Canadian Grade Point Average Conversion

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Ribehro1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:39 pm

Canadian Grade Point Average Conversion

Postby Ribehro1 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:13 pm

Hello there,

I am a top American law school hopeful currently heading into my fourth year of my undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario and I was wondering if anyone could offer any knowledge in the area of grade conversion from a Canadian school (specifically one in Ontario) to an American law school. My university calculates our grade point average but offers it to us in percentage and at the moment I'm sitting at an 84% cumulative GPA (weighed accordingly to the course credit amount) but I haven't been able to locate whether or not there is any guide to converting my average to a number that an American school would look at. I know that the Canadian law schools that I have looked at and applied to do not require me to calculate my 4 point GPA, which is a huge relief seeing as my first year grades drag that number down quite a bit, so I'm hopeful that American law schools will just take the cumulative GPA offered on my transcript presented by my school in percentage. Anyone with any experience with grade conversion's input would be greatly appreciated because I have heard a wide variety of things from tonnes of people that have ranged from; American schools curving Canadian grades up to them curving them down... Really don't have anything solid to go off of and would rather hear something realistic than something that would just give me false hope. I have a 176 LSAT score which I'm hoping will make up for a short-coming in my GPA.

bbsg
Posts: 272
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:07 am

Re: Canadian Grade Point Average Conversion

Postby bbsg » Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:31 am

Ribehro1 wrote:Hello there,

I am a top American law school hopeful currently heading into my fourth year of my undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario and I was wondering if anyone could offer any knowledge in the area of grade conversion from a Canadian school (specifically one in Ontario) to an American law school. My university calculates our grade point average but offers it to us in percentage and at the moment I'm sitting at an 84% cumulative GPA (weighed accordingly to the course credit amount) but I haven't been able to locate whether or not there is any guide to converting my average to a number that an American school would look at. I know that the Canadian law schools that I have looked at and applied to do not require me to calculate my 4 point GPA, which is a huge relief seeing as my first year grades drag that number down quite a bit, so I'm hopeful that American law schools will just take the cumulative GPA offered on my transcript presented by my school in percentage. Anyone with any experience with grade conversion's input would be greatly appreciated because I have heard a wide variety of things from tonnes of people that have ranged from; American schools curving Canadian grades up to them curving them down... Really don't have anything solid to go off of and would rather hear something realistic than something that would just give me false hope. I have a 176 LSAT score which I'm hoping will make up for a short-coming in my GPA.


Do they only include percentage grades at Guelph, or do they also include letter grades?

The "graves are curved up" talk comes from the fact that OLSAS (which, as I'm sure you know, is the Ontario-equiv of LSAC) converts like this for most schools:
A+ = 4.0
A = 3.9
A- = 3.7

And LSAC like this:
A+ = 4.33
A = 4.0
A- = 3.67

People applying to top US schools (and unless you're applying to a top school, you're much better advised to just stay in Canada with the better market and lower costs) tend to have grades concentrated in the A section, and even just one A+ at 4.33 (especially combined with Ontario's A deflations to 3.9) will usually ensure their "US GPA" is significantly higher than their "Canada GPA." For example, my US GPA was 3.94 and my Canadian GPA was 3.78.

Edit - It should be added, though, that Canadian schools consequently have lower GPA thresholds. This runs the risk of making them seem less selective on paper. That's mostly why UofT, for example, advertises its incoming class as having an "85%" average (which at a cursory glance seems to imply, given their grading scale, an "A" average or a 4.0 GPA if you aren't looking into all these conversions) even though the actual adjusted GPA for their matriculants is probably closer to a 3.7 (but would be a mid-3.8, I would estimate).

Edit 2 - You might be in for a tough ride if Guelph doesn't include letter grades. LSAC's grading thresholds in terms of percentages don't sync up very well with the Canadian norms, so you may quickly see your A-average at Guelph reduced to a low B by US standards. I've known people at some schools in Quebec who had this issue. They included information making their case in applications but still got shut out from the US schools to which they applied (mostly mid-T14s, so they were probably better off at a Canadian school in terms of cost/benefit anyway).

Also, naturally your 176 LSAT score is a great help. Enough, in fact, that it very well may compensate to some degree if your GPA conversion doesn't go smoothly (e.g., if Guelph only includes percentage grades on transcript).

Ribehro1
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:39 pm

Re: Canadian Grade Point Average Conversion

Postby Ribehro1 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:13 am

Thanks, my unofficial transcript only shows grades of percentage. Maybe it's possible for me to request some sort of a transcript including my letter grades.

bbsg
Posts: 272
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:07 am

Re: Canadian Grade Point Average Conversion

Postby bbsg » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:55 am

Do come back and let us know what the end result is in all of this!




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