So I am interested in applying to schools like the University of Toronto, McGill, and other top Canadian universities. However, I keep hearing from other sources that Canadian universities only consider junior and senior grades for admission and 100% ignore freshman and sophomore grades even if I had a slightly negative start. I also keep hearing that Americans have a greater chance of getting in. Is this true? How many AP and honors classes should I be taking this year and what could I do for the best shot of getting into these schools? Are there also any ACT or GPA cutoffs? Any help is appreciated.
@CollegeFreak9488 Americans do not have a greater chance of getting in than Canadians. Canadian admissions is more predictable, so you may have a better chance of getting into higher ranked Canadian universities than the highest ranked American ones. It mainly depends on your statistics.
The number of AP and honors classes doesn’t matter, afaik. Canadian schools don’t do weighted GPA. For the top universities, it is expected that a student will have taken the most rigorous classes. eg You should take calculus and not applied math.
McGill is very transparent with their grade and ACT cutoffs for admissions. If you look around their website, you should be able to find the page.
For all these universities, the cutoffs will depend on what program you are applying for. If you post which program you are applying for, with or without your GPA and standardized test scores, I or another poster can give you a better idea of your chances.
Well junior year I’ll be taking two APs. If I cannot take two APs this year, I’ll take one AP class, a Dual Enrollment class, and an honors class. I haven’t taken standardized testing yet so it would be nice to get an opinion on what ACT or SAT score I should aim for. My GPA is a 3.11 Weighted but I hope to get it to a 3.4 or 3.5. However, I’ve heard that Canadian schools only take junior and senior years into account and then combine those two years to make a GPA. Is this true?
Canadian universities first look at your junior year grades. If those aren’t sufficient to admit you, they wait for your first semester senior year grades, reassess and then to decide to admit or wait for your second semester interim grades and so on.
A 3.4 unweighted GPA would be about the minimum I would recommend applying for less competitive programs at U of T or McGill. For those programs a 28 ACT may be sufficient. For more competitive programs like engineering/commerce/computer science, 3.7 GPA and 30 ACT would be the minimum.
So these schools do not consider freshman and sophomore grades at all when calculating my GPA? For instance, if I had a 3.11 Weighted GPA for freshman and sophomore year, is this number not taken into consideration in terms of admission?
I know students who got accepted to top universities in Canada after submitting their sophomore and junior year grades, before any senior year grades were available. I do not know whether they only looked at junior year grades, or if they considered both sophomore and junior year grades. It would not have mattered in our case (the grades were the same – senior year grades were also the same but came after the admission letter was already in hand). I used to know some other people who were asked for their mid term grades senior year. In most of those cases the students had known that they were close to the cutoff and had worked hard senior year and had good grades to send in.
I have consistently heard that freshman year grades do not matter at all assuming that you did not flunk out of high school.
I would say that admissions in Canada is much more predictable than in the US. If you have top grades, then you are in.
I know many people who went to Toronto or McGill or UBC. They have consistent said that these schools are large, academically challenging, and academically excellent.
There are however quite a few other very good universities in Canada. Most are large but there are also a small number of very good small universities (Canada does not use the term “liberal arts college”). Let us know if you would like some suggestions for other schools.
Another thing I wanted to ask was do Canadian universities let you double major in any random field as you like?
For most Arts and Science programs at U of T, you apply for your specialist or two majors at the end of your first year. Many programs are limited enrollment. Your first year grades plus whether or not you have taken the prerequisite courses determine whether or not you are approved for your specialist or majors. The more popular majors are competitive to get into. But, you can potentially major in two completely different fields. Here is a list of the different programs at U of T. https://www.utoronto.ca/academics/programs-directory If you click on the links and scroll down, if you see a yellow box, it will describe the criteria for being accepted into the major or specialist program.