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faithrl

How important are my first year undergrad marks?

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I just started undergrad at McMaster in Ontario. I'm doing as well as I'd hope but I'm learning a lot. My GPA is going to be around 3.8. 

I saw most medical school's in Ontario accept applicants with a 3.96 average, and I don't know if its possible with 3.8 to get.

I know I'll do better next year, but I doubt ill be able to get perfect 4.0's. 

Any advice?

 

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It'll be tough and getting the GPA up should be first priority - however, do keep in mind Mac and Schulich only really need about ~3.8 GPA for admission; but you do need a killer CARS score (minimum 129 I'd say). For Mac if you look up stats lots of people with 3.8 GPA get in but as I mentioned earlier, it would depend a lot on your CARS and your CASPER. 

I'd say Queens is also a possibility - no one really knows how they assess and for all we know GPA could just be a cut off. And for U of T, by fourth year, they drop your lowest grades so if you just messed up one course, your GPA could still well be in  3.9+.

I hope this helps, you should look into the individual schools and look around the forum for admission stats to get an idea

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7 hours ago, faithrl said:

I just started undergrad at McMaster in Ontario. I'm doing as well as I'd hope but I'm learning a lot. My GPA is going to be around 3.8. 

I saw most medical school's in Ontario accept applicants with a 3.96 average, and I don't know if its possible with 3.8 to get.

I know I'll do better next year, but I doubt ill be able to get perfect 4.0's. 

Any advice?

 

You definitely do not need a 3.96+ to get into medical school. At schools like UofT and uOttawa, where the average accepted GPA is really high like this, keep in mind that these schools drop some of your worst courses or have a weighting formula that will probably boost your GPA over time. Also, since the reported accepted GPA is an average, there are likely a lot of students with GPAs higher and lower. 

You are doing excellent so far for your first year! You should be proud of yourself. :) First year is hard on a lot of people, you are doing good!

If it makes you feel any better, I did worse in first year (~3.76) but still pulled my GPA up 3.92+ by the end of third year to all schools I am applying to. What really helped me do this, in my opinion, was discovering the website rate my prof. I am very choosy in my courses as who is teaching the course can make or break it. I also tend to stay away from courses with group work and a lot of essays. It's tough because first year you do not have a lot of wiggle room with course options, but it should get better in the upper years. I hope this helps! Goodluck, you can do this! :)

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10 hours ago, cxbrt5 said:

It'll be tough and getting the GPA up should be first priority - however, do keep in mind Mac and Schulich only really need about ~3.8 GPA for admission; but you do need a killer CARS score (minimum 129 I'd say). For Mac if you look up stats lots of people with 3.8 GPA get in but as I mentioned earlier, it would depend a lot on your CARS and your CASPER. 

I'd say Queens is also a possibility - no one really knows how they assess and for all we know GPA could just be a cut off. And for U of T, by fourth year, they drop your lowest grades so if you just messed up one course, your GPA could still well be in  3.9+.

I hope this helps, you should look into the individual schools and look around the forum for admission stats to get an idea

That helps a lot, thanks so much :)

 

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3 hours ago, caramilk said:

You definitely do not need a 3.96+ to get into medical school. At schools like UofT and uOttawa, where the average accepted GPA is really high like this, keep in mind that these schools drop some of your worst courses or have a weighting formula that will probably boost your GPA over time. Also, since the reported accepted GPA is an average, there are likely a lot of students with GPAs higher and lower. 

You are doing excellent so far for your first year! You should be proud of yourself. :) First year is hard on a lot of people, you are doing good!

If it makes you feel any better, I did worse in first year (~3.76) but still pulled my GPA up 3.92+ by the end of third year to all schools I am applying to. What really helped me do this, in my opinion, was discovering the website rate my prof. I am very choosy in my courses as who is teaching the course can make or break it. I also tend to stay away from courses with group work and a lot of essays. It's tough because first year you do not have a lot of wiggle room with course options, but it should get better in the upper years. I hope this helps! Goodluck, you can do this! :)

That makes me feel so much better, thank you :)) and congrats, you must've worked so hard! 

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I think at like one school in Ontario the higher years are weighted more but at the vast majority of schools they’re just as important as upper years. I never understood why during our first week in undergrad people would tell us to not worry about first year, how it’s a “feelout year” etc. It’s 25% of your university life...and actually more important than upper years in the sense that you learn the foundational knowledge needed to do well in upper year courses. Can’t building a tower without the foundation.

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OP: Having a higher GPA will definitely make applications easier, but it isn't everything. Make sure you start planning for ECs and the MCAT early. I know someone with a 3.95 who only interviewed at Western (OOP, but back then they looked much less on ECs), didn't make UBC IP, or any of the other schools across the country. 

30 minutes ago, KeyzerSoze said:

 I never understood why during our first week in undergrad people would tell us to not worry about first year, how it’s a “feelout year” etc. 

2

Might be the case for other programs... but med still focuses so much on GPA that it's quite sad.

I took that advice, as well as the "Everyone who is in university now had over 85%+ in highschool. 60% is the new 85% so don't worry if your grades drop", and the "take electives or that you enjoy and don't worry about the grades". My first year was a gong show, and if I look at only the courses I took for my minor, I'm at an 80% average/ 3.0. 

Not saying to not have fun, but start planning early.

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4 minutes ago, chiynadoll said:

I took that advice, as well as the "Everyone who is in university now had over 85%+ in highschool. 60% is the new 85% so don't worry if your grades drop", and the "take electives or that you enjoy and don't worry about the grades".

I understand why people say stuff like "Do what you enjoy don't worry about grades". It's the same reason why people say stuff like "pursue a job you're passionate about don't worry about the money". Life is short and we'd like to believe we have some control over deciding what to do with it, and that pursuing our impulses will lead to some ultimate satisfaction. But the fact of the matter is that money does matter. You can't live in society without it and you should strive for a job that will earn you at least a stable income. Similarly, grades do matter, and if you think an elective will bomb your grades, you should drop it (even if it's something you're interested in).

University should be about having fun and discovering who you are, but it's just as much (if not more) about striving to do well in your classes and earning grades that will earn you a good career. I'm sure OP already knows this (and to OP,  first year grades are important, just as important as upper years), but I'm just saying in general. I think hedonism in our society has gone a bit too far.

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You're doing great! These 3.96 GPAs are usually with people taking into account weighting formulas used at most ON universities. For schools that don't use weighting (i.e. Mac) you would be fine with a 3.8 as long as the rest of your stats are good. You will also probably have a higher GPA with weighting. For reference, I had a 3.5 GPA in first year and was fine for getting a Mac interview (my cumulative GPA was 3.73). My weighted GPA was 3.90-3.93 depending on the school, and you look like you're headed in a similar direction, maybe better. Good luck! 

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On 10/18/2018 at 1:02 PM, KeyzerSoze said:

I think at like one school in Ontario the higher years are weighted more but at the vast majority of schools they’re just as important as upper years. I never understood why during our first week in undergrad people would tell us to not worry about first year, how it’s a “feelout year” etc. It’s 25% of your university life...and actually more important than upper years in the sense that you learn the foundational knowledge needed to do well in upper year courses. Can’t building a tower without the foundation.

I know! How am i not supposed to worry its just as important. At least I know some schools don't mind a not so perfect first year, so I still have hope!

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19 hours ago, Gironomo said:

My first year GPA was a 3.72 and I managed to bring it a 3.90 cGPA, 4.0 2Y/Best GPA and 3.99 wGPA. It's very possible to rebound, you just have to be choosy with your courses and always prioritize GPA

Ok good call. I'm in a social science program, so those courses are much easier, still a lot of work. I'm only doing 2 science courses, and 3 social science every semester so its not too bad. 

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On 10/18/2018 at 3:24 PM, m_jacob_45 said:

You're doing great! These 3.96 GPAs are usually with people taking into account weighting formulas used at most ON universities. For schools that don't use weighting (i.e. Mac) you would be fine with a 3.8 as long as the rest of your stats are good. You will also probably have a higher GPA with weighting. For reference, I had a 3.5 GPA in first year and was fine for getting a Mac interview (my cumulative GPA was 3.73). My weighted GPA was 3.90-3.93 depending on the school, and you look like you're headed in a similar direction, maybe better. Good luck! 

I totally forgot about weighting. I'll just ignore it, try my best, and hopefully it gets weighted even higher :)

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On 10/18/2018 at 1:35 PM, chiynadoll said:

OP: Having a higher GPA will definitely make applications easier, but it isn't everything. Make sure you start planning for ECs and the MCAT early. I know someone with a 3.95 who only interviewed at Western (OOP, but back then they looked much less on ECs), didn't make UBC IP, or any of the other schools across the country. 

Might be the case for other programs... but med still focuses so much on GPA that it's quite sad.

I took that advice, as well as the "Everyone who is in university now had over 85%+ in highschool. 60% is the new 85% so don't worry if your grades drop", and the "take electives or that you enjoy and don't worry about the grades". My first year was a gong show, and if I look at only the courses I took for my minor, I'm at an 80% average/ 3.0. 

Not saying to not have fun, but start planning early.

That's very true. I did horrible in high school because I just didn't care. I'm not getting the perfect grades, but I sure am working my ass off and learning how to study, so I think It'll be ok :) 

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