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Understanding AMCAS GPAs

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Lauren DiProspero

Written by Lauren DiProsperoon March 15th, 2022

I began my undergraduate admissions career at Stanford University where I helped coordinate diversity events and outreach. This ignited a passion for higher education which led me to Columbia University where, after earning my masters, I began recruiting and reviewing the applications of students applying to Columbia College from all around the country including the northeast, mid-west, Texas and California. I also reviewed the applications of international students from countries across Asia as well as Canada and Mexico. During my time at Columbia, I was Director of Admissions at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons where I oversaw the entire medical school admissions process, including recruitment, application review, interview days, and admitted student events. From there I became the Director of Enrollment Management at the University of San Francisco where I oversaw a team that supported both undergraduate and graduate admissions. In that role I recruited in Southern California and reviewed applications from multiple domestic territories for the undergraduate admissions team. Most recently, I was the senior director at Stanford Medicine, where I again oversaw the entire medical school admissions process.
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When you were in high school, there were just two GPAs: weighted and unweighted. That GPA may have been in any number of grading systems, and it was up to the colleges to which you applied to make sense of your transcript. AMCAS, the application platform for most U.S. allopathic medical schools, standardizes the GPA. This allows medical schools to focus on your application instead of specifics of a college’s system. You will be required to self-report and submit all required transcripts so they can verify your work. From those transcripts, AMCAS calculates up to three GPAs. It can be a bit confusing which courses count towards which GPA depending on your path to medical school. Cumulative Undergraduate GPA This GPA is based on all undergraduate work no matter the subject. That can include all classes taken for your college degree. It also includes classes you may have taken ay community college over the summer during your undergraduate years. It may even include your study abroad grades. Additionally, if you enroll in a post-bacc program, those classes will count towards this GPA if they are designated as undergraduate classes. BCPM GPA BCPM stands for biology, chemistry, physics, and math. This GPA is composed of all undergraduate classes you have taken in these subjects. The interesting thing about this GPA is that you are required to designate which classes count toward BCPM. AMCAS has a Course Classification Guide to help you determine which category the class may fall under. You can also ask your pre-med advisor, especially if it is an interdisciplinary class. Graduate GPA This GPA is composed of any graduate level classes you have taken. This includes masters’ programs, including Special Masters, MBA, PhD, and so on. While this may now seem straight forward, you will likely have questions based on your specific experience. AMCAS provides an Application Guide each year in which they go into significant detail and address many common questions and experiences of applicants. This guide, and your pre-health advisor, will be helpful in answering your questions.

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