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Calypsoo

OMSAS reference letters stopped?!

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1 minute ago, targaryen said:

That would definitely relieve a lot of burden on professors/mentors/bosses. But I'm curious how you would distinguish applicants if everyone ranks their students as 5/5

Yea that's mind-boggling, but maybe it will be weighted less? It's reassuring to know that we aren't the only ones who are stressed concerning reference letters...

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It's probably going to become a pass fail thing then, since people will likely only approach profs who'd be willing to give them 4/5s. 

I'd imagine this won't change anything for Mac, since they don't care about LORs very much, but interesting to see how it'll shift things at U of T/other schools that normally put quite a bit of weight on the letters. 

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1 minute ago, duckduckgoose18 said:

It's probably going to become a pass fail thing then, since people will likely only approach profs who'd be willing to give them 4/5s. 

I'd imagine this won't change anything for Mac, since they don't care about LORs very much, but interesting to see how it'll shift things at U of T/other schools that normally put quite a bit of weight on the letters. 

Yea it could turn out to be more competitive, I can't tell if it's a step forward or a step backwards.

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Seeing how most referees will rank you around 4-5/5 (as long as they don’t have a strongly bad opinion of the applicnt) this should make discerning between applicants based on Ref’s more of a pass/fail matter than anything.

This would be a good thing for those without the strongest referees, and a bad thing for those with very strong referees - only for schools that would have used reference letters competitively. 

From what I understand, Ottawa and Mac were already using reference letters as pass/fail anyways. 

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I just called the OUAC to try to confirm this, and the gent who answered said that I would have to "contact the schools individually" to determine whether  they will require written letters. He didn't seem to want to elaborate on it much. Strange. 

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10 hours ago, WunderBar said:

I just called the OUAC to try to confirm this, and the gent who answered said that I would have to "contact the schools individually" to determine whether  they will require written letters. He didn't seem to want to elaborate on it much. Strange. 

That's a bit strange.

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I mean, individual schools could still ask for references letters to be uploaded via SAM, or some other 3rd party system. I wasn't a fan of the letters when I was applying, but I can't see schools just abandoning reference letters.

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1 hour ago, Pakoon said:

I mean, individual schools could still ask for references letters to be uploaded via SAM, or some other 3rd party system. I wasn't a fan of the letters when I was applying, but I can't see schools just abandoning reference letters.

Dalhousie abandoned reference letters several years ago.

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Apparently, OMSAS responded to someone and said that reference letters are still required for the corresponding schools, its just the process will be simplified for the referees, whatever that means. 

 

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From what I've been told by one of my referees for the 2018 cycle, she thinks you still will need 3 referees, but they might not have to write a letter and will only have to fill out the evaluations form, or they will have to write a shorter letter. 

 

In my personal opinion reference letters were one of the most annoying things about the application cycle so I hope they phase them out in the future. It's also kind of unfair how certain schools like Queens rank you for interview invites based on reference letter scores. 

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6 hours ago, WeDayDream said:

What's the point of references if they just rank you out of 5. lol

I’ve done a lot of form references for students over the years, mostly for graduate schools but also for medical schools. A standard approach used by many schools is to get you to rank students out of percentiles or compared to the average - e.g. top 1%, top 5%, top 50% etc. Or average, above average, etc - or other methods of comparison to all the students you have experience working with. Very few of my students would end up in the top 5%, for example, but a number every year might be in the top 20%. If all I really had was a student’s grades I report their position with respect to the whole class. I usually found I could differentiate where students performed based on these forms pretty well, and from the other side they worked well when we were making admissions decisions too. 

I don’t know what the OMSAS form will look like, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re moving in this direction.

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Is this 100% confirmed?

I think if reference letters are completely eliminated, it is pretty ridiculous overall. It matters what professionals in the field think about your potential candidacy as colleagues. 

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12 minutes ago, VladTheLad said:

Is this 100% confirmed?

I think if reference letters are completely eliminated, it is pretty ridiculous overall. It matters what professionals in the field think about your potential candidacy as colleagues. 

From what I gather, it will likely just be more check boxes for the referee with some comment boxes (i.e This candidate is in the top 1%, 5%, 20% of the class; I believe this candidate will be well suited to practice medicine). UBC has this format although they allow a space at the bottom for an actual reference, but each question has a comment box that a referee can elaborate slightly on. I think the letters will follow a similar format, albeit very succinct and only ask questions where the referee can just check box rather than giving a detailed letter. 

I still think the reference letters will be important, but much easier to fill out by asking the referee specific questions that are easily answered with a checkbox. 

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