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How to get admitted to a better university after doing poorly in highschool?

Member
Jul 31, 2017
411 posts
125 upvotes
Brown Thug wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 1:51 pm
I went to professional school after my BA. Nobody cares where you did your undergrad in Canada; they're all the same. They don't even care in the US, as I know someone who did his BA at York and went to Yale law school. https://www.speakers.ca/speakers/jamil-jivani/

Yes, they do care when it comes to grad school. I've been to grad school and am now a prof. Trust me, I know how the system works and they most certainly do care where you went. Not only do they care about the school, but they often judge you compared to others who came from the same school. Hell, in referre's letters profs are asked to rank the candidate compared to others from the same school & program, especially ones who went on to the school to which the applicant is applying.
Jr. Member
Jan 8, 2010
126 posts
41 upvotes
SkynyrdsInyrds wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 8:06 pm
Yes, they do care when it comes to grad school. I've been to grad school and am now a prof. Trust me, I know how the system works and they most certainly do care where you went. Not only do they care about the school, but they often judge you compared to others who came from the same school. Hell, in referre's letters profs are asked to rank the candidate compared to others from the same school & program, especially ones who went on to the school to which the applicant is applying.
I'll default to your expertise for academia, but it definitely does not matter for professional programs like law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, etc. I'm in one of these programs - GPA and standardized test score (LSAT, MCAT, PCAT, OAT, etc.) is all that matters for them.

I'm also very skeptical about how much your undergrad school matters for masters programs. I went to York and a crap ton of York students do their masters at top tier schools. The same goes for people I've seen at other schools like Ryerson, Brock, Guelph, etc. I see a lot on LinkedIn as well. No doubt, they would compare the applicant with other applicants who've applied from that same school, but doesn't this just mean that they would accept the strongest applicants with the best research experiences and grades? You can go to U of T for undergrad and graduate with a B/B+ average and go to York and graduate with an A/A+ average, strong references, and research experiences. Why would they accept the U of T candidate over the York candidate in this case? This is why your post confuses me. Masters programs want to accept the best candidates and there are strong candidates graduating from every university. I just know way too many people who've done their undergrads at lower ranked universities, then went on to do their master's degrees at schools like U of T, McGill, UBC, etc.
Member
Jul 31, 2017
411 posts
125 upvotes
Brown Thug wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 11:13 pm
I'll default to your expertise for academia, but it definitely does not matter for professional programs like law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, etc. I'm in one of these programs - GPA and standardized test score (LSAT, MCAT, PCAT, OAT, etc.) is all that matters for them.
Only to a certain degree. If two people have the same GPA and test scores, and their recommendation letters are basically a wash, they will likely take the person who came out of the better university because they know that it is harder to succeed at the better university and that grades attained there would likely have been higher at a lesser school (ie. they will take someone from U of T or Waterloo over someone from Brock or Trent). By the same token, undergrad admissions committees know that it is tougher to succeed at a school like Upper Canada College than it is at someplace like North Peel Secondary and they are more likely to accept someone from UCC who has slightly lower grades than someone from NPS.


I'm also very skeptical about how much your undergrad school matters for masters programs. I went to York and a crap ton of York students do their masters at top tier schools. The same goes for people I've seen at other schools like Ryerson, Brock, Guelph, etc. I see a lot on LinkedIn as well. No doubt, they would compare the applicant with other applicants who've applied from that same school, but doesn't this just mean that they would accept the strongest applicants with the best research experiences and grades? You can go to U of T for undergrad and graduate with a B/B+ average and go to York and graduate with an A/A+ average, strong references, and research experiences. Why would they accept the U of T candidate over the York candidate in this case?
Because they know that it is tougher to succeed at U of T than at York, and that grades attained at U of T would have been higher elsewhere.
Masters programs want to accept the best candidates and there are strong candidates graduating from every university.
But not all universities are equal - consider my U of T or Waterloo grad vs. Brock or Trent grad example above.

I just know way too many people who've done their undergrads at lower ranked universities, then went on to do their master's degrees at schools like U of T, McGill, UBC, etc.
In graduate programs supervisors matter too - if a supervisor wants someone (say because they like their proposed research project, or they know the person's undergrad advisor), they will get them.
Deal Addict
May 30, 2012
3318 posts
536 upvotes
Montreal
Brown Thug wrote:
Dec 25th, 2018 1:51 pm
I went to professional school after my BA. Nobody cares where you did your undergrad in Canada; they're all the same. They don't even care in the US, as I know someone who did his BA at York and went to Yale law school. https://www.speakers.ca/speakers/jamil-jivani/
I also know a guy who smoked for 30 years and lived until 95.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 15, 2015
1237 posts
159 upvotes
Markham, ON
It's only December. You can still improve your grades. Work hard now and apply to places you want to go. Worse case scenario, you get rejected, best case scenario you get accepted.

Remember, there is always a waitlist and sometimes accepted applicants may reject an offer from an university because it was not their first choice or they cannot afford tuition.

A question to ask yourself is if you are willing to apply to a lesser program and transfer into the program you want by doing well in the first year of university. Just an FYI, it's very hard to do well in the first year of university. Poor grade is not the end of the world.

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