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Need Advice regarding applying domestically and internationally - Canadian student

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Hi everyone,

I have some concerns regarding my overall application and was hoping for some feedback, insight, & suggestions/advice. 

My undergrad career has been a mountain climb, which is shown by my annual GPA trend:

1st Year: 1.91

2nd Year: 2.17

3rd Year: 2.82

4th Year: 3.68

5th Year: TBD

I will be entering my 5th year and am hoping to score even higher than my 4th year (3.68). 

Apart from my academic record, I do have a strong co-curricular record. This includes 2 publications in Academic Medicine journals pertaining to our research interventions in the undergraduate medical education curriculum at Western University (Schulich) and UofT Med - interventions were regarding Patient Safety and Quality Improvement experience. Through this, I have given 2 presentations at conferences, and have been engaged with the medical school faculties. Apart from this, I have clinical research experience (SickKids), and some wet-lab experience as well. I've been involved in a large number of organizations including HOSA (organizing, and competing internationally while representing Canada). This is just to imply that I have some co-curricular and work experience.

For some time I had a misconception that Western looks at your two best years and requires the overall GPA to be 3.7 OVER the 2 years. I recently heard that they require 3.7 in EACH of the two best years. (Depressing discovery). I am a SWOMEN (Western's demographic region) student, therefore I do have some advantage (pertaining to enrolment seats and MCAT cutoffs), but my 4th year 3.68 may not allow me to apply to Western. I am already about to begin my fifth year in September, but that will do no good for Western taking into account that they need 3.7 in EACH of the two best years. 

Could you provide some insight regarding what I should consider my options? 

Here are some of my thoughts: I would qualify for Dalhousie medical school assuming I can maintain above 3.65 annual GPA in my fifth year - they require 3.7 but round to the nearest tenth. Therefore I hope to apply to Dalhousie in the 2019 application cycle. For Western, my only option is to do a 6th year and then apply - not sure if anyone has ever done this, or what people's feedback regarding this would be.

Over the past couple of years, I have become more determined to pursue medicine and tried my best to cross challenges in my personal life in order to improve my standing, and I do not want to let my past academic record become an absolute barrier during this pursuit. Thus, I want to stay committed to pursuing medicine. Mentally, I tell myself that I can be prepared to give extra time towards my undergraduate degree. Please let me know what you think.

Furthermore, do you have any insight regarding American Medical schools, and Ross University? American medical schools look at all undergraduate years, therefore my cumulative GPA would not be competitive :(  In regards to residency, I understand that coming back to Canada from the Caribbean (including Ross) has very slim chances. However, I currently don't see a personal objection to the idea of matching for a residency spot in the U.S. (and working there in the future) - I just don't know about the odds of matching. As daunting as my annual GPA scores may seem, I do acknowledge that I had started from a 1.91, and was able to achieve a 3.68 this year by overcoming personal hardships, therefore I am willing to continue inputting extra work and effort to improve my application. I understand I said a lot, but I would appreciate any thought, insight, or advice/recommendation from the PreMed101 community. Thank you very much!

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I think you should do the 6 years, apply to Dal and then Dal and Western the following year. If things do not work out then, I would consider the Caribbean at that point. How is your MCAT? If you work hard enough at Ross, you can match to the US, it may not be a competitive specialty, but you may not even be interested in a competitive specialty either. Either way, you still have time. I do agree that the US would be nearly impossible. 


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Remember that Dal only takes ~9 (although it may be more this year) OOP students every year and get ~700 OOP apps of which they interview 50-60 based off the maritime connections essay. They want you to demonstrate a connection to the maritimes and/or a desire/willingness to work in the maritimes on graduation. The average gpa for admitted OOP at Dal has historically been 4.0, so at 3.7 youre behind the curve a little and the OOP admission scores are quite high/competitive compared to IP. It’s worth an app rather than going international but just something to think about. If you’re serious about Dal then I’d get NS or NB (especially NB) IP status and apply then. All maritime residents who apply to Dal and meet the academic minimums are given an interview and the post interview acceptance rates are very high.

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