I don't usually post my stats anymore since they've basically remained the same from my posts 2 years ago. I'll make an exception in this time just because of how -relatively- little data usually gets contributed here.
TIME STAMP: Feb 21 2019, 11:17 EST
Interview Date: March 30
Result: Interview (MD)
cGPA: 3.96 (by rounding)
MCAT: Passed cutoffs
ECs: Filled up all 32 items this year, but I've had an interview back when I had 21/48 items. Diverse and met each of UofT's clusters quite well.
Essays: Spent at least 1.5 months on them, at least 400 hours. Was it overkill? To be honest, probably. I'm not a bad writer by any means, but when it comes to pieces with word limits, I believe in the importance of articulating each idea as succulently and artistically as possible. My grades did suffer but I wanted to write essays that could stand strong among a diverse audience of readers (which is to be reasonably expected of) and leave myself without regret. All of the topics strongly resonated with my experiences and I had a lot to share.
If anything, future readers should find this observation helpful: having exchanged essay reviewing with some of my friends, I've come to realize that there isn't a single, uniform writing style that really makes the magic happen. Some of my friends briefly addressed the question within a single few sentences, then built their entire essays on how their experiences met the four clusters. Personally, I dedicated almost half my word count towards giving a thorough answer/solution before briefly sharing some personal experiences. We all got an interview.
Year: Graduated UG
Two years ago, I did horribly on my interview. I knew my application wasn't strong: I had a weak reference, few extracurriculars and ultimately, couldn't hold up to applicants with an amazing wealth of experience behind them. I was invited during the final week and suspected that I had only marginally scraped into getting an interview. I convinced myself that the odds weren't in my favour and let myself fall.
Last year I didn't take my essays as seriously enough and got rejected March 16th. Firstly, the topics just didn't click with my experiences. Secondly, seeing that I already had been previously been invited, I grew extremely over-confident and complacent in my writing. I got no interviews from any school during this year.
Each interview is a privilege. Each year, med schools get more and more amazing applications, either from those who have come back strong after a previous rejection, or new talented applicants. Perhaps I'm just on this site too often, but getting accepted 4th year doesn't seem as common as it once was. In any case, I'm extremely grateful to have another chance of making things right.