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Everything posted by adhominem

  1. Contact DDS admissions directly. I'm not sure what you mean by struggling with admission requirements, but this sounds like a case that only admissions is going to have an answer for.
  2. As someone doing my PhD first, I can say that there are some substantial advantages. First, you have a ton of flexibility regarding the time to completion of your PhD. In some of the split programs or during residency you have to rush to finish in a tight time frame, which can lead to burn out. It can also be a disaster if your project isn't working out very well. A PhD student with a very competitive funding package (university+provincial+federal funding) can make as much as ~72k per year tax free, plus any other little scholarships they may receive (at the U of A, at least). Of course, that isn't the norm but it is possible. People gunning for medicine tend to have the qualities that the Vanier looks for, so that always helps the funding situation too. Having the ability to stick around longer and not be rushed will allow you to be more productive and pump out more publications- arguably the most important thing when getting a PhD. My supervisor has told me that a break in the middle of your MD can be a detriment to your performance and you lose all the study buddies you have made in your year. That can make the clinical years much more difficult after coming back from your hellish 3 year PhD. That is also worth consideration as well.
  3. U of A doesn't really make any meaningful attempts to provide clear instructions or information regarding their policies and practices, so it isn't really surprising.
  4. Look into what your GPA will be, based on the different ways each school calculates it. This may impact where you will be competitive substantially.
  5. adhominem

    Ws on transcript

    Probably, since it would likely impact how they calculate your GPA
  6. Joke is on us, we would have gotten paid as upper year residents to do a PhD following medical school as part of our training. At least that is how it works in Alberta with the Clinical Investigators Program.
  7. The unfortunate part of applying as a PhD student is that many of the 'bonuses' you get as a PhD are only given if you have it in hand while you're applying. If you are relying on the extra help for admission, you end up needing to take a gap year or work as a post-doc for about a year in the meantime. If that is the case for you, you can take those UG courses in your gap year while staying on as a tech with your PhD supervisor wrapping up projects maybe?
  8. adhominem

    Life Experience And Achievement Section.

    You should include an entry for awards if you feel they're significant. When adcoms personnel take your transcript and calculate your GPA, the awards on your transcript probably aren't even given a second look (or they probably aren't factored into your EC score, at least).
  9. adhominem

    Additional Comments Essay

    I got a very similar sounding email, sounds like they're just giving cookie cutter copy/paste responses to the question. Doesn't really seem like an essay question that everyone should describe run of the mill issues with, given the way they have worded it.
  10. Also factor in what you would want to do following a PhD and post-doc. The chances of getting a faculty position are probably lower than the chances of getting into medicine, so setting realistic expectations what you might do post-PhD should also be considered.
  11. adhominem

    LOR Question

    U of A doesn't require LORs. From the application (emphasis added): Complete the section below with the names of your two referees. We suggest that you use people who presently know you well enough to provide a reference in an honest and thoughtful manner. Some suggestions for referees to consider are (in alphabetical order) coaches, co-workers, employers, leaders of volunteer organizations or clubs, professors, supervisors, research supervisors, and teachers. References from relatives, family members, friends, close family friends, or personal physicians will not be accepted. Referees may be contacted at any point during the application process; they will not be asked to provide a letter."
  12. adhominem

    Only writing CARS for Calgary

    I think it tells adcoms you're lazy and can't be bothered to study for and write the test in its entirety. If I were a file reviewer I would give you a subpar score for the global assessment of academic merit on that basis.
  13. adhominem

    Publications vs experience

    Publications are the thing that matters most when it comes to research. I would even argue staying in 1 or 2 would be better than 3, and only go to the second if you want another letter of reference. If you commit a long time to a single lab, you're likely to actually have something to show for it by the end.
  14. the ECs are probably only out of 16 now, since they have cut the separate awards section entirely. I would imagine the section is meant to explain extenuating circumstances contributing to performance which may appear lackluster at face value.
  15. Do you think it is realistic to assume that you can complete your thesis (which should theoretically be a full-time commitment on its own) while also completing 4 undergraduate courses per term? Considering your 3.5 cGPA when you presumably had more time to dedicate to your courses, I don't think this will go well for you. My advice would be to complete your thesis and then do your undergraduate courses the following year. Rushing and trying to cram it all in one year sounds like a recipe for a low GPA, meaning it would be a waste of your time and money.
  16. adhominem

    Paid activities in non employment section.

    People rejected post-interview also receive these scores. At this point though nobody knows how the scoring of ECs factors into the aggregate score and ranking of applicants for admission though.
  17. adhominem

    St. John Ambulance to Primary Care Paramedic

    If you have any major ski hills around, consider volunteering with the Canadian Ski Patrol. Its a great volunteer gig (free skiing and pro deals on equipment) and you get plenty of hands on trauma experience. My guess is that it would be more substantial experience than you could expect with SJA.
  18. adhominem

    Physician political orientation

    Yes, many young MD applicants are likely to be liberal. On top of that, there is no denying that academics (i.e. those who run medical schools and admissions committees) are far more left-leaning than the general public. The massive liberal bias within academia is well documented in several countries. I am quite convinced these circumstances lead to a selection bias for incoming students, though I am not aware of whether or not it has been documented. It is hard to imagine that a conservative influenced answer would be looked upon favorably by interviewers chosen by liberals when majority of the candidates are going to be delivering a more liberal answer. Oh yes, because an intelligent voter clearly would not have voted conservative... This sort of comment proves my point about liberal bias.
  19. adhominem

    PhD Friendly MD Schools

    UBC treats people with their PhD conferred at time of application as IP applicants (see here: http://mdprogram.med.ubc.ca/admissions/admission-requirements/) UofA is vague about how it will impact your score, but the website implies that you can get the additional points prior to actually defending (see https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/programs/md/applying/academic-requirements): "Graduate Students- All applicants are subject to the same application requirements. Applicants who have obtained a Masters or PhD are eligible to receive additional points towards their rank score. For those nearing completion of their program who wish to have these points added to their score, please have your supervisor provide a letter as proof of successful completion once you have defended your thesis with no required revisions."
  20. adhominem

    How to research

    To be fair everyone, the OP did say they're writing case reports. Most of what you're discussing isn't even relevant to that kind of work.
  21. adhominem

    Paid activities in non employment section.

    The breakdown of how they score the ECs is as follows (or at least in the recent past... who knows, they might change it without telling us): Volunteerism- 4 pts Work Experience- 4 pts Awards & Scholarships- 1 pt (Your GPA heavily influences scholarships and is a scored criterion, so this section is worth less) Leadership- 4 pts Diversity of Experience- 4 pts TOTAL= 17 pts. You should strategically place your commitments within each category to obtain the highest score possible. Based on scores of 7-9ish being average for those obtaining an IP interview, you should assume that it is exceptional to obtain more than a 2 in any section. Based on that, you're probably better off splitting up your strongest entries into the separate sections and (possibly) obtaining scores of 1 and 2 instead of hypothetically earning a 3. However, keep in mind that you probably don't want to have what could be considered duplicate entries. If you list your job under employment and then again in the leadership section, you will probably not get any points for the second entry. When adcoms used to give feedback meetings, I was told this based on my entries where I had listed an NSERC/AIHS summer studentship award in both the scholarships and employment sections. They felt that constituted a duplicate entry and I was told both entries were not eligible to contribute to the score. Therefore, if you list your job in one category I don't think you will be able to list the leadership components of that job in a separate entry.
  22. adhominem

    Physician political orientation

    Having done several rounds of MMIs in Alberta I would definitely agree that there are questions which favor a left-leaning ideology. It is no secret that most academics are left-leaning, and admissions committees are undeniably going to leaning in that direction as well due to the biases of the individuals creating the questions and discussing what sort of 'problematic' (i.e. right wing) answers could arise.
  23. adhominem

    Retaking courses

    Depends on the school, you have to check what each schools policy is individually. U of A only looks at the first mark though, to get you started.
  24. In the past cycle they've already modified how they ranked people-- they have been clear about that. This is why they removed the information they used to have on the website regarding weighting (i.e. off the top of my head I think it used to be 30% ECs, 30% interview, 13% MCAT and 27% GPA). They have not disclosed how they assess applicants since the removal of that information (to my knowledge). Your friend getting in likely reflects a shift in the weighting formula, not necessarily the ending of GPA as a scored criteria.