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  1. CARS is definitely a big factor - the cutoff for Western and Queens this year was 127, just hitting those two scores would've added two schools to your application pool. Furthermore, your ECs are fine. I think the thing that really held you back this application cycle was inexperience writing your app, (maybe) CASPer, and CARS. Send me a message if you want to discuss further about them.
  2. OP: I've mentored a lot people in research and I love research. One of my mentees is just about to get her first author publication in a major medical journal and I'm thrilled. The first question I ask to any student is why do you want to do research? You'll also need to familiarize yourself with what type of research you want. If it is in healthcare - basic science (working in a lab and performing lab techniques), clinical research (collecting patient data, ethics approval, enrolling patients), review papers (essentially summarize findings of published primary data papers or meta analyzing them), or public health / health policy / health systems research (quality improvement, guidelines, collecting data, surveys). If you're doing it for the sake of medical school, you can easily save yourself a lot of time, frustration, and grunt work and volunteer in a lab or with a research group during undergrad to fulfill the "research/scholar" aspect - I know a good portion of people that get in without publications or presentations and just volunteer experience during undergrad. If you're doing it cause you're interested and would do it regardless of medical school application - 100% go for it. It'll be some of the most incredible experience's you'll get and you'll immerse yourself in a new world and social environment. I'll share my personal experience with you; I started research in second-year undergrad, at the time after 30 cold emails, I was taken under the wing of a research physician. I will not deny, I wanted to do research because of a combination of curiosity and for med school applications. However and luckily, curiosity won. I became really immersed in my project and consistently learnt outside the scope of it. I asked for more and showed eagerness to learn. By third year, I had sent manuscripts off for publication and had papers accepted for conferences across two continents (my supervisor generously funded me to travel to both and present my work - I was amazed). During third year I took on more projects and my supervisor gave me the autonomy to structure projects around research ideas I came up with myself. This led to a few more publications. By fourth year, I had to condense the number of research entries by over half for my med school application and research/academia experiences were the crown jewel of my application - had I asked myself in second year if that was ever a possibility, I woudlve thought it to be a joke. During this journey, I met other really notable people in research, division directors, med students, residents, internationally renown physicians, many of which I stay in contact with and have taken on projects with. Meanwhile I know friends that got into research in first year and high-school - they disliked the experience. I admire their resilience for continuing their work at the lab, however, they produced something tangible (first publication) later in fourth year - to them it didn't matter because it wasn't an experience that they really resonated with. Moral of the story - do research for passion, not for med school. The best med school apps have a narrative to them, you can tell from reading an app what an individual truly enjoyed. You can also tell if they're passionate about an experience during an interview because their eyes and body light up when they recall their memories.
  3. Hey OP, super valid points you brought up. it can be daunting going into a new chapter of life without knowing how you'll fit in. That said, medicine is probably one of the best environments to do that with. People come into medicine from all types of backgrounds. Finding life-long friend/friend group during O-week - bit ambitious, but you will definitely find someone that you'll resonate with. Furthermore, we'll all be colleagues one day and be working on the same team to take care of our patients and each other - that sense of comradery begins on day 1. Finally, everyone worked extremely hard to get into medical school - the admissions and interview committee believed that you would make a good physician one day and that you belong in the cohort of incoming students.
  4. OP - tldr, do not give up. Year application is amazing. I've met a lot of premeds during my application journey and throughout undergrad (n>100) and most have matriculated and your ECs are 90-95th percentile. Improve CARS and practice CASPer. The application process is legit building a computer, you need every single bit otherwise it won't run. But once you have all the parts, I'd be surprised if you don't interview. If you have good parts, you'll sweep interviews. I know of a couple close friends with ECs that are similar to yours (yours tbh may be better if you spend some time and wrote them out) that went 9/10 pre-interview. Then had a CaRMS tour across Canada but for med interviews, wild right? My biggest suggestion here - improve your CARS score (my friends all had 128+ plus), you do research still? ask for feedback for your application from your PI, if you know of residents or current med students on research projects, ask them! Practice CASPer! GPA - hmm, most of my friends had 3.9X on the OMSAS scale but a) you're IP for Alberta which helps a lot b) You can still sweep interviews with a 3.8X, I know people that did, as long as you maximize the other aspects of your app which you easily can do!. As for applying OOP, 3.8X is fine for Ontario. If you're 3.9X with UofT's scheme, GPA shouldn't be a concern. It'll be the other aspects of your application, likewise for Ottawa. 3.8X is fine for McMaster, Queens, and Western. GPA isn't as make or break as people make it to be. I know tons of people with <3.9X that had numerous interviews in Ontario. Finally - you don't need 10 interviews, you don't need 5 interviews; all it takes is 1. You have so much going for you, don't give up. Feel free to message if you want to chat further.
  5. Very valid points OP; the goal of my post isn't to deter you from speaking up, apologies if it sounded that way. It was to shed some light for current premeds, the information for medical school applications is rather asymmetrical and I wanted to give advice for applicants currently applying as changes to the application process may take years to materialize tangibly.
  6. I came across some interesting points reading this forum and wanted to share some thoughts - furthermore there's also a lot of premeds that read this and I imagine how stressed out (as many people including myself was) when I came to reading about MCAT and grades for med admissions. Re: OP point about fairness: Arguing that the system isn't fair - spot on. Just from an objective GPA comparison standpoint the system isn't fair when comparing between programs and this doesn't account the non-academic and social difficulties certain students have to overcome. GPAs across the same program can also differ, I did my undergrad at probably the most debated program on this forum and I can tell you first hand that GPA also widely depends on electives taken, (which can cause fluctuations from 3.80 to >3.95). That said, however, I had friends (and sometimes me as well) that took organic chem, biochem, physics, engineering physics, differential equations, all the stuff premeds wouldnt go near with a 10 foot pole. We all still finished with non-regrettable GPAs. tldr: For premeds- regardless of the program, work hard and do your best; yes the system isn't fair but do your best. MCAT offers standardization but also faces its own challenges of fairness. If you're a highschool premed - good on your for taking initiative and reading up on med school apps this far in advance, as seen here and everywhere else, if medicine is the path for you - pick a program that you fit in with and make sure you talk to current students about your med school goal and how feasible it is to get a strong GPA. A strong GPA is a foot in the door for most med schools, opening that door (as you will see) requires ECs, MCAT, and experience. New points for discussion: Interestingly, I think across all the schools in Canada, theres a spot for different types of applicants. For example, the average entering GPA for McMaster is 3.8X; the pre-interview GPA may even be lower. I know friends with 3.7X GPAs that got interviews (strong CARS scores >129 though). For schools like Ottawa and UofT, a 3.7X is almost unheard of. Meanwhile for schools such as UofT and Ottawa, GPA is the heavily valued (usually the incoming class GPA is a 3.9X), however, MCAT has much lower standards compared to a place like McMaster (as the rating limiting step for many high GPA premeds is CARS on the MCAT). tdlr: Medical school is extremely similar regardless of where you go in Canada, thus getting an offer is the biggest part. Schools also have all have their admissions pre-interview formula published and the forums also offer most of the information needed to know whether your app would be competitive. Find the schools that you have the strongest chances at and maximize your application for those schools. I had a strong overall MCAT, high GPA, and good ECs, however, I never scored high on CARS, thus I worked my hardest to strengthen my application for Ottawa and UofT. Mentorship and education are two topics I'm very passionate about and really want to hear other points surrounding medical school applications.
  7. Posting cause this forum was really helpful as an applicant Result: Offer Applicant Stream: In province, English, UG wGPA: 3.96 ECs: Well rounded but with scholar focus in research/academia (TA, publications in peer reviewed journals, awards, conference presentations, academia leadership positions) CASPer: Felt decent finishing. Prepped with close friends from September to mid October for 2-3 hours daily, used online free resources and treated the system check as a mock test (similar to a MCAT practice full length) Interview: Felt good coming out. Prepped with same group of CASPer friends, research supervisors and PIs, and mentors for 3-5 hours daily. Learning how to answer interview questions is the foundation but being able to show personality and personableness is equally as critical. Advice: Ask for help, I know many stellar applicants with really phenomenal experiences that fall short during the interview or pre-interview stages, a huge aspect is learning how to write a med school application while getting peers to review the app (similar advice for interviews). Getting into medical school isn't an individual journey but one thats embarked on with the support of numerous people.
  8. Incoming med student here, this is some really interesting info. I'm wondering where this data is for Ottawa - specifically the ER residents part. I'm staying open minded for specialities, however, EM currently sounds the most salient (lifestyle, culture, training, patient population, practice etc) for non surgical specialties. I've also heard Ottawa has a phenomenal EM program for PGME. I'd love to get some more information.
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