Canadian Universities That Accept Low GPA in 2024

Canada is a decent study destination and a welcoming country for international students. Generally, good GPAs (Grade Point Average) increase your admission chances but it isn’t all that universities here look at. So, if you have a low GPA, you can still study here in Canada, especially if you have other individual requirements. In this post, I will talk about Canadian universities that accept low GPA. This means that such schools consider beyond your GPA during the review of your application.

What is a Low GPA?

Well, first off, GPA isn’t the same everywhere because there are different GPA scales, like 4.0, 5.0, and 4.3. Some countries even use percentages instead of GPA. So, what counts as a low GPA? On a 4.0 scale, a GPA from 3.5 to 4 is seen as really good. On a 5.0 scale, it’s 4.5 to 5. And in terms of percentage, we’re talking 90% to 100%. But what about the 4.3 scale, you ask? It’s similar to the 4.2 scale, but it gives extra points for really tough classes. So, a GPA from 4 to 4.3 on this scale means you did well in some hard courses.

Apart from that, the 4.3 and 4.0 scales are pretty much the same. Now, for the low GPAs, on a 4.0 scale, a GPA between 2.7 and 3 is considered low. On a 5.0 scale, it’s between 2.5 and 3.5. And if we are talking percentages, it’s between 60% and 75%.

Canadian Universities That Accept Low GPA

We’ll get into this soon, but let’s start with what fields are more lenient with GPAs. Not every field is open to those with lower GPAs in these Canadian universities. Generally speaking, my suggestion is to steer clear of sciences and engineering if your GPA isn’t strong. Instead, lean towards areas that value your skills over your GPA. Fields such as arts, management, business, and some finance programs are more welcoming to lower GPAs because they prioritize your abilities. So, when looking for programs, focus on those that don’t weigh your GPA as heavily and instead, value your personal skills. These are the types of degrees you should consider if your GPA isn’t high. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some universities on my list do offer opportunities in sciences, engineering, and even health sciences to students with lower GPAs. So, don’t lose hope. You can pursue engineering, sciences, or health sciences even with a lower GPA. That said, let’s find out these Canadian universities that accept low GPA.

1. Memorial University of Newfoundland

First, we have the Memorial University of Newfoundland. This university has a unique way of looking at applications. They use a holistic admission process, which favors international students with low GPAs. Memorial University of Newfoundland allows you to show what else you bring to the table. This university considers your academic background but they also really value letters of recommendation, your personal statement, and any extracurricular activities you have been involved in. So, the way Memorial University of Newfoundland sees it, you’re more than just your GPA.

2. University of Regina

So, the second on this list is the University of Regina. This university accommodates students in engineering, sciences, arts, medicine, and nursing, even those with lower GPAs. So, if your GPA isn’t at the top but you are still interested in these fields, the University of Regina should be your go-to. It’s not like there’s no minimum GPA requirement. In fact, most universities, and I mean not just a few but a lot, do have a minimum GPA benchmark. However, not meeting this GPA doesn’t automatically disqualify you from applying. There are other factors that the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, prioritizes, including your work experience, involvement in the community, and other relevant skills. All you have to do in your application is to emphasize your strengths, even if your GPA is a bit below the requirement.

3. King’s University College

So, I also have King’s University College on this list. This university is home to many study areas, including arts, business, history, and humanities. So, if any of these areas catch your interest, King’s University College is one of the Canadian universities that accept low GPA. There are programs for undergraduates, masters, and even some PhDs in several fields.

4. Simon Fraser University

So, the 4th university we’re talking about is Simon Fraser University located in British Columbia. This university is known for its inclusive admissions policy. They really focus on a well-rounded application and consider different parts of an applicant’s profile. Simon Fraser University checks your academic history, often seen through your GPA. But beyond that, they review your extracurricular activities, any volunteer work you have done, and other personal experiences that show you have skills and qualities that would convince the university.

What Simon Fraser University is looking for in your application is something you’ll bring that’s valuable to the table. So, international students with low GPAs still have a shot at getting admitted if they can have other strengths and qualities beyond just GPA.

5. Vancouver Community College

At number 5, we have the Vancouver Community College. I picked this one because it considers skill development. If you are furthering your education, improving your skills, or pursuing apprenticeships and skill-based degrees, apply for admission at the Vancouver Community College. This is one of the few schools here that offer courses in culinary arts and baking. By the way, I wrote about some of the cheapest culinary schools in Canada for international students—make sure you read this article. While I have some personal reservations about pursuing culinary arts or baking, if that’s what you want to study, Vancouver Community College is where you should apply.

6. Carleton University

Let’s also talk about this prominent school, Carleton University. This school really pays attention to your entire profile, not just your GPA. It’s simply one of the Canadian universities that accept low GPA and don’t just make their decision based on your grades. So, Carleton University is in Ottawa and is known for welcoming everyone with its admissions process. They definitely value high grades, and it’s something they look for, but it’s not the only thing. Carleton University also takes a good look at your personal statement—so really focus on making it stronger in your application. This school is also interested in your recommendation letters, your activities outside of school, and any relevant experiences.

7. Capilano University

Coming up next on my list is Capilano University. This university has programs in arts, humanities, and health sciences, along with some diploma programs. It accepts GPAs as low as 2.2, or equivalently, 60% in high school grades. This means you have a chance to apply here at Capilano University regardless of your grades. You don’t even need an IELTS score to apply as you can get admitted without it.

8. University of Manitoba

The 8th school on the list is the University of Manitoba. It is one of the Canadian universities that accept low GPA, that’s because it looks at more than just GPA on applications. It’s not that there isn’t a minimum GPA requirement; there definitely is. This university just sets a standard with its application process. But, they also evaluate your English language skills, your personal statement, your recommendation letters, and other factors that show how well you fit into the program.

Now, pay attention because we’ve mentioned the personal statement. This is a chance for you to showcase your abilities, present your profile, and share your story. I often advise applicants to include a personal statement even if it’s not required by the school. You need it to boost your chances of getting admitted.

9. Concordia University of Edmonton

At number 9, we have Concordia University of Edmonton. This one is a bit similar to Capilano University but with slightly higher admission requirements. Concordia University offers studies in the faculties of arts, sciences, and management. You need a minimum GPA of 2.0 or 65% on the percentage scale for admission. There are also many courses at the undergraduate, master’s, and even PhD levels.

Can You Be Admitted Into a Canadian University with Low GPA?

So, yes, you can study in Canada with a low GPA. While revealing the universities, we mentioned that these schools consider other factors other than GPA. So, such factors are aspects you should work on to improve your chances. For example, you should read harder to get a high score on the GRE or GMAT. You also want to craft an impressive statement of purpose. Even your recommendation matters a lot. I often advise students to secure some strong recommendation letters from people they know.

Now, if your GPA isn’t high, even good experience in your field can really work in your favor. Also, before you even apply for this admission in Canada, try to be involved in extracurricular activities to build your profile. You need all these factors to earn an advantage when applying with a low GPA.

Tips to Gain Admission in Canada with Low GPA

1. Seek Admission to a School with Rolling Admission

One thing you probably didn’t know is that if you apply to a university with rolling admissions, your chances of admission are already twice as high. So, target Canadian universities that offer rolling admissions. What does that mean? Unlike the traditional method where applications are reviewed based on the fall or winter term, rolling admissions mean your application is reviewed as soon as it’s submitted. For instance, universities like Acadia University or Mount Allison University in Canada operate on this basis.

2. Find Universities with a Low Barrier to GPA

Here’s another piece of advice, and make sure you pay close attention to this one. Search for universities that don’t ask for a high GPA when applying for their Master’s or PhD programs. Some universities in Canada, like the University of Toronto or the University of British Columbia, set the bar pretty high with a minimum GPA requirement of around 3.0 or 3.3. Unfortunately, the average GPA of students who actually get in can be much higher. For instance, in some years, the average GPA of students accepted into the University of Toronto or UBC might reach up to 3.8 or 3.9. This means your own chances are pretty slim.

So, seek admission from universities with lower GPA requirements to start with, such as Simon Fraser University, Acadia University, University of New Brunswick, University of Waterloo, and a few others I’ve mentioned here as the Canadian universities that accept low GPA.

But don’t stop there. I have a trick for you. Now, take the time to find out the average GPA of students who have been admitted in the past. Do a quick Google search before applying to any university to see the average GPA of their admitted students. This will give you a better idea of your actual chances of getting accepted before you even apply. Even if a university lists a lower GPA requirement on its website, if the average GPA of admitted students is high, your chances of admission could still be low.

3. Look for Programs That Don’t Emphasize GPA

Search for programs that focus less on GPA and more on other aspects. For instance, the MBA program at the University of Western Ontario values your work experience and your recommendation letters highly. If you have solid work experience or strong recommendations from well-known professors, this could really help you.

You can also directly look for universities and programs that don’t prioritize GPA as much. This search will lead you to options that value other criteria, like your work experience, recommendation letters, and test scores, such as the GRE or GMAT. So, aim for universities that consider the whole application or other factors besides just GPA.

4. Play to Your Strength

Focus on what you are good at. Not everyone has to join careers such as being a doctor, engineer, or lawyer. What do you excel in? If your GPA isn’t top-notch, what are your strengths? For instance, if you are skilled in sports, look for programs that value athletic abilities. If you are a strong manager, find programs that appreciate leadership and management skills. And if you are great at research—knowing that research abilities don’t always reflect in your GPA—I’ve seen many students with fantastic research skills but low GPAs.

If research is where you shine, pursue a degree that recognizes the value of research. Once you pinpoint what you are good at, make sure to emphasize that in your application. Got a high GRE score? Let that be the focal point of your application. Exceptional at research? Highlight that. Completed an impressive internship? Use it to make your application stand out.

You could always identify the strongest aspect you bring to a program and center your application around it. It’s a common mistake to bury your strengths somewhere in your application where they might be overlooked. So, highlight your strengths prominently.

Documents Required for Admission

So, what kind of paperwork do you need to submit when applying to universities for an undergraduate, master’s, or PhD program? To start, you’ll need some form of identification to prove your identity. This is something everyone has to provide. It could be something like your national ID card or your passport. Next, you’ll need to meet the language requirements. Except for Capilano University, perhaps, most universities will ask for proof of English proficiency. This could be your IELTS scores, or if your previous education was conducted in English, a transcript or a letter from your university confirming this might suffice. Then, there are essays.

You’ll need to craft a statement of purpose and possibly some cover letters. These are documents you’ll write on your own. Another requirement is your academic records, which include your degrees and transcripts. This is a record of your academic journey, showcasing your grades and overall academic performance. You’ll need reference letters. These are letters you’ll request from your teachers or professors that show your academic abilities and personal qualities.

Conclusion

We have looked at 9 Canadian universities that accept low GPA. Now, here is a piece of advice just for you. Focus on your skills. We can’t all be doctors, engineers, or lawyers. If your GPA is low, play to your strengths. For instance, if you are skilled in sports, look for programs that value athletic abilities. If you’re a strong manager, find programs that appreciate leadership and management skills. As for someone who does better in research, let the school know about it in your application.

The trick is to find a school that is not GPA-focused and pitch your skills to them. Don’t make the mistake of burying your strengths somewhere in your application where they might be overlooked. So, highlight them, and remember that your application should be built around your strengths, not the other way around.

Read AlsoHow to Apply for Scholarship in Canada for Masters

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