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saltyspitoon

Gap or Masters? (yes one of these posts I'm sorry)

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Long time lurker. Applied for first time this year, things didn't go well. I'm planning on rewriting the MCAT this summer, but I'm also very conflicted on my next steps. I'll post my stats and was wondering if some discussion would help clear this up? I have a a few 2-year masters in mind that are actually pretty cool to me, but at the same time I am considering just applying again with a much more refined application than last year cause I'm not really interested in waiting 2 years to apply again lol. For reference, I just finished 4th year UG at McMaster, and an IP for Ontario (not SWOMEN):

GPAs from OMSAS:

Mac: 3.9+ 

Queens (2yr): 3.99

Western (2yr) 3.99

UofT (wGPA): 3.93 or 3.94 idk

Ottawa: 3.95 or 3.96 

MCAT: 129/125/132/132 (rip CARS)

Tons of research (4 pubs, working on 2 more this summer, held over 5 positions throughout undergrad), many research awards (NSERC 2x, 1st place poster presentations, etc.), lots of volunteering including clinical, homeless shelters, food banks, and vulnerable populations, started my own clubs for charity, president of 3 clubs and executive of 5, lots of cultural work in my community, some unique advocacy projects I enjoyed working on and even got a paper out of, observerships, TAships, etc.

So yeah, just any advice? I keep going back and forth and would like some input as to whether a masters really would help or if I should do a gap. I should note, MY BIGGEST WORRY is applying again and still getting nothing (which happened to a majority of my upper year friends and is what is driving me towards a masters). Thank you!

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Hi! First of all, I'm so sorry that things didn't go well for you this year and I know that it can be frustrating. But reading your ECs and stats, it is clear that you are already a very well rounded candidate (ofc this is just my own opinion). 

A Master's degree is a huge commitment time-wise and financially. I think you need to be honest with yourself. Is a master's degree only for you to look good on your application? Or is it something that will enrich your learning, benefit your career, and be worth the money! I think that both a gap year and a masters degree are equally valid routes and as long as you spend time during the next cycle to explain the reasons why you chose your route and identify what you learned from the experience (and how that affects what kind of physician you will be). 

Overall, it's up to you! All the best with this decision!

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Hello there. I have similar CARS woes so I feel for you. That is most likely what is holding you back. Your game plan from now on should just be CARS. I really do not think you should do a masters given your current situation. Your stats and ECs are more than enough to get you in somewhere (as of now just Ottawa and Toronto for next year) and the masters would only be taking time away from you tbh. I'm currently an MSc and yes my project was very cool to me, but waiting those extra two years to apply again was a pain and it was not a fun journey. An MSc is a huge commitment (with time and energy) and I would strongly advise agaisnt doing one if your motive is to fill your years with "something". Sorry if I'm sounding negative here, I think it would be wise for you to hear someone who has gone through that route! 

However, if you are completely and utterly passionate about the research then by all means do it. I've worked with people in my lab who couldnt see themselves doing anything else. But honestly you're a premed with good stats and you're going to want get out of the lab asap. Trust me LOL. It's also important to note that MSc's advertise as a two year program but Tbh the average time-line is more like 2.5-3 years, depending on the field of work. So keep that in mind as well. 

Try and figure out what went wrong with the other parts of your app as well. Toronto loves essays, maybe they could have been written better etc. For Ottawa, casper the ghost is often underestimated. Once you get past the casper woes you'll most likely land an Ottawa interview tbh. 

Anyways, cheers. PM if you have more questions about MScs/grad studies 

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you're a strong applicant. I agree with premed72 

1) See if you can improve CARS before the next application cycle. Aim for a 128 or higher to be competitive at Mac, Western and Queens. This would also open up doors at OOP schools. 

2) If improving CARS isn't possible, you still have a great shot at UofT and Ottawa. Don't underestimate the essays for UofT and casper for uOttawa. 

3) During the gap year, continue working on your ECs! That will help more than a masters. 

Your issue is not gpa or EC related, it might've just been the way your application was written, poor essays and casper.

Best of luck :)

 

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