tryan

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Which one is more important for medical school applicants, high BCMP GPA or cGPA for science major?
 

ZedsDed

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Least important of the three.
Which is a bit weird. Presumably, they care about cGPA because they want to see you do well in non-science classes.
 

WedgeDawg

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Which is a bit weird. Presumably, they care about cGPA because they want to see you do well in non-science classes.
Let's assume sgpa is most important (it is).

We then can either have cgpa (combination of s and ao) be more important or ao (does not include s) be more important.

If we have ao be more important than c, we are saying that s is important, ao is important, but c, which contains both s and ao, is less important than both s and ao, even though it is comprised of both. This doesn't make sense.

If we have c is more important, then we have s is important, c is important, and ao is least important. This means that c, being the combination of s and ao, is intermediate to their two importances. This can make sense.

If we don't assume s is most important and instead assume c is most important, this is okay too, because this is just saying the sum is worth more than the parts, which makes sense. This is just automatically ruled out by our initial condition of s being the most important.

We could logically have

S c ao
Ao c s
C ao s

But not

S ao c
Ao s c

Because it isn't logical in this situation to have the combination of two important things be less important than both of its component parts.
 

ZedsDed

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Let's assume sgpa is most important (it is).

We then can either have cgpa (combination of s and ao) be more important or ao (does not include s) be more important.

If we have ao be more important than c, we are saying that s is important, ao is important, but c, which contains both s and ao, is less important than both s and ao, even though it is comprised of both. This doesn't make sense.

If we have c is more important, then we have s is important, c is important, and ao is least important. This means that c, being the combination of s and ao, is intermediate to their two importances. This can make sense.

If we don't assume s is most important and instead assume c is most important, this is okay too, because this is just saying the sum is worth more than the parts, which makes sense. This is just automatically ruled out by our initial condition of s being the most important.

We could logically have

S c ao
Ao c s
C ao s

But not

S ao c
Ao s c

Because it isn't logical in this situation to have the combination of two important things be less important than both of its component parts.
I dunno man, I'm not sure the intrinsic values are simply additive like that. But, really cGPA doesn't have much of a utility. If one has a 4.0 sGPA, and a 3.0 aoGPA, then a 3.5 cGPA (lets assume = credits of science and non-science classes) tells you absolutely nothing new about an applicant. And if an AdCom member says "I don't really care about aoGPA, I want to see that you can handle a med school course load." Then getting all huffy about a low cGPA is nonsensical. Literally the only difference between cGPA and sGPA are non-science courses, which presumably are not very important. This doesn't affect me and I don't really care one way or another (I happen to think non-science courses hold some value,) I just think it's an interesting observation.
 
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Lawper

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I suppose. But, really cGPA doesn't have much of a utility. If one has a 4.0 sGPA, and a 3.0 aoGPA, then a 3.5 cGPA (lets assume = credits of science and non-science classes) tells you absolutely nothing new about an applicant. And if an AdCom member says "I don't really care about aoGPA, I want to see that you can handle a med school course load." Then getting all huffy about a low cGPA is nonsensical. Literally the only difference between cGPA and sGPA are non-science courses, which presumably are not very important. This doesn't affect me and I don't really care one way or another, I just think it's an interesting observation.
I think the assumption that non-science courses are not important is faulty. They are less important than science courses, but still important. Cgpa is most useful when looked at alongside science courses rather than just by itself. Informationally, cgpa+sgpa=cgpa+aogpa, but in terms of importance for admission, sgpa>aogpa, so therefore cpga>aogpa (though knowing cpga and one of sgpa or aogpa is as useful as knowing cpga + the other or even just sgpa and aogpa because in any case the third can be derived and the two most important can be used).
 

ZedsDed

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I think the assumption that non-science courses are not important is faulty. They are less important than science courses, but still important. Cgpa is most useful when looked at alongside science courses rather than just by itself. Informationally, cgpa+sgpa=cgpa+aogpa, but in terms of importance for admission, sgpa>aogpa, so therefore cpga>aogpa (though knowing cpga and one of sgpa or aogpa is as useful as knowing cpga + the other or even just sgpa and aogpa because in any case the third can be derived and the two most important can be used).
Well, as I said, I don't think the values of GPA are simply additive like that. A given category of GPA has to garner some new insight to be useful. But I agree that non-science courses are important. How's Columbia treating ya? Don't burn yourself out on SDN bero
 

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Well, as I said, I don't think the values of GPA are simply additive like that. A given category of GPA has to garner some new insight to be useful. But I agree that non-science courses are important. How's Columbia treating ya? Don't burn yourself out on SDN bero
I think the relative order of importance is based on how much weight is assigned to each gpa value on its own.

And it's good lol but I guess I should probably go to sleep and leave you to your musings!
 
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PugsAndHugs

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Which is a bit weird. Presumably, they care about cGPA because they want to see you do well in non-science classes.
How is it weird that aoGPA is less important than BCPM GPA and cGPA (cGPA has science classes included)? It's probably the most logical thing ever. You are applying to medical school. Why would they put more emphasis on your non-science courses than your science courses? Of course they want you to do well in your non-science classes but that's to show you have a hard work ethic. Doing well in your science classes proves that you have the necessary foundation to enter medical school.
 

ZedsDed

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How is it weird that aoGPA is less important than BCPM GPA and cGPA (cGPA has science classes included)? It's probably the most logical thing ever. You are applying to medical school. Why would they put more emphasis on your non-science courses than your science courses? Of course they want you to do well in your non-science classes but that's to show you have a hard work ethic. Doing well in your science classes proves that you have the necessary foundation to enter medical school.
I too think non-science courses are important. I think I stated my opinion above pretty clearly.
 

PugsAndHugs

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I too think non-science courses are important. I think I stated my opinion above pretty clearly.
You said that it was a bit weird that aoGPA is the least important of the three. Why is that weird to you...?
 

ZedsDed

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You said that it was a bit weird that aoGPA is the least important of the three. Why is that weird to you...?
I dunno man, I'm not sure the intrinsic values are simply additive like that. But, really cGPA doesn't have much of a utility. If one has a 4.0 sGPA, and a 3.0 aoGPA, then a 3.5 cGPA (lets assume = credits of science and non-science classes) tells you absolutely nothing new about an applicant. And if an AdCom member says "I don't really care about aoGPA, I want to see that you can handle a med school course load." Then getting all huffy about a low cGPA is nonsensical. Literally the only difference between cGPA and sGPA are non-science courses, which presumably are not very important. This doesn't affect me and I don't really care one way or another (I happen to think non-science courses hold some value,) I just think it's an interesting observation.
Well, as I said, I don't think the values of GPA are simply additive like that. A given category of GPA has to garner some new insight to be useful. But I agree that non-science courses are important. How's Columbia treating ya? Don't burn yourself out on SDN bero
If you still think I'm not being clear, we can just agree to disagree. Honestly I was just shooting the s*** with Wedge, I don't really have any interest in getting into a debate.
 

gonnif

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Below is from a recent AAMC survey of medical school admissions offices (with 127 responding) on rating the importance of factors of when evaluating applicants. Cumulative GPA and Science/Math GPA are both ranked as highest importance with non science GPA as of medium importance. So the best data is most medical school will look closely at both sGPA and cGPA. To tease it any further would likely find some schools lean more to sGPA and scGPA, and probably would split within adcoms as well. With 130+ medical schools and thousands of individual adcom members, there will be no clearer answer nor general rule that can be stated over all.

https://www.aamc.org/students/download/267622/data/mcatstudentselectionguide.pdf

277 MCAT Student Selection 2014 - mcatstudentselectionguide-page-012.jpg
 

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Well the question itself is kind of looking at it the wrong way. I'm not sure its best to look at it as one is "more important the other". Its that when there is a clear gap between them that causes problems. They should be in line with each other. The median matriculant has a 3.69/3.63. It's not unreasonable or surprising at all to see the sGPA a bit lower than the cGPA. But when that gap between the two starts getting significant(like it would be for a 3.6/3.3 type applicant) that's when issues start to arise.

Two thoughts come to my mind with this
a) It's not always that one GPA is more important the other but some classes are more likely to get more focus when an ADCOM looks at a transcript. These are far more likely to be science classes than intro to film or women in the labor market type of classes
b) One possibility which hints at what gonnif is talking about is that there are ADCOMs that might weigh sGPA more than cGPA and others who weigh them the same but there could be fewer who weigh the cGPA more than the sGPA.
 

gonnif

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Two additional thoughts to add:

1) There is no way to actually know this with any specificity at any school.
2) It is doesnt matter to worry about. This is a purely speculative and there is little action that you can take to influence. You have to apply with the grades you have as you can alter the past on this. So it is really a moot point that you shouldn't spend time, energy and worry on. Better to apply that energy to coursework and MCAT which you can have affect on
 

mehc012

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Let's assume sgpa is most important (it is).

We then can either have cgpa (combination of s and ao) be more important or ao (does not include s) be more important.

If we have ao be more important than c, we are saying that s is important, ao is important, but c, which contains both s and ao, is less important than both s and ao, even though it is comprised of both. This doesn't make sense.

If we have c is more important, then we have s is important, c is important, and ao is least important. This means that c, being the combination of s and ao, is intermediate to their two importances. This can make sense.

If we don't assume s is most important and instead assume c is most important, this is okay too, because this is just saying the sum is worth more than the parts, which makes sense. This is just automatically ruled out by our initial condition of s being the most important.

We could logically have

S c ao
Ao c s
C ao s

But not

S ao c
Ao s c

Because it isn't logical in this situation to have the combination of two important things be less important than both of its component parts.
If they were additive, though, cGPA would have to be the most important...how could an important thing + another thing < the important thing alone, unless aoGPA is negatively important?
 

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If they were additive, though, cGPA would have to be the most important...how could an important thing + another thing < the important thing alone, unless aoGPA is negatively important?
Well, as I said, I don't think the values of GPA are simply additive like that. A given category of GPA has to garner some new insight to be useful. But I agree that non-science courses are important. How's Columbia treating ya? Don't burn yourself out on SDN bero
They aren't additive. cGPA is a weighted average of the sGPA and aoGPA. What's impossible is for cGPA to be the least important.
 
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mehc012

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They aren't additive. cGPA is a weighted average of the sGPA and aoGPA. What's impossible is for cGPA to be the least important.
That's not what we meant by 'additive'. We were discussing WedgeDawg's explanation, wherein the importance of each GPA was additive. I know what a cGPA is, give me a little credit!

*Note: I don't think they're additive in any sense, I was just pointing out what I see as a flaw in the theory put forth.
 

efle

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Seems possible to me for cGPA to be least important in a way. I can see why it would correlate better than aoGPA thanks to the sGPA within it, and thus fall in higher on the survey, but...

If I look at sGPA and think cool, they're decent at science, how are they at humanities/nonscience? I want to see the aoGPA next, not look at the cGPA and need to do some kind of back of the envelope reverse weighted average.

So I guess to me it would be first look at sGPA highly important, next look at aoGPA moderately important, and cGPA really doesn't tell me anything new.
 
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ZedsDed

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Seems possible to me for cGPA to be least important in a way. I can see why it would correlate better than aoGPA thanks to the sGPA within it, and thus fall in higher on the survey, but...

If I look at sGPA and think cool, they're decent at science, how are they at humanities/nonscience? I want to see the aoGPA next, not look at the cGPA and need to do some kind of back of the envelope reverse weighted average.

So I guess to me it would be first look at sGPA highly important, next look at aoGPA moderately important, and cGPA really doesn't tell me anything new.
Not to jump back into the argument, but this is what I tried (and failed) to communicate. Albeit with the eloquence of a trash compactor.
 
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efle

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Not to jump back into the argument, but this is what I tried (and failed) to communicate. Albeit with the eloquence of a trash compactor.
Your communication is fine, you just have a very dense style and people read it too quickly sometimes I think. Saw that happen several times in the "is this question sexist" thread
 

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Seems possible to me for cGPA to be least important in a way. I can see why it would correlate better than aoGPA thanks to the sGPA within it, and thus fall in higher on the survey, but...

If I look at sGPA and think cool, they're decent at science, how are they at humanities/nonscience? I want to see the aoGPA next, not look at the cGPA and need to do some kind of back of the envelope reverse weighted average.

So I guess to me it would be first look at sGPA highly important, next look at aoGPA moderately important, and cGPA really doesn't tell me anything new.
Not to jump back into the argument, but this is what I tried (and failed) to communicate. Albeit with the eloquence of a trash compactor.
The cGPA is considered to be moderately-highly important because it spreads things out evenly. The sGPA also spreads things out (in a harsher way). The aoGPA is seen to be a buffer than anything else.
 

efle

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The cGPA is considered to be moderately-highly important because it spreads things out evenly. The sGPA also spreads things out (in a harsher way). The aoGPA is seen to be a buffer than anything else.
Like I said though, why would I ever care about the lump data when I can get enhanced, cleaner info by looking at each of its two constituents? This actually lets me check if aoGPA is much higher and a buffer of easy A's...I just really can't see how you gain anything by analyzing cGPA instead of each half.
 

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Like I said though, why would I ever care about the lump data when I can get enhanced, cleaner info by looking at each of its two constituents? This actually lets me check if aoGPA is much higher and a buffer of easy A's...I just really can't see how you gain anything by analyzing cGPA instead of each half.
Because of the traditional notion that applicants are science majors and they don't take enough non-science courses aside from what's necessary. The aoGPA in that regard consists of significantly fewer credits than sGPA so it is ignored, resulting in a comparison between sGPA and cGPA (which really is just sGPA with some fluctuations)

And just to be clear, i'm not devaluing aoGPA importance. I'm all for side-by-side comparison of sGPA and aoGPA, but i'm providing an explanation of why aoGPA is considered to be of lesser importance.
 

efle

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Because of the traditional notion that applicants are science majors and they don't take enough non-science courses aside from what's necessary. The aoGPA in that regard consists of significantly fewer credits than sGPA so it is ignored, resulting in a comparison between sGPA and cGPA (which really is just sGPA with some fluctuations)

And just to be clear, i'm not devaluing aoGPA importance. I'm all for side-by-side comparison of sGPA and aoGPA, but i'm providing an explanation of why aoGPA is considered to be of lesser importance.
I still must not be understanding you. Why look at sGPA vs sGPA+fluctuation instead of looking at sGPA vs the fluctuation alone? Same information present, but more clearly.

ao is of lesser validity than c as a predictive metric, but has greater utility as an evaluative one when presented alongside s. I think we are just disagreeing on whether "importance" changes between these two types in different contexts
 
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tryan

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I got in with s3.9/c3.7/ao3.4, but my friend was rejected with the polar opposite of my gpa composition, high c3.9/s3.7. We have same mcat score and similar EC. This is why I wonder if cgpa and aogpa are just for reference, and only sgpa counts. If this is the case , gpa for LizzyM should be the highest one, not just cgpa.
 

efle

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I got in with s3.9/c3.7/ao3.4, but my friend was rejected with the polar opposite of my gpa composition, high c3.9/s3.7. We have same mcat score and similar EC. This is why I wonder if cgpa and aogpa are just for reference, and only sgpa counts. If this is the case , gpa for LizzyM should be the highest one, not just cgpa.
Did you apply to all the same schools at the same early point in the cycle? Are you the same ORM/URM status? Same state residency, same interviewing ability, same relationships to letter of rec writers, and so on? I'm just very skeptical a set of solid ECs and MCAT was sunk by a 3.7 sGPA...
 
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tryan

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The differences may be on interview or LOR. Both of us are so surprised he got sunked with the fact that I have way more Q drops for my liberal art classes and lower gpa. Do most of schools give leeway to ESL student?
 

efle

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The differences may be on interview or LOR. Both of us are so surprised he got sunked with the fact that I have way more Q drops for my liberal art classes and lower gpa. Do most of schools give leeway to ESL student?
No, though having a second language can be a huge plus. Why do you ask, did one of you have a significantly lower Verbal subscore?
 
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tryan

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No, I got 10 in V. I just want to know why he was rejected. I did talk to advisory, but they told me that they can't tell me why.
 

mehc012

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I still must not be understanding you. Why look at sGPA vs sGPA+fluctuation instead of looking at sGPA vs the fluctuation alone? Same information present, but more clearly.

ao is of lesser validity than c as a predictive metric, but has greater utility as an evaluative one when presented alongside s. I think we are just disagreeing on whether "importance" changes between these two types in different contexts
All of this hinges on the sGPA being viewed as the most important.

Personally, I would think that your overall GPA is, as in most contexts, the simplest, most universal, and default metric.
sGPA is like a double-check: yeah, they're a good student, but are they good at this specific kind of coursework, or is it mostly buffer?

Once you've looked at those two, the aoGPA is pretty much redundant.
 

efle

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All of this hinges on the sGPA being viewed as the most important.

Personally, I would think that your overall GPA is, as in most contexts, the simplest, most universal, and default metric.
sGPA is like a double-check: yeah, they're a good student, but are they good at this specific kind of coursework, or is it mostly buffer?

Once you've looked at those two, the aoGPA is pretty much redundant.
This is the same argument I just can't follow. Why look at A+B and then A, instead of A and then B? You get the exact same info, more clearly. Espcially regarding the buffer point, by far the easiest way to spot that would be to see the big jump between sGPA and aoGPA, you'd only reduce your signal by comparing to the weighted average
 

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@efle just wanted to clarify that I made (or tried to make - unsure) the distinction between how important (as a factor for admissions) each gpa is and how much information (not intrinsically valuable for admissions) is gained by having each one. If you have two of the three gpas, you can derive the third (in any scenario) but that has no bearing on how important each one is; it merely touches upon how accessible the information is.
 

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Not to knock cGPA as I'm sure its important... but science was important enough to begin with to get its own merit. To add to that, you'll be taking incredibly science-heavy courseloads in medical school, not fingerpainting and bowling 101.
 

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I still must not be understanding you. Why look at sGPA vs sGPA+fluctuation instead of looking at sGPA vs the fluctuation alone? Same information present, but more clearly.

ao is of lesser validity than c as a predictive metric, but has greater utility as an evaluative one when presented alongside s. I think we are just disagreeing on whether "importance" changes between these two types in different contexts
We probably are lol. Let's recap:

AAMC survey shows that sGPA and cGPA are highly important, while aoGPA is moderately important. As a predictive metric, we can agree with this comparison for reasons mentioned previously.

At first glance, comparing sGPA with cGPA seems superficially redundant since cGPA is just a weighted average of sGPA and aoGPA. So it would be apt to just compare sGPA with aoGPA by placing both metrics side-by-side and look for any inflations, buffering/fluff classes etc.

However, long-term academic performance is accurately measured by cGPA. By plotting the cGPA (long-term trend) with the sGPA (science performance), any discrepancy is automatically attributed to the fluctuations taken into account of aoGPA. And this works well because the applicant pool traditionally consists of science majors.

With the 2015 MCAT in effect and recent shift towards competency-based evaluations, the applicant pool will change, making the sGPA vs cGPA comparison redundant because the fluctuations of aoGPA become significant.

Tl;dr: sGPA vs cGPA and sGPA vs aoGPA are two different ways of looking at the same thing. Due to traditional emphasis on science coursework, the former was likely chosen for long-term performance and categorize any discrepancy to aoGPA. Recent shifts to loosen things up will make it convenient for everyone to stick with the latter.
 

efle

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@efle just wanted to clarify that I made (or tried to make - unsure) the distinction between how important (as a factor for admissions) each gpa is and how much information (not intrinsically valuable for admissions) is gained by having each one. If you have two of the three gpas, you can derive the third (in any scenario) but that has no bearing on how important each one is; it merely touches upon how accessible the information is.
It does have bearing for evaluative importance! When asked to rank sGPA cGPA and aoGPA each alone you get that order. When sGPA with aoGPA together becomes an option, it easily trumps cGPA combined with either, for showing the same info much more clearly
 

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It does have bearing for evaluative importance! When asked to rank sGPA cGPA and aoGPA each alone you get that order. When sGPA with aoGPA together becomes an option, it easily trumps cGPA combined with either, for showing the same info much more clearly
Sorry, by "importance" I meant how much weight is ascribed to each, which shouldn't change based upon what you have access too, though clarity or initial ease of access (as you said) can be affected.

Of course, this is moot because adcoms have easy access to all three.
 
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mehc012

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This is the same argument I just can't follow. Why look at A+B and then A, instead of A and then B? You get the exact same info, more clearly. Espcially regarding the buffer point, by far the easiest way to spot that would be to see the big jump between sGPA and aoGPA, you'd only reduce your signal by comparing to the weighted average
Because I don't care about B. First and foremost, I care about the total...and then as a secondary concern, in order to confirm the validity of the total, I care about A. Sure, I could use both of those to parse out B, but why bother because I don't care about B?
 
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tryan

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If what you said are true, the discrepancy between sGPA vs aoGPA may be bigger than 0.5 or even 1.
 

mehc012

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Then why don't you only look at A (sGPA)?
Because overall performance means something - it's what I am primarily interested in. If I were to look at one number, it would be (A+B).
When comparing 2 similar (A+B)s, the next deciding factor is A.

It's (loosely) like evaluating a round-robin...what you really care about is the W/L record, but you also keep an eye on point differential and opponent difficulty as a further indicator of how 'good' the wins were. You're never going to rate everyone directly by point differential, but when two teams end up with the same record it becomes important.

Sure, med admissions aren't a zero-sum game. There's no direct head-to-head competition, and the analogy falls apart at the edges...but at the end of the day, even if what you primarily care about is the cGPA, the sGPA helps you get some better perspective on what two different 3.7s mean.
 

efle

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Because overall performance means something - it's what I am primarily interested in. If I were to look at one number, it would be (A+B).
When comparing 2 similar (A+B)s, the next deciding factor is A.

It's (loosely) like evaluating a round-robin...what you really care about is the W/L record, but you also keep an eye on point differential and opponent difficulty as a further indicator of how 'good' the wins were. You're never going to rate everyone directly by point differential, but when two teams end up with the same record it becomes important.

Sure, med admissions aren't a zero-sum game. There's no direct head-to-head competition, and the analogy falls apart at the edges...but at the end of the day, even if what you primarily care about is the cGPA, the sGPA helps you get some better perspective on what two different 3.7s mean.
Still lost, if you don't care about B why would your go-to choice be the one that includes B and obscures A? You can't both be interested in overall and disinterested in ao
 

Lawper

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Like i said, for convenience and easy access to complete information, compare sGPA and aoGPA side-by-side. For comparing established long-term trends, it's equally suitable to compare cGPA and sGPA side-by-side.

In the end, adcoms have three columns containing cGPA, sGPA and aoGPA, so they have all the info they need to assess anything about academic performance in college
 

mehc012

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Still lost, if you don't care about B why would your go-to choice be the one that includes B and obscures A? You can't both be interested in overall and disinterested in ao
I want someone with a high gpa. Among high gpas, I find one with better science performance to be more valuable.
It's not that I don't care about the ao grades...I care about all grades. Rather, I don't care about the aoGPA as an individual number

Thus, I care about (in order), cGPA and sGPA. It's not that I don't care about the grades in aoGPA, it's that once I have the first 2 pieces of info, the aoGPA tells me nothing new. Sure, I could swap the sGPA out for the aoGPA, and end up with the same ranking, but at that point it'd be like asking for the pOH and then mentally reversing the info when you could just ask for the pH to begin with.

But let's give an example: I have 5 candidates, ranked below in order of cGPA (the factor I care most about).
A, B, C 3.85
D 3.75
E 3.45

Right now, I can't tell A-C apart. In order to differentiate them, I'll look at their sGPAs:
A 3.5
B 3.85
C 4.0

So now I've got my ranking:
C, B, A, D, E

I wouldn't want to go strictly by sGPA...maybe E only took a few science courses and did well, but they're still a worse student overall than A. If I looked only at sGPA I could get them backwards.
 
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