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2019-2020 UofA Admission Decisions

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Hey everyone, I wanted to share my stats to give future applicants hope that they too can get in with a lower-than-average GPA. 

Result: Accepted

Geography: IP

GPA: <3.6

MCAT: 522

Degree: B.Sc, M.Sc.

E.C: Super varied (employment, research, publications, campus initiatives, social justice initiatives, first aid, non-profit volunteering, etc.)

Interview: It was a very positive experience! I prepared comprehensively and had interactive interviewers. Additionally, there were minimal technical difficulties. 

Thoughts: While this story may be the exception, YOU (a future applicant w/ a lower GPA) may be the exception as well, so stay hopeful and share your experience in a compelling way!

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Result: regrets

Geography: IP

GPA: 3.82

MCAT: 519 (127 cars)

Degree: B.MSc, M.Sc. (in progress)

E.C: 6/17 (at least I've been improving every year: 2017: 4/17, 2018: 5/17); research job during uni (1 science & 1 business), part-time retail job, several volunteer trips, president and VP marketing of student associations in uni, volunteer tutor for underprivileged high school students, volunteer advisor for high school entrepreneurs, co-founder of mentorship program at my high school, PR manager for an event company, hospice volunteer, unique education experience from moving around rly often (10+ schools), 5th author pub, 2 first author international poster presentations

Interview: This was my third time interviewing at UofA. The past two times, the MMIs were really different year to year, but I really liked the online panel this year despite them switching the format on us very last minute. My interviewers seemed engaged with what I was talking about and I felt like I was able to showcase what parts of medicine that I am passionate about. It felt a lot more personal and I was hoping that being able to talk about my passions a bit better would give me some brownie points, but it clearly didn't.

Thoughts: I am extremely frustrated and just completely defeated. I'm honestly very confused and just don't know how/where I can improve my application. Any help would be appreciated!

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9 hours ago, defeated said:

Thoughts: I am extremely frustrated and just completely defeated. I'm honestly very confused and just don't know how/where I can improve my application. Any help would be appreciated!

You're definitely not alone. I've been there myself. You need to take the time to feel those feelings but when you're ready, remind yourself why you have those feelings. You wouldn't feel disappointed and frustrated if you weren't passionate and determined to get to where you want to be. Its hard to feel like you'll get there sometimes but if it means anything, as an outsider looking at your stats and the fact that you're IP, you're soooooo close. I've come to realize that this process has an element of luck to it. I know that seems unfair, but if you keep on going, maybe luck will fall on your side next time!

Have you apply to other schools? Since you've been successful at getting to the interview stage, have you reached out for any outside help with interview prep?

I know, like the vast majority of people on this form, how hard this time of year can be. Let yourself detach a bit. When you're ready, refocus on your plan for the next cycle and remind yourself that you absolutely CAN do this!

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Not even my thread because I didn't even get an interview, but I figure the interview invites thread is probably dead. I wasn't going to post because I was pretty rattled about not getting an interview, but at the end of the day the outcome is the same. Perhaps I can offer someone some insight through this post, however minor that may be.

Result: Ragrets 

Geography: IP

GPA: 3.81

MCAT: 512 (126 CARS :( )

Degree: BSc 2020

E.Cs: Construction/warehouse job, paid oncology research position for a summer with several conference presentations, award to intern at a clinic for vulnerable populations, paid after school science and programming teacher, developed and sold an original product through a business team composed of high school students back in the day, later mentored high school students in developing their own product/business, leadership role for a student mental health initiative/film, primary event organizer for a registered charity where I lead multiple executive teams and several hundred volunteers in collaboration with stakeholders in the private and public sectors, student group executive position, drug and injury awareness program volunteer, first aid responder, volunteer in a different lab with a conference presentation, an unfinished lit review and a manuscript submitted for review, big brothers and sisters, two long term sports activities with evolving roles, music, international volunteer trip. 5/17.

Thoughts: I think it is apparent that I am an utterly mediocre applicant. Through browsing these forums and consulting with others going through this process, it anecdotally seems as though everyone has one or two extremely strong portions of their application. It doesn’t seem as though I have truly excelled in any one area by comparison. I thought my extracurriculars would be enough to push me over the interview threshold, but that was not the case.

I am really not sure where to go from here; my GPA will be a ~3.83 because of Fall 2019 (~3.87 at Calgary because of how they are dealing with winter 2020), but I don't think that will make a huge difference. I have a studentship award for a research coordinator job along with a first author publication that will come out of that (thankfully COVID didn't shut down my project). There is another project I have been collaborating on regarding vulnerable populations, and I will also be a co-author on a manuscript for that. Other than those two points and a couple of things I didn’t mention in my application, I will essentially have the same activities as there is not much you can change within a summer, much less one where a global pandemic is underway. I don't think my MCAT is doing my any favours so I am in the process of retaking that.

There frankly isn't a better time to retake my MCAT considering most of my activities are postponed, but I honestly feel pretty burnt and I am not sure if I will be able to score higher. It truly blew my mind to see just how amazing so many applicants are, whether that be a flawless GPA/MCAT or amazing/extremely long term extracurricular contributions. I would be lying if I said not attaining any interviews didn't hurt, but I think that’s on me for letting this process consume me. I am thinking it might be time to look into alternative careers, but I am not sure what that would entail, and entering into another professional program could potentially sink my GPA and end my med chances once and for all. I definitely have some thinking and re-evaluating to do.

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30 minutes ago, garceyues said:

Not even my thread because I didn't even get an interview, but I figure the interview invites thread is probably dead. I wasn't going to post because I was pretty rattled about not getting an interview, but at the end of the day the outcome is the same. Perhaps I can offer someone some insight through this post, however minor that may be.

Result: Ragrets 

Geography: IP

GPA: 3.81

MCAT: 512 (126 CARS :( )

Degree: BSc 2020

E.Cs: Construction/warehouse job, paid oncology research position for a summer with several conference presentations, award to intern at a clinic for vulnerable populations, paid after school science and programming teacher, developed and sold an original product through a business team composed of high school students back in the day, later mentored high school students in developing their own product/business, leadership role for a student mental health initiative/film, primary event organizer for a registered charity where I lead multiple executive teams and several hundred volunteers in collaboration with stakeholders in the private and public sectors, student group executive position, drug and injury awareness program volunteer, first aid responder, volunteer in a different lab with a conference presentation, an unfinished lit review and a manuscript submitted for review, big brothers and sisters, two long term sports activities with evolving roles, music, international volunteer trip. 5/17.

Thoughts: I think it is apparent that I am an utterly mediocre applicant. Through browsing these forums and consulting with others going through this process, it anecdotally seems as though everyone has one or two extremely strong portions of their application. It doesn’t seem as though I have truly excelled in any one area by comparison. I thought my extracurriculars would be enough to push me over the interview threshold, but that was not the case.

I am really not sure where to go from here; my GPA will be a ~3.83 because of Fall 2019 (~3.87 at Calgary because of how they are dealing with winter 2020), but I don't think that will make a huge difference. I have a studentship award for a research coordinator job along with a first author publication that will come out of that (thankfully COVID didn't shut down my project). There is another project I have been collaborating on regarding vulnerable populations, and I will also be a co-author on a manuscript for that. Other than those two points and a couple of things I didn’t mention in my application, I will essentially have the same activities as there is not much you can change within a summer, much less one where a global pandemic is underway. I don't think my MCAT is doing my any favours so I am in the process of retaking that.

There frankly isn't a better time to retake my MCAT considering most of my activities are postponed, but I honestly feel pretty burnt and I am not sure if I will be able to score higher. It truly blew my mind to see just how amazing so many applicants are, whether that be a flawless GPA/MCAT or amazing/extremely long term extracurricular contributions. I would be lying if I said not attaining any interviews didn't hurt, but I think that’s on me for letting this process consume me. I am thinking it might be time to look into alternative careers, but I am not sure what that would entail, and entering into another professional program could potentially sink my GPA and end my med chances once and for all. I definitely have some thinking and re-evaluating to do.

Your GPA and MCAT don't look too bad for U of A. If you check the stats of accepted applicants, you're right on par. That being if you scored 512 on your first attempt and you think you can do better, then go ahead and try again. If you did it multiple times and 512 is your peak, don't bother writing it. Its actually a pretty decent score for both AB schools. 

Your ECs don't look too bad either. It could be how you worded them on your application, or maybe the hours were not good enough, or maybe something went wrong with your verifiers. ECs are also quite subjectively assesed and your score can widely change from year to year. Also make sure to do well on Casper. No one knows for sure how that is assesed, but I imagine that if you score low on it, it could potentially bring your total application score down. 

As for future plans, plan for an alternative career. I have had friends do grad studies, professional programs, technical degrees or find work. Pursue your interests and make the best of this free time you have. 

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Some low GPA and MCAT love

Result: Rejected

Geography: IP

GPA: 3.4X couple of bad years due to personal circumstances

MCAT: 50X

Degree: B.Sc 2015 and recently went back to school to improve.

E.C: 9/17

Interview: Went really well. I was offered my interview spot a week late post rejection due to an interview drop out.

Thoughts: 3 year applying. First interview ever ( a huge surprise considering). My biggest advice is do what you are passionate about. Recognize your weaknesses and improve them. Keep trying guys. There is hope!

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Result: Accepted

Geography: IP

GPA: 3.8X

MCAT: 508

Degree: B.Sc 

E.C: filled out all the entries: worked in a clinical/medical setting for 5-7 years, worked in a lab for 1 year, volunteered there for a few months before the job, student leadership, long-term volunteer commitments, some personal experiences and hobbies

Interview: didn't think I did that well afterwards, was very upset with myself

Thoughts: so grateful and excited, 3rd time applying with interviews each year

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