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suuuperconfused98

Will US schools see a higher GPA than Canadian ones?

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I'm currently studying in Canada and was trying to gauge my chances of getting in to different law schools in North America and everything I am reading online makes it look like my GPA would be way higher when applying to schools in the US. At University of Toronto and a bunch of other law schools in Canada they use the following conversion table:

https://www.ouac.on.ca/guide/olsas-conversion-table/

Putting my grades into that I would have a cGPA of about 3.87 when I'll be applying which is right at the 50th percentile at U of T.

However, I have seen that in the United States they take the letter grade that shows on our transcript and use the following table to convert it.

https://www.lsac.org/applying-law-school/jd-application-process/jd-application-requirements/academic-record#grade-table

This would give me a GPA of 4.0 or 4.1 when I apply, which is above Harvard's 75th percentile. This seems really weird to me.

Granted, the top US law schools have higher LSAT scores and Canadian schools focus more on GPA. However I still feel like my gpa is inflated. Is it easier to get higher grades in US undergraduate programs or something? Do top law schools in the US not compare Canadian transcripts very closely with American ones?

I would really appreciate it if anyone in here with relevant experience could clear things up.

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It’s not easy to get higher grades at good US schools (I did my undergrad in the US and I would say it was more competitive and required more work than law school.) 

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Yes, your LSAC GPA will likely be higher than your OLSAS GPA. Although, if you were graded with percentages in any post-secondary courses (like many Canadian institutions use), your LSAC GPA will likely be much lower than OLSAS. 

You can use this to see how your school's grades will be converted. https://members.lsac.org/MenuItems/IGUGS/IGUGS-Search.aspx

My understanding is that if you have an LSAC GPA, you are compared with US students who have LSAC GPAs. 

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I had a similar question. The response I received is that no, it isn’t harder to get high grades in Canada. American law schools will take your GPA at face value because A) there’s not a good way of fixing the problem of Canadian GPAs being inflated and B) American schools can still report your GPA to the ABA despite the fact that it’s canadian. And if they can report it to the ABA, it will increase their programs average GPA, which in turn increases their ranking, which they care about a lot. 

So it’s an advantage that Canadians have that no one really cares to correct.

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13 minutes ago, Lawstudent95 said:

So it’s an advantage that Canadians have that no one really cares to correct.

 

Or a disadvantage if you have percentage grades or did CEGEP in Quebec.

Edited by leafer96
typo

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14 minutes ago, Lawstudent95 said:

there’s not a good way of fixing the problem of Canadian GPAs being inflated

I don’t think it’s accurate to say Canadian GPAs are “inflated”. I think this misunderstanding comes from people thinking that an 80% in Canada will get you an A but only a B in the US. But this is wrong. The scales are different and cannot be compared with raw percentages. The likely reality is that (all other things being equal, including the subjective opinion of your grader) if you submitted the same work to a US school you would have gotten a 90%, which is an A. 

The US will take Canadian letter grades at face value because they are reasonably comparable, much like Canadian schools will do with US letter grades. But trying to compare percentages would be inaccurate. 

The OLSAS scale is an entirely different story and will definitely twist your average to (usually) be less than what you would have if you just averaged your grades to a traditional 4.0 scale. But it will do this to any school regardless, US or Canadian. Can’t say much about the LSAC scale but I assume it works similarly to OLSAS.

ETA: I believe that what Canadian schools do with US percentage grades is they convert them to their US letter counterparts and then use that in their calculation (e.g., for OLSAS or their specific school’s measure)

Edited by Ryn
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1 minute ago, Ryn said:

I don’t think it’s accurate to say Canadian GPAs are “inflated”. I think this misunderstanding comes from people thinking that an 80% in Canada will get you an A but only a B in the US. But this is wrong. The scales are different and cannot be compared with raw percentages. The likely reality is that (all other things being equal, including the subjective opinion of your grader) if you submitted the same work to a US school you would have gotten a 90%, which is an A. 

The US will take Canadian letter grades at face value because they are reasonably comparable, much like Canadian schools will do with US letter grades. But trying to compare percentages would be inaccurate. 

The OLSAS scale is an entirely different story and will definitely twist your average to (usually) be less than what you would have if you just averaged your grades to a traditional 4.0 scale. But it will do this to any school regardless, US or Canadian. Can’t say much about the LSAC scale but I assume it works similarly to OLSAS.

I doubt an 80 in Canada is a 90 at many US schools! Can’t speak for all of them. 

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Just now, providence said:

I doubt an 80 in Canada is a 90 at many US schools! Can’t speak for all of them. 

I’m not saying it’s perfectly translatable but I’d say it’s much closer to reality than saying that there’s a 10% “inflation” of grades in Canada generally. 

The alternative is the assumption that most Canadians with 3.8 GPAs are actually B students in reality, which is a bit dumb. 

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31 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I don’t think it’s accurate to say Canadian GPAs are “inflated”. I think this misunderstanding comes from people thinking that an 80% in Canada will get you an A but only a B in the US. But this is wrong. The scales are different and cannot be compared with raw percentages. The likely reality is that (all other things being equal, including the subjective opinion of your grader) if you submitted the same work to a US school you would have gotten a 90%, which is an A. 

Perhaps inflated isn’t the right wrong choice. The point that Canadians with percentage grades are at a disadvantage also supports that. However I still don’t think it’s fair to say that American schools take it at face value because it’s roughly comparable. I think it’s more likely that they take it at face value because it benefits them to do so.

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3 minutes ago, Lawstudent95 said:

I think it’s more likely that they take it at face value because it benefits them to do so.

Is that something you are assuming, someone told you, or is a recognizable reality with respect to how the two academic systems operate?

 

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I've long heard a lot of US undergraduate institutions have inflated grading schemes. Perhaps the LSAC scheme tries to correct for that, and that's why a Canadian GPA is taken to be higher than on the LSAC scale - i.e the 3.8 you got likely would have been a 3.8 down south, but the letter grades or marks you got would have been different, accounting for the different grading schemes.

 

I was definitely happy to learn about my LSAC gpa, to the point where I actually aimed for a t6, until I realized what US law tuition is like 😁

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49 minutes ago, Ryn said:

I’m not saying it’s perfectly translatable but I’d say it’s much closer to reality than saying that there’s a 10% “inflation” of grades in Canada generally. 

The alternative is the assumption that most Canadians with 3.8 GPAs are actually B students in reality, which is a bit dumb. 

Being an A or a B student isn’t based on an objective number, though - it’s based on where you stand relative to others in the class. Grades are all relative. People get too hung up on whether a 3.8 is “good” or not. There are times where half the class may get a 3.8 - so is it still “good?” Ever had a prof who was sick of students whining and said “I’ll give you all As if you want, but you still won’t know the material?” One prof in my undergrad (that I didn’t have, he was an Arts prof) let everyone choose their own grade if they could justify it. If the highest grade in the class is a B and only one person gets it, then a B is great. I get that when you’re applying to competitive programs, higher numbers matter, and some consistency is necessary to be fair, but in a way, the whole exercise is unfair because you’re comparing subjectively different programs and schools to one objective standard. Hence why the US really values standardized tests such as the SAT, LSAT, MCAT etc. 

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19 minutes ago, Ryn said:

Is that something you are assuming, someone told you, or is a recognizable reality with respect to how the two academic systems operate?

It’s something someone told me, which I also believe to be true. Their opinion was likely based on assumptions and not hard data. And so I won’t pretend my opinion is anything more than just that. 

But out of curiosity, what is your argument for the view that they take the GPAs at face value because they are roughly comparable? 

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Honestly I doubt US schools think that much about Canadian grades - I doubt it is an important issue to them and they probably just haven’t thought to account for it. 

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3 hours ago, leafer96 said:

Yes, your LSAC GPA will likely be higher than your OLSAS GPA. Although, if you were graded with percentages in any post-secondary courses (like many Canadian institutions use), your LSAC GPA will likely be much lower than OLSAS. 

You can use this to see how your school's grades will be converted. https://members.lsac.org/MenuItems/IGUGS/IGUGS-Search.aspx

My understanding is that if you have an LSAC GPA, you are compared with US students who have LSAC GPAs. 

Is this 100% the conversion scale that is used? 

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1 hour ago, RickyBubbles01 said:

Is this 100% the conversion scale that is used? 

I cannot guarantee it, but that's where LSAC referred me when I called a while ago.

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32 minutes ago, leafer96 said:

I cannot guarantee it, but that's where LSAC referred me when I called a while ago.

Wow, that is really friendly towards Canadian GPAs.

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