Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by frenchpress

  1. frenchpress

    Reference Disqualified?

    Interesting, I hadn’t heard about this. You’re right that it does not seem to be in any of the info given the applicants.
  2. frenchpress

    Reference Disqualified?

    I haven’t heard of this. You could email admissions for advice on it. I suspect that they’ll just tell you that you should choose the most appropriate referee for the questions asked on each form, and that if the referee can’t comment on multiple things then the reference may just not be as considered as strong.
  3. Probably yes. Just because you did it all at one location doesn’t mean it’s the same job. If you had done them each at a different location would you consider them as three different experiences? If so, split them. The converse is also true. Sometimes you may have done the same role or job for different organizations over a period of time — in that case, even though it was several different gigs, you might list it as one experience.
  4. Oh, of course! I’m just saying that research is also an option. I find a lot of people on this forum are pretty anti master’s, which I sort of get if the main end goal is a better GPA for Med school — but if a person likes research and wants to go that route, I like to be the devil’s advocate and encourage them to consider it
  5. I think it really depends. I found that a lot more opportunities (and funding) became available once I signed on to do a master’s and I had a supervisor that was invested in me finishing that master’s — I was able to work on more of my own research and ideas, publish more first author work, travel more, etc. I also found it a lot more enjoyable to do something I was more invested in, compared to when I was just taking a random bunch of undergrad science courses. Edit: I will also add that I found master’s classes, at least in my program, so much easier to do well in than in undergrad. Averages were almost always in the low 90s or high 80s. And none of the classes I chose had exams, just papers and presentations and projects, which I found a lot less stressful. Which gave me more time and energy for things outside of school. Obviously very program dependent though. I think if GPA is the only consideration, then I agree more undergrad courses makes the most sense. But there’s good reasons to do a master’s, and the OPs GPA isn’t so bad that a master’s couldn’t be beneficial for Med if they were interested in going that route.
  6. If your goal is UBC Med and you have an 80% average (is that before or after adjustedment?) a master’s could be a reasonable route for you. But you’d be putting more of your eggs in one basket. Year to year usually about a quarter of the admitted UBC class has an adjusted average below 85, which those applicants make up for with stronger than average ECs. Unlike many schools, UBC will use your master’s grades toward your GPA. A thesis master’s is usually only about 18 credits with grades, which won’t give much of a boost, especially if you I already have 179 credits. Although, if you’re able to get very high grades, it can add a couple percent - it is much easier at UBC to achieve a 90+ average in a master’s than in undergrad. As others have stated, a course based master’s would be slightly more credits. For comparison, I started my MSc with an undergraduate average just below 80%. In my master’s I was able to achieve an average above 90%, and I also took a few additional science classes - altogether about 30 credits. So when I applied for UBC Med my adjusted average after dropping my worst year was ~83%. Not a huge boost, but it turned out to be enough. The other thing to consider in choosing between more undergrad courses and a master’s is that the master’s may give you more opportunities to boost the NAQ portion of your application — I had quite a bit of paid work and TA experience, conferences, volunteer work, publications, awards, etc., all related to my MSc. It also set me up for a much better paying career in the meantime while applying for Med (and as a backup) than I could I’ve gotten with my undergrad degree.
  7. I switched into medicine for similar reasons, despite having a career that I enjoyed. It just didn’t really tick all the boxes in terms of personal fulfillment and enjoyment. I am only a couple years into medical school, but at this point I’d make the switch again. The lost income was a bit hard to come to terms with, but it gets easier the closer I get to making money again. Lots of people find partners while in medical school. People are dating each other all over the place. I think it’s a bit harder to find people to date who AREN’T also medical students (if it’s important to you to date outside of medicine), but it happens. Lots of people also have kids in residency. I know several women who have done it. It’s a good time to do it financially because you get mat leave. I also know a couple women who have kids / got pregnant in Med school (I actually met one resident who did so and spent quite a bit of our time together trying to convince me it was the absolute best time to do it). In short, its very doable. Different people make it work in different ways. @sangria said it well. If those things are important to you AND you want to become a doctor, then you just have to do your best and trust that you’ll find a way to prioritize the things you want.
  8. frenchpress

    Best and Worst thing about Alberta?

    I’d agee with all of this. Edmonton is a good place to be if you’re focused on something like school. It’s generally a lot more affordable than Vancouver or Toronto, and there’s actually a decent amount going on in terms of entertainment - there’s a symphony, lots of theatre, a good and growing restaurant and brewery scene, etc. And I do think people are a bit friendlier out there generally, although I find Vancouver relatively friendly as well (depends where you go). The major issue for me living in Edmonton was the heavy reliance on a car. Most things are far apart and spread across the city. It’s not nearly as easy to get around on foot or bike or bus as somewhere like Toronto or Vancouver. There is transit, but it’s only really convenient if you’re going between certain places. If it’s important to you, there are a couple more walkable neighbourhoods though, like around the university. The cold takes some getting used to — it really can be just unbelievably cold, and the winters can be looooong (think snow in September and May in a very bad year). But unless you take the bus or love winter sports, you don’t actually need to spend that much time in it. Just make sure you have a warm place or a block heater to park your car :p The positive trade off is that the other seasons are lovely, especially summer — the days are long and the weather is warm but relatively mild/less humid than Toronto or Vancouver.
  9. frenchpress

    UofA Indigenous Student Admissions Thoughts

    Indigenous peoples can be a part of communities within urban areas, or may belong to more than one community — just like people from any other cultural or racial group in Canada. Moreover, we live in a society where people are entitled to live where they choose, regardless of their background (although whether they have the means to do so is a different issue). I think it’s great that this policy is open-minded enough to take these steps without any such apparent limitations on where successful applicants can work and live. I hope it provides a boost for indigenous representation in medicine, which is sorely needed. I expect most of these physicians will aim to serve their chosen community(ies) fairly and to the best of their abilities regardless of where they are from or where they end up, just like we’d expect from any other doctor.
  10. frenchpress

    Anyone from Ontario???

    That hasn’t been true for quite some time, since at least 2016 when I applied but I am pretty sure even longer back? The current IP requirement is simply that you possess a BC services card, which just means that you have BC health coverage.
  11. frenchpress

    Anyone from Ontario???

    No, that’s incorrect, it can get you IP status if you choose. As long as you actually move your permanent address to BC and apply for health care, etc. See my response above (accidentally split this into two posts). Requirements for MSP (healthcare coverage) are here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents/eligibility-and-enrolment/are-you-eligible
  12. frenchpress

    Anyone from Ontario???

    This isn’t correct. Going to UBC could absolutely make you eligible for IP. You just have to actually move to BC and declare a BC address as your residence, and apply for BC health care — once you have health care coverage, you can apply as an IP applicant (you must have it by the beginning of the application cycle and maintain it throughout). Once you’re a BC resident you’ll also have to switch your drivers license etc, but the only documentation you need to apply as IP for UBC is a health care number. Full-time students from other provinces have the option of maintaining their residence, health care, driver’s license from their home province. Usually you lose eligibility if you’re out of province for more than ~6 months, but obviously school is usually more than 6 months per year — this is an exception that’s offered across Canada so students don’t lose their residency from their home province if they don’t want to. So you could attend UBC for school and remain an Ontario resident as long as you were a full-time student. But you can also just move your permanent address to BC at any point while attending UBC and then become an actual BC resident. You just have to stay in BC for enough of the year to meet the residency requirements for healthcare coverage. I know this to be true because I moved to BC as a student and during undergrad became a BC resident and switched my health care, etc.
  13. frenchpress

    Anyone from Ontario???

    You can’t just come to BC on vacation — you’d need to move here, which means declaring a residency here and being here long enough to get your health care switched to BC (6 months). It’s not unconventional to move, lots of people do it. Being a resident of another province can give you the benefit of being IP for that province and still be able to apply to Ontario. You could always do it after you finish your degree. I know several people in UBC Med who moved to Vancouver from other parts of the country for a couple years to become IP while applying to Med. Don’t discount the expense of Vancouver though. It’s not so bad when you’re in your first couple years of undergrad if you can live in residence and have help from your family. But living costs here are very high, and many students struggle to find affordable housing that’s also safe and clean unless they’ve got outside support.
  14. The 11 and 1:45 pm slots are both good choices I think. I did 11am and was happy with it — not so early that I was rushed, but not so late that I was agonizing about it all day in the lead up. I think it would suck to be hungry during the interview, but there’s usually lot of food there for you to snack on after you’ve checked in and before the interviews start.
  15. You can’t lie, so you have to let UBC know you’re attending another school. But they will still allow you to apply as long as the medical school is not in Canada. They have details about it on the admissions FAQ.
  16. frenchpress

    Interview Invites date?

    That’s a tough situation. I am sorry to hear you’ve continued to hit the wall with admissions. If you’re seriously feeling like you’re willing to move to Australia, maybe moving to Alberta really is worth considering? I know a couple people who moved provinces to increase their chances as IP applicants there because the schools were more favourable to their situation, and it worked out for them after 1-2 years in each case. Or if you’re really adventurous, you could even considering heading up north to gain IP for BC and Alberta schools. There is still no guarantee it’ll work, but you may be happier in the end having tried that approach, compared to a situation where you start Med sooner but have significantly increased difficulty of returning later? That said, I know a few people who have moved to Australia for other reasons over the years, and many of them have stayed — depending on your life goals and priorities it’s not necessarily insane to go overseas. It’s got pros and cons, like anything else.
  17. UBC looks for a diversity of things in its scoring. It's not all just the sheer number of ECs. Life experience, commitment, maturity, etc. and the way those things come through in how your NAQs are written can have a a really big effect on how the people reading your application will interpret and score it. You may stack up much better than you realize! I can't imagine they're going to substantially change the pattern this year *knock on wood* -- UBC is actually pretty consistent year-to-year in it's notification timing. Try not to worry too much you guys, I know how much the wait sucks!
  18. Pass/fail for credit courses can be problematic if you do a whole bunch of science courses this way, because then admissions can’t assess your ability to handle the rigors of a science-based curriculum and they may worry you’re trying to hide something. But unless there are specific schools that require prereqs not be taken pass/fail (all the schools out west I know don’t have this problem, but perhaps some elsewhere have this stipulation?) I wouldn’t worry about how taking pass/fail for one class will look. An isolated course withdrawal or two is typically not a problem either. Good luck with it.
  19. frenchpress

    Interview Invites date?

    It often seems this way to me as well. The expectations are applied inconsistently and often inappropriately, which makes it feel all the more disingenuous. For example, the last time I tried to notify them in advance that I was going to be absent for a day for an important personal reason, someone in the chain was unsatisfied with the two paragraphs I wrote about how I would make up the time. I was tossed into a long back and forth requiring me to repeatedly detail the tiny minutia of why I would be absent and exactly who I would contact and exactly how I would make up every hour of missed time. Even though I had already given them 95% of that info in my initial request, because I missed one thing they were treating me like I was trying to put one past them. Every email included the threat that if I didn’t give them exactly what they wanted my absence wouldn’t be approved and I would risk professional misconduct if I didn’t come to class. All that, for trying to trying to act professionally and let people know ahead of time I wouldn’t be there. And as I have discovered from talking to other students, if you just skip class and submit an unexplained absence claiming you were sick, no one seems to care. So doing the right thing professionally amounts basically to a punishment, and you may be better off to lie. Not a great example to set.
  20. Why not start with one science course and see how it goes? Pick something you think you’ll be able to dedicate enough time to given your other courses and responsibilities. You’ll likely learn a lot from that experience about what you’d need to succeed in studying for the MCAT — maybe you’ll find you’ve got a knack for it, and you’ll feel more confident studying on your own. Or maybe you’ll realize you find classes helpful, and you’ll decide to take more in future terms. Or maybe taking one or two courses in certain areas will give you a solid foundation to learn the rest yourself. Or maybe you’ll absolutely hate it and you’ll realize you’re less interested in the medicine path than you thought (not that you need to be amazing at basic sciences to love and do well in medicine). It doesn’t need to be an all or nothing thing, especially since you’re considering other career paths. Nothing wrong with just dipping a toe in the pool and taking it one small step at a time. Edit: also, the other good thing about just starting with one class is that one bad grade won’t kill your chances at Med school, and likely not most graduate schools either. And if it goes horribly from the start you can always withdraw. None of the admissions committees that I’ve encountered in my time in academia have made a point of punishing students for trying something outside their comfort zone and realizing it wasn’t for them.
  21. Take a look at the UBC admission statistics. It’s likely doable as an in province applicant at UBC, but I have no idea about other schools.. You very likely need a few more years of school or some really stellar ECs. 81% is not really ‘competitive’, but usually about a quarter of the class will be admitted with grades between 80-85%. UBC puts equal weight on GPA and non-academic criteria when determining who is invited for an interview — so a strong, well-rounded applicant with great non-academic experiences can make up for a GPA on the lower end. UBC doesn’t explicitly require full course loads. But they are looking for evidence that you can handle a heavy course load. What have you been doing instead of taking a full course load? Working? Sports? Something else? If you can spin it that you’ve simply spent time on other equally important things, that can help. Another thing you can do is start taking a heavier course load now for your remaining terms — if you haven’t been taking a full course load so far, I assume you’re not set to graduate at the end of this year? If so, there’s still time to demonstrate you can handle a heavier schedule. But you’ll need to really keep your GPA up. Lastly, if you were genuinely interested in the master’s, you may want to still consider pursuing it. Lots of people on this forum will tell you that a Master’s is useless for GPA boosting — but it can help in some cases, particularly at UBC. There are lots of master’s programs at UBC where it’s very possible to get well over 90% in all your courses. Combined with the UBC policy of dropping your worst year, that can boost you another 1-2%. Which in your case might be enough. A master’s can provide opportunities to boost your publications, awards, etc, and sometimes your ECs as well. And it’s really just a good idea to continue pursuing another career path in case medicine doesn’t work out or you change your mind. I was in a similar boat to you and was admitted, so I know it’s doable. But it did take several years post-degree to make it happen. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about it.
  22. frenchpress

    Insight on residency & matching?

    Residency is completely separate from medical school. For residency you apply to and rank programs at each location across Canada that you’re potentially interested in training in. People who want competitive specialties will generally apply to that specialty at schools across the whole country. People who care more about location may apply to several different programs at the same school.
  23. frenchpress

    Online Courses

    Yes, it will if it’s a university course. I meant more a course that could count towards a degree generally. There are lots of online courses out there that couldn’t be transferred to university credits, and those likely wouldn’t count.
  24. My understanding of how they do the graduate calculation is that if you’re master’s is your worst ‘year’ then they’ll drop it. You only get to drop one year overall though, regardless of how many degree you have. So in that case I think all your undergrad years would be included.
  25. frenchpress

    Online Courses

    Is it a university transferable course? I.e. one that will count towards your degree? In that case, it will likely be used it towards your GPA at all schools. But there are many different GPA calculation policies — you should specifically look at those policies for the schools you want to apply to. Whether or not your can tell it’s online on the transcript will depend on your school. It’s typically not obvious and it’s often not possible to tell, but sometimes you can tell. E.g. many courses from TRU OL are only online, so if you have that course number admissions will likely know it was distance. The fact that the course is delivered online shouldn’t affect your chances of getting into med school. There’s this perception that online courses are ‘easy’ — but really, it depends on the course. Some can be very self directed and actually quite difficult to do well in. How well you do in your courses, what kinds of courses you’re taking (e.g. mostly appropriate for year level, etc) are going to be much more important factors.