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I completed one this year and was offered an interview, but I have no idea if they considered it or not. For context, I had less than 5 credits per year for every year of my undergrad, finished with a cumulative GPA of 3.91, and my wGPA for Toronto would have been somewhere between 3.95-3.98. Although it is impossible to know, I feel as though I was afforded to weighting, as 3.91 is decently lower than their GPA average (thus making it far more unlikely to receive an interview)

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Hi guys,

 

I'm just wondering did anyone who received an invite complete the academic explanation essay?

 

Im just wondering if they actually consider it 

 

thanks

 

Of course they consider it as they wouldn't ask for that information if they didn't bother reviewing it and seriously contemplating it--unless you are operating under the assumption that Cdn med school adcoms are out to screw applicants over!  :P

 

If it is something compelling and genuine that adversely affected your academic performance then let them know in the essay. Otherwise don't sweat it.

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Of course they consider it as they wouldn't ask for that information if they didn't bother reviewing it and seriously contemplating it--unless you are operating under the assumption that Cdn med school adcoms are out to screw applicants over!  :P

 

If it is something compelling and genuine that adversely affected your academic performance then let them know in the essay. Otherwise don't sweat it.

 

im guessing u filled this out? and got an interview ahahah

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  • 2 weeks later...

I completed that part of the application. I had a break in my studies for a semester due to extenuating circumstances. I had no other breaks at all (including in the summer session) up until the end of my Master's degree. I really felt that I should explain the reasoning behind the break in my studies and technically, because of this break, I would not be eligible for weighted GPA. But I am not sure whether they took my explanation into account when they calculated my GPA. I had a cumulative GPA of 3.78 but if they dropped my lowest 6 marks and took my academic explanation into consideration, I would have 3.95+ GPA.

 

I did get an interview, but, like I said, it is hard to know what they did!!

 

Regardless, it helps to explain your unique circumstances so that the reviewers are aware. 

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i also wrote one, and interviewed this year, but have no idea if they used it. I still had a 3.92 wGPA if they didn't so since most of the semester in question got removed anyway. But I included it as an explanation for a significant anomaly, like they said to use it for, and as a non-graduate applicant a 3.92 is on the low side for UofT sadly

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I also completed this section because I had a very low GPA for med school, and I was accepted 3 cycles ago! Who knows if they took it into consideration, but hey, I don't think it hurt.

 

Hey schmitty, thats great! Were you a grad applicant, slash do you think it has to be an extraordinary story?

Thanks for the input.

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Hey schmitty, thats great! Were you a grad applicant, slash do you think it has to be an extraordinary story?

Thanks for the input.

 

 

Yes I was a grad applicant (MSc), but no, it was not an exceptional story at all! I didn't even really have an extenuating circumstances to explain why my first year was so terrible. I just knew that my first year would stick out like a sore thumb on my record and I would like to have a chance to explain why this was. I was also sure to make sure that I had reflected on my time in first year and learned greatly from it. 

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I wrote one too - and it was about family circumstances for which I took less than a full course load in a couple of semesters. I have a hunch that that was seriously taken into consideration to allow for the weighting to be applied to my GPA. I'm starting UofT this fall.

 

I recommend you write one if there is anything that you want to explain re: your academics which is not explicit in the rest of your application material. There's no downside to it as far as I can tell. It's just an opportunity for the adcom to get to know a little bit more about you, after all.

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Okay - so im wondering if it would reflect poorly on me to write an academic explanation essay.

 

I had a 4.0 going into 3rd year in a physiology program, then i switched into a completely new program (biochemistry & research specialization) because of personal interests/reasons and i found the transition a lot more difficult than expected. I ended up getting a 3.92, and i understand that the grade is still fairly high but im really worried that theyll judge my "downward" trend and look poorly upon it. Should i explain it in the essay that i was trying to explore other academic subjects/interests?

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Okay - so im wondering if it would reflect poorly on me to write an academic explanation essay.

 

I had a 4.0 going into 3rd year in a physiology program, then i switched into a completely new program (biochemistry & research specialization) because of personal interests/reasons and i found the transition a lot more difficult than expected. I ended up getting a 3.92, and i understand that the grade is still fairly high but im really worried that theyll judge my "downward" trend and look poorly upon it. Should i explain it in the essay that i was trying to explore other academic subjects/interests?

 

 

Pretty sure they will see the program change on your transcript wouldn't they? If I were you I would write something up for the academic explanations essay explicitly outlining your circumstances around that time and elaborating on what you wrote above.

 

I'd do that for my own satisfaction as an applicant, however in terms of how much of an impact something like that will have--likely minimal if at all (imo).

 

You have excellent grades regardless so don't sweat it.

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Okay - so im wondering if it would reflect poorly on me to write an academic explanation essay.

 

I had a 4.0 going into 3rd year in a physiology program, then i switched into a completely new program (biochemistry & research specialization) because of personal interests/reasons and i found the transition a lot more difficult than expected. I ended up getting a 3.92, and i understand that the grade is still fairly high but im really worried that theyll judge my "downward" trend and look poorly upon it. Should i explain it in the essay that i was trying to explore other academic subjects/interests?

To my understanding grade trends don't matter at all in Canada. You probably have a 4.0 anyway with the wGPA formula.

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Okay - so im wondering if it would reflect poorly on me to write an academic explanation essay.

I had a 4.0 going into 3rd year in a physiology program, then i switched into a completely new program (biochemistry & research specialization) because of personal interests/reasons and i found the transition a lot more difficult than expected. I ended up getting a 3.92, and i understand that the grade is still fairly high but im really worried that theyll judge my "downward" trend and look poorly upon it. Should i explain it in the essay that i was trying to explore other academic subjects/interests?

3.92 is amazing. I wouldn't even draw attention to that one mark.

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Thanks for the comments above! 

 

Like mentioned, i do have a high wgpa for toronto (around 3.97), but I'm just worried they'll judge the sudden drop in 3rd year because many of the ontario schools (queen's, ottawa) seem to emphasize improvement of grades throughout the latter undergrad years as evident by their wgpa formulas. 

 

So in the end, I do want to write one explaining how i took a huge risk in switching from a comfortable/familiar academic environment to a new one for personal challenge/interest, resulting in the difficult transition.   My question then is, if you were the adcom and saw this, would you think of me as an immature applicant who doesn't appreciate my current grades? (i.e., i don't want to give off any type of negative vibe at all since UofT does a holistic assessment of applicants)

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Are you guys seriously discussing submitting an academic explanation essay for a 4.0 --> .3.92 trend......with that kind of unreasonable logic, every single applicant should submit an "explanation" of why they got a couple more A's instead of A+'s in one year. I need to go back to hanging out with real people off of PM101 who don't complain about their near perfect GPAs. 

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Are you guys seriously discussing submitting an academic explanation essay for a 4.0 --> .3.92 trend......with that kind of unreasonable logic, every single applicant should submit an "explanation" of why they got a couple more A's instead of A+'s in one year. I need to go back to hanging out with real people off of PM101 who don't complain about their near perfect GPAs. 

This type of response was why i was afraid of posting this here, haha. I understand what you are saying  & you are right in that these are such a small differences considering 3.92 is still a very high gpa. However, considering that UofTs entering class avg was 3.96 last year (and likely to be similar this year), i think im justified in taking every precaution i could...

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This type of response was why i was afraid of posting this here, haha. I understand what you are saying  & you are right in that these are such a small differences considering 3.92 is still a very high gpa. However, considering that UofTs entering class avg was 3.96 last year (and likely to be similar this year), i think im justified in taking every precaution i could...

 

I would agree with you if your wGPA was 3.92. Then yes, even though that is high it would be on the lower end for UofT's super high 3.96 average GPA. But you are talking about one of your years being 3.92, and no med school has ever distinguished 3.92 as a low GPA for which you would need to submit an explanation for.

 

Truth is, you are slightly more competitive than the average accepted person GPA-wise. So, yes, complaining about a 3.92 in ONE of your years is like trying to say "look I wasn't perfect in my 3rd year because blah blah", It is extremely rare to get 4.0 every year, and no one, including med adcoms expect to see a perfect applicant. Frankly, trying to "explain" why your GPA had slight fluctuations between 3.9-4.0 is just pure overkill. Feel free to submit the essay if you want, no one is stopping you, but I personally would not look at that essay and go like "oh wow, so that's why he/she got a 3.92 in one year, that really explains everything because it was such a weird thing to see a 3.92".

 

Furthermore, if I were to justify your logic for needing to explain a 3.92 GPA, then every applicant could probably think of a similar, if not more plausible, way to come up with an academic explanations essay.

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Thanks for the comments above! 

 

Like mentioned, i do have a high wgpa for toronto (around 3.97), but I'm just worried they'll judge the sudden drop in 3rd year because many of the ontario schools (queen's, ottawa) seem to emphasize improvement of grades throughout the latter undergrad years as evident by their wgpa formulas. 

 

So in the end, I do want to write one explaining how i took a huge risk in switching from a comfortable/familiar academic environment to a new one for personal challenge/interest, resulting in the difficult transition.   My question then is, if you were the adcom and saw this, would you think of me as an immature applicant who doesn't appreciate my current grades? (i.e., i don't want to give off any type of negative vibe at all since UofT does a holistic assessment of applicants)

I don't think the "negative vibe" thing matters at all. Even though it's a holistic assessment, it's not all done by the same person.

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This type of response was why i was afraid of posting this here, haha. I understand what you are saying  & you are right in that these are such a small differences considering 3.92 is still a very high gpa. However, considering that UofTs entering class avg was 3.96 last year (and likely to be similar this year), i think im justified in taking every precaution i could...

Look, that essay is for legitimate reasons (e.g. issues with finances, family, illness, etc). Not because you found the courses hard. 

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