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JohnDakota

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  1. If I get in for fall 2015, I suppose the most valuable part of my grad school education will be learning how to live off of ~16k/yr after tuition.
  2. In Ontario, those marks wont be enough- Ontario schools are ridiculously competitive. If you're a resident of some other province, you may have a chance (eg. Dal, UofC, UAB etc...). If medicine is your passion, and studying/working in Canada is very important to you, then I would consider a 2nd undergrad. You will have to review how the different schools view 2nd UGs and then target those ones in your applications. For example, I performed just slightly better than you in my undergrad with a cGPA around 3.3. I've done a MSc and a PhD, mainly because I have been interested in research in addition to medicine. If I had a laser like focus on a career as a clinical physician I would have done a 2nd UG, without question and not spent 6 years as a graduate student and now in my 2nd as a Postdoc. At this point it's about determining what you want/need out of life and going for it completely. It may be helpful to ask yourself what really makes you happy in life, and what you really need out of it. If that involves working directly with people in a medical context, then I would encourage you to explore other career options, and not because I think you'd be a bad doctor - I've read one forum post, who am I to judge that?? I say review other options because you may find them more appealing, and the life balance you can achieve in them to be closer to what you want vs. as a physician. Check out Physiotherapy/Occupational therpay, Nursing etc.. Job prospects in those fields are pretty good, the geographical freedom in which you can practice is great and in the case of PT/OT you can be self employed. Education/training can take as little as 2 years, and your debt load will be dramatically lower vs. medicine. Especially medical debt incurred at Caribbean schools.
  3. Contact UofT admissions regarding this situation. This reference is really geared towards research based graduate programs where there's a mentor-student relationship. A program director wont be able to comment as well on your ability to perform academic activities unless they've been involved in your classes.
  4. I'd go for one more year to knock that 3.54 off your record - but apply this year. You are really close for Ottawa - assuming your ECs are fine. I'm not sure what their wGPA distribution was for accepted students, but the Mean was 3.9. (https://www.afmc.ca/pdf/ADMISSION_REQUIREMENTS_EN.pdf ) Best of luck.
  5. Kaplan uses the same approach to train you to do verbal as they do to train you for physical and biological sciences. The problem is those approaches, which are quite good for the sciences, simply don't transfer to the verbal passages. There's actually a component of being arrogant on VR that helps people be successful. Kaplan over complicates their passages, questions and answers and it doesn't help you to learn how to perform well on the actual exam, mainly because you don't read arrogantly, or for content. Kaplan has you endlessly looking for key words and crap, when really the main point is the key to most of the questions.
  6. It's never too late, and it's certainly not a lost cause. If you're passionate about medicine and think it's really for you, then go for it. Most of us will be working in to our 70s, so another few years to get that dream is completely worth it - at least that's my perspective and I'm 32. My advice would be to spend some time dissecting the specific requirements of all the schools you're willing to attend. Ontario is insanely competitive, obviously. The acceptance rates hover in the 5% range across the province. If you move to the maritimes, or Alberta, you'll have a better chance when you're considered a resident (~30% acceptance range) - not surprisingly the cutoffs shift accordingly too. As has been mentioned - programs like UofT and Queens do look favorably on graduate work. Having said that, graduate work takes YEARS, is grueling and doesn't exactly prepare you for a career, outside of academia, if medicine doesn't work out for you. And the prospects within academia are marginal at best. So don't just run headlong in to a grad program thinking it's going to be a great route in to medicine. It isn't - and the backup plans out of these programs, when you consider the time/money investment over the years you spend as a grad student, don't really add up to supporting a reasonable career path/choice. I've completed both an MSc, and a PhD, and I'm a little jaded about the graduate industry, if you haven't noticed. Lets just say there are better, less expensive/time consuming methods to get trained for employment/life out there. Take this 'gap year' as a blessing. Use it as an opportunity to explore options you wouldn't otherwise have explored if you kept your head down in educational programs. Find some work in the healthcare industry, at the very least - even if you have to volunteer. You may discover that you're not at all interested in the lifestyle of a medical doctor, but becoming a nurse/physiotherapist is really what you could see yourself doing. You generally don't make these discoveries until you're completely immersed in the field, and 3 hours per week commitments usually wont do that for you. Anyway, just a few thoughts. Keep focused on what you can control and forget about what you can't - which includes fixed academic scores. Best of luck.
  7. There is no specific number on how many PIs you should contact that will assure you a spot/project. I've known people who applied widely, to many universities and many PIs directly and had little success. In my case I contacted two PIs - one never replied, which isn't unusual for Profs, and the other became my PhD supervisor. What seems to be the most important component is getting face time with the prospective supervisor. With the exception of fully funded international students, I'm not aware of a single graduate student who has found a PI without previously talking to them face-to-face, or having been introduced by another Prof. With respect to who to send applications out too; Apply to whoever is performing research that interests you. Saying you like 'biomedical science' or even 'cancer resarch' is just slightly less general than saying 'I like biochemistry /molecular biology.' As you can imagine, that's not very informative, and certainly wont come across as enthusiastic to a PI. So you need to do a little more digging/reading/networking. Nobody expects you to be a specialist - that's what research programs like PhDs train you to become. But for your own sake, you need to do a little more work in preparing for the next potential 3-6 years of your life. I'm not sure about the logistics, but if it's possible I'd suggest walking by the labs you're interested in working for and talk to the current grad students and post-docs. Unless the lab is in a secured location there will be people there during regular business hours and beyond - assuming it's a productive lab. Get a feel for the culture in the lab and if it will mesh with your approach. I've said it a million times but in case you haven't seen my previous posts - be sure to be up front about your interest in medical school/dentistry. You may think it's your prerogative, but you'd be surprised how negatively some PIs respond to those kind of interests. I'd rather lose a potential research position, than be stuck in a hostile one once it's known that's your ultimate goal. If you're finding it difficult to land a position, keep in mind that even if you're a stellar student the lab has to have money to support you financially - both in terms of compensation (as shameful as it is for graduate students/postdocs), and in terms of lab consumables. If there's no money, they can't take you. Best of luck.
  8. Firstly - If your plan is to get in to med through graduate school, be sure to scout what medical school schools actually care about graduate programs. Above all, ensure the pursuit of graduate studies will overcome whatever undergraduate 'flaw' you've experienced, and which is most likely keeping you out of medicine. You'd be surprised as to how little value graduate work is given. The Coles Notes version - very few medical schools weigh graduate studies to a meaningful amount, justifying actually pursuing graduate studies - if medicine is your ultimate goal. Most students looking at graduate studies have undergraduate GPA issues, but the vast majority of medical schools in Canada don't consider graduate school GPA - and if they do, they do so in such a way that your graduate GPA is meaningless and will never compensate for a poor undergraduate GPA. The few that do value graduate work/gpa include Dalhousie, who certainly does, UofT also seems to put an honest weight on graduate work, and Queens appears too. U Ottawa used to, but no longer does. Regarding where to go - go wherever you're extremely excited to do work/study. Be sure your supervisor - assuming you're talking about research - is supportive of your pursuit of medicine. The worst thing in the world is being a few years in to your grad program, only to find out your PI hates pre-meds and you wont' get a reasonable ref out of him/her no matter how hard you work. Also consider the field of study - some fields/PIs publish far more frequently than others. My PhD supervisor wouldn't publish something until it was absolutely, 100% complete, and wasn't interested in publishing anything other than protein purification/gene cloning activities - which sufficed to say takes many years to get a single pub. Organic chemists, for example, seem to publish interesting, single/multi step syntheses even if the yields are quite low. That's not to say the work is easier, just publication seems to happen more frequently. Just some stuff to think about. Best of luck.
  9. I'm so happy I saved my OMSAS application in a .doc file when I first applied. I've since just updated that by editing earlier entries, and adding new activities. The ABS is a time whore. It takes lots of time to remember all the activities you've been involved in, how to present them, digging up contacts for them all and verifying those contacts are still active. It's definitely not something you throw together in an afternoon.
  10. Ya.. I can see your side. I just differ on how important politicians are and how seriously we can take anything they say. I don't see why people should change their plans based on what a politician says/does. Take Barack Obama for example. He was very careful to convey an almost blank canvass in the 2008 election, such that everyone who was upset with Bush - which was pretty much everyone - would identify with Obama's candidacy and what he appeared to support. He spoke about pulling out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and closing Gitmo - for example, and he has accomplished two of those with mixed success and hasn't even attempted the third. This policies were articulated to convey the idea that he was de-escalating the American Military presence worldwide. What nobody knew was that he planned to embark on rendition in a scale that dwarfed the Bush administration's, and a campaign of drone strikes beyond anyone's comprehension at the time - both policies which occupy moral/ethical and legal grey area that haven't been sufficiently discussed/considered. In Canada we now have Justin Trudeau, who is implementing campaigning lessons learned through Obama's successes and why wouldn't he? Both are essentially blank slates - having accomplished little in terms of executive/management and yet are looking to manage an entire country. The saddest part is he's the only reasonable alternative to Harper, and under normal employment circumstances I wouldn't consider him a reasonable candidate for any position outside of camp counselor or teaching elementary school. So it's no wonder we can't believe anything they say, and shouldn't plan our lives around the actions of a bunch of obfuscating fools.
  11. I really couldn't possibly care less about who is in political office where I'm working. Politicians are all the same these days - all being pretty much worthless, for the most part. For example; We have Garry Goodyear as the Minister of Science and Technology in Canada! The guy is a Chiropractor and a Creationist. Should everyone in STEMS just abandon Canada?
  12. heh.. thanks but i'm going to be 33 this summer. I want to have some kind of stability in my life, and endlessly chasing medicine isn't going to provide that. I'll apply this cycle but I'm not going to put my stock in my chances.
  13. Was wondering if anyone wrote that MCAT. I just got my scores back and they're far below what I had expected - given my practice exam performance and the time I dedicated to preparation. My score was; 9/10/10 (VR/BS/PS) In the practice exams I was scoring 9/12/13. Did anyone else notice a huge drop ? Anyway.. I think this means it's time for me to look for alternative careers. Best wishes.
  14. None.. considering taking Human Anatomy/Phys so I can take an accelerated Nursing program in the event that med doesn't work out. Western/McMaster accept an Athabasca course for that purpose - they say so specifically on their academic requirements website.
  15. Athabasca offers quite a few. Just make sure that the schools you're targeting recognize it.
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