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Everything posted by frenchpress

  1. I would not at all disagree that there’s a larger concentration of people from relatively higher income families in medicine. As these stats show. And that’s definitely an issue we should be continually working to improve. The only point I took issue with above was @Aconitase‘s implication that most medical students come from families so wealthy that they went to private school, grew up with nannies, etct. In those updated stats, roughly half the students come from families that make less than $100,000, and that’s not an income range where people are going to private school without a likely significant sacrifice by their family. And as @caramilk pointed out, you don’t have to be wealthy to be a jerk or ‘flex’ socially. So I find suggestion that if it’s hard to relate to your peers in Med school it’s only because they are all rich, entitled assholes overly simplistic and not really helpful towards the OPs original concern and question.
  2. frenchpress

    Taking a break...

    I agree with @freewheeler. Do whatever you think will best let you take care of yourself. If you’re feeling good about the idea of taking a break from pursuing school to work for awhile, then it’s probably good idea. You won’t be putting it all on hold - there are a lot of other useful life skills and marurity that you develop through having a career, learning to take care of yourself and be independent, etc. So if/when you do decide to come back school, you may be in a better place for it.
  3. Well, you didn’t say ‘lots’ you said ‘most’, and I think even ‘lots’ may be an over generalization. (And If you have published stats on overall average incomes for families of medical students across Canada, I would be interested to see them, because it’s not data I’ve come across other than the occasional survey). Maybe its a UofT thing. There may be some people in my class who went to private school, but I can’t think of a single person that I know personally. And while many in my class definitely come from comfortable middle-class backgrounds and are in OK shape financially, many are also struggling with large debt loads, affordable housing, etc. If I am actually surrounded by mostly really wealthy kids, they are hiding it pretty well.
  4. It seems like a massive generalization to say that most medical students are from wealthy families or had nannies growing up or do nothing but drink! Did you go to med school on a private yacht? (I am conjuring images of a fancy breaker high meets greys anatomy type scenario). I am not sure where else you would find only these kinds of people for your classmates OP: In my experience, it’s completely the opposite. Most med students are pretty normal people, although there’s a greater concentration of the more motivated and academically successful. And what’s ‘normal’ in terms of how people like to spend their time varies a lot. Some people are very social, some aren’t, some are in between. I personally hate studying in groups and do best learning on my own, so I mostly work by myself at home. I also find social events really exhausting as uninteresting. In my down time I’d rather focus on my own stuff, like making good meals, reading a book, getting exercise, seeing my non-med friends, etc. than spend a whole lot more time with people I already see for 4-8hrs 5 days a week! You just need to do you.
  5. frenchpress

    Alberta IP vs BC IP

    The ones to focus on phoning are the UofA and UofC, to find out if living in the AB for a year while keeping your BC health care will meet their definition of establishing residency. UBC is much more clear cut about their residency requirements. You have to have a valid BC services card (i.e. BC health care) throughout the application process to be eligible. I am pretty certain they won’t give you a different answer, as they’ve been very strict in the past. There is one other way to be considered as an in-province applicant for all three schools: become a resident of the Yukon, NWT or Nunavut. That’s probably a much less desirable move for you though.
  6. frenchpress

    Alberta IP vs BC IP

    You won’t necessarily lose your BC status. I saw that you posted in the other thread where this has just been discussed in detail, so take a look there as well. But generally, students can maintain their BC MSP coverage while away on full-time study if they want (instead of becoming a resident in the province they move to), as long as they meet the requirements: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/bc-residents/managing-your-msp-account/leaving-bc-temporarily But as to whether one residency is better... I think it really depends on where you want to end up and how competitive your application is. There’s no one better option for everyone. If you think you want to return to UBC and you don’t have amazing stats that would allow you to be competitive as OOP, then stay IP for BC if you can. If you think you’re OK with staying in Alberta for a long time and/or you feel like being able to apply IP for two schools is important to improve your chances, switch your residency when you move. You could always move to Alberta for your studies and see how you like it for a bit before making the decision to switch over your health care, etc. UofA seems to change its residency requirements once a year anyways, so who knows how many years will be required next year :p
  7. It’s definitely tough, but it is doable I think given where you’re at now with your GPA - it’s a more uphill and a longer road than those with a killer GPA, and that doesn’t always seem fair, but the long road isn’t always a bad thing. All you can do is keep at it and take care of yourself. Good luck! Edit: And yeah, don’t leave that apartment!
  8. I live in Vancouver too, I totally understand where you’re coming from. Finding something cheaper can literally mean moving into a closet, and even those spaces can have huge competition. Are you currently taking a full course load? Any way you could decrease the number of courses next term? I get that will likely prolong the time you’re in school, but if your goal is to keep your GPA up for Med then it might be worth the trade off. I know a lot of schools put emphasis on full course loads and being able to demonstrate that you can handle a lot of classes at once, but working basically full-time and going to school can demonstrate that as well. Many schools (including UBC) will take that sort of circumstance into account and allow you the opportunity to explain it. I had several part-time terms on my transcripts, but because my remaining time was accounted for with a lot of part-time work, it didn’t seem to be a barrier to admission to UBC.
  9. That’s such a tough situation. It’s hard to prioritize school when you need to out so much effort into taking care of yourself first, and that is definitely the most important thing. It sounds like your prof was pretty understanding and supportive, so hopefully it works out whichever option you chose.
  10. On this point, if you want to continue living and working in the north, you'll have in-province status for several schools. Students living in Nunavat, the Yukon, and NWT are all considered in-province applicants at uCalgary, as well as UBC and the UofA (and possibly other schools, but I am not familiar with their residency requirements). In addition to uCalgary, UBC seems to be increasingly non-trad friendly: they dropped the science prerequisites a couple years ago, and put 50% weight on non-academics in pre-interview scoring.
  11. They don't take the difficulty of courses into account pre interview for AQ score. It's also important to remember that difficulty is subjective and science-based degrees in general are not inherently more difficult or more deserving of an interview. Achieving a 90% average in many humanities programs would be just as impressive to me as someone achieving 90% in a biology or sciences program. That's a difficult GPA to achieve in any program. I have taken plenty of humanities courses that had low averages rivalling the low averages in difficult pre-req science courses that I took. Many of my studio, writing and research courses also took considerably more effort and investment than my science courses. I agree with @Neurophiliac that post-interview it's therefore probably a lot more about stable GPA or GPA trends, demonstrated ability to handle science content (MCAT or courses), etc. And of course, what you do with the rest of your time (employment? volunteering? hobbies? etc) also matters a lot.
  12. Combined with doing a lot of practice exams to actually practice applying the concepts, I found it sufficient. I also used the giant AAMC pdf of all the exam topics to check off what I’d studied and make sure I covered any gaps.
  13. I used the Kaplan books as my main study guide. For the social sciences and psychology topics, I found those books usually had enough details - a lot of that section was just memorization. For chemistry, physics and some of the biology/biochem, I often supplemented with the khan academy videos for specific topics that I needed more help understanding or that I was struggling with when I did practice exams and questions. I used many of the AAMC practice exams and question banks as well.
  14. The total number of hours that you’re planning on putting in seems reasonable and realistic - it’s hard to do more than make it your full-time job. I spent ~200-225 hours on prepping for the MCAT on evenings/weekends part-time over 11 weeks when I took it (I got a 514), although I only had to learn ~half the content completely from scratch. That said, I can’t say for sure if that’s enough time for YOU given that you have no science experience, because it will really depend on how quickly you pick up the material. If it comes naturally to then it may take half as much time than if you really find it’s a struggle to wrap your head around the material. Or your experience will be something in the middle — it’ll take a while to get a hang of how to learn the material, but then it will start to click and go faster (at least, that’s what it was like for me when I started taking some pre-reqs and studying for the MCAT, as I also had an Arts background with no Science when I began the process of applying to med). I think you’re best off giving yourself as much time to study as possible and planning to only write once this year — take lots of practice exams throughout your studying under exam-like timing / conditions (the prep course will help with this) so that you’re at less risk of panicking or being surprised when you write it for real the first time. It will likely be very hard to book a seat in August with only a month notice in Canada because the seats fill up so fast and there are so few of them. And if it turns out you did poorly on the first exam you’re likely going to want more than one month to study for a retake. So you may be looking at a rewrite next year if you don’t get a score you’re happy with this year.
  15. I agree with the others that at present, you're not really in good shape GPA wise to apply anywhere. If you're OK with medicine being a long-term goal for you, then try to really kill your GPA in the next couple years and consider a second undergrad (some programs you can do in only 2-years once you have a bachelor's) and/or that Master's. But most importantly, try to do things you love and that you can do well in. You might find that it's not worth the effort to you to give up your ECs to put in the necessary time to boost your GPA, or you may decide in a few year's that you are happy in a career in the humanities, and that's totally fine too. If you plan to maintain your BC residency: UBC doesn't require science prerequisites, but doing at least some of them will really help you with the MCAT. UBC will include the grades from a graduate degree in calculating your GPA -- this is usually a minimal boost because it's usually only ~ a half year of credits, but if you can achieve very high marks (which is more possible in some types grad programs than others), it can really help offset a bad year. And they will also drop your worst year. Realistically you'd want an adjusted GPA over 80% to stand a shot as an IP-applicant. The majority of students admitted to UBC actually have a GPA over 85%, but about a 1/4 are in that 80-85% range, and strong ECs and life experience really seem to help if your GPA is in that range.
  16. frenchpress

    UBC med from Ontario?

    When it comes to governmental things like healthcare, drivers license, tax filing, etc, you can only be a resident of one province at a time even if you have ties to more than one province. Usually residency is dictated by the amount of time you’re residing in the province. So if you’re moving to BC you’ll become a resident and then need to change your healthcare and driver’s license after you’ve been here a certain period of time. For your driver’s license, it’s 90 days. For health care, you usually lose eligibility from your home province after you’ve been gone ~6 months (the exact number of days varies from province to province) — usually they actually suggest you apply right away when you move, or you risk losing coverage if your old coverage expires before you actually get coverage in your new province. You can sometimes get away with not switching a driver’s license right away (I did), but with stuff like health care they can notice pretty quick if they get wind your address has changed to another province (for example, filling prescriptions or going to the doctor in a new province can tip them off). The exception is that all the provinces generally give exemptions that can allow you to remain as a resident of one province if you can prove you’re living in another province “temporarily” — e.g. full-time students for duration of a degree, on an extended vacation, etc. So if you meet any of those exemptions you could choose to remain a resident of your original province (e.g. Ontario) and keep your healthcare and driver’s licence, file taxes in Ontario, etc. But then you wouldn’t be able to claim residency in BC for UBC medical school (which I assume is why you’re asking?).
  17. frenchpress


    I would work on summarizing what’s important, at least as part of your studying. It will take some practice and iteration to figure out what works best for you, and it’s going to be different from class to class (e.g. in biology I always had to memorize a lot more tiny details than in some other classes like chemistry that were more problem based). You could try, after exams, briefly looking back at some of your notes and reflecting on what ended up being useful — that will probably help you hone your method as well.
  18. UBC does. They’re included in the GPA calculation. And if your graduate degree is a PhD they will evaluate you as IP instead of OOP if you meet certain timelines.
  19. frenchpress


    In terms of your studying and notes, if you feel like rewriting your notes is taking too long, one thing you can do is work on being more efficient. Usually just copying everything down isn’t actually all that helpful. Instead, you could try making summary notes that synthesize some of the main concepts within and across lectures and include just key things to memorize (as opposed to every detail) — that forces you to really think about the topics you’re studying, and how you’ll be tested on them for your exams. With practice and experience in you’ll find that you’ll get a lot better at doing this. I used to make a base set of notes for review first and then do a lot of practice problems or practice exams. Then if I found I was missing important things from my notes, and I would go back and add to them. I still do this now in med school.
  20. frenchpress

    IP status for 2 Alberta Universities

    This is the distinction that I was trying to explain earlier. If you want to remain a BC resident while studying in another province full-time, you can do that (although you don’t have to, and you can just change your official address and health care and become Albertan basically anytime you want while in school.) The caveat about returning to BC within a month in order to maintain your health care coverage is important. To be elligible for IP at UBC you must have a valid BC services card (I.e. have bc healthcare) — that’s the only thing they’ll use to determine residency, and they’re super strict about it. Just based on the written description for the UofA it certainly sounds like as long as you were in Alberta for the year prior you would also meet the UofA residency requirements. BUT this really depends on what the UofA means when they say you must “reside” in the province. Note the part in their description about “visitors” on study permits not being able to establish residency. Similarly, its possible that the UofA may not actually consider you as residing in Alberta if you decide to keep your status as a BC resident — it’s possible that they might actually consider you a visiting student from another province. So while it sort of sounds like you could be IP for both, I am not totally sure it would work out that way. I caution this just because I have been screwed by provincial residency rules for other things in the past! Because for basically anything governmental (taxes, health care, etc) you can only be a resident of one province at a time. And I would be sort of surprised if it wasn’t the same for medical school applications. That’s why I suggest you actually check with the UofA admissions directly to find out how they’d interpret it and what documentation you’d need to prove to them that you’re an Alberta resident. Or ask in the UofA forum if anyone has pulled off something similar.
  21. frenchpress

    IP status for 2 Alberta Universities

    Oh, it definitely is. But your question seemed to be whether you could also keep your BC residency at the same time. I was just suggesting that if you decide to keep your BC health care and residency, etc, while attending school in Alberta, that you may want to double check with UofA and UofC that they’d still be willing to consider you a resident.
  22. frenchpress

    IP status for 2 Alberta Universities

    You can technically only be a resident of one province at a time in the eyes of the government. There is some flexibility for attending school though. So if you want to maintain your BC residence while going to school in Alberta, you can do that, and BC will consider you “temporarily” out of the province while you’re attending school full-time I.e. you can keep your BC health care (which is what UBC uses to determine residency status) the entire time you’re gone. But then it sounds like you won’t meet meet the UofA requirements. I suspect that if you want to be considered an Alberta resident for the UofA you’ll need to actually change your legal address to Alberta for that year, in which case you’d automatically lose your BC residency. But I am not sure what the UofA requires to ‘prove’ residency, and if they’re more lenient than UBC. Someone in the UofA forum may be able to tell you that.
  23. No, IP. My grades would not have met the OOP cutoff for UBC for interviews.
  24. UBC. I did have an MSc, and my GPA was high. My undergrad GPA worked out to ~79% when all my grades were converted. But because UBC includes MSc grades and drops your worst year, I think it probably bumped my adjusted GPA to around 82%. I'm sure those few points made a huge difference to my chances.
  25. frenchpress

    MSc Degree and med school applications

    Agreed. I do also know a couple of people who did it. It’s a lot of work and very mentally draining. I did some of my prerequisite courses part-time while completing my masters, and it was really challenging to balance studying for that with staying on top of research and grad courses, especially during semesters where I was also working as a TA. I ended up working full time for awhile after my degree, which is when I prepped for my MCAT and did my application — I found that more manageable. So I’d say it’s definitely doable. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll personally find it worth it. Having a life and hobbies and keeping your stress manageable can also be beneficial to a med school application. It might not be a bad thing to think about taking an extra year and spreading things out more either.