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frenchpress last won the day on August 28 2018

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  1. They can be provided by anyone who teaches an undergraduate level course, not just a ‘professor’. But you’re right, they can’t usually say much. If you just take a class and never been to office hours for help or talked to the prof much about the course material, then typically the letter will contain a brief description of the class, your grade and rank in the class relative to the average, and often not much else. Sometimes the professor will talk to teaching assistants if it’s a project based course or one with significant TA interaction to get more feedback. Or if, for example, the course has writing assignments, they may look at how you scored on some of those to help comment on things like writing/communication skills. But not everyone even bothers to do that much.
  2. Yes, probably a good choice. Especially since research supervisors generally can’t be used as an academic reference, and this supervisor may be able to provide a good reference.
  3. It’s a ‘service’ reference, which is not strictly from volunteering. They’re generally looking for someone who managed or supervised you who can comment on elements of your NAQ related to service to your community, e.g. altruism, service ethic, ability to work with others, relate to others, etc. It doesn’t have to be the classic unpaid pre-med volunteer role. It could be from a workplace or a community you’re very involved with (like a church), etc. A club could potentially work if it was very service oriented, but you may find it difficult to find a suitable referee if everyone else involved was just other students like yourself. If you use a workplace reference, you just have to be mindful that the same person cannot also give you a professional reference (which would need to focus on different qualities).
  4. The debt and income trade off can be depressing. Do the math if you want. I did before I started my first year, and it initially the number seemed staggering, but I quickly realized it was a straw man argument for me and tried to forget about it. What’s the point of staying in a job I don’t want to do, just for money? Depends where you live. It might impact it a lot or a little. Also depends how much you work and what kind of doctor you become. And you very realistically might not get a residency within commuting distance, or even in the province. What WILL you do if that happens? I’m not you, I can’t tell you. Personally, my partner and I have had a lot of conversations about where we’re willing to live and which programs to rank, and it’s an ongoing one. We are hoping to make it work. You might hate it. Would you be satisfied to do something you hate? Could you be flexible and find some facet you like? Would you be ok with having enjoyed the experience of going to Med school (even if you drop out part way through) before deciding to do something else with your life? Lots of people have kids in Med school and residency, and there’s no one right way to do it. I know several people who have. If it’s important to you, you can find a way to make it work. Or you can have them at 32. Or adopt. Or maybe you’ll change your mind. Only you can decide what will work for you. They are valid questions, but they don’t have to be questions to ‘worry’ about. You’ve presented many of these questions in such a way that answering ‘yes’ to them implies that there is some underlying problem. These are only problems if you make them problems. I think you might find it more effective to reassess the values that are motivating you to think of these questions and try to understand where they’re coming from. And then try to evaluate how bought into these ideas you actually are, how flexible you might be about them, and which should be priorities when weighing the pros and cons of deciding to go to medical school. Personally, I found counselling for anxiety really helpful in learning to let go of some similar concerns I had in the past. For example, do you really truly value things like home ownership (which is totally fine) or does it just seem like a thing you SHOULD worry about because in Canadian society so many families push it as the ‘adult thing to do’. In my city, lots of people rent for life. Maybe you’d actually be just as happy to rent for 30 years. Or maybe you’d be happy with a very modest house in a cheaper city, and with a little math you realize you could afford what you want. Etc.
  5. No. It’s fine. In fact, getting some life experience and working or doing other things with your time besides full time school will likely only help you.
  6. How many weeks of electives do you have? With the new 8-week cap, more and more committees will be expecting students to take a bit more variety in electives, and certainly you could craft a good story to about why each elective was relevant to the other for your applications. Particularly since both IM and Peds are generalist electives with undifferentiated patients.
  7. You can also lubricate with a bit of sterile water - I often use water instead of lubricant in the clinic too, as many women prefer it when given the option.
  8. I used Kaplan + Khan academy as needed for topics I wanted more explanation on. Worked well for me (514). I learned probably 50-60% of the material from scratch over 10 weeks studying evenings and weekends (full-time job). I actually liked that Kaplan wasn’t super detailed - it was enough info for many topics without being overkill. I did regular practice exams (~every 2-3 weekends) to figure out what I needed to understand better and dive more deeply than what Kaplan provided. Where I thought Kaplan fell short was the practice exams. Don’t bother with them. The official practice exams and questions banks, and NextStep tests, were much better practice.
  9. No, there’s no exact list because it changes block to block. I emailed recently and they wouldn’t provide one. Depends on what your top choice is, but many people do. Many of the sites are up north and in the interior, and certainly they’re generally nicer and safer to drive to in the summer. Depends what you’re looking to get out of the experience.
  10. This is incorrect. The help guide states that you can email them if you find a mistake related to dates, hours, grades, etc, which this this. They say not to email about minor typos.
  11. I think they’d likely be able to figure this out. I believe you can still make changes to the verifier contact info after the application is submitted (because contact info changes all the time). If not, you can send them a message, as per the ‘finding mistakes’ section in the help guide.
  12. A good MCAT is part of the picture, but that’s the academic side of things. UBC looks at volunteering as part of the non-academic part of the application, which is assessed together with all your extra curriculars and your employment history. Community involvement and volunteering is certainly helpful to strengthen your application, and I would encourage you to do things you’re interested in. The point I was trying to make was that it doesn’t necessarily have to be hospital volunteering and you can demonstrate many of the same qualities that admissions looks for through employment experiences. You won’t be able to escape bureaucracy in medical school, at least not in training - it’s some of the worst I’ve experienced in my life. But a family doctor working outside of the hospital definitely has a lot more control over when / where they work and the administrative crap not nearly as bad as inside the hospital. Edit: IMP isn’t really rural (only 2 rural seats), but SMP has at least 10 rural seats I think. If you fill out the rural suitability part of the application that will make you eligible for those seats and will increase your chances. If you’re willing to go NMP that will also open up a lot of possible rural seats.
  13. Your application is fine. I don’t know that you’ll actually get a tonne out of hospital volunteering, depending on the role - once you’ve had a real job and had real responsibility, you may find many of the common types of positions a bit boring and I don’t know that it will add much to your application. If you’ve never spent much time in a hospital, certainly it can give you some exposure, but you may not see much medicine. Any volunteering you do in your community will strengthen your application, the more responsibility you have the better. Work experience counts for a lot at UBC as well. Write the MCAT. See how it goes. 26 is not old for Med school, certainly not at UBC. There are people who are married, and a few people having kids. You just make it work if it’s important to you. People will tell you all kinds of things about the ‘best time to have kids’ (before Med school, during Med school, during residency, waiting until your staff - I’ve heard it all, several times unsolicited), but really, the best way is whatever works for you and your partner. That said, what are your goals and reasons for going to medical school? It’s a big commitment and a lot of work and sacrifice, and you just aren't going to have as much time for family as someone working a 9-5. It’s not worth it for everyone
  14. Go ahead an email them if you want. Either way, the clarification is clear and it’s unlikely to be a problem. Try not to worry about it.
  15. I mean no offence, but you clearly don’t know the material well enough to apply it to problem solving if you’re consistently scoring below 500 and getting only 50-60% on practice exams. You won’t improve by just going over and over the material. You’ve got to practice.
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