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skmedschool

Non traditional route- Student, singlemother looking to get into U of C Medshcool.

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Hi everyone, I need some advice please 

I am a 36 year old single mother, coming from an immigrant background I started my journey from ESL to academic upgrading to University of Calgary. I got my BSc  in Biological science in 2017 from U of C. I have no family support so I was on Student loan the entire time, right after gradation I had a get a full-time job asap to start paying my loan. My GPA from the last 2 years of my studies is not great (2.9). I was having part-time job my whole university time to help pay the bills. On the plus side, my son followed my footsteps in perusing higher education and is also a U of C (Engg) student now and I can't be prouder of him. 

- I work right now for a big oil and gas company. 

-I have paid a big portion of my student loan since graduation, thanks to my current job. 

-I have Volunteer experience [more than 300 hours at the:  1- Calgary Hospitals, 2- caring for children with mental disabilities {tutoring in math and sciences}, 3- helping low-income women like myself in Women In Need society, 4- helping low-income families in Community associations in my neighborhood {disturbing food and warm clothing}. ]

-I have several letters of recommendations from my Professors, agencies that I have worked or volunteered for. 

I wanted to ask if someone could please give me some advice on what should I do. I want to go back to school and get to Medshool here in U of C. I know that my gpa is not the greatest. But I am ready to do whatever it takes to bring it up to where it should be. I am currently prepping for the MCAT. I want to write the MCAT this upcoming summer. 

I was wondering if someone could please give me some advice on what should I do? 

1- should I go and try a 2nd degree and if that is a good option?

2- If I should go for a Graduate program? I found some course-based graduate programs here in U of C. is that a good choice?

3-shall I go for open-studies for the next 1 or 2 years and try to up my gpa as best as possible? does U of C consider open-studies gpa towards admission into U of C Med? and if yes, do the type of classes matter: do they need to be all science based courses? can I repeat any of the Bio, Chem, etc coursed I already have completed but don't have great marks for them?

 

I would really appreciate your advice and I will thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

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Hi skmedschool,

I don't have any advice because I'm not familiar with U Cal but I just wanted to say WOW! You should be SO proud of yourself and how much you've accomplished. Your motivation, resiliency and hard work is admirable. 

Because your situation is so unique, to get the best advice I suggest booking an appointment or calling U Cal MD. They would know best.

I wish you the best!

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If you do not have the basic requirements (minimum gpa and mcat and number of full time years)  it says explicitly in the applicant manual that you won’t be considered.
 

you need to calculate your gpa as per the admissions manual and see what you get. From there, it will help clarify your next steps. If you need help, ask admissions (right now isn’t a good time I don’t think because they are busy preparing for interviews.)

 

good luck!

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I would say you have a large part of your application accounted for, and really fleshed out with ECs and references, so it sounds like you are doing great in that department!  As others have pointed out, UofC does have a minimum gpa requirement and require a certain number of credits in your most recent years.  A lower gpa can be forgiven with MCAT and life experience, but if you don't make the cutoff for gpa, your application will not be looked at.  Start by checking if your cGPA meets the cutoff first, then go from there!

After degree: If you do not make the minimum gpa, this is your best shot at raising your marks.  You basically get two years to try and kick it out of the park.  I think UofC does use this, but you need to check the admissions manual and make a meeting with the admissions office to make sure.

Graduate studies:  This will not drastically change your gpa.  Do this because you would be interested in the path it takes you, not to up your grades. A graduate degree is its own professional program that will build new skills and experience, but the course load (generally) is very different than in undergrad, so even a course based masters is not calculated the same as your undergrad.  Again, this is something you need to have a meeting with an admissions adviser about to figure out exactly how UofC looks at course based masters.

Open studies:  again, this will not drastically change your gpa.  You are limited to entry level courses most of the time, and cannot be full time as an open studies student at most universities.  This is a good solution if you are trying to pull together pre-reqs, but it will not be weighted higher than your undergrad gpa because you will not be taking a full course load of senior level classes.

In terms of what to take, go for something you enjoy and can do well in.  There are no pre-req requirements anymore, since the MCAT will determine if you have the necessary science background.

Good luck!  You sound like a rockstar!

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Hi there, 

I agree with most things ChikChikChickens mentioned with the exception of the graduate degree. I did my masters (2 years thesis-based program), only took 2 courses (3.9 GPA from those 2 graduate courses alone) and saw that my low cGPA (~3.5) somehow jumped up to 3.7. It says in the UCAN manual that your graduate GPA actually accounts for an entire years weight. However, doing open studies or after degree requires a lot more work since those courses would only be factored in by weight per class (if this doesn't make sense, feel free to message me). But of course, I didn't go into a masters for a GPA boost, I went in for the research and to gain a stepping stone in my career. However, my grad degree came with many benefits for my med application (GPA jump, reference letters, publications, financial support through stipend and awards). Talk to the admissions counsellor but a masters or PhD can actually give you a significant boost for your GPA. Though I'd advise you to not only go into a graduate degree for the GPA boost. 

And also, you should be very proud of everything you have accomplished for yourself and your son :) You'd be a fantastic doctor! 

1 hour ago, chkchkchickens said:

I would say you have a large part of your application accounted for, and really fleshed out with ECs and references, so it sounds like you are doing great in that department!  As others have pointed out, UofC does have a minimum gpa requirement and require a certain number of credits in your most recent years.  A lower gpa can be forgiven with MCAT and life experience, but if you don't make the cutoff for gpa, your application will not be looked at.  Start by checking if your cGPA meets the cutoff first, then go from there!

After degree: If you do not make the minimum gpa, this is your best shot at raising your marks.  You basically get two years to try and kick it out of the park.  I think UofC does use this, but you need to check the admissions manual and make a meeting with the admissions office to make sure.

Graduate studies:  This will not drastically change your gpa.  Do this because you would be interested in the path it takes you, not to up your grades. A graduate degree is its own professional program that will build new skills and experience, but the course load (generally) is very different than in undergrad, so even a course based masters is not calculated the same as your undergrad.  Again, this is something you need to have a meeting with an admissions adviser about to figure out exactly how UofC looks at course based masters.

Open studies:  again, this will not drastically change your gpa.  You are limited to entry level courses most of the time, and cannot be full time as an open studies student at most universities.  This is a good solution if you are trying to pull together pre-reqs, but it will not be weighted higher than your undergrad gpa because you will not be taking a full course load of senior level classes.

In terms of what to take, go for something you enjoy and can do well in.  There are no pre-req requirements anymore, since the MCAT will determine if you have the necessary science background.

Good luck!  You sound like a rockstar!

 

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thank you everyone, I am speechless with all this positive feedback and great advice I am getting from everyone. I would start by contacting the U of C Med admission office and asking for their advice regarding my gpa. Looks like graduate degree route is not my best option, but I want to confirm with the admission office before I move on. 

I am thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for all the love and advice. I know the road ahead is not easy but I will humbly continue moving forward. 

thank you everyone :)

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4 hours ago, PlsLetMeIn02 said:

Hi there, 

I agree with most things ChikChikChickens mentioned with the exception of the graduate degree. I did my masters (2 years thesis-based program), only took 2 courses (3.9 GPA from those 2 graduate courses alone) and saw that my low cGPA (~3.5) somehow jumped up to 3.7. It says in the UCAN manual that your graduate GPA actually accounts for an entire years weight. However, doing open studies or after degree requires a lot more work since those courses would only be factored in by weight per class (if this doesn't make sense, feel free to message me). But of course, I didn't go into a masters for a GPA boost, I went in for the research and to gain a stepping stone in my career. However, my grad degree came with many benefits for my med application (GPA jump, reference letters, publications, financial support through stipend and awards). Talk to the admissions counsellor but a masters or PhD can actually give you a significant boost for your GPA. Though I'd advise you to not only go into a graduate degree for the GPA boost. 

And also, you should be very proud of everything you have accomplished for yourself and your son :) You'd be a fantastic doctor! 

 

Thanks PlsLetMeIn02 for the correction!  All advice I had gotten about a masters was that it would not really change a gpa, so it's great to see someone further in their program actually getting a boost!

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