there are plenty of my classmates with GPA 4.0 with "superior experiences/communication skills/personality/etc" who are perfectly capable of "dealing with real people". There is no need to stereotype hardworking students with GPA 4.0 as bookworms who are deficient in social skills.

Well said, 

- G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think everyone needs to take a breather. Nothing's been confirmed yet and all this is speculation by strangers on the internet. Some posters are mentioning an advisor who mentioned this but do we even know who this advisor is? Did he/she make an official statement? Let's not be the neurotic, crazy pre-meds we're so often accused of being. Even if all this is true, spewing hate is going to do nothing for us. The revised admissions guide for this cycle will be released soon. Let's all chill until then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't like this move from UofA, and I understand that I may be biased, but I also feel like that there are some things that are not emphasized enough.

First off, as many people have pointed out, a 4.0 GPA or so has nothing to do with an individual's social skills and ability to interact empathetically with their community. The stereotype of the bookworm student is a remnant of the past that holds little water in today's medical admissions process, with its increasing emphasis on subjective, personable experiences. I'm sure many individuals with these "4.0 GPAs and stellar MCATs" are fine, perhaps even better, at holding conversations, facing adversity, or advocating for a just cause. We need to distance ourselves from this perspective.

I guess my other concern is in general, the deemphasis on GPA across Canada. Now, I understand the importance of extracurriculars and the growing grade inflation in university, but dam, did I have to really work at it to attain a decent GPA. And no, not every student that has had decent grades is from an affluent background or has, in some way, "grade-grubbed" or taken "bird courses" to attain such grades. My GPA is more than just a number or a measure of intelligence...its an indicator of my perseverance, hardwork, and willingness to go above and beyond what is taught in difficult courses. As I've advocated in the past in this forum, it completely appalls me that such a number may now be meaningless at so many schools, in favour of arguably more subjective forms of assessment such as ECs and casper.

Of course, this is all hypothetical considering that the information we received from OP may or may not be real. But dam, this is discouraging. UofA was the best shot I had at a medical career, and now with all these changes...I don't even know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clearly there's a lot of incendiary phrases going out.  I don't think this will necessarily be a drastic a change as people suggest.  

Consider student A: strong academic achiever wins awards for academic merit and gets funded research experience in part due to achievement.  Student A would still have an excellent shot likely.  Now consider Student B: non-traditional discipline with work experience in related health care sector, but lower GPA.  Student B will now have a much greater chance.  Clearly a lot of unknowns, but just to make the point that even if GPA isn't considered directly it could still have a lot of influence indirectly.       

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, calcan said:

Clearly there's a lot of incendiary phrases going out.  I don't think this will necessarily be a drastic a change as people suggest.  

Consider student A: strong academic achiever wins awards for academic merit and gets funded research experience in part due to achievement.  Student A would still have an excellent shot likely.  Now consider Student B: non-traditional discipline with work experience in related health care sector, but lower GPA.  Student B will now have a much greater chance.  Clearly a lot of unknowns, but just to make the point that even if GPA isn't considered directly it could still have a lot of influence indirectly.       

True to an extent. Although, the awards section is only worth 1 point out of the total of 17 for ECs (or at least it used to be). The other sections are weighted 4 points each. Cutting GPA out of the equation is a disadvantage for anyone on the upper end of the GPA scale compared to those hovering barely above 3.3. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, adhominem said:

True to an extent. Although, the awards section is only worth 1 point out of the total of 17 for ECs (or at least it used to be). The other sections are weighted 4 points each. Cutting GPA out of the equation is a disadvantage for anyone on the upper end of the GPA scale compared to those hovering barely above 3.3. 

Yeah - I can see how cutting everything out could be frustrating after years of work and I also wasn't aware of the nuances regarding evaluation.  If the admissions riddle were easy, it would have been solved by now!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/20/2017 at 10:24 PM, adhominem said:

Any chance that anyone has found an official written source disclosing this yet? Not that I don't believe the people mentioning it, I just would feel more confident seeing it directly from med admissions or in the University Calendar. People keep talking about all of these changes but I can't find any mention of them on U of A sources. If anyone has any links to these things, it would be awesome if you could please provide them! 

Personally, I think this move to eliminate a score for GPA is a mistake. Person A with a 4.0 versus person B with a 3.3 aren't equal and they shouldn't be considered as such. GPA is a somewhat objective measure which allows you to compare peoples achievements. In contrast, anyone can just show up for a volunteer position and rack up hours. There is no objective way to measure how impactful their volunteering/work experience/leadership is, and the problem is exacerbated when you are trying to compare vastly different activities. It is far too subjective. In my opinion, people in the 3.3-3.5 range should have far superior ECs to be accepted since they should have a reason why they under-performed in their studies compared to their fellow applicants. Similarly, if you worked your ass off for a 4.0 and didn't volunteer quite as much as the person with a 3.3, is it right for the U of A to effectively penalize you with this policy? Unless you're naturally gifted and can do everything, grades and ECs will always be a bit of a trade-off. To discount that reality seems bizarre to me. I can see policies being put in place to ensure people aren't too imbalanced (i.e. 3.3 cut-offs and minimum number of entries for ECs), but this is ridiculous. 

Although I understand where you are coming from adhominen and I believe that you made a lot of good comments, I would like to add the following comments:

1) Although GPA is objective measure, there are individuals who intentionally take easier classes to get 4.0 ( I have seen it so many times).  I personally think MCAT scores are a more objective measure of individual's critical thinking. Additionally, in a lot of instances, GPA measures your ability to memorize things rather than apply it.  Having said so, I also believe that GPA is an excellent indicator of one's work ethics if everyone is taking the same class ( but that is not the case).  Overall though, I don't like the idea that U of A is going to completely remove GPA from the calculation, because I feel that it would be unfair to a lot of applicants who spent countless hours studying. They need to be rewarded for their work ethic.

2) There IS a way to measure how impactful someone's volunteer and work experience. Although people can just volunteer to get more hours, they will probably stay in one position for the entire time. However, if you are diligent and passionate and go above and beyond what is expected of you ---> people notice and you get more and more responsibilities over time.  Over the years, I have been very privileged to be given paid positions that I did not qualify for on paper because of my work ethic and how I interacted with clients at the organizations I volunteered at, not because I had hundreds of hours although I probably did lol but I genuinely liked helping others out. I agree ranking ECs is quite subjective and very tricky and complex, and I definitely think admission committee should not judge an activity based on what they think subjectively of the activity. Instead, it should be based on the qualities that the applicant demonstrate that a competent physician should have. 

 

Also, just like Mountain Amoeba, my arguments might be quite biased because of the fact that I am a low GPA applicant lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, chemiosmosis11 said:

I really don't like this move from UofA, and I understand that I may be biased, but I also feel like that there are some things that are not emphasized enough.

First off, as many people have pointed out, a 4.0 GPA or so has nothing to do with an individual's social skills and ability to interact empathetically with their community. The stereotype of the bookworm student is a remnant of the past that holds little water in today's medical admissions process, with its increasing emphasis on subjective, personable experiences. I'm sure many individuals with these "4.0 GPAs and stellar MCATs" are fine, perhaps even better, at holding conversations, facing adversity, or advocating for a just cause. We need to distance ourselves from this perspective.

I guess my other concern is in general, the deemphasis on GPA across Canada. Now, I understand the importance of extracurriculars and the growing grade inflation in university, but dam, did I have to really work at it to attain a decent GPA. And no, not every student that has had decent grades is from an affluent background or has, in some way, "grade-grubbed" or taken "bird courses" to attain such grades. My GPA is more than just a number or a measure of intelligence...its an indicator of my perseverance, hardwork, and willingness to go above and beyond what is taught in difficult courses. As I've advocated in the past in this forum, it completely appalls me that such a number may now be meaningless at so many schools, in favour of arguably more subjective forms of assessment such as ECs and casper.

Of course, this is all hypothetical considering that the information we received from OP may or may not be real. But dam, this is discouraging. UofA was the best shot I had at a medical career, and now with all these changes...I don't even know!

 

This is a great point GPA is really (at least to me) a measure of how hard someone can grind. I get that GPA can be subjective and vary from school to school and program to program but it really is a (rough) measure of how hard someone can work. I've certainly made sacrifices for a okish GPA personally, in hind sight it may have been better to take the chance to be a varsity athlete and let my GPA suffer a bit, not a lot I can do about that now I guess.

 

If anything I would have lobbied for them to set a cut of on the MCAT, granted its more standardized but its something that takes months of studying to do well in rather than years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, YesIcan55 said:

If you thought that GPA was the most important thing in getting into medical school and perhaps spread yourself thin on ECs. UofA won't look at you too hot, and UofC for that matter

I think that applicants should still try to have the highest GPA possible, because GPA is the "objective" measure used by most med schools in Canada & in the US and it allows you to interview at several places giving you more opportunities of getting an admission offer.  I also think that applicants should aim to have the highest GPA possible not to impress med school or whatever, but because it is a huge privilege to be in post secondary education and one should try to learn as much as they can about the subject matter and excel in whatever classes they choose to take. 

As a low GPA applicant,  my only realistic chance of getting an interview is in province.  I always hope that luck is in my favour when admission committee score my ECs/ CASPer and MMIs because these "subjective" measures is really my ONLY ticket to medical school.  Now, to depend on these subjective measures is difficult because they fluctuate quite a bit, even though the admission committee tries to be as fair as possible.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have any actual evidence this is true! My GPA is by far my strongest point and it would be a real shame (i'll probably shed a couple tears) if I had worked so hard all for it not to be considered (and no, contrary to what others have been saying that doesnt mean I'm socially incompetent or uninvolved)! I think it is extremely unfair for them to just implement this at random for this application cycle! I think that if they had told us maybe a couple years before, I could have reorganized my priorities and really beefed up my MCAT and ECs. Now I'm stuck with something I killed myself for (a high GPA) and just OK (but not amazing as they could be had I known that GPA wouldnt count) ECs and MCAT. 

 

Im feeling really crushed. Any words of encouragement as I watch 3 years of work spiral down the drain??? *sniffles*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, toomuchcoffee said:

Does anyone have any actual evidence this is true! My GPA is by far my strongest point and it would be a real shame (i'll probably shed a couple tears) if I had worked so hard all for it not to be considered (and no, contrary to what others have been saying that doesnt mean I'm socially incompetent of uninvolved)! I think it is extremely unfair for them to just implement this at random for this application cycle! I think that if they had told us maybe a couple years before, I could have reorganized my priorities and really beefed up my MCAT and ECs. Now I'm stuck with something I killed myself for (a high GPA) and just OK (but not amazing as they could be had I known that GPA wouldnt count) ECs and MCAT. 

 

Im feeling really crushed. Any words of encouragement as I watch 3 years of work spiral down the drain??? *sniffles*

This would be for the next application cycle. It would really not make sense for them to implement such a drastic change to the requirements during the same application cycle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...