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Showing content with the highest reputation on 09/18/2019 in Posts

  1. 7 points
    I have been asked by many users to develop a detailed guideline on how to effectively tackle UofT BPE’s. I am pleased to share with you an overall mental framework to help you in this process. This is followed with a brief commentary on each of the 4 BPE’s. My credentials: I have helped 60+ students receive acceptances to Canadian medical schools across the country this past cycle. Specifically, 20+ were admitted to UofT med in the 2018/2019 Cycle. This is advice I have accumulated over time. I also offer editing services should you be interested. Why I make long posts like this: There is no doubt that applying to medical school is very stressful. There are so many factors one needs to consider to be competitive. I also understand that these essays can be stressful for many applicants and I hope this guideline will help alleviate some of that stress. My overall vision is to help create a collaborative culture where we can all learn from one another. Doing that makes me very happy! Disclaimer: I am not claiming this is the definitive guide of how these essays ought to be written. If anything, this is simply my take. These essays highlight cultural diversity and variety of experiences. I am only giving these suggestions as plausible approaches that can work. Certainly, other effective methods are going to be equally valid. Please be wary of that. UofT Med statistics in 2018: 3265 applicants --> 639 interviews granted --> ~259 students accepted Once you get the interview, the format is in MPI (I will make a post about this in January) 15 Overall Tips for Good Writing: 1) Be engaging in your essays by developing a unique voice *your voice* a. Be selective in the examples that you use b. The Johns Hopkins University has a very helpful sample of essays that I think represent the breadth and depth of engagement, stylistic approaches and the art of the narrative. c. I am not asking you to emulate these essays, as the AMCAS has a different format, but this should give you some ideas. https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2015/12/Sample-HPCA-Essays.AY2017.pdf 2) Be reflective—don’t just describe an experience you had. a. Enthusiasm shows in writing b. Demonstrate understanding of other people’s perspective. Connect the dots. 3) Avoid long sentences: a. Shorter sentences that transition well are more meaningful than longer sentences. 4) Don’t be verbose a. Clarity of thought and ideas are highly prized. Practically by everyone. b. Using big fancy words, won’t impress the admissions. c. If you are too technical and they do not understand what you are talking about, it will not help your file scorers. 5) You don’t have to have an activity from your ABS when writing your BPE’s. a. When using your ABS, be sure to choose the most meaningful ones. Less typical examples are equally as good as typical examples. b. For the personal one (BPE#4), it is perfectly fine to talk about something personal. 6) Always have a clear rationale as to what you are writing about. a. I cannot stress how crucial it is to brainstorm ideas. Knowing why you chose a specific sentence, and what purpose it serves, will help you create outstanding writing. b. Develop your ideas into a coherent point form structure before you begin writing in full sentences. c. This helps you remove fluff and only include what matters. 7) Make sure you are answering the questions: a. It seems simple enough, but when some questions have two parts, you want to make sure your answers are proportionate and reasonable to what the prompt wants. b. Share your opinions about issues that are important in healthcare (BPE #1) 8) Don’t repeat the prompt. a. Some of the BPE’s ask about your opinion. You can just clearly state it. You need not be 9) If for some of the BPE’s, you like to mention activities from your 32 ABS, feel free to cite the number at the end of your sentence. a. For example, I personally prefer this notation: [#X] where X is the number listed on your ABS activity. b. You could also cite the verifier number, but it is not necessary. 10) Avoid clichés. 11) Find logical gaps in your writing by reading your writing aloud. 12) Make sure transitions are smooth. a. I don’t mean to say use transitory words to fill in the gap. b. I mean to say that your logical thinking, as reflected in your sentences, should follow from one point to another. 13) Use examples only in context of helping you answer the question. The main purpose of the BPE’s is to use personal evidence/work experience/reflection/introspection to address what you are being asked. The goal of the BPE is not for you to magnify an activity. That is the goal of the ABS extensions. 14) The revision step is highly crucial. Its purpose is to reduce, revise and rethink. Probably, in that order. a. If you are over the word-limit, in your rough sketch, it is okay. b. This is when you get to go through and navigate through your writing to keep what is essential and omit what is not. c. Ask for other people’s perspective on your writing—even if you do not agree with their suggestions, different angles of looking at a piece of writing, inevitably leads to its enhancement.  15) Use Bertrand Russell’s 3 step formula. I will quote it for you: a. Never use a long word if a short word will do. b. If you want to make a statement with a great many qualifications, put some of the qualifications in separate sentences. c. Do not let the beginning of your sentence lead the reader to an expectation which is contradicted by the end. d. Read his short guide on how he wrote: http://www.pereestupinya.com/pdf/Russell,_Bertrand-How_I_Write.pdf Commentary on the 4 BPE's: Your go-to resource should be this link: https://md.utoronto.ca/news/admissions-blog-brief-personal-essays-and-how-they-are-assessed As well as this link: http://applymd.utoronto.ca/non-academic-requirements Make sure you keep your word count does not exceed 250 words. They are strict about this. Make sure you represent the 4 clusters Do this after you have answered the question Revise your entries. Show. Don't tell. Saying you have leadership experience many times, is not the same as showing how you led a conference for X number of people and had Y number of tasks and learned Z number of valuable skills. Be methodical. BPE #1: Commentary “Reducing the economic gap may be impossible without also addressing the gap in empathy.” ― Daniel Goleman. Why is this the case? How might healthcare professionals advocate to help reduce these gaps? This essay asks you to develop a relationship between "reducing the economic gap" and "the gap in empathy". You need to be able to show you lack of empathy affects the economic gap or vice versa. That connection needs to be very clear. You should start by reading up on Daniel Goleman. He wrote a book on Emotional Intelligence. It's well-worth taking the time to read it. Also, consult YouTube for interviews and talks he has had. Interpret his ideas in context. Have specific solutions for the second part. of the question. Instead of thinking on a macro-scale, really address how healthcare professional can advocate for filling in these gaps. You don't have to have personal experiences here. You are not a healthcare professional... yet! Be analytical and reflective. It is okay to cite your source if you choose to add it in. BPE #2: Commentary Uncomfortable conversations, although difficult and even hostile at times, are not necessarily unsafe ones. Do you agree or disagree? Discuss a time where you had to partake in such an uncomfortable conversation and how you handled it. The first part should make it clear whether you agree or not. Don't leave this last. Unless, you want to build up and then give your rationale. Highlight a specific instance, from your life, where you had a difficult time conversing with someone. It doesn't have to be medically relevant. It can be, but doesn't need to be. Briefly provide context what was uncomfortable. Show what the outcome of the uncomfortable conversation was. Ensure you address how you handled it. Such an important part they want you to explore. BPE #3: Commentary There are many relationships that have an inherent power imbalance, such as teacher/student, physician/patient, or police officer/citizen. Describe a situation where you have experienced a power imbalance and what it taught you. Power imbalance functions on a spectrum. You can be on either side of it. As long as you explain that relationship well, both sides are equally valid. Again, it doesn't need have to be medically related. How you handled the power imbalance is very important. It should be carefully discussed. If you had power, you need to explain your responsibilities and how you adhered to them. If you lacked power, and were asked to do so and so things, you need to explain your dynamic with your supervisor/mentor. What you got out of this is so important. In fact, it is half of the question. I see a lot of people spending 200 words just explaining context and then with very few words discussing the outcome. Make sure you have a good proportion. BPE #4: Commentary Failure is an essential part of the learning process. Discuss a recent setback you experienced and overcame. What resources and/or tools helped you overcome this failure? Probably, the hardest of all the BPE questions because what you choose to talk about absolutely should fit in the parameters of the prompt. Be sure that what you write is personal and was --indeed-- a failure. Don't talk about a shortcoming or a minor dilemma. Stick to how you define failure and in what scope it was. It is so crucial that you explain how you were able to manage it, or if you were not able to mange it, what you learned from it. This does not have to be from your 32 ABS. In fact, the stronger examples, will be highly personal. The admissions wants to see you in your vulnerable state and see how you overcame it. Remember to be mature, professional and receptive. The tone for this question is very important. And with that, this concludes my advice. If you find this information helpful, please give it a like. It would help me in the future as I develop more content on the forum. I wish you all the best and hope that you all receive the outcome you are looking for. Best of luck to you!
  2. 3 points
    Frederick Sanger

    ABS advice

    I am thinking of writing a highly specific guideline (Similar to my posts on the UBC, Calgary, UofT, Western and other forums) on how to approach the ABS sketches for this year's applicants to Queen's and other Ontario schools. If you are interested, please like this post. Since it does take me a considerable amount of time to create these content, I want to assess the demand first. Thanks.
  3. 2 points
    I have only recently begun making posts. Means a lot, @Vivieeeeeee. Thank you so much!
  4. 2 points

    2.7 cgpa please help

    Hi David, Firstly, good luck on your pursuit, after all, this is the community where we share common goals and support each other throughout the process. If this is truly what you wanted to do, you should pursue it without doubts and I implore you to do so with full dedication. A lot of our peers here are trying to tell you harsh facts and you don't seem to be too receptive of it. I don't think they mean any harm, but I do think you need to think and reflect on your situation. Pre-med is a harsh route and unfortunately our previous actions are final, this isn't an industry where GPA matters little in the grand scheme of things (e.g. Computer Science). What I can do is help you look at it in depth and perhaps explain some of these things without the hostility, let's look your situation together: If you were to get a perfect 4.0 in the next 2 years of undergrad (if you stay in Ontario) Your GPA would still be below the cutoffs for UBC, Alberta, Calgary, Sask, Manitoba, UofT, Ottawa, McGill (& all of QC), Memorial. The calculation is simple, say you have 3.5x3 + 4x2, your aGPA would still only be at a maximum of 3.7, this is the best possible scenario as I've even taken out your worst year. You should investigate the statistics for each medical school to get a better idea. This leaves you effectively with 4 schools, let's talk about 3 of them first: Western, Queen's, Dalhousie These schools only look at your last 2 years (unsure about dal tbh). They are your best schools, if you are serious about applying, you need to have a perfect academic year, with zero missteps. Regardless of what you are claiming you can do, you haven't provided any evidence resembling you can put two school years of above 3.7 study together, I think you can be reasonable here and understand why some people are skeptical. Furthermore, we can talk about McMaster and Western, if you look at their cutoff/entry stats, you need to absolutely ace the MCAT and CARS. Please do not assume that you will just waltz in and do well. Look around, how many of our peers have excellent achievements but yet cannot break that 128 cars block. Again, you haven't provided any evidence that you are better than 90% of other MCAT takers. Finally, for Queen's, you need to show some excellence in your ABS entries. I am going to be frank with you, your ECs are below average. Your hours spent at each activity is very low, and the depth of your experiences are like every other traditional applicant, you simply do not stand out. Please look around on these forums, look at the successful matriculants, they have achieved great things: national level athletes, published research in high impact journals, started their own initiatives and companies. They don't even bother to list things they've done for less than 300 hours. For someone with a lower GPA, I would have expected much more out of your ECs. You need to be working on them HARD during your next two years. Oh and by the way, make this a 3 year endeavour, you cannot apply until the cycle after you are done your 2nd undergrad. You need all your grades to show on your transcript and you can only apply the cycle after. This includes a year of waiting around, which is why some people have suggested you go into another field that can generate some income while you are applying. Putting it all together: You need to ace these last 2 years You need to ace the MCAT and CARS You need to continue these ECs while making great strides in other ones. You need to commit for the next 3 years if this is what you want to do. You haven't shown any capability of doing any of these items in isolation, let alone simultaneously. Please do it properly, no slip ups, no excuses, your actions are final. Once you commit, you don't want to regret what would be 7 years of pursuit for no other job prospects. I hope this post has made you realize your situation and reflect a bit on what our peers are trying to tell you. p.s The alternative is moving to saskatchewan or manitoba for 2 years to do your undergrad. Think deeply about it, because the other people were trying to give you good advice. Look at their in province stats. It is honestly your best chance, and if you are certain this is what you want to do, you should commit to it.
  5. 2 points

    Second degree

    Dude, chill. If the OP wants to give another shot at medicine by raising their GPA, let them. This is a much smarter 2 year investment than going abroad for medicine. At the very least, the higher GPA in this second degree may work in their favour for US medical schools. People have different hustles they have to do. OP may not get into a Canadian medical school regardless and go abroad anyways, but that is their choice to make. Everyone has a different hustle to end up at the finish line. Let them do theirs.
  6. 2 points

    2020 Entrance Stress

    No sense stressing about it, no one here has any idea what it means. They could contact every single one of your verifiers or none. Your application is done, it is out of your hands, enjoy your life for the next few months. If you get an interview, do your prep, interview and then again, just wait. I saw so many people stressing about verifiers/ starting to worry about interviews they hadn’t even received yet last cycle. It’s not healthy to cause yourself so much stress when it isn’t needed. Not trying to be critical I just think it is important to separate ourselves from the process until we are required to be involved again.
  7. 1 point
    If money isn't an issue for you, there's no reason not to apply. Although its unlikely the cutoffs drop to 127, you never know, so why not apply and see what happens.
  8. 1 point
    Man, really wish I saw this last year. This is so well-written.
  9. 1 point

    2020 Entrance Stress

    I've had many verifiers contacted, 6+ right now. First time applying to UBC. Not sure if it means anything. I've read it means nothing, and told by past applicants its a good sign. I'm choosing to believe the former to avoid getting my hopes up ahah.
  10. 1 point

    Federal Election 2019

    I am an immigration lawyer with the federal government, and a person of colour whose family came to Canada as refugees. For anonymity reasons, I cannot say more about my workplace. Though, I will say that there is some incorrect information floating around this thread about how our immigration system works and the processing and admittance of refugees. Stick to what you know. Immigrants crossing into our borders through illegal channels do not have the upper hand when going through the refugee system. Many of these people actually need this status more urgently than people still living in their countries, because when you are escaping persecution and hardship, you will do anything to get your family and yourself to a safer place. If this means obtaining fraudulent documents and risking life and limb to cross an international border, you do it. There are people who have done this to come to Canada that have lost their body parts in the process, and some who have even died (https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/dominican-man-dies-on-quebec-n-y-border-trying-to-reach-his-daughter). It is not an easy thing to risk everything and uproot you and your family from a place that you've always called home. It is an act of desperation and usually there is a good reason for it. Again, people who do not understand immigration law and policy, and whom do not work in this field, should not be spouting misinformation and stereotypes as fact. Many of the people working to accept refugees in Canada in the government hold Conservative views and are White (typically leaning on the older side as well). Immigration and Refugee Protection Act Objectives — refugees (2) The objectives of this Act with respect to refugees are (e) to establish fair and efficient procedures that will maintain the integrity of the Canadian refugee protection system, while upholding Canada’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings; The Canadian immigration system is not processing refugees by the manner in which they came to Canada, but rather engages a complex process that takes into account a wide range of factors that include the circumstances leading up to their arrival in Canada, and the hardship and persecution they would face if they were to return to their country of origin. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I have not decided on whom I will be voting for in the upcoming election, but I will not vote Liberal, this much I know. I am tired of the political correctness and aggressive attitudes surrounding liberal ideology today. Everything is on the extreme end with them. I used to be liberal before realizing that I am more of a centrist, and being liberal means something else entirely today. The Liberal party's entire platform is centered around how Conservatives are racist, evil, White people that want to only help their rich, White friends and nothing more. It is fearmongering and seeks to differentiate the White, male, conservative as being the Other, rather than seeking inclusion, unity, and acceptance. We are first and foremost CANADIANS in a proud land. I've met more accepting Conservatives with neutral beliefs and attitudes than I have Liberals. Many people are Conservative and vote Conservative simply for their economic policies and honestly, if hardworking people want to focus on themselves and their families, and not care too much about larger social and political concerns, they have the right to do so. We live in a democracy after all. We should not be directing people to feel or think one way or another. This is what the liberal ideology has come to. No, I am not a racist for not voting Liberal and it is laughable that this is being suggested by some people. A poster above has faced racial attitudes from White people and holds a deep resentment towards them. I have faced this as well. However, a lot of racists are visible minorities. You should hear what South Asians say about Blacks and Arab/Muslim people and vice-versa, what East Asians say about South Asians, what Blacks say about Whites, and so on. There are a lot of racial attitudes and stereotypes even among people leaning on the left, and among visible minorities. I have even been called out for having male privilege (in an incredibly aggressive manner) by left-leaning females who are White and had a more luxurious and easy upbringing than me. This is the kind of society we live in now, where we judge people by their political and religious beliefs, by their skin colour, race, and ethnicity, rather than by simply viewing people as people and their own person. I find myself agreeing more and more with Conservatives today who just want to live their own lives without being called racists. Look, there are people on the extreme end in every political spectrum. If you think most racists are Conservatives, then most visible minorities also hold racial attitudes and stereotypes (why do you think interracial marriages are so frowned upon?); the latter simply does a better job of hiding it when going outside their homes in a Western society. Why will I not be voting Liberal? Among a host of reasons that include scandals, lies, incompetence, and fearmongering, it is all this political correctness and aggressive direction they are try to steer normal, hardworking Canadian citizens into. The Liberal party is the new twitter handle for toxic social media rhetoric and extremism. I would rather vote NDP, Green, Conservative, or anyone else running solo than for that party with its current leader - who talks about working for the middle-class when in reality is just another rich, White male being a hypocrite and pretending to be something he is not. Peace.
  11. 1 point
    Yes, you only need 2 letters of reference for the dual program. For the MD, you will be filling out a list of verifiers for what goes on your CV. The information is available on the McGill website too.
  12. 1 point
    Not necessarily. You certainly should be honest in giving honest examples from your own life. When you consider the 4th BPE which asks about failure, you can certainly get personal and reflect on them. It needs not be among your ABS. However, if for some essays, you do have activities taken from ABS, you can cite it at the end of the sentence you are talking about. I personally prefer this notation: [#X] where X is the number listed from your ABS activity.
  13. 1 point

    IM subspecialties

    Definitely, for sure, just stating my minimal experience with primarily outpatient cardiologists who seem otherwise happy and very well remunerated.
  14. 1 point
    Frederick Sanger

    UofT BPE's

    I am planning on writing a guideline on how to approach the UofT BPE's for this year's applicants. If you are interested, please like this post. Since it does take me a considerable amount of time to create these content, I want to assess the demand first. Thanks.
  15. 1 point

    Federal Election 2019

    Scheer is disgusting....vote for Trudeau if you are a self-respecting immigrant/visible minority/supporter of LGBTQ/not a conservative racist.
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