Wanting to go to a good graduate school in the US

  • #1
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I'm currently almost done my first semester at University here in Canada. I want to go to a good graduate school in the US to study astrophysics in the future. Here in my University, and a lot of Universities in Canada have a 4.33 GPA scale. My GPA here is around a 3.3, that's roughly a B+ and a 79% average. I'm not proud of that mark and I know and will do better next term (I didn't find getting that mark to be a challenge at all). But this didn't prepare me to what I recently found out.

So I was just curious to see what the US GPA scale was and so I searched it up and it sunk my heart. Comparing my percentage to ones in the US I have a 2.3 GPA! I am completely confused and wonder how its even possible to get above a 3.5 GPA without studying all day, especially for physics. To get a 3.5 GPA that means that I have to get mostly 87% to 100% grades. From my experience getting above 90% is not exactly a walk in the park and small mistakes on tests is the difference between a 90% and an 80%. So did this semester basically screw up my future? I wish I had known this before my school started and now I feel like all hope is lost.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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It seems like you're technically correct - a 2.3 is a 77-79 in the US, which corresponds to a C+ at many universities. Remember that grad school admissions committees are very aware that the difficulty of courses varies dramatically between universities, especially internationally. If a 3.3 is above average at your school, especially if it is common for students at your university to attend the US for graduate school, the committee will likely take this into account.

Also, it's your first semester! If you do better in the future, and it seems that you are confident that you will, there is no need to worry in my opinion :)
 
  • #3
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American undergraduate degrees just have much different grading standards. A 90% is considered an A in the US because their courses are different from Canadian courses. Admissions people know this and will be able to interpret what a "canadian A" means.

I don't know exactly how they do this, but if you look at Oxfords website they say that their requirement for UK students is a first class degree (around a 70% average), whereas for canadian students you need an 83% average. This would be an example where they have an explicit conversion system between countries. American schools will have something similar.

Basically, don't worry. You don't need to convert your grades to the american system because your grades only make sense in the context of the canadian system.
 
  • #4
Choppy
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
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What Canadian schools use a 4.33 system?

Here's the conversion system that shows how Canadian medical schools (or at least those in Ontario) convert from the different schools onto a common 4.0 scale:
https://www.ouac.on.ca/guide/omsas-conversion-table/
and from what it implies, a B+ or 79% average converts roughly to a 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

Regardless, I agree with what's been said. Keep your focus on doing what's typically needed to gain admission into grad school at your current institution.

And if you're really concerned, try speaking with your department's academic advisor. That person will likely have a lot of experience in converting between your institution's grades and those of other schools.
 
  • #5
StatGuy2000
Education Advisor
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What Canadian schools use a 4.33 system?

Here's the conversion system that shows how Canadian medical schools (or at least those in Ontario) convert from the different schools onto a common 4.0 scale:
https://www.ouac.on.ca/guide/omsas-conversion-table/
and from what it implies, a B+ or 79% average converts roughly to a 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

Regardless, I agree with what's been said. Keep your focus on doing what's typically needed to gain admission into grad school at your current institution.

And if you're really concerned, try speaking with your department's academic advisor. That person will likely have a lot of experience in converting between your institution's grades and those of other schools.

According to the following websites, the University of Lethbridge use a 4.33 system, although I could be mistaken.

https://www.mastersportal.com/articles/2347/how-grades-work-in-canadian-universities.html

I know at my alma mater (University of Toronto -- U of T for short) we use a 4.0 scale.
 

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