Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums
akulani

How will COVID-19 affect applicants this upcoming cycle?

Recommended Posts

I was planning on writing the MCAT at the end of August, but May dates have gotten cancelled and this might carry on throughout summer. Law schools have made a version of the LSAT, called LSAT-Flex, to accommodate students so is it possible that the MCAT will be online as well? If the MCAT was online, they could evaluate applicants who have taken the real thing separately from applicants who take a variation of it. Another possible solution would be to extend the deadline to submit med school applications! 

Another speculation is that winter term grades could be disregarded by some schools because of this, but I cannot see it happening. I can see med schools being more lenient to those who chose to withdraw from a course or those that chose a pass/fail grade that were affected in some way by COVID-19.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The short answer is no one knows and it will be at least weeks, probably months, before admissions can clarify this. To address this point:

31 minutes ago, akulani said:

Another speculation is that winter term grades could be disregarded by some schools because of this, but I cannot see it happening. 

The UofA has already announced that they, as an institution, will not be using Winter 2020 grades:

https://www.ualberta.ca/covid-19/updates/04/2020-04-06-changes-to-admissions-for-fall-2020.html

Quote

For external (or current) post-secondary students applying to an undergraduate or graduate program at the University of Alberta, grades for courses taken in Winter 2020 will not be included in the calculation of admission GPAs.

Medicine hasn't specifically commented on it, but I can see this becoming a pattern across Canada since it would reduce logistical problems for schools in trying to compare optional P/F (pre and post receiving letter grades), mandatory P/F, P/F/H, and whatever other systems schools have dreamed up. 

As far as the LSAT, I don't think it's a good comparable. The LSAT is  a different format of exam than the MCAT and is significantly shorter. They're also not adding the experimental section that plays with your mind on test day. There is no content to memorize, it's all thinking based, making it an easier exam to administer remotely without the same cheating fears. I had MCAT questions I spent valuable time on (and got wrong) that 15 seconds of Googling could have solved. Considering past AAMC exam security issues I would be really hesitant to speculate on an online MCAT. AAMC exam security is significantly stricter than LSAC exam security. For anyone who hasn't taken both, you can write the LSAT in any big open space, from classrooms to hotel ballrooms. 

The economic reality is this shutdown can't go on forever (or even to the end of the summer if Economists predictions, dodgy at the best of times, are to be believed). I would imagine they'll simply up the number of test dates once things open up and introduce precautions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they don't use Winter 2020 grades, it would not be fair for everyone, because this was my best semester and I actually tried my hardest despite having online lectures and losing my summer job, and I feel that others have also done this. I hope they only choose to leave this as an option and not a full on mandatory thing, because a lot of people I know took 5 courses this semester, managed to do decently well, and did not use the Pass/Fail system. Of course there are people who absolutely had to, but I feel like it should be an option for everyone. If they do not consider Winter 2020, my overall GPA will be lower, but I do not speak for everyone of course. I also feel that this is a good test for medical schools to see how different circumstances can affect people, because this was an extenuating circumstance and everyone responded differently. I just feel that if they do not consider Winter 2020 grades, it is unfair to all of the people who worked hard despite having online lectures, losing jobs, and losing motivation.

I also wish they make an accommodation for the MCAT this summer, because a lot of people were planning on writing it, and if not, it would set people back by a year who were trying to apply to medical school next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Most schools made it optional for P/F vs a numerical grade and extended the course withdrawal deadlines, so those affected by COVID-19 can use those options for their benefit. Those that choose to pass their courses can still receive a credit, just not a grade that can be used in gpa calculations. I hope this entire semester wasn’t a waste of hard work and tuition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, akulani said:

I agree. Most schools made it optional for P/F vs a numerical grade and extended the course withdrawal deadlines, so those affected by COVID-19 can use those options for their benefit. Those that choose to pass their courses can still receive a credit, just not a grade that can be used in gpa calculations. I hope this entire semester wasn’t a waste of hard work and tuition.

Exactly. I heard that most schools use the best three years if you did 4 years of undergrad, and if they drop this semester, then what will they use to make that up? I did not do well on first year and worked much harder this year to improve my GPA, and it would be a huge disadvantage if they drop this semester which was really good for me and a lot of others, and pick one of our worse semesters that they initially would have dropped. Even if they do not take the worse year into calculation, by dropping this year, a lot of people who did well this semester may have a lower overall GPA, which is not fair at all, given our hard work and tuition for this semester.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fun said:

If they don't use Winter 2020 grades, it would not be fair for everyone, because this was my best semester and I actually tried my hardest despite having online lectures and losing my summer job, and I feel that others have also done this. I hope they only choose to leave this as an option and not a full on mandatory thing, because a lot of people I know took 5 courses this semester, managed to do decently well, and did not use the Pass/Fail system. Of course there are people who absolutely had to, but I feel like it should be an option for everyone. If they do not consider Winter 2020, my overall GPA will be lower, but I do not speak for everyone of course. I also feel that this is a good test for medical schools to see how different circumstances can affect people, because this was an extenuating circumstance and everyone responded differently. I just feel that if they do not consider Winter 2020 grades, it is unfair to all of the people who worked hard despite having online lectures, losing jobs, and losing motivation.

I also wish they make an accommodation for the MCAT this summer, because a lot of people were planning on writing it, and if not, it would set people back by a year who were trying to apply to medical school next year.

Giving everyone the exact same treatment seems pretty fair to me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, DispIay Name said:

Giving everyone the exact same treatment seems pretty fair to me

It's not really fair since it benefits certain people and is a disadvantage to others. Another reason why this is unfair is because most universities had the P/F system as an option for students to use, and since it was not mandatory for us to use, there were a lot of students who did not use the P/F system. We were also already done 3/4 of the semester, and only completed 1/4 of the semester online. Students should at least have the option of having their grades for this semester be calculated or eliminated from their applications. Otherwise, it would be a huge waste of hard work, dedication, and tuition that went into this semester.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dalhousie has also updated their website: https://medicine.dal.ca/departments/core-units/admissions/admissions/covid-19-information.html

 

"Prospective applicants to Dalhousie Medicine entering their final year of undergraduate study will have their GPA calculated using alphanumerical grades from 60 most recent, senior level courses at the time of application, excluding Winter 2020. For all future application cycles, Winter Term 2020 will be excluded from GPA calculations."

 

Kind of irritating as I worked my ass off this semester and had my best semester yet. Hopefully I won't need to reapply but if I do I'll be awfully upset over this. I don't think that's fair at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, ramjagsingh said:

Dalhousie has also updated their website: https://medicine.dal.ca/departments/core-units/admissions/admissions/covid-19-information.html

 

"Prospective applicants to Dalhousie Medicine entering their final year of undergraduate study will have their GPA calculated using alphanumerical grades from 60 most recent, senior level courses at the time of application, excluding Winter 2020. For all future application cycles, Winter Term 2020 will be excluded from GPA calculations."

 

Kind of irritating as I worked my ass off this semester and had my best semester yet. Hopefully I won't need to reapply but if I do I'll be awfully upset over this. I don't think that's fair at all.

I sent an email to their medical school advisor. I feel that if they see a lot of people are affected badly with this new process, they might consider leaving it as an option, instead of not considering it at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, fun said:

I sent an email to their medical school advisor. I feel that if they see a lot of people are affected badly with this new process, they might consider leaving it as an option, instead of not considering it at all.

There is a lot of time between now and the next application cycle so hopefully they find a plan to be flexible with this semester in order to be fair to everyone. Scrapping it all together isn't the right thing to do at all. Lots of time for tweaks to be made!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, fun said:

It's not really fair since it benefits certain people and is a disadvantage to others. Another reason why this is unfair is because most universities had the P/F system as an option for students to use, and since it was not mandatory for us to use, there were a lot of students who did not use the P/F system. We were also already done 3/4 of the semester, and only completed 1/4 of the semester online. Students should at least have the option of having their grades for this semester be calculated or eliminated from their applications. Otherwise, it would be a huge waste of hard work, dedication, and tuition that went into this semester.

Though you're ignoring those who were negatively impacted by the virus. Why should you have a chance to increase your cGPA and not them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a plan that is truly fair to everyone? I don't think so. 

Let's say everyone adopts a "ignore the semester" philosophy. As noted, some people feel that it's unfair to them because they worked hard, but this semester isn't really great at accomplishing what school's use GPA for; a longterm indication of your ability to handle learning concepts while busy with courses and life/ECs. Yes, it's nice that your GPA would increase, but Corona ruins the predictive power of this which is why schools use it (and to winnow their applicant pool, in all fairness). Let's also think about how the changes at different schools have been applied differently. I've had profs inflate grades by making up cancelled midterms by adding the weight of the cancelled midterm to the highest grade items. Is this fair to you and others if I reapply with a semester with  more A+s than normal (potentially 5 straight A+s) because of this? Not really. What about easier cheating in online classes? Not every institution is doing a great job; I've had midterm averages jump up 10-15% in most of my courses. Is it fair to assume everyone who did well this semester was cheating? No, but schools can't rule it out. The predictive value of this semester is not great. 

Now let's look at "optional use it/don't policy for the semester". You did well, so you opt to use your semester. Good for you (notwithstanding the reasons above why this matters less, which are significant). So you did well, but guess what, so will be everyone else who chooses to use grades, making your achievements less notable. Ultimately, this is a zero sum game, and if people can choose to use/not use their grades watch your average GPA go up. What about the individual course option (if some school allowed it)? How are schools supposed to adjudicate this? So you P/F some courses, but not others, should schools let you use that semester? Is it fair to let someone use a semester's grades when they may have had the opportunity after seeing their grades to switch all the marks they want to P/F? Absolutely not. On the flip side, can we really judge someone for doing this? What about someone who had small children at home, sudden changes to the grading scale that hurt instead of helped them, or suffered from reduced mental health because they were shut-in or actually had a family member or themselves suffer from it and wanted to reduce their schoolwork burden while safeguarding their time and money investment? Are we going to make them all fill out academic explanations essays (increasing admin work) to accomplish the same aim as the other (ignore it) option? Now let's take another scenario, someone is at a mandatory P/F institution, is it fair to them to let you use your grades when this decision was made for them? There have been so many different responses that schools would be swamped trying to come up with a catch all policy that isn't ignore it.

The easiest option, and universal option, is to take the Dal and UofA route. Does it hurt some people, sure, but what option doesn't? I'm fortunate to be in a student-facing role and I've heard many stories of people hurt by the switch to online and social isolation. Optional also has issues, and the current policies on P/F definitely are not going to work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, MedicineLCS said:

Is there a plan that is truly fair to everyone? I don't think so. 

Let's say everyone adopts a "ignore the semester" philosophy. As noted, some people feel that it's unfair to them because they worked hard, but this semester isn't really great at accomplishing what school's use GPA for; a longterm indication of your ability to handle learning concepts while busy with courses and life/ECs. Yes, it's nice that your GPA would increase, but Corona ruins the predictive power of this which is why schools use it (and to winnow their applicant pool, in all fairness). Let's also think about how the changes at different schools have been applied differently. I've had profs inflate grades by making up cancelled midterms by adding the weight of the cancelled midterm to the highest grade items. Is this fair to you and others if I reapply with a semester with  more A+s than normal (potentially 5 straight A+s) because of this? Not really. What about easier cheating in online classes? Not every institution is doing a great job; I've had midterm averages jump up 10-15% in most of my courses. Is it fair to assume everyone who did well this semester was cheating? No, but schools can't rule it out. The predictive value of this semester is not great. 

Now let's look at "optional use it/don't policy for the semester". You did well, so you opt to use your semester. Good for you (notwithstanding the reasons above why this matters less, which are significant). So you did well, but guess what, so will be everyone else who chooses to use grades, making your achievements less notable. Ultimately, this is a zero sum game, and if people can choose to use/not use their grades watch your average GPA go up. What about the individual course option (if some school allowed it)? How are schools supposed to adjudicate this? So you P/F some courses, but not others, should schools let you use that semester? Is it fair to let someone use a semester's grades when they may have had the opportunity after seeing their grades to switch all the marks they want to P/F? Absolutely not. On the flip side, can we really judge someone for doing this? What about someone who had small children at home, sudden changes to the grading scale that hurt instead of helped them, or suffered from reduced mental health because they were shut-in or actually had a family member or themselves suffer from it and wanted to reduce their schoolwork burden while safeguarding their time and money investment? Are we going to make them all fill out academic explanations essays (increasing admin work) to accomplish the same aim as the other (ignore it) option? Now let's take another scenario, someone is at a mandatory P/F institution, is it fair to them to let you use your grades when this decision was made for them? There have been so many different responses that schools would be swamped trying to come up with a catch all policy that isn't ignore it.

The easiest option, and universal option, is to take the Dal and UofA route. Does it hurt some people, sure, but what option doesn't? I'm fortunate to be in a student-facing role and I've heard many stories of people hurt by the switch to online and social isolation. Optional also has issues, and the current policies on P/F definitely are not going to work. 

I see your point of view but don’t forget that we did 3/4 of the semester in class. This new policy just throws away the hard work of countless people who had good grades while keeping up with ECs and other commitments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I addressed that. 

Let's say you opt in. Schools lose the predictive power, can't rule out that online classes made it easier for you to cheat, or that your instructors solution to online classes was to restructure the course to inflate marks to avoid conflict. Also, everyone who opts in will only do so because they feel comfortable in "beating the curve", so your achievements now matter less because the average GPA for that semester goes through the roof. This is also unfair to people who can't opt in because of mandatory P/F. It's unfair to them to let someone use a great semester when they could have been oncourse for an equal/better one. 

If you opt out what are the consequences? If schools set none people will open Excel and figure out if it helps or hurts them to use those grades, and opt out/in accordingly, causing the issues listed above. The average GPA shoots up (assuming everyone does the math and opts out if below the previous average) and we're bombarded by "Here are my stats, opt in/out?" posts for months. If schools do add negative consequences (no wGPA, don't count year, etc...) that is unfair to people who have been negatively impacted who either can't appeal or or now need to add academic explanations essays schools may or may not accept. Is someone who suffers from reduced mental health now going to be forced to write a letter describing how bad they felt, maybe without any outside verification because everything was closed? I think that's really insensitive to them, and also extremely hard to judge for a school that would face significantly more essays. I think schools can understand that people may have been negatively impacted by this and want to give them an out. 

Does it hurt you and others who would like to use your grades? Yes, of course, but to circle back again, the predictive power of the mighty grade point average has gone down the drain, schools have responded radically differently, and many more complexities make dropping it the easiest answer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, MedicineLCS said:

Is there a plan that is truly fair to everyone? I don't think so. 

Let's say everyone adopts a "ignore the semester" philosophy. As noted, some people feel that it's unfair to them because they worked hard, but this semester isn't really great at accomplishing what school's use GPA for; a longterm indication of your ability to handle learning concepts while busy with courses and life/ECs. Yes, it's nice that your GPA would increase, but Corona ruins the predictive power of this which is why schools use it (and to winnow their applicant pool, in all fairness). Let's also think about how the changes at different schools have been applied differently. I've had profs inflate grades by making up cancelled midterms by adding the weight of the cancelled midterm to the highest grade items. Is this fair to you and others if I reapply with a semester with  more A+s than normal (potentially 5 straight A+s) because of this? Not really. What about easier cheating in online classes? Not every institution is doing a great job; I've had midterm averages jump up 10-15% in most of my courses. Is it fair to assume everyone who did well this semester was cheating? No, but schools can't rule it out. The predictive value of this semester is not great. 

Now let's look at "optional use it/don't policy for the semester". You did well, so you opt to use your semester. Good for you (notwithstanding the reasons above why this matters less, which are significant). So you did well, but guess what, so will be everyone else who chooses to use grades, making your achievements less notable. Ultimately, this is a zero sum game, and if people can choose to use/not use their grades watch your average GPA go up. What about the individual course option (if some school allowed it)? How are schools supposed to adjudicate this? So you P/F some courses, but not others, should schools let you use that semester? Is it fair to let someone use a semester's grades when they may have had the opportunity after seeing their grades to switch all the marks they want to P/F? Absolutely not. On the flip side, can we really judge someone for doing this? What about someone who had small children at home, sudden changes to the grading scale that hurt instead of helped them, or suffered from reduced mental health because they were shut-in or actually had a family member or themselves suffer from it and wanted to reduce their schoolwork burden while safeguarding their time and money investment? Are we going to make them all fill out academic explanations essays (increasing admin work) to accomplish the same aim as the other (ignore it) option? Now let's take another scenario, someone is at a mandatory P/F institution, is it fair to them to let you use your grades when this decision was made for them? There have been so many different responses that schools would be swamped trying to come up with a catch all policy that isn't ignore it.

The easiest option, and universal option, is to take the Dal and UofA route. Does it hurt some people, sure, but what option doesn't? I'm fortunate to be in a student-facing role and I've heard many stories of people hurt by the switch to online and social isolation. Optional also has issues, and the current policies on P/F definitely are not going to work. 

Damn you beat me to this exact idea! I am also of the opinion that they will drop it from their consideration.

Medical schools will have no idea what the grades obtained in this semester actually represent without knowing the institution, knowing how every professor reacted, and knowing the home life of every applicant during that time. mean. A good grade could mean the student managed to do incredibly well despite the circumstances, or that the transition online made the course easier, or that the professor marked easier, etc... A bad grade could mean the student gave up on the course, that the student had a house situation not conducive to learning (children at home, abusive family, no access to resources...), or that the professor made the course harder because it is now online. Consider students who did poorly on a midterm and were banking on future assignments and a final to bring up their grade to instead see most of the weight of the final transferred to that midterm. A pass/fail could be from an institution who imposed them, or from a student who wanted to avoid a bad grade due to the aforementioned causes, etc... 

Making this semester an option will add all of the above uncertainty into the GPA they consider for admission. 

I don't think there will be something that will make everyone happy. Ultimately, admissions wants to know how students would do normally, not how they do when schools keep changing the academic goalposts due to a pandemic. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, MedicineLCS said:

Does it hurt you and others who would like to use your grades? Yes, of course, but to circle back again, the predictive power of the mighty grade point average has gone down the drain, schools have responded radically differently, and many more complexities make dropping it the easiest answer. 

damn... this makes way too much sense lol

guess this semester was a practice run at best lmao

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One semester probably won't break or make your admission into medical school, so that guy having a meltdown in this thread should calm down. And if it does, then it probably means you didn't have that great of a chance anyways...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, takasugi said:

One semester probably won't break or make your admission into medical school, so that guy having a meltdown in this thread should calm down. And if it does, then it probably means you didn't have that great of a chance anyways...

 

No matter what your opinion is on the situation, I don't think that insulting others is the answer. We're all struggling in this difficult time and just trying to do our best to cope. Having a legitimate concern about grades that you worked hard for not being counted is not having a "meltdown". We should be spreading empathy and kindness in this time, not bashing others for their struggles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Psych said:

No matter what your opinion is on the situation, I don't think that insulting others is the answer. We're all struggling in this difficult time and just trying to do our best to cope. Having a legitimate concern about grades that you worked hard for not being counted is not having a "meltdown". We should be spreading empathy and kindness in this time, not bashing others for their struggles

Well, if he didn't want to be insulted (which I didn't even do), maybe he shouldn't spend the whole thread crying about how this is unfair for him. One post of him whining is enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, takasugi said:

Well, if he didn't want to be insulted (which I didn't even do), maybe he shouldn't spend the whole thread crying about how this is unfair for him. One post of him whining is enough.

Thats very harsh honestly, telling someone their hard work doesnt matter and that they arent competitive anyways is crazy mean, and then to throw away his experience and equate it to whining is just mean.... teach their own i think thats really mean, you dont even know where his headspace is right now 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2020 at 8:48 PM, fun said:

If they don't use Winter 2020 grades, it would not be fair for everyone, because this was my best semester and I actually tried my hardest despite having online lectures and losing my summer job, and I feel that others have also done this. I hope they only choose to leave this as an option and not a full on mandatory thing, because a lot of people I know took 5 courses this semester, managed to do decently well, and did not use the Pass/Fail system. Of course there are people who absolutely had to, but I feel like it should be an option for everyone. If they do not consider Winter 2020, my overall GPA will be lower, but I do not speak for everyone of course. I also feel that this is a good test for medical schools to see how different circumstances can affect people, because this was an extenuating circumstance and everyone responded differently. I just feel that if they do not consider Winter 2020 grades, it is unfair to all of the people who worked hard despite having online lectures, losing jobs, and losing motivation.

I also wish they make an accommodation for the MCAT this summer, because a lot of people were planning on writing it, and if not, it would set people back by a year who were trying to apply to medical school next year.

 

On 4/13/2020 at 8:54 PM, akulani said:

I agree. Most schools made it optional for P/F vs a numerical grade and extended the course withdrawal deadlines, so those affected by COVID-19 can use those options for their benefit. Those that choose to pass their courses can still receive a credit, just not a grade that can be used in gpa calculations. I hope this entire semester wasn’t a waste of hard work and tuition.

 

Exactly, I relate so well to both of your comments. I have worked SO HARD this semester to maintain a 4.0, while working 10 hours a week. It's disheartening to hear that schools won't be considering this semester. How is this fair? It's not right that someone who spent every day studying gets the same result as someone who was drinking at the local pub. Fuck this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2020 at 10:47 PM, fun said:

I sent an email to their medical school advisor. I feel that if they see a lot of people are affected badly with this new process, they might consider leaving it as an option, instead of not considering it at all.

What's the medical advisor's email? I wanna send one too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, takasugi said:

One semester probably won't break or make your admission into medical school, so that guy having a meltdown in this thread should calm down. And if it does, then it probably means you didn't have that great of a chance anyways...

 

It will for some of us. These last two years are my only full-time years; I had to work during 1st and 2nd year. So what does this all mean? Well, I'm disqualified from applying to my top school (and my best shot). Should I 'calm down' too?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...