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I hope meeting cutoffs is still enough, but I'm biased and not a fan of the uncertainty this brings for my cycle haha. It looks like they want an abbreviated ABS, so perhaps its use is still limited?

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Wow this is really interesting. I'm not sure what they mean by abbreviated sketch though, considering you're already only allowed 150 characters per entry lol. I think it has to do with the max number of entries, which I think is 32 for them based on this from the site:

     "In the PDF form on OMSAS, please link 4 to 8 of your experiences to each of the four core values listed. In each case, we ask that you list for us what you have learned and how the experience was or will be useful to your future career as a physician."

This kind of ruins the super transparent process everyone appreciated from Western, which is a down side.

But even though the ABS is subjective, and there's no perfect way to evaluate it, I don't think interview invites should be based solely on academic performance (gpa/mcat). Following this I don't think you can then base someone's nonacademic traits based solely on a single 45 minute standardized interview that contains fairly standard quesitons. I'm not sure how they used reference letters, and what the written assessment told them. I think they're smart in taking the ABS into account, since it gives more context to each applicant and who they are and what they've actually accomplished. It doesn't mean they need to give it a lot of weight to applicants profiles. 

And who knows, this change may result in mcat cut offs being lowered. 

 

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I just scrolled through it. Won't say too much, but it does indeed look like a fair amount of extra work on top of the standard ABS. Not happy with the change personally, but we'll see how it goes. 

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28 minutes ago, Slickrick said:

does anyone know the character/word limit for these abbreviated ABS entries?

Character limit is 2400 and it has a pretty strict structure. OMSAS is open now if you want to check it out. 

 

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Well how many people can score above the traditional Western cut-offs AND have a strong ABS?  It sounds like Western is becoming "Queen's lite" - i.e. semi-black-boxish, with some hard-cutoffs but flexibility for selection with ABS.  Could also be a boost in terms of money from more applications, but sure would be more than offset by extra costs involved..  All schools are beginning to look a little more similar in terms of their selection criteria - Ottawa with CASPER and now Western with ECs..  

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Imagine re-writing a 97th percentile MCAT to reach Western's MCAT CARS cutoffs and then not getting an interview because "holistic". This might have happened to me if I was unlucky enough to be applying this year. wow. 

 

The objectivity of Western was unique in Canada and it looks like they're throwing it away. Maybe their GPA and MCAT pool was getting too insane and they needed to do something. I still would have preferred introducing CASPer before doing this. 

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As with all change, people either love or hate this one.

The people with sub-129 CARS (or barely making any of the cutoffs) are delighted because they can make it without a rewrite.

The people that were guaranteed interviews are more uneasy because their spot could go to someone with the same or lower stats but a better aABS. 

I'm excited to see where Western goes with this. Also, we're forgetting that McMaster is super transparent as well with their admissions process. The only spot for uncertainty is CASPer but that is due to the nature of the exam, not Mac admissions (although Mac did invent the exam...)

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I'm actually interested to see how SWOMEN might play into this new aABS.

Will they require more involvement in your community to qualify for lower MCAT cutoffs (beyond just attending and graduating from high school)? Or will it give some leeway into your ABS "score"?

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I don't think the majority of pre-meds should care too much about this change aside from two interesting developments that come up.

1) Potentially a lower CARS cutoff
2) The extra work needed to be done. 

 

Any self-respecting pre-med knows that you need to have a diverse set of extracurricular experiences not just for med school but for yourself as a person. They are great opportunities in and of themselves aside from check marks on your pre-med resume. I would not be happy if 20-22 year olds forewent their entire undergrad without doing any ECs and expected to get in entirely based off grades and an interview. 

 

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1 hour ago, Hammmmmy said:

I don't think the majority of pre-meds should care too much about this change aside from two interesting developments that come up.

1) Potentially a lower CARS cutoff
2) The extra work needed to be done. 

 

Any self-respecting pre-med knows that you need to have a diverse set of extracurricular experiences not just for med school but for yourself as a person. They are great opportunities in and of themselves aside from check marks on your pre-med resume. I would not be happy if 20-22 year olds forewent their entire undergrad without doing any ECs and expected to get in entirely based off grades and an interview. 

 

They still looked at your overall experiences in the interview. This just introduces another element of uncertainty into a process that was already uncertain. The whole holistic meme is one of my least favourite aspects of the journey from undergrad to medicine, and I thought it was really nice how Western told you exactly what you needed to do to get an interview and gave hard working students from every background a realistic chance. 

 

Some poor kid with a really high percentile MCAT is going to get rejected from an interview in favour of a kid with a much lower MCAT, all because he wasn't "holistic" enough. This is something that routinely happens in systems such as this one (just look at Queens), so this is in no ways hyperbole. Medicine has been a rich boys club for centuries and taking away quantitative review processes in favour of qualitative ones gives even more advantages to wealthier students. They already have an advantage in studying for the MCAT and achieving higher GPA's, but EC's is truly where rich applicants get to shine. I find it troubling and an unwelcome change. 

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34 minutes ago, tavenan said:

They still looked at your overall experiences in the interview. This just introduces another element of uncertainty into a process that was already uncertain. The whole holistic meme is one of my least favourite aspects of the journey from undergrad to medicine, and I thought it was really nice how Western told you exactly what you needed to do to get an interview and gave hard working students from every background a realistic chance. 

 

Some poor kid with a really high percentile MCAT is going to get rejected from an interview in favour of a kid with a much lower MCAT, all because he wasn't "holistic" enough. This is something that routinely happens in systems such as this one (just look at Queens), so this is in no ways hyperbole. Medicine has been a rich boys club for centuries and taking away quantitative review processes in favour of qualitative ones gives even more advantages to wealthier students. They already have an advantage in studying for the MCAT and achieving higher GPA's, but EC's is truly where rich applicants get to shine. I find it troubling and an unwelcome change. 

I couldn't have said it better. MCAT and GPA isn't the greatest equalizer but it is certainly more so than ECs. Wealthy applicants can afford to volunteer their time and not work a job or two. They are also most likely afforded connections from their parents/family.

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1 hour ago, tablo said:

I'm actually interested to see how SWOMEN might play into this new aABS.

Will they require more involvement in your community to qualify for lower MCAT cutoffs (beyond just attending and graduating from high school)? Or will it give some leeway into your ABS "score"?

They aren't re-defining SWOMEN

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Wow I'm glad I got through this year. I wonder how this will affect the CARS cut-off. I suspect the MCAT cut-offs overall may be lowered, but may be competitively assessed (i.e. a person with lower MCAT scores may need a better score on the holistic portion of the application). This change does introduce quite a bit of subjectivity to the application processes, so I can't say that I'm a fan of this change.

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52 minutes ago, silverorlead said:

If someone has decent ECs with a well rounded MCAT and 128 CARS, is it worth rewriting now or not?

Asking for a friend...

(Na jks it's for me)

 

If you're not SWOMEN I would not bank on the cutoffs lowering. Admissions are only getting more competitive and this new criterion is a testament to that. Just my $0.02.

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25 minutes ago, DarkRoastBlaq said:

 

If you're not SWOMEN I would not bank on the cutoffs lowering. Admissions are only getting more competitive and this new criterion is a testament to that. Just my $0.02.

Western is (was?) a MCAT-centric school (main barrier for most applicants, non-SWOMEN atleast). Such schools will never get any more or less competitive since the MCAT is a standardized exam. This reflects a shift in their ideology / what they're looking for, not the applicant pool getting more competitive for this school specifically. It's one of the reasons I thought the system Western used was uniquely fair in Canada. 

 

I would be very surprised if the CARs cutoff was a 129 next year. Heck, we might not even have a hard cutoff any more, just a soft one. We don't know how they'll be approaching this whole thing, maybe this year will be a test year and they're doing everything exactly the same way. But most likely they'll give you a score based on your MCAT/GPA/AB and pick the top 400, so there might not be a hard "cutoff" for MCAT but it'll be harder the lower you score is. 

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5 minutes ago, tavenan said:

I would be very surprised if the CARs cutoff was a 129 next year. Heck, we might not even have a hard cutoff any more, just a soft one. We don't know how they'll be approaching this whole thing, maybe this year will be a test year and they're doing everything exactly the same way. But most likely they'll give you a score based on your MCAT/GPA/AB and pick the top 400, so there might not be a hard "cutoff" for MCAT but it'll be harder the lower you score is. 

That's also a possibility. They could also include psych/soc in their assessment of the MCAT.

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