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gpa inflation?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by abina81, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. abina81

    abina81 Member
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    Hi,

    A friend was telling me that adcom inflate your gpa if you come from one of the top university. For example, when his brother went to NYU from University of Michigan undergrad, the multiplied his gpa by 1.15. Anyone know about this? Do all schools do this?

    abina81

    This is information is from a crediable source
     
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  3. aphistis

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Your friend's brother would have had a very difficult time explaining the discrepancy between the GPA listed in his applications & letters and the one shown in his transcripts. What you're describing isn't grade inflation, it's outright fraud.

    Anybody else heard of anything like this?
     
  4. Beam of Light

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    Yeah they do it a lot, espcially from students from Ivy League schools. I remember when I was applying for the PhD in Physics program about 3 years back, a friend of mine whose father was on the admissions commitee of one of the schools told me there is some sort of wierd formula they use to accept students from top tier schools. I went to a decent state school, while my friend went to Yale. I had a higher GRE and GPA than he did, yet he got accepted to better schools than I did simply because he went to an ivy League school. I think the formula his father mentioned was [(Ivy League GPA / 1.95) +2 ]. Now take a 3.5 student from Yale, and that qualifies him to be a 3.8-9 student :(
     
  5. Mo007

    Mo007 Gifted Hands
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    Fair, but baleful.
     
  6. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    Well, right or wrong it has to be done. Some top schools in the nation have average matriculating SAT scores in the 1400s, and the competition is fierce in class. Since most undergrad science classes are curved, there are going to be some very smart people getting "C"s in some of those classes. These are people who likely would have gotten an "A" at an easier school. If graduate schools want to select the best candidates, then sometimes they have to consider a person with lower GPA from a more competitive school over a person with a higher GPA from a less competitive school. I mean there are undergrad schools with average SATs of 800 or less, and it should be a joke to get all "A"s at those schools (no offense to anyone, but SATs are correlated with IQs).

    The system is overall still quite inequitable since you have no idea how graduate schools are judging your undergraduate program. Contrary to popular belief some of the bigger state schools have quite high competition in pre-med/pre-dental courses since the brightest students take those courses. In a big university the average SAT of students you take OChem II with might be 1275, while the overall school's SAT average is 950.

    In my opinion, if I had to advise someone on how to "game" the system I would tell them to find a smaller fully accredited 4 year public school with low entering stats, and get all "A"s. A 4.0 is a 4.0, and it always looks impressive no matter where you come from. I think if you can back that 4.0 up with a decent standardized test score, you can go pretty much wherever you please.

    Getting into a healthcare profession school is hard enough, why make it harder than it already is by going to a tough school?


    BTW, from what I have heard about UofM's undergrad, the adjustment is warranted. They cut you no slack on GPA over there.
     
  7. Beam of Light

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    One thing I want to mention sxr is that IQ and SAT scores do not always correlate accurately with each other. I'm a prime example of that. I have taken an official mensa IQ test and scored a 170 on it. When i took the SAT back in my junior year of high school I made a 1080 (no study :D)
     
  8. UMDeeMan

    UMDeeMan Senior Member
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    all this talk bout gpa's, you know how they compare everyone? regardless of their scores?? simple.....IT'S CALLED THE DAT!

    we can go back and forth on this arguement. but the DAT is THE ONE COMMON AND EQUAL FACTOR that adcoms can evaluate us all on. Some kids can't afford the Ivy's so they go to community colleges or state schools. there are other factors too like kids, work, etc. the majority of Ivy league matriculants I know follow this pattern : 1.come from very wealthy families 2. smart in their own right but nothing like i'd call Will Hunting 3. kid never had to work a day in their life (i.e. never had to worry about where financing was coming)

    i dont care about the secret equation, let them have it, call it a bonus for paying 100k+ for a silly undergrad degree. i'm happy with my state college degree.
     
  9. Beam of Light

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    Not true deeman. Two people with a 3.5 GPA and a 22 DAT score coming from different schools (let's say one from a state school and one from an ivy league school) are not equal candidates. The Ivy League student has the edge coming into the interview. Sorry, that's just the way it goes :(
     
  10. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    If you had studied you would have gotten a 1580-1600. Even Mensa acknowledges a correlation between SAT scores and IQ (for scores before 1/31/1994):

    http://www.us.mensa.org/join_mensa/testscores.php3

    They changed the SAT after 1.31.94 but still it is the definitive indicator of scholastic ability for college admission committees. All other things being equal it will harder to get a 4.0 in a group of people with higher SAT scores that it would be in a group of people with lower SATs.
     
  11. aphistis

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Even if we accept that SATs correlate to IQ scores, the question remains how closely IQ scores correlate to overall intelligence.
     
  12. Beam of Light

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    It is really how you define intelligence. I don't believe that IQ relates to intellignce because I know many brilliant people in the field of medicine and physics who were more intelligent than I was. I always thought that intelligence somehow relates to using and applying your knowledge.
     
  13. aphistis

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    I was a psych minor in college, so I kinda like this stuff. Here's a pretty good serial article about different theories of intelligence: http://www.cpsimoes.net/artigos/art_brit_1.html
     
  14. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    On this I have to agree. It seems that IQ tests can only test certain forms of what we might consider intelligence. This one is for the psychologists to duke it out over.

    As for the SAT, I've heard of people with lower numbers being considered "smarter" than than someone with a higher number. I still think that some people can really achieve a lot more by working less, and there has to be a rough correlation at the very least between higher SAT scores and possessing more of that ability.
     
  15. Woodsy

    Woodsy S-D-N Blue Blood
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    Well, an IQ test doesn't mean much if you can't apply it. However, SAT means a lot. Even if you're as dumb as bricks and some how manage to get 1600 by sheer luck, well that's a useful test. I'm Canadian so I never had to take anything of that sort, I don't know what it is like.

    But in my humble opinion. Having a high IQ and not using it, is like having a laborghini with no gas. It's useless. Sure with a high IQ you may learn things faster but if you sit at home watch TV all day and don't do any work as opposed to someone with a higher than average IQ studying and working hard, chances are the second dude would acheive more.
     
  16. UMDeeMan

    UMDeeMan Senior Member
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    woodsy - like in the movie Goodwill Hunting. the "sitting on a winning lottery ticket but you're too afraid to cash it in" sorta thing. all about application.
     
  17. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
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    Grade inflation is a bunch of crap, they need to use the DAT as their measuring stick for the Ivies, then. Kids that got into Ivy League schools are good test takers, they have to be to score 1300 or better on the SAT. If someone like me can come out of a state school with a 21AA, then an Ivy Leaguer should come out with at least a 24. I'll admit, I did score a 1350 on my SAT, which I don't think correlates with IQ, by the way. The DAT is the only outcomes assessment tool that the adcoms have. If you've had to compete against the "best" then your DAT will reflect that.
     
  18. UMDeeMan

    UMDeeMan Senior Member
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    thank you calculus. the big time players step up for the big game.
     
  19. BiOGoly

    BiOGoly PharmD, BCGP
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    Interesting that they would inflate the GPA of an Ivy graduate, it would seem that based on current trends it should be the other way around. NPR had a piece on inflated grading at Ivy schools a few days ago. Evidently grade inflation is rampent at most Ivy schools, with over 51% of all grades at Harvard being an "A". Professors are scared to handout anything less than a B for fear of reprisal...especially now'adays when tenure is in no way guaranteed and no one can afford negative feedback. I'm sure that a lot of the inflation depends on major though; you can't really argue a C on an Ochem midterm the way you can with a humanities term paper.

    The DAT really should be the be-all-end-all of the academic part of the dental school package. Obviously grades are important in demonstrating consistency and focus, but a level playing field demonstration of the application of those classes means a whole lot more imo.
     
  20. critterbug

    critterbug I like big buttz. No Lie!
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    I disagree. I'm not saying that because I had a low DAT score either. My score was a 21 Science and a 19 AA. But the DAT is just a test, one test at that.

    I am much more proud of the high GPA that I earned in undergrad. I also think that it reflects my work ethic, as I busted my ass to keep my grades up. Granted, I didn't attend Ivy, but my school was hard in its own respect, and I got just as much out of my education as I put into it.....which was 100%

    A DAT score says nothing about work ethic, persistence, and consistency, which in my opinion, are essential virtues that EVERY professional school student MUST have to succeed!

    The DAT is important, but not the end-all-be-all of the "academic part" of dental school admissions.
     
  21. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
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    Yes, but we're not talking about you compared with students from other Texas universities. We're talking about kids who have gotten into a college based primarily on a test, so when they are competing with us, their DAT score should be congruent with having gone to a "tougher" school and these are GOOD test takers. I'm saying that if I have a 3.5 GPA and someone from Harvard has the same but he/she has a 20 rather than a 21, I should get in over them. They shouldn't run their GPA through some sort of formula so that I can be beaten out because I didn't have the money to attend their school.
     
  22. BiOGoly

    BiOGoly PharmD, BCGP
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    I agree that grades DO matter, recent ones anyway. Someone with an inconsistent record with no upward trend and a 2.5 cum gpa but who scores a 29 on the DAT shouldn't be considered a competitive canidate. GPA does demonstrate focus and consistency (as i said) ,which is absolutely necessary to succeed in any professional program. But i think you will agree that ceteris paribus the DAT is the only way to objectively determine how much you actually got out of those classes...and more importantly a good DAT score indicates that you are able to prepare to take a comprehensive examination, Dental board scores being highly correlated with DAT scores.

    I agree that grades are important and take back the "end-all" bit. But as long as you've demonstrated a competent academic record I think the DAT is a more objective determination of what you've gotten out of your classes.
     
  23. drat

    drat I catch huge fish.
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    As an alum of an Ivy League school, here's my take on the GPA inflation debate. . .BiOGoly is has half of the story straight. Harvard is infamous for their grade inflation. This is no secret...The joke about Harvard is that the hardest part is actually getting into the school; after that, you're basically guaranteed a 4.0. :eek: However, it is definitely wrong and inaccurate to stereotype all the Ivies as having grade inflation. The days when a C truly meant average pretty much ended when the Vietnam War began (Am I wrong in believing that no colleges consider a C average anymore?), but I can say that for my school the mean grade in the great majority of my science classes was a B or B-. The average chemistry major has a 3.3 G.P.A and the average biology major has a 3.2 G.P.A. I think econ majors are even lower than that. I don't know what the average G.P.A. for a chem major is at any state school, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's in that ballpark. What needs to be remembered is the caliber of student that we are competing with to get that A or B -- A large portion of Ivy League students were in the top 5% of their high school class and the average S.A.T. score is 1400.
     
  24. UMDeeMan

    UMDeeMan Senior Member
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    biOGoly - one theory to that grade inflation at Ivy's : think of all the high profile alum kids attending those schools. imagine if their son or daughter does bad..they won't blame the kids, they'll blame the school. there's big money involved with Ivy league schools and there are lots of outside influences affecting the schools. you don't get that at the state colleges. sure there are some cases, for example, Kevin Mchale's, former Boston Celtic great and now GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves, son. he attends the university i goto and word around campus is that the chancellor personally was helping him move in, which would take hell to freeze over for anyone else.

    The evidence is out, look at all the movie stars that go these Ivy league schools. do you honestly feel they are that intelligent? highly doubt it. they get in because of money. too much politics involved in the Ivy system, in my opinion. just because your dad is an alum or your family income is 500k+ shouldn't promise entrance.
     
  25. abina81

    abina81 Member
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    My personal experience is that there is a major difference between low teir schools compared to top 10 school. As it has been mentioned before, these top schools have some hardworking and/or bright kids. I transfered from remote campus to the main campus felt the difference.

    So, yes, DAT really puts all the students in the nation on the same playing field but then what should be done about the GPAs. IF, ... and IF adcom inflate people's GPAs if they are from a certain school, its only evening the playing field.

    abina81
     
  26. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    I agree with your point but nobody seems to want to apply the DAT as the main or even sole numeric parameter in assessing a candidate for dental school. Trust me, I would have benefitted more than almost everybody else if schools only took into consideration DAT scores. However, since adcoms have this need to use both GPA and DAT scores they do need to at least use the something as an adjusting factor. I would rather see adjustments based on DAT scores rather than the name and reputation of the undergraduate instituition. The problem is that if they start adjusting GPA numbers based on DAT scores then it does the same thing as just weighing the DAT more in an admissions decision.

    I remember a thread where people argued that the DAT should be the only academic factor used in admissions decisions and I was one of those people. Someone retorted by saying that a high GPA number shows adcoms that a student has not only mastered the material, but shown consistency in performance over a 4 year period. I can't really argue that a person with a high GPA does not show important characteristics that an adcom would like to see in a candidate. I say this as someone with a mediocre GPA, but high DAT scores.

    On a related note, all my post-bacc work was done at a state school, but I got my degree from a more difficult "engineering school" where the competition was fierce. I have taken science classes at both places, and the level of competition was amazingly different between the two places. I can go into detail by talking about huge curves and what not, but I think the point is made. However, I've seen some really super smart kids at both schools and these kids are usually in the pre-health professions classes which is why earlier, I wrote that adcoms tend to underestimate the quality of larger state schools.
     
  27. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    The Ivy Leagues have their set of problems and I have no doubt that percentage of their class is comprised of undeserving individuals. Overall standards at these schools still pretty high. I can't speak of these schools very much since I didn't attend one, but a school like U of M is a very competitive school. Many other non Ivy League school might "deserve" such an adjustment as well. Stanford in particular has a reputation of being a very difficult school to go score high at. I think certain majors deserve an adjustment, such as engineering majors. An engineer with a 2.8 GPA from Stanford is very likely more qualified than someone with a 4.0 from a regional liberal arts school. I'm not an engineer, but I've seen what they go through and no biology major anywhere has gone through that.
     
  28. UMDeeMan

    UMDeeMan Senior Member
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    sxr71 - minnesota is not a tough school at all to get into. i originally was at UW-madison, but transferred back home to focus more. i never applied to an Ivy league out of high school and kinda kick myself for not giving it a shot, but i looked at the realities.....thousands upon thousands of applicants, i'm not a minority, if accepted i wouldn't want to pay 100k+ for an undergrad education, UW-madison is a pretty respectable public school (so is Minnesota i guess), and ultimately it would would have been a waste of 50 bones or whatever. i like the idea of looking at the major, because undoubtingly a neuroscience major is alot tougher then communications (although communication class grades are often based on whether or not the teacher likes you, not knowledge of material). anyways, who cares, just get the gpa benchmark of 3.4 and hit the 20+ level on the DAT and you should be alright it sounds like. Remeber SDN doesn't fairly represent the 4500 or whatever applicants or whatever that applied. i'd assume alot of the applicants are sub 3.4 range with weak DATs.
     
  29. critterbug

    critterbug I like big buttz. No Lie!
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    Very good point, but it is irrelevant to what I was arguing. I was simply commenting/disagreeing with one statement, and one statement only:

    The DAT really should be the be-all-end-all of the academic part of the dental school package.

    That statement just hit a nerve with me. I'm sorry, but it did. And BioGoly has already explained what he meant by it, and that he actually didn't mean it literally.

    But I'm sorry folks, I don't care what anyone says. GPA MATTERS!! and it always will. And I'm not gonna sit here and argue which schools are harder, which ones are easier....blah blah blah.....Pick an undergrad that you like, and go to it, and do the best you can against the competition you have. That's all one can do. Cuz at the end of the day, I don't care where you went, it is all a numbers game. A school is not gonna take many 3.2 Harvard grads over 3.9 state school grads....WHY YOU ASK!!?? Becasue it brings THEIR avg. numbers down, and TRUST me, schools LOVE to boast how high their avg GPA/DAT scores are.

    In my opinion, and a very humble one I might add, the DAT and GPA should be considered EQUALLY important. And I am almost positive that they are at most dental schools.

    A very easy way to put it: GPA shows consistency and work ethic. DAT scores show ability to retain knowledge, ability to take standardized tests, and ability to react under pressure conditions (WE all remember how stressfull the DAT was!!). And all the these qualitys are important characteristics to have in dental school, and as far as I can see, one is not more important than the other.
     
  30. fairbrother

    fairbrother Member
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    I went to Community College and then I went to U of M afterwords. I did relatively well in my classes in my last year and half due to the effort I put into it. At u of M, most classes I was in was graded like 2.7 is an average grade. So half the people in class will get below 2.7 in almost all classes I have been to except for non-science ones. I don't think it would be fair to studentd who are an average at U of M could get 3.5-3.7 at some other school and depending on different major as well. I personally believe that GPA doesn't really tell how smart the person is or which school it is from. I agree with Calculus1 on that if IVY leagu studnets are top 5 percent in highschool then they should all get 23+ in every section. But that doesn't happen. I know couple guys(we work in the same company) who went to IVY and they had to take DAT twice to get just 18-19 and both have GPA above 3.5 and trust me their worked harder than me for the DAT. So according to adcoms they are better candidates than someone who went to great state school has GPA 2.9 but has more knowledge from his classes and has 20's on DAT from as much hard work as those two guys. For me personally school name doesn't mean anything. I went to U of M only becasue they gave me more money in scholarships than Michigan State gave me. I don't think that schools make students better but good studnets make school better so If I am good then I will succeed in life whether I go to IVY or state school. I guess is personal choice.
     
  31. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
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    DAT trumps GPA, it has to. It's what makes your GPA valid, without it, there's no national standards. I know plenty more people with lower DATs that didn't get in and had a better GPA than me from the same school. I got into all three of the TX schools with a lower GPA than the accepted average from last year. On top of that I was a poli sci major which is super easy, so I had no excuse for having a lower overall. Yes it's just one test, and maybe it sucks that that's the way it is, but I KNOW that DAT is weighted heavier than GPA.
     
  32. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    There's no doubt that UW-Madison is a respectable state school - it's one of the best state schools. In fact it's one that IMO would deserve a little upward adjustment like U of M (another state school). I think there are some really good state schools in the country some of which are up there with the Ivy League schools. UC-Berkeley, U of M, are up there and many will mention UVa, and UNC among a few others.
     
  33. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
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    What about University of Arkansas? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
     
  34. sxr71

    sxr71 Senior Member
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    I really have to take exception to this whole concept of people who have the "ability to take standardized tests" or are "good test takers" or "have good test taking skills."

    Standardized tests in general require test takers to be familiar with the test format in order to do well, I won't argue with that. Everyone gets ample practice material to get familiar with the format and to develop a strategy to do well. Believe it or not the best "strategy" employed by the people who get the highest subject test scores is "know your $hit" (pardon my French). That's right, there is no way to succeed on a standardized subject test without having a good working knowledge of the material.

    Some people complain that they know their material but the test format threw them off, or that they couldn't handle the stress. Well, stress is a part of life, and in our profession we will be asked to apply our knowledge in stressful conditions. So that isn't a good excuse for poor standardized test scores. For people blaming format, everybody gets the same information on format. We're all on an even playing field when we take this test - there are no excuses for poor scores other than not having or developing a good working understanding of the material. One exception I can think of is having a bad test day, which could include being sick, or having an accident on the way to the test center or some other substantive factor. This really doesn't hold much weight if it is claimed twice.

    Thinking about what has been said in this thread so far, if I were on an adcom and somebody from an Ivy League school presents with an 18 AA or SA and with a 3.7 GPA then I just have to assume that something is wrong with this person's ability to hold knowledge.
     
  35. Woodsy

    Woodsy S-D-N Blue Blood
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    Obviously you haven't met those in my program. Some of those people didn't do so hot on the DAT, some dude had like a 13 in the PAT, but had like a 3.96 GPA, got into University of Toronto, which in my opinion is like 10 times harder to get into than most US schools and somewhat harder to get into than Ivy Leagues. The people in my program have like an average GPA of 3.75. It is like a pre-med/pre-dental/pre-professional factory. Though only been running for four years, there's like so far after 3rd year 26+ people who left for dental school and med school. For U of T dental school, there is like a 100% acceptance rate for those applied and received an interview. The program uses its political power (hardest program to get into in Canada the is pre-health, so you know the students are good) in the school to ensure the students get good marks and give glowing references (many faculty have MD and PhD's , or are leaders in research). Even then, we have WAY higher averages than those who are in the regualr Science program in our school and OWN them in the same courses where the Health Science faculty have no control (no playing with marks). Avin, you can ask your cousin. He knows about my program. Because the first class is graduating soon (this year), there are no figures of acceptances for every program but so far I know dental is ~99%, 100% with interview and projected to have a 60%-70% medical acceptance, and 100% for grad school, so there's a ~75-80% acceptance rate for students into some sort of post grad program. The each class has about 100-110 people, though they have accepted more later on.... What other program can do that?

    So I don't know how much the DAT counts because I know that if most of you guys were to go academically face to face with some of the people in my class, you'd get owned. I think that's why GPA does matter, it reflects consistency and long term ability. Now mind you some of us have gotten well above 20's as well. Actually many of us. But there are those who didn't yet they have stellar GPAs and are very well rounded. So my point is that some of these people might not have done as well on the DAT as I did (over 20's) they would have a stronger GPA than even mine, so that would put them in the same league as me. I've worked with these people, i know who they are, their ability, and know them personally since we are a tight knit group. Believe me to those who say GPA doesn't matter it does. On stuff like the DAT, sometimes you get LUCKY breaks, it is multiple choice after all...sometimes it is luck that determines whether you get like a 20 and a 26..(it doesn't vary much, just like 2 or 3 more correct answers) I mean everyone who is a science student if studied enough should do relatively decent on the DAT. It is the nerves or personality factors sometimes that keep people from doing well.....But these people are people who I don't want to be around, hence why I am taking so long to make my decision.

    BECAUSE MOST OF THEM I DON'T LIKE. A lot of them are GEEKS and real try-hards!
     
  36. UMDeeMan

    UMDeeMan Senior Member
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    canada...........ahahahahaha, pat yourself on the back some more.
     
  37. Calculus1

    Calculus1 G.V. Black Fan
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    Well now, doesn't Canada drop the lowest year of grades? If that were the case, then I would drop my freshman year and bump my GPA up to a 3.75, maybe a 3.8. On sidenote, I wasn't talking about the PAT, which a lot, including my school, don't count very heavily. Secondly, the PAT has no bearing on any class you could take in college. Woodsy, I'd like to know what the AA is of the students with the 13 PAT.
     
  38. Woodsy

    Woodsy S-D-N Blue Blood
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    That guy had a pretty average AA ~19 or so, that particular dude. Canada drops the lowest year but when I said 3.75 I meant NOT DROPPING ANY YEAR! If you drop their worst year, the class average would be like 3.85 or something. YOu might have that average but how many people can say they do? Percentage wise. It's all about relative percentage.



    :laugh:

    UDEEMan, I don't know what you are saying when I came and got accepted instantly in America.
     

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