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DrOzuma

Change in # of sketch entries?

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Hey all,

On the OMSAS app under sketch it says "Provide biographical information about yourself and outline your activities since age 16 (maximum 32 entries)". This is my first time applying but wasn't it 48 or something last year?

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what?? thats insane! where does it say that? why would they do that? it definitely hurts more mature students who have done alot in their lives. how can someone who has more than 32 things overcome this though? Do you think we can combine activities together to make up for lost space?

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When you go to your application go straight to the place you fill out your sketch. It’s in the header!

 

Also, even though it kinda benefits me, I wholeheartedly agree that this is a disadvantage towards those with amazing life experiences. Hope this won’t make or break them :/

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54 minutes ago, InternistInTraining said:

what?? thats insane! where does it say that? why would they do that? it definitely hurts more mature students who have done alot in their lives. how can someone who has more than 32 things overcome this though? Do you think we can combine activities together to make up for lost space?

hmm that's interesting... I just checked and I had 41 entries in my application, although 3 were "formal education" and 4 were "other" (which I used for certifications). If this limit was in place, I would have had some tough decisions for what to cut. Yikes.

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I dont think the new limit it will make it or break it for anyone, this just puts pressure on people to think twice about the fluff that they put (I was guilty of that too).

 Formal education doesn't add much to your application... who cares where you went to high school or uni?

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12 hours ago, Bambi said:

This forces you to prioritize - which is a good thing.

I like the removal of formal education (seemed redundant with sending transcripts) and I can see this benefitting medical schools (slightly less time per review with less potential entries to review). On one hand it also sends a positive message stressing quality over quantity. That being said, a number of applicants have just done so much high quality stuff and probably feel that they are not presenting themselves as a whole when they are forced to cut down significantly on entries. That’s how I would’ve felt, so I’m not convinced this benefits all applicants.

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6 hours ago, Executive-D said:

I like the removal of formal education (seemed redundant with sending transcripts) and I can see this benefitting medical schools (slightly less time per review with less potential entries to review). On one hand it also sends a positive message stressing quality over quantity. That being said, a number of applicants have just done so much high quality stuff and probably feel that they are not presenting themselves as a whole when they are forced to cut down significantly on entries. That’s how I would’ve felt, so I’m not convinced this benefits all applicants.

couldnt have said it any better. Some people simply have too many amazing experiences that wouldn't fit the new scheme if it turns out to be true. The main issue with OMSAS is that unlike any other application in the world, you are only allowed 150 characters per activity. Which is incredibly small on its own! No other application is this small. Besides, most other schools offer unlimited activity spots for employment, so I really dont know where omsas is going with this thing?

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It is what it is - and what is important is that it is an even playing field! Each applicant will. Onto je to need to market oneself to the best of one’s ability given the. O straits and limitations that apply. First hurdle remains to get to the interview stage. You all gotta focus on accomplishing this. There are more qualified applicants that there are spots and Lady Luck continues to play her role in this.

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On 7/20/2018 at 1:36 AM, Bambi said:

It is what it is - and what is important is that it is an even playing field! Each applicant will. Onto je to need to market oneself to the best of one’s ability given the. O straits and limitations that apply. First hurdle remains to get to the interview stage. You all gotta focus on accomplishing this. There are more qualified applicants that there are spots and Lady Luck continues to play her role in this.

I definitely see where your coming from (and also understand why omsas would limit their activities, because they are looking for quality over quantity). But I dont think this is the most appropriate way of doing it. What about the applicants who come from low SES backgrounds and had to juggle between 10 jobs during their undergrad alone to support themselves and family? Why do they have to think about whether they should include all their jobs to demonstrate their low income background at the cost of sacrificing one third of their application? Most jobs these days are part time jobs and honestly it sounds like those kind of jobs will vanish from the application now on (unless you wanna include it at the expense of other more generally noteworthy regarded activities). Besides, there are applicants in their late 20s early 30s, and have accomplished many amazing things in their life (even more than 48), and they would have to take a blow because of the new change, unlike students who have little experience to share in which case they would be affected to a much less degree considering they would already be close to having 30 entries. So the differences between stellar non-academics and ok non-academic students would be diminished to a great extent. So I dont really think its an even playing field to be honest. It favors those who have less life experience, and indirectly tilts the formula towards other components of the application like GPA and MCAT.

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1 hour ago, InternistInTraining said:

I definitely see where your coming from (and also understand why omsas would limit their activities, because they are looking for quality over quantity). But I dont think this is the most appropriate way of doing it. What about the applicants who come from low SES backgrounds and had to juggle between 10 jobs during their undergrad alone to support themselves and family? Why do they have to think about whether they should include all their jobs to demonstrate their low income background at the cost of sacrificing one third of their application? Most jobs these days are part time jobs and honestly it sounds like those kind of jobs will vanish from the application now on (unless you wanna include it at the expense of other more generally noteworthy regarded activities). Besides, there are applicants in their late 20s early 30s, and have accomplished many amazing things in their life (even more than 48), and they would have to take a blow because of the new change, unlike students who have little experience to share in which case they would be affected to a much less degree considering they would already be close to having 30 entries. So the differences between stellar non-academics and ok non-academic students would be diminished to a great extent. So I dont really think its an even playing field to be honest. It favors those who have less life experience, and indirectly tilts the formula towards other components of the application like GPA and MCAT.

I would disagree, and even say that it is highly exaggerated that people would have 48 items that are SO AMAZING, that they lose out. If anything it would make the people with a ton of work experience stand out, because then it isn’t diluted by the large ABS but axtually takes up a large portion. A) adcom would be able to tell very easily that this person has a lot of life experience through work, with the various skillS Gained through each. Heck my application had a large portion of job experience and little volunteering. So non trads/ low.

b) you’ll have people who are more research oriented, and people who hve more work experience, or people who hve a bit of everything. I wouldn’t say one is better than another necessarily, but it’s up to adcom to decide what type of student thy want. Some value life experience more than others. 

All in all, I think it’s a great change and helps distinguish different types of people.

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1 hour ago, IMislove said:

I would disagree, and even say that it is highly exaggerated that people would have 48 items that are SO AMAZING, that they lose out. If anything it would make the people with a ton of work experience stand out, because then it isn’t diluted by the large ABS but axtually takes up a large portion. A) adcom would be able to tell very easily that this person has a lot of life experience through work, with the various skillS Gained through each. Heck my application had a large portion of job experience and little volunteering. So non trads/ low.

b) you’ll have people who are more research oriented, and people who hve more work experience, or people who hve a bit of everything. I wouldn’t say one is better than another necessarily, but it’s up to adcom to decide what type of student thy want. Some value life experience more than others. 

All in all, I think it’s a great change and helps distinguish different types of people.

I would agree with this. I'll also add that, in my experience, the ABS is not so much about what you've done as much as it is about how you've framed it. Presentation is everything for the ABS. And there are ways to strategically combine certain activities into fewer ABS entries, while still showing the same breadth of experience. 

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According to a 2014 2011 study, at the time Ottawa's ABS was scored for each of the OMSAS categories:

Quote

Eligible applicants' autobiographical sketches are assessed using a six-item rating scale that quantifies the level of education, employment, volunteering, extracurricular activities, awards, and research contributions. Each item is assessed according to a specific scoring key. One trained faculty rates each category on all applicants' autobiographical sketches.

https://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2011/10001/Does_an_Emotional_Intelligence_Test_Correlate_With.10.aspx

The big reasons I can see this new change occurring is 1. economics (less time reviewing applications, less cost to admin); 2. to correct a right-skew in ABS scores. 

Regarding #2, it's possible with 48 entries that schools have noticed too many applicants were getting perfect or near perfect ABS scores (like the 3.99 and 4.0 when it comes to GPA's). If the ABS scores are skewed, it becomes less useful as a measure of selecting applicants. So to correct the skew, they make the ABS harder to score highly on with less entries at the applicants' disposal. 

It would be interesting to see what motivated this change with OMSAS. There will likely be casualties of this change, specifically those who have significantly more than 32 entries and then they cut down and present an imperfect picture of themselves. As many have said, the ABS is a component of the application that requires much strategy and skill. I was thinking of what entries I would've cut or tried to combine (some were already combinations), and it would not have been an easy task!

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I don’t think this change is unreasonable. Having reviewed files in the past, many candidates will have very redundant entries as they feel obliged to fill up the 48 entries. People will split Duplicate items into multiple entries for each year they completed that activity or received the award. I don’t need to see that you were on the Dean’s honour roll in 4 entries, combine them into 1 and put the years in the title or dates etc. This will force people to consolidate their activities into stronger entries. 

I also highly doubt anyone has 48 unrelated entries that they cannot combine. For example, if you were an athlete and competed at a high level, you could enumerate the competitions in the title or put them in the description, instead of having every competition separate + an entry about your sport etc. 

I think adcoms will still easily be able to discriminate between people who have amazing life experience and people with less based on the quality of the application.

With respect to the comment about everyone getting a perfect ABS score, I believe that to be very far from the truth in my experience. Schools could just change the rubric on how they evaluate the sketch without needing to changing the length.

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On 8/3/2018 at 12:58 PM, Sauna said:

This does put a smile on my face

Never understood how people have 48 entries 

This thread is a bit funny, it's almost like people here are low-key shaming those who have a lot of entries... it is not THAT crazy for certain applicants, especially mature applicants, to have 48 or perhaps more unique entries. And to the commenter above, I was referring to the ABS scores being skewed (which is undesirable from a psychometrics perspective) but I did not imply that everyone is getting perfect scores (a google image search for skewed distribution will show you what that looks like). 

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