McGill chances? Should I Send In Subject Tests?

American student Ok, so here’s the deal. I really want to go to McGill, partly because it’s so cheap relative to other world-class schools, and universities in general, however, my stats as they sit may not cut it. I have a 3.58 GPA, with an upward trend favoring senior year, in which I have a 3.9. I took 12 APs & all honors, and have a 30 ACT. From what I can tell, these stats are very marginal - especially concerning GPA and ACT: the two factors McGill scrutinizes the most. Although McGill does not require the SAT subject tests for those who took the ACT, do you think they’re still worth taking and getting, let’s say, 700+ on two? Should I dedicate a lot of time and send these tests even though they are not required? Will it give me an edge to better secure admission? Thanks. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Are you a rising senior or are you planning on taking a gap year?

Complicated situation, but I guess you could say it’s a gap year.

Also to clarify, my High School does not list GPA, but rather an average. My average is a 90% for grades 10-12, and this is weighted. My unweighted average is an 85%, but my transcript does not show my unweighted average. However, I have a few grades over 100 on my transcript, so I think McGill would infer my grades are weighted. So basically, what are my chances to get into Arts, assuming McGill will be able to tell my average is an 85%. Again, I have a 30 ACT. Do you think I should send in SAT subject tests even though they aren’t required? I’m so confused and this whole process is giving me anxiety. );

Presumably you’re applying from the US?

I have found McGill, and other Canadian schools (Queens, Toronto, Western, Waterloo) to be relatively unimpressed by AP grades; as a corollary, I would say they are most interested in unweighted grades. They will grant you credit for many of the AP courses if you scored a 4 or 5 on the standardized exam; however, they tend not to make upward adjustments owing to the rigor of the courses when it comes to admissions. Take for example my son’s AP Calc BC class. That is a stout class in high school calculus. In fact, I’d say it’s equivalent to Calc 1 and 2 at most Canadian universities. Of course it’s been 30 years since I took calc at Western, so I could be off-base. But my son knows WAY more than I did coming out of Ontario grade 13 calculus. So in my mind a 90 in that course is like a 95 in regular honors calc. However, the Canadian universities just don’t seem to see it that way like many US universities do.

I don’t know what to make of your situation. I think it’s best to call admissions at McGill and speak to somebody about how they’ll interpret your grades.

From an ACT perspective, 30 is likely on the lower end of what they’ll accept, even for Arts. Rather than sending in subject tests, I might suggest sitting for the ACT again to see if you can get that up to a 32 or 33. But sending in subject test scores couldn’t hurt if they are 700+.

FWIW my son applied to Arts, Science, and Management with a 92% grade 12 average of top six APs; it was a 4.5/4.7 or 4.8 weighted. He had a 32 ACT. He was accepted to Arts, and denied Science and Management after some time on wait-lists.

Summing up, the Canadian schools give short shrift to AP classes. The AP culture isn’t as firmly entrenched up there as it is in the US, and this makes applying to McGill non-trivial for all but the smartest US students.

Smarter contributors than me may have slightly different opinions about what it takes to get into McGill (Bouders, TomSrofBoston to name a few). But I think I’m on the right track.

BTW, don’t ask this question on the Canadian site, yconic - it’s occupied by venomous high school students who delight in spewing vitriol across any simple question.

Best of luck to you.

Ok thank you so much! I think I now know where I stand. McGills median ACT is a 31 as of last year, so to be safe I do agree I would need a 32. Getting a 32 will be hard. I will most likely get a 31 if i’m being real, so hopefully a miracle can happen there haha. But yeah, the only problem i’m seeing now is that my transcript ONLY shows weighted grades. I’m sure this will piss off the admissions office ); but my senior year average is a 94.33. Do they look at senior year grades more than other years grades? Do you know? Thanks! I really just don’t understand how they are going to perceive my weighted grades ); I will call the admissions office. I think that’s the best route.

My understanding is they simply take Grade 10 and 11 grades (academic courses only) to calculate GPA…they add in Grade 12 grades for most kids. All are equally weighted. For Arts from the U.S., the 30 should be fine. BUT you need a B+ average including a B+ for each English class.

You should call admissions directly with questions. They are incredibly helpful and nice to deal with. Best of luck!

If you have finished grade 12, but won’t apply until this next fall while taking a gap year, then I am not sure whether even your GPA from grade 10 will matter. It would not surprise me if only your last two years of high school will matter. This is worth asking McGill admissions. As @SwimmingDad says, we have also found their admissions staff to be very helpful. Please let us know if they can clarify this.

If this pulls up your GPA significantly then you might be in good shape. My understanding is that the ACT or SAT are largely used as a cutoff filter, and if you are over the minimum then admissions is mostly based on GPA (as recomputed by them based on your grades).

Ah…I missed the gap year piece. My apologies.