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5th Year Undergrad Experiences/Success Stories


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#1 OntarioHopefully

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:23 AM

I've heard many stories of students receiving admission after completing a masters. However I have not heard much from those that chose to do a 5th extra year of their undergraduate studies (to improve their GPA). Has anyone taken this route, and if so was it successful? Would you do it again, or were there disadvantages you hadn't considered.

Any insight would be very appreciated!

#2 MathToMed

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:08 AM

Be careful with this - many schools have a policy in place that only courses taken in full year studies that lead toward completion of a bachelors degree can be used in the GPA calculation. Double check for your particular prospective schools! Only a few schools offer the possibility of taking a "special year" (Western comes to mind) or calculate GPA using absolutely all post-secondary courses (McMaster comes to mind).

 

Be sure to check the OMSAS handbook for the schools you're interested in, to see their particular policies on GPA calculation.


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#3 equus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:39 AM

Be careful with this - many schools have a policy in place that only courses taken in full year studies that lead toward completion of a bachelors degree can be used in the GPA calculation.

Yes, but you can also complete a 5th year of undergraduate studies by simply continuing in a 4-year program without graduating (which is what I'm doing this year). As long as your 5th year courses are considered part of your 4-year degree, there should be zero problems with recognition of the 5th year by med schools.


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#4 OntarioHopefully

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 06:19 AM

Yes, but you can also complete a 5th year of undergraduate studies by simply continuing in a 4-year program without graduating (which is what I'm doing this year). As long as your 5th year courses are considered part of your 4-year degree, there should be zero problems with recognition of the 5th year by med schools.


Yes this is what I am considering. Just to confirm: is it still okay to do this if you met all degree requirements after your 4th year? That is, I would have been eligible to graduate after 4 years.

Also (if you don't mind me asking), what were the deciding factors that led you to choose to complete a 5th year? Over perhaps working in a lab or pursuing graduate studies.

#5 equus

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 11:21 PM

Just to confirm: is it still okay to do this if you met all degree requirements after your 4th year? That is, I would have been eligible to graduate after 4 years.

 

Also (if you don't mind me asking), what were the deciding factors that led you to choose to complete a 5th year? Over perhaps working in a lab or pursuing graduate studies.

For your first question, it depends on your university; some will force you to graduate if you've met all the requirements. I wasn't sure what my university's policies were, but after speaking with my program's dean, I figured it would be best to play on the safe side. The dean agreed to let one of my courses that were supposed to count towards my degree NOT count, so that my student account said that I was missing one course to graduate.

 

I decided to do a 5th year because I am extremely close to being competitive for Ontario med schools; my grades are fine, and the only thing standing in my way is my MCAT score. If I did a master's degree after graduating from my 4-year degree, I wouldn't be able to reapply to med school for another 2 years. But since I am only doing a 5th year, I can rewrite the MCAT and reapply to med school this year. As well, I am taking some courses this year in order to be eligible to apply to some professional masters programs, in case I still do not get accepted to med school after this year.


"I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the life they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours" - Henry David Thoreau

 

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#6 OntarioHopefully

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 03:18 AM

For your first question, it depends on your university; some will force you to graduate if you've met all the requirements. I wasn't sure what my university's requirements were, but after speaking with my program's dean, I figured it would be best to play on the safe side. The dean agreed to let one of my courses that were supposed to count towards my degree NOT count, so that my student account said that I was missing one course to graduate.

 

I decided to do a 5th year because I am extremely close to being competitive for Ontario med schools; my grades are fine, and the only thing standing in my way is my MCAT score. If I did a master's degree after graduating from my 4-year degree, I wouldn't be able to reapply to med school for another 2 years. But since I am only doing a 5th year, I can rewrite the MCAT and reapply to med school this year. As well, I am taking some courses this year in order to be eligible to apply to some professional masters programs, in case I still do not get accepted to med school after this year.

Thanks for answering my questions :) You brought up an issue I had not considered (possibility of being forced to graduate).



#7 OntarioHopefully

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 03:19 AM

Also still hoping to hear more from students that have completed their 5th year!



#8 OntarioHopefully

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 01:23 AM

I apologize for bringing up an old thread. Just wondering, now that Ontario interview invitations have been sent out, were any students that completed a 5th year and were invited for an interview, and feel their 5th year contributed to this? Was it worth following this route? Thanks!



#9 bbsare

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 06:15 AM

OntarioMedHopeful, I think I can speak for all who took a 5th year to be eligible for schools like Western and Queens, and have received invites (or even those who are in 4th year and have received conditional invites from Western) will say that it was worth taking an extra year.



#10 malkynn

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 11:55 PM

I did 6 years of undergrad, not to bring my grades up but because I had no science pre-reqs and decided at the end of my BA to apply to med and dent, so it took an extra 2 years.
It didn't seem to affect anything in terms of getting interviews, but I was aked to justify why I spent so long in undergrad in my interviews. It never even crossed my mind as an issue until they started grilling me about it at ottawa u med and it definitely felt like they were fishing to see if I had just done it for a better gpa.
That said, that was the least brutal part of my ottawa u interview (the best part was when they told me "people like you in medicine get other people killed"...still got good waitlisted though,lol) so I think I was just doomed to getting grilled on everything that day.
(Seriously, years later, I still can't believe the craziness of that interview)

They asked me at McGill dental to justify my 2 extra years as well, but they were really cool about my explanation and liked how much research I did along with the extra years.
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#11 aspiringdoctor14

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 01:29 AM

I was just wondering if this thread can please continue. I'm quite lost as to whether or not I should take an extra year from Undergrad (5th year).  :(


When in doubt, ask yourself this question:

"How bad do you want it?" 

Have a nice day!  :)


#12 ExercMed

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 02:58 PM

I was just wondering if this thread can please continue. I'm quite lost as to whether or not I should take an extra year from Undergrad (5th year).  :(

It depends on what you want out of it. Are you looking to improve your GPA? Do an honours/research? Or feel like you should still be doing school if you don't get in this round (not necessarily a great reason). 
 



#13 keepingfaith

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:25 PM

I am about to finish my fifth year, but debating if I should do a sixth year. I pursued a fifth year to increase gpa and planning to apply to schools which looks at two years (western, queens). My first fours years are not competitive at all. Is there anyone else who had success after 6 years of undergrad? 



#14 aspiringdoctor14

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 01:03 AM

It depends on what you want out of it. Are you looking to improve your GPA? Do an honours/research? Or feel like you should still be doing school if you don't get in this round (not necessarily a great reason). 
 

I was looking to improve my GPA and possibly do some research on the side if I find one.

 

 

I am about to finish my fifth year, but debating if I should do a sixth year. I pursued a fifth year to increase gpa and planning to apply to schools which looks at two years (western, queens). My first fours years are not competitive at all. Is there anyone else who had success after 6 years of undergrad? 

Doing fifth year can be pretty scary but I admire your dedication. I don't have any experience with doing 6th year or knowing someone who did 6th year but its up to your current GPA and your MCAT score. If your current GPA is high enough then I think that doing a 6th year may be unnecessary. By the way, I don't want to ask a too personal question but does student aid still helps out a student who does a 5th year?


When in doubt, ask yourself this question:

"How bad do you want it?" 

Have a nice day!  :)


#15 ExercMed

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 01:10 PM

I was looking to improve my GPA and possibly do some research on the side if I find one.

 

In that case, then I think that it is a good use of time. I did a 5th year to get my honours and raise my GPA and it work out really well! 

 

 

I am about to finish my fifth year, but debating if I should do a sixth year. I pursued a fifth year to increase gpa and planning to apply to schools which looks at two years (western, queens). My first fours years are not competitive at all. Is there anyone else who had success after 6 years of undergrad? 

If you are looking to increase your GPA, as I assume you are, then it would be possible. There is a poster above that has taken a 6th year. However, as they say in their post, but it will be important to justify why you took 6 years to do an UG in an interview.



#16 keepingfaith

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 01:39 AM

I was looking to improve my GPA and possibly do some research on the side if I find one.

 

 

Doing fifth year can be pretty scary but I admire your dedication. I don't have any experience with doing 6th year or knowing someone who did 6th year but its up to your current GPA and your MCAT score. If your current GPA is high enough then I think that doing a 6th year may be unnecessary. By the way, I don't want to ask a too personal question but does student aid still helps out a student who does a 5th year?

 

 

Do you mean OSAP? I don't think they usually do but in my case, I had to justify my reasons for taking an extra year. However, if I decide to pursue one more year (6th), they will not provide any financial aid. 

 

In that case, then I think that it is a good use of time. I did a 5th year to get my honours and raise my GPA and it work out really well! 

 

 

If you are looking to increase your GPA, as I assume you are, then it would be possible. There is a poster above that has taken a 6th year. However, as they say in their post, but it will be important to justify why you took 6 years to do an UG in an interview.

Is it acceptable to use "low GPA" as a justification, of course with valid reasoning as to why the GPA was lower in the first couple of years. I guess it will all depend on my mcat score this summer and if I can do well, then sixth year is a definite possibility. 



#17 ExercMed

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 01:59 PM

Do you mean OSAP? I don't think they usually do but in my case, I had to justify my reasons for taking an extra year. However, if I decide to pursue one more year (6th), they will not provide any financial aid. 

 

Is it acceptable to use "low GPA" as a justification, of course with valid reasoning as to why the GPA was lower in the first couple of years. I guess it will all depend on my mcat score this summer and if I can do well, then sixth year is a definite possibility. 

Well, I think it can be put a little more eloquent than "low GPA". Taking more school to make yourself a better applicant is, in my mind, a perfectly acceptable justification. 






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