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Everything posted by Vidhya

  1. I've worked with Marc Boyer as well. He's fantastic and will come to the school to sign paperwork. Highly recommend him at Scotiabank.
  2. I wouldn't worry about your chances with a 9VR and a 4.0 GPA if you are an in province applicant. Your VR score is okay and your GPA more then balances out that section. The personal attributes are worth 60% so that section will make or break your application.
  3. Vidhya

    MedZero :)

    It's really a great way to meet your new class and get familiar with the school. Like LostLamb said, any clinical skills that you practice you'll end up taking them again in a more formal small group, so no worries if you can't make it. But overall it's just a fun day, completely laid back, and comes with free food hooray!
  4. Welcome to the newly named Cumming School of Medicine: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/businessman-makes-largest-donation-in-university-of-calgary-history/article19197443/ I'll just leave this one wide open for everyone.
  5. Actually you could apply at the beginning of your third year. So assuming 2014/2015 is year 2 in your program, you can apply during the 2015/2016 app cycle as long as you stay in Alberta from July 2014 to July 2016. Your acceptance would be conditional on maintaining the minimum GPA and full time course requirement for the 2015/2016 year, since the grades won't be available when you apply in the fall. This is also assuming you were full time for years 1 and 2. It's competitive but possible! (P.S. Good points as always Rmorelan, those flexibilities probably address my concern in that one area as well.)
  6. Vidhya


    Honestly, I don't think the DNC will be a big concern. You've managed 10 courses last year and 9 this year. Since the DNC doesn't have academic standing, it will probably just be ignored in any GPA calculations. I would just be careful about your grades in year 3 and 4. If you can continue with an uphill trend in your GPA then everything should be fine. If you feel that health or family issues may still be a problem at the moment, I would highly recommend taking a year or semester off until you're feeling better.
  7. Vidhya


    Does this DNC affect your course load in terms of minimum full time status for applying to med? Each school is somewhat different, do you know where you plan on applying? A little bit more info would be a big help. I can't see it affecting anything other than full-time status. The DNC does indicate you were in good academic standing in the course.
  8. Sorry I should have noted that this came from Dr. Walker's blog, he stated: "These changes were motivated by a desire to simplify the multiple different definitions that have previously been in place.." Not sure why he said that when there appears to be more definitions compared to before. I agree with you, this is about defining IP status, not about simplifying or complicating the process. Overall, the list of changes on the blog are pretty good. I'm just on the fence about one of them. Guess we'll see how it turns out!
  9. Vidhya

    CaRMS 2014 Statistics

    This is a silly question but in many of the reports they list quotas after reversion. What are they referring to when they say "reversion"?
  10. That's certainly a good point, I just worry that it may favor those with more resources that can stay through the summer. Calgary isn't cheap so I worry about those that may not be able to stay with the loss of their student loans. If you have lots of family support then parents can probably help you out over the summer. I'm just not sure I could have done it when I was younger. Now I'm an old married fart so it doesn't impact me haha.
  11. Vidhya

    Top 10 Impact

    I completely agree. I sound like a broken record with harping on CanMeds traits, but it's really what they are trying to assess.
  12. Vidhya

    Top 10 Impact

    I think that's a great point Shematoma. Although arguably it could also extend out to other things. One of my top 10 was "completing research" or something like that, and I doubt I was alone there. It feels like half my current class completed research on some level (summer lab work, honours thesis, grad studies, etc). Like you mentioned I think it comes down to differentiating HOW these experiences are unique and has impacted you in one of the CanMeds traits. Otherwise, you're going to get lost in the crowd. Just writing that having a child has changed you as a person may not be very helpful to the file reviewer, but if you have a specific aspect of parenting (e.g. raising a child with a disorder, volunteering on school boards, helping your child through a learning disability, being a single parent, etc) may all be great experiences to draw on as you are strategic about it. I'm not sure if this will work for others, but I literally mapped out all my top 10, references and extracurriculars and tried to match them to the various Canmeds traits. As a result I chose to leave some experiences out because I came to realize that I was beating some traits to death and virtually ignoring others. This also appealed to my obsessive compulsive personality type lol.
  13. Vidhya

    Top 10 Impact

    I think you're spot on here. The year before last I didn't get in and didn't score anywhere near as high as I did last year. I didn't change any of my experiences, I just changed how I described them. I realized I wasn't getting across how they impacted me until I had a friend read them and say "I'm just not hearing how they personally affected/impacted you". The re-write certainly made a huge difference. I think being a parent is a perfectly reasonable. For example if I decided to adopt a child or foster a child, I would certainly think it would have a tremendous impact on me personally. So why couldn't your own biological children have a strong impact as well? It does worry me that Dr. Walker discourages it though. Not sure how to interpret that. Edit: Forgot to mention, make sure it falls into one of the six traits though. If you can't relate it to one of those sufficiently, it may not work.
  14. Vidhya


    Calgary doesn't penalize for multiple MCAT attempts so if you feel you can increase your score this summer there is certainly no harm in retaking it this year, and then writing the new one next year. It's always a slog to rewrite multiple years in a row but it's not the end of the world either (I wrote it three years in a row...yuck!) Just be cautious if you are planning on applying to other schools as well, some aren't as generous with multiple MCAT retakes. I know the US is very hard on multiple MCAT writes, but I would also investigate other potential Canadian schools before rewriting again. You don't want to accidently shoot yourself in the foot.
  15. Like Narwhale said above this upcoming year you can still apply with only 12 consecutive months of residency for the 2014/2015 app year. Since classes start sometime around July 25th usually (let say July 20th for argument's sake), people can come back a month early this summer and qualify for the 12 month residency requirement to start classes next summer. For those people aiming for the 2015/2016 app cycle, they can also come back before July 20th this year and aim to stay for next summer as well. Therefore they will have been here 24 consecutive months by the summer of 2016. It's definitely not easy if you've already gone home for this summer, but it's still workable with just over a month to try to arrange it. On another note, it's an interesting change but sounds almost more complicated than the previous system. Not sure I completely agree with the rule of having to stay here each summer while in post-secondary, since some students may find it financially challenging to stay with no student loans. Working full time for two years is one thing, having to go to school and stay for the summer with potentially no family financial aid is another. But that's just my opinion!
  16. Vidhya

    May 14th countdown thread

    Blah wisdom teeth. My dentist pulled out my first two with freezing and it was essentially him placing a foot on my forehead and pulling with two hands. One tooth broke into pieces - it was lovely. He then told me that he couldn't remove the other two since they were too close to the nerve so I had to see the surgeon - which turned out to be wonderful! Good ol' anesthetic. Just wish he had sent me there in the first place. Anywho, good luck folks!!! I just checked and the letter last year was time stamped at 3:01pm. No idea if they sent them all at once. Can't wait to meet all the new classmates! Remember stay positive regardless of the news and just keep moving forward!!
  17. yeek, I can see this not working well for them. Trying to get a hold of people by phone is awful. Particularly if you are trying to contact 400+ references in a few weeks time...I wouldn't be surprised that they are simply backlogged and just working on getting through at least one reference for everyone first.
  18. I completed an entire science degree through Athabasca so I have a feel for a lot of the courses there. It didn't hinder my acceptance into medical school, but keep in mind that some non-Alberta med school are not as open towards online education. I think Ottawa is one? Make sure to check any universities that you are interested in applying too. Overall though I think most are fine with online. Regarding AU science courses, the Chemistry courses are on-par with campus based IMO. I did some chemistry at UofC and the rest at AU and the lab time at AU was more 1 on 1 since the lab classes are small and you go for 4 full days. Organic Chemistry was really well done and requires a lab. The Microbiology course was also excellent as the lab was run at SAIT, I believe over two weekends? I was amazed how much material we had access to. Ecology was also a blast, you go up to Athabasca for a one week lab and I loved wading into the creeks collecting samples. A couple years ago they built all new science labs at the main campus, so they are very nice. Other biology courses like cell biology are pretty much all text based. Humanities and social sciences will be very much self-learning, so you need to be motivated. The physics and math courses are setup for complete self-learning, but if you were to follow the physics manual to a letter you would know the subject inside and out. Unless they have changed it, the physics textbook is quite good. If you have any questions PM me, I could look up a course and give you my opinion if that helps.
  19. Vidhya

    Drug testing in residents?

    Have they been able to improve drug testing to even differentiate opioids yet? Since all opioids metabolize the same way I thought this was still a significant issue since there are both legal and illegal opioids. I remember a while back when poppy seed muffins were giving positives on opioid tests and resulting in lost jobs, months of stress and lawsuits in the US. I would hate to have my life turned upside down due to an addiction to poppy seed muffins....
  20. Vidhya

    Your thoughts? A CSA opinion.

    Going back to taxpayer money, I see what you're saying Leviathan, but here's another thought. If we argue that it's not a waste of taxpayer money to fund a Canadian to receive an MD who subsequently can't obtain a residency, simply because that residency spot was filled by a CSA/IMG, then we run the risk of arguing that we shouldn't fund medical school in Canada at all and the burden of education can be placed entirely on students who train elsewhere. After all, why take public funds, use them to train a student to receive an MD who may not be able to become a physician due to a lack of residency spots and then give these same residency spots to students who trained elsewhere and funded their own education. It doesn't make much sense and runs the risk of the public questioning the need for medical schools in Canada to begin with. If we want to take an extreme example, we could argue that the tremendous number of CSAs and IMGs who receive excellent education elsewhere, negates the need to spend public funds on training MD's here. All public funds could be reallocated to other areas desperately in need of increased funding and the universities can focus simply on residency training of qualified CSAs/IMGs. Edit: People above me summed up my thoughts more eloquently in one line then I did in a huge post haha.
  21. Vidhya

    Your thoughts? A CSA opinion.

    On the political side, our medical schools are all publically funded institutions. We use taxpayer money to train MDs and fund residency programs. It seems ethically at odds to take public funds to train MDs and then not guarantee them a post-graduate spot somewhere in Canada, effectively rendering these students unemployable and wasting the initial cost of educating them. I just don't see how we can fundamentally change the system in a way that would result in CMGs not having an opportunity at gaining a residency. I do feel we should improve our current IMG/CSA options, including opening more IMG/CSA slots in underrepresented rural areas or specialties, etc. Many people are perfectly happy to take these positions and sign a return of service contract if it will enable them to license in Canada. But as long as medical education is publically funded, I can't see any major change to our selection preference towards CMGs. If we turn this around, I'm surprised more CSA students aren't outraged at their education countries (Ireland, Aus, etc) charging them outrageously high tuition and then effectively kicking them to the curb once they graduate. I personally have a huge problem with this. Obviously some educate themselves well on the reality of the match and come back (leviathan for example) but it seems like such a money grab for those students who are simply impatient about getting admitted.
  22. I can definitely see your point, it is always hard when content changes versus something like structure. I actually wrote the old paper/pencil version first (yeesh I'm an old fart) and then they transitioned to the computer version and it wasn't too bad. Although I found the VR section more forgiving on the paper version. But on the other hand I don't think the content change is that onerous. The biggest single addition is the psych/social sciences sections. Back in undergrad I completed a bio/psych double major and I always found the social sciences much easier to learn. I'm not that strong on physical sciences. The way I look at it, is that if you write the first year you have the opportunity to nail down the PS/BS section information. The following year you can focus more on the social sciences/psyc when prepping for the MCAT.
  23. If I was still applying I don't think it would bother me too much that they are requiring everyone to take the new MCAT. I decided to write the MCAT more than once in two consecutive years and I didn't find it that bad. I just did what I had to do to improve my application. Administratively I think it is much simpler for them and with the ever increasing applicant pool I don't think they are too worried if they lose a few applicants. Admission changes are always a pain, particularly when you have been preparing for years based on old criteria (personal experience) but in the end you just have to roll with the punches.
  24. No idea yet how or if it will change, it sounds like the committee is just discussing it now.
  25. I decided to redo my post after getting more information from the admissions blog. According to Dr. Walker the adcom is investigating changing residency requirements as posted yesterday: http://mdadmissions.ucalgaryblogs.ca/2014/04/07/residency-requirements/ However, he also posted last year that residency is often set by bodies above the adcom and that they have no power to change the requirements: http://mdadmissions.ucalgaryblogs.ca/2013/04/20/province-of-residence-issues/ So it will be interesting to see if any changes will be made in the near future since there appears to be confusion over whether the policy can be changed. However, going back to the issue of residency at Calgary, this is something that constantly comes up each year. It's talked about heavily on the admissions blog and debated on the forum. But when it comes to real numbers, Dr. Walker has said that the number of students who move each year is relatively small. I don't think discussing it here will result in a large increase in applicants. Moving provinces isn't simple and most people aren't willing to do it prior to having an offer of admission. To correct some things though....The Calgary MMI does not ask about residency status, it is completely blind to your application and this is public information. Second, if you qualify as IP with only 1 year residency status the adcom does not look down on you. The application is blinded during the subjective review component so they do not have any identifying information (age, gender, location, etc). Whether or not you agree with the 1 year residency policy, the fact is that the Calgary adcom does not judge people on this basis.