I've gotten numerous messages on this topic and it's tough to reply to all of you (I want to, but I just can't, sorry!)
Most of them are on the issue of NAQ score and how to improve them. To give a little context, I got rejected last year by UBC as an OOP, but I made the IP cut-off despite an average GPA and MCAT:
MCAT: 30 ECs: Lots of research, community work, and leadership AQ: 21.49
I got a lot of messages as soon as I posted my stats asking what I wrote for my ECs and how I wrote them. Here are a few tips for you guys applying this year:
1: Understand your audience
Recognize that you're one of the 1000s of applications reviewers are reading. What are the consequences of that? a. the reviewers can't read every detail you write, b. they won't spend time scrutinizing your ECs, and c. they aren't going to make assumptions and inferences about you, they're going to take everything for its face value. Just from realizing this aspect, you can already start to tailor your application accordingly. You won't waste characters in your app trying to impress with long sophisticated words
2: Understand the purpose of the app
This is clearly stated in the app website itself. Read through it and it will tell exactly what they are asking for. Look through their guide at http://mdprogram.med.ubc.ca/admissions/help-guide-2015-2016/ to understand what they want to know about you. It got very easy for me after this point.
3: Approach your app as a holistic entity
You want to write a clear and concise story for the reader that they can a. follow through and b. understand what you're all about after reading it. This is was the biggest factor for me. I knew myself. I knew what I was passionate about and what activities I did as resume fillers. Focus on your passion. Develop themes. For me, I focused on photography, research, squash, and youth civic engagement. Within each theme, I had anywhere from 2-4 activities that I worked on because I truly believed in them. What that does is it makes writing for them a lot easier because words literally flow out of your finger trips. You want to speak from your heart keeping in mind what they are asking for. I can truly say it's not about what you did, it's about how you write it. And that is solely based on if you are passionate about what you did. I do think it's possible to weed out applicants who have 4.0 GPAs but never showed any passionate and commitment to their art, and that is exactly what they are looking for.
4. You don't need scholarships and publications.
I had 0 scholarships in the awards section. I only had local and very small recognition titles. Nothing fancy. I had 0 research publications, just a couple abstracts at conferences. Again, they are not looking for those things, those sections are there to make the app easier to follow, that is all.
I hope that answers some of the questions. As for the rest, please try to post questions here as many of you guys had similar questions. I'll try to answer them here moving forward.