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Providing assistance with UBC MD application

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Hello everyone, 

Since UBC MD 2018-2019 cycle just opened, some of you may have already created an account and are starting to work your way up to submitting a stellar application. I applied to UBC MD two times as an out of province applicant. I was rejected pre-interview the first time with the following scores: 

AQ: 32.78

NAQ: 28.75 

TFR: 61.53

Although my AQ probably stayed the same, I truly worked hard to strengthen my NAQ section with better descriptions and new activities, but mainly better and stronger descriptions. This time, I was accepted to UBC MD, and I am still shocked since I had a 124 CARS score. So those of you who haven’t done well in a section of the MCAT, don’t worry - there’s still hope! :)

Here is my advice for writing the NAQ section of UBC application: 

1) Try not to leave any spots blank. Everything counts. I even wrote about my experience of moving from one country to another or even writing a book at my leisure time, since they were such important events in my life. 

2) Try to add as much detail as possible in the NAQ descriptions. For instance: 

"With 128 volunteers, I coordinated a united effort to raise awareness of brain injury prevention amongst 650 students in 34 elementary schools. Through hands-on demonstrations (e.g. watermelon helmet on jello brains) and by sharing powerful concussion survival stories, we helped students understand the importance of protective equipment in sports."

- I used numbers, "128 volunteers, 650 students, 34 elementary schools" 

- I used action verbs, "coordinated"

- I used strong words, "powerful" 

- I provided specific details, "jello brains"

- I wrote it in a concise, but understandable manner. I personally stayed away from using point form or any short cuts like "&" etc... 

Compare the above with the activity description I wrote two years ago: 

"Advertising to recruit volunteers for presentations at local elementary schools; working in groups to organize interactive workshops that helped to raise awareness of strategies to prevent brain injury; collaborating with volunteers to present information in a simplified manner that children would easily understand & follow"

I'm sure you can notice many significant differences! 

3) Edit as much as possible. The descriptions are fluid and dynamic. Change them as much as possible until you find the best way to express what you did, how you did it, and what you learned or what the outcome was. 

I will be offering assistance with UBC application this summer. Due to limited time, I will only be helping 15 individuals. Please message me for more details about this or if you need absolutely any other advice! Good luck everyone! :) 

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Congrats!!

A couple questions

1) I notice that UBC has a "high performance" section. With the earliest possible entry being June 2012. The only thing that I could potentially put in there are some sports competitions (national and panamerican level) but even then I'm not sure if it is warranted since it's not a respected sport. In addition, the June 2012 cut off would require me to leave off certain achievements. In your opinion would it be better to put my sports stuff into diversity of experience, and be able to list more competitions, and in doing so leave the high performance one blank?

 

2) Long story short my ECs aren't good (I didn't do much in undergrad so I lack both paid AND unpaid experiences).  However, of my experiences my most meaningful have been paid. would it be frowned upon to put a paid employment experience in a different section, say, leadership or something?

 

 

Thanks!

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19 minutes ago, pyridoxal-phosphate said:

Congrats!! Thank you so much, utterly blessed to have finally made it and looking forward to helping others through this process! :)

A couple questions

1) I notice that UBC has a "high performance" section. With the earliest possible entry being June 2012. The only thing that I could potentially put in there are some sports competitions (national and panamerican level) but even then I'm not sure if it is warranted since it's not a respected sport. In addition, the June 2012 cut off would require me to leave off certain achievements. In your opinion would it be better to put my sports stuff into diversity of experience, and be able to list more competitions, and in doing so leave the high performance one blank?

That's wonderful that you have activities to put in this section. I personally left it blank since I haven't done ANYTHING at the national level or something that should be considered "high performance". However, I think that you should definitely add your national level sport activities to this section. I truly think that every sport and every activity deserves utmost respect. For instance, many would agree that basketball is more respected than table tennis. But both require dedication, persistence, challenges, and much more. So, please don't underestimate your sport activities, and in my opinion, you should include them. Let the admin committee decide if they want to consider it or not. But your job is to add the activities that "fit" into the categories. Nationals = High performance in my very honest opinion. If you want to discuss this more, feel free to personally message me. 

To answer your question, I think you should put the national level competitions in the "high performance" section and other competitions that were local etc... or even the sport (e.g. Basketball player) in the diversity section. I repeated some activities: I received an award for one volunteering activity and one sport. So, I included the AWARDS in the award section, but I included the activities in the diversity section. Does that make sense?  

2) Long story short my ECs aren't good (I didn't do much in undergrad so I lack both paid AND unpaid experiences).  However, of my experiences my most meaningful have been paid. would it be frowned upon to put a paid employment experience in a different section, say, leadership or something?

Of all the schools I have applied to, I think UBC is one that really looks at ECs. So, worst case - if you don't get in this year, definitely work on your ECs a lot. In fact, start working on them now, if time and circumstances allow. I don't think paid experiences are frowned upon at all. Just because you were paid for it does not mean you didn't learn anything. Paid experiences are as valuable as unpaid volunteer activities. I know a friend who really needed to work all four years of undergrad and she had no time for volunteering. She was able to make it to UBC MD two years ago.  

 

Thanks! Hope this helps, good luck! :)

 

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10 minutes ago, Canadian_Med_Dream said:

 

Thank you so much for the advice. I really appreciate the time you are putting in to help others here .

 

With regards to #1, I might PM you (although completely understandable if you don't end up having the time to get to it). 

For #2, thanks for the insight. I think I'll just put all my paid stuff in the "employment"  section for UBC, even if that means leaving other sections very bare. I'll try to work on the other stuff over time :)

 

 

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18 minutes ago, pyridoxal-phosphate said:

Thank you so much for the advice. I really appreciate the time you are putting in to help others here .

 

With regards to #1, I might PM you (although completely understandable if you don't end up having the time to get to it). 

For #2, thanks for the insight. I think I'll just put all my paid stuff in the "employment"  section for UBC, even if that means leaving other sections very bare. I'll try to work on the other stuff over time :)

 

 

 

Awesome, yeah absolutely PM me for absolutely any advice! I always got time to help! ALWAYS! <3 

Great idea to put paid experiences under employment. But I think each category has a maximum number of scores allotted (I think). So, let's say you have 10 paid experiences and you put all 10 of them in employment and leave half of leadership blank. You may get 10/10 on employment section, but you may end up getting 5/10 on leadership. ALTERNATIVELY, if you put 7 paid experiences in employment, and 2 paid to fill the leadership section - you may actually get 10/10 on both. So think about it! It's tricky but categorizing appropriately can really help you get a high NAQ. Of course, I don't know how exactly everything is graded but you'd think that they have maximum scores for each section and that there are categories for a reason! GOOD LUCK! :) 

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Just to add to some of the OP's comments, it's very important to be as concise and to the point as possible. You only have 350 characters to wok with and you want to describe as many things that you have done as possible. 

 

In addition, try to think outside of the box of activities / experiences that you may have had - they don't necessarily have to be "medical related", in fact, unique experiences may actually make you stand out as an applicant. 

 

This forum was of immense help to me when I applied so I am happy to offer NAQ help to those on this forum, I also helped about 15-20 premeds from this forum last year so this year I'd be happy to do the same - feel free to PM me! 

 

 

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On 6/15/2018 at 7:49 PM, Canadian_Med_Dream said:

 

Awesome, yeah absolutely PM me for absolutely any advice! I always got time to help! ALWAYS! <3 

Great idea to put paid experiences under employment. But I think each category has a maximum number of scores allotted (I think). So, let's say you have 10 paid experiences and you put all 10 of them in employment and leave half of leadership blank. You may get 10/10 on employment section, but you may end up getting 5/10 on leadership. ALTERNATIVELY, if you put 7 paid experiences in employment, and 2 paid to fill the leadership section - you may actually get 10/10 on both. So think about it! It's tricky but categorizing appropriately can really help you get a high NAQ. Of course, I don't know how exactly everything is graded but you'd think that they have maximum scores for each section and that there are categories for a reason! GOOD LUCK! :) 

My understanding of UBC was that if you were paid for something, it must go in the employment section, and that it'd be a big issue if they found something in your NAQ that was paid. I would either ask for clarification, or add things into the NAQ at your own risk 

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39 minutes ago, casajayo said:

My understanding of UBC was that if you were paid for something, it must go in the employment section, and that it'd be a big issue if they found something in your NAQ that was paid. I would either ask for clarification, or add things into the NAQ at your own risk 

In that case, I'd definitely ask for clarifications. I know things are changing a little bit (with the whole June 12th cutoff). Definitely ask the admins for clarifications.

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13 hours ago, casajayo said:

My understanding of UBC was that if you were paid for something, it must go in the employment section, and that it'd be a big issue if they found something in your NAQ that was paid. I would either ask for clarification, or add things into the NAQ at your own risk 

Yeah, the help guide and UBC admins have been pretty clear over the years that all paid employment needs to go in the employment section. I doubt you’ll get a different answer this year.

They also say that they look for all the same non-academic qualities in the paid sections as they do in the non-academic activities section. My sense from talking to others in my class, including those like myself who have more of a work history, is that it doesn’t really matter if a particular activity is paid or unpaid, and that they seem to score across both sections for many of the qualities/ categories (e.g. leadership, ability to work with others, etc.) that they’re evaluating.

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Posted in the other thread but wanted to let people who stumble across this know that I don't mind helping people with application editing if Canadian_Med_Dream has already had 15 people come for help!

I also applied broadly last year and had no interviews. This cycle my GPA + MCAT were the same but I redid my descriptions for UBC and other schools and had 8 interviews with 3 offers. I'm also not doing much this summer so I'd like to be useful if I can. I will try and help as many people as I can depending on time etc. but I do have a lot of time haha.

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I can help out as well if anyone needs some assistance! My first application cycle was this year, and I was accepted to UBC as well as a few Ontario schools. I'd love to help with NAQ entries or general advice on how to strengthen your apps.

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On 6/15/2018 at 6:59 PM, Canadian_Med_Dream said:

Hello everyone, 

Since UBC MD 2018-2019 cycle just opened, some of you may have already created an account and are starting to work your way up to submitting a stellar application. I applied to UBC MD two times as an out of province applicant. I was rejected pre-interview the first time with the following scores: 

AQ: 32.78

NAQ: 28.75 

TFR: 61.53

Although my AQ probably stayed the same, I truly worked hard to strengthen my NAQ section with better descriptions and new activities, but mainly better and stronger descriptions. This time, I was accepted to UBC MD, and I am still shocked since I had a 124 CARS score. So those of you who haven’t done well in a section of the MCAT, don’t worry - there’s still hope! :)

Here is my advice for writing the NAQ section of UBC application: 

1) Try not to leave any spots blank. Everything counts. I even wrote about my experience of moving from one country to another or even writing a book at my leisure time, since they were such important events in my life. 

2) Try to add as much detail as possible in the NAQ descriptions. For instance: 

"With 128 volunteers, I coordinated a united effort to raise awareness of brain injury prevention amongst 650 students in 34 elementary schools. Through hands-on demonstrations (e.g. watermelon helmet on jello brains) and by sharing powerful concussion survival stories, we helped students understand the importance of protective equipment in sports."

- I used numbers, "128 volunteers, 650 students, 34 elementary schools" 

- I used action verbs, "coordinated"

- I used strong words, "powerful" 

- I provided specific details, "jello brains"

- I wrote it in a concise, but understandable manner. I personally stayed away from using point form or any short cuts like "&" etc... 

Compare the above with the activity description I wrote two years ago: 

"Advertising to recruit volunteers for presentations at local elementary schools; working in groups to organize interactive workshops that helped to raise awareness of strategies to prevent brain injury; collaborating with volunteers to present information in a simplified manner that children would easily understand & follow"

I'm sure you can notice many significant differences! 

3) Edit as much as possible. The descriptions are fluid and dynamic. Change them as much as possible until you find the best way to express what you did, how you did it, and what you learned or what the outcome was. 

I will be offering assistance with UBC application this summer. Due to limited time, I will only be helping 15 individuals. Please message me for more details about this or if you need absolutely any other advice! Good luck everyone! :) 

Is it better to say all the things you did in your ECs or is it better to also talk about what you learned ? I see some people that say its also important to tie in the canmed competencies but the application guide says to just describe what you did so im unsure. Thanks :)

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