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Median GPA


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Hey guys,

I had a question regarding median GPA. I see some schools listing median GPA rather than mean. Can someone explain the benefit of the median GPA or how one can use it to determine their chances. My understanding of a median is that after arranging the GPAs in ascending/descending order, the middle GPA would be the median. That doesn't tell me anything about the range of GPAs accepted. How do I use this stat to figure out my chances (at least GPA-wise)?

Thanks

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You are correct that the median is the 50th percentile, and therefore half of all GPA is above that, and half is below that. The benefit is that median as a measure of central tendency does not involve the assumption that the data is normally distributed.

 

If your mark is the median, then you are more competitive than 49% of the applicants, and so on. However, it's too bad they don't post the interquartile range to go with the median.

 

From my experience median value (for marks, GPA, etc) tend to be slightly above mean value due to some skewing by extremely low values.

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If there are a couple accepted applicants with very low GPA admitted due to other circumstances (affirmative action, awesome EC's, etc.) it will skew the mean down, so that it will give you a false impression of who is actually accepted-GPA wise.

 

Medians are almost always a better measure of central tendency than means because of this. One example is in real estate, where in Canada, real estate agents like to falsely pump up numbers by quoting "average" house price instead of "median" house price like they do in the US. There is no upper bound in how much a house can be worth, thus if several houses sold for 10+ million, it will take many many "regular" houses to be sold to balance that and bring the average price down. Hence, you see the "average" price of a home in Vancouver now to be over 1 mil, when the median is probably around 600K, much less impressive.

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