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Changes to Admission Requirements 2020-2021

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1 minute ago, AgentMichaelScarn said:

Hey guys, I'm on the webinar now. It's a private zoom link and you need to enter your registration info and password upon entering, so I don't think it would be prudent to post it here. 

@goldenelephant I will ask your question

Also, gotta say, so far, they have not answered any sort of the questions we are hoping to get answered here. No mention of wGPA changes, Phase 3, etc. They are heavily filtering the questions and pretty much only answering surface questions. 

Thank you so much @AgentMichaelScarn!

Hopefully they do address them before the session ends.

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12 minutes ago, AgentMichaelScarn said:

Hey guys, I'm on the webinar now. It's a private zoom link and you need to enter your registration info and password upon entering, so I don't think it would be prudent to post it here. 

@goldenelephant I will ask your question

Also, gotta say, so far, they have not answered any sort of the questions we are hoping to get answered here. No mention of wGPA changes, Phase 3, etc. They are heavily filtering the questions and pretty much only answering surface questions. 

EDIT: Now they are talking about the changes :)

Thanks! Can you also ask them when they will expect to upload this for everyone/urge them to post it on youtube ASAP? LOL

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1 minute ago, scoobydoo1623 said:

Thanks! Can you also ask them when they will expect to upload this for everyone/urge them to post it on youtube ASAP? LOL

They will be posting it on their fb page, not youtube. 

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Okay guys, not any real information was released. Regarding the Phase 3 changes, they did not say much except that they are "exciting" and "looking forward to it"

One panelist hinted that ABS, essays, and reference letters would have some changes. 

They will be announced in OCTOBER 2020.

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2 minutes ago, AgentMichaelScarn said:

Okay guys, not any real information was released. Regarding the Phase 3 changes, they did not say much except that they are "exciting" and "looking forward to it"

One panelist hinted that ABS, essays, and reference letters would have some changes. 

They will be announced in OCTOBER 2020.

Lol, more waiting. 

But, the question is, are the phase 3 changes being implemented during our admissions cycle? Or for the next? 

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6 minutes ago, scoobydoo1623 said:

Lol, more waiting. 

But, the question is, are the phase 3 changes being implemented during our admissions cycle? Or for the next? 

If it's October 2020, it would be after we've already submitted our applications for this cycle since OMSAS applications are usually due on the first/second of October. 

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Just now, goldenelephant said:

If it's October 2020, it would be after we've already submitted our applications for this cycle since OMSAS applications are usually due on the first/second of October. 

They could be interview changes that would still have the chance to be implemented after applications have been submitted. 

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Seems like my question wasn't answered on the webinar, but does anyone know if P/F courses are still going to count as one of the courses that must be dropped when accounting for wGPA? I know P/F courses were considered as a drop in previous years/cycles, but there's no mention of this on the updated page with the new admission requirement changes.

 

EDIT: I emailed them about this, I'll let everyone know what they respond with!

EDIT2: They said they're still dropping P/F courses first as part of the 2 FCE drops :( 

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Just now, ready2go said:

Did they discuss why they made the changes to wGPA calculation? ie. was it due to an astronomically high entrance average this past cycle?

 

Nope - a lot of people were asking this question and I felt that they dodged it.

The dean said that this change made the admissions more equitable and benefits people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and people who have not had opportunities (???)

People were basically asking like "uhmmm how so?" but they did not elaborate. It was really frustrating to watch this to be honest.

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15 hours ago, AgentMichaelScarn said:

Nope - a lot of people were asking this question and I felt that they dodged it.

The dean said that this change made the admissions more equitable and benefits people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and people who have not had opportunities (???)

People were basically asking like "uhmmm how so?" but they did not elaborate. It was really frustrating to watch this to be honest.

LOL how in the world does making most people's wGPA lower make admissions MORE equitable? Where in fact, those who are from lower SES backgrounds would have presumably benefited substantially MORE from the older wGPA formulation than those from higher SES backgrounds (aka those who are statistically more likely to maintain a peak and consistent state of performance during undergrad, so their wGPAs ~= cGPAs). Equity is UofT's favourite word, but I still don't see the relation. Seems like the opposite effect. 

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17 minutes ago, AgentMichaelScarn said:

Nope - a lot of people were asking this question and I felt that they dodged it.

The dean said that this change made the admissions more equitable and benefits people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and people who have not had opportunities (???)

People were basically asking like "uhmmm how so?" but they did not elaborate. It was really frustrating to watch this to be honest.

Looool. I have no words. So I guess there's no more hope that they changed their wGPA calculation to make it more like a threshold (like Western's cut offs)?

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On 6/23/2020 at 6:15 PM, AgentMichaelScarn said:

Nope - a lot of people were asking this question and I felt that they dodged it.

The dean said that this change made the admissions more equitable and benefits people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and people who have not had opportunities (???)

People were basically asking like "uhmmm how so?" but they did not elaborate. It was really frustrating to watch this to be honest.

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Paraphrasing their justification for the 2FCE cap: Applicants who had other things going on in their life (caring for loved ones) were disadvantaged because they might not have been able to take 5 courses/semester, making them ineligible to get wGPA.

Wasn't this the purpose for the AEE? Students in this situation could share their story and wGPA may have been applied for them. The 2FCE cap will actually put many of these applicants at a disadvantage. I'm exactly the applicant they are trying to help, however, this change takes me from slightly below competitive to ineligible. I took a full course load every year, struggled trying to juggle caring for a parent and managing school in the beginning but found my footing in later years. I'm certain there are others in similar positions.

David Latter, one of the panelists, explicitly mentioned grade inflation as his reason for not liking GPA. Yet the upcoming admissions change only amplifies the issue (please correct me if I'm wrong). It's made worse due to how UofT processes applicants -- none of the ABS entries or BPE's that are meant to improve class diversity and in turn medicine as a whole in Ontario matter if you performed poorly one year. There's no realistic way to show your worth. They seem receptive to feedback but I get the feeling nothing will change this cycle.

Since I'm already making this post... I also have an issue with them citing low SES as a reason for reducing emphasis on the MCAT while simultaneously doubling down on GPA. With all the resources available online today, it is far more accessible and cheaper for a dedicated student to improve their MCAT than to pay tuition for a second undergrad/additional years in order to improve grades. I would love to hear other opinions on this. 

Sorry for ranting and shout out to the people below

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Really, I feel like this change only benefits those that already had 3.9+ GPA a la McMaster life sci students... I know some people who, despite having to work a ton on top of school, still took 5 FCEs every year in attempt to qualify for UofT's wGPA... We're all graduated now so there's no way to change... I can understand their justification, but for policies like this which have such a significant impact on students, I wish they'd announce it a few years ahead of implementation.

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4 hours ago, sb88 said:

Seems like my question wasn't answered on the webinar, but does anyone know if P/F courses are still going to count as one of the courses that must be dropped when accounting for wGPA? I know P/F courses were considered as a drop in previous years/cycles, but there's no mention of this on the updated page with the new admission requirement changes.

 

EDIT: I emailed them about this, I'll let everyone know what they respond with!

I attended the webinar. The director of admissions said they're still dropping P/F courses outside of Winter 2020 first as part of the 2.0 FCEs dropped for wGPA. If you want to be sure, wait for the admissions office's reply. 

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To add another perspective (and to also add my "." here :)) I'd love to hear an explanation as to how this improves student/applicant mental health. The number of undergrads I knew who were, and probably still are, obsessed with grades and small differences is large, and I went to a less competitive school. I've personally heard multiple stories about people switching paths because they recognized the toil chasing the A+ or A was taking on them. I don't think I'm alone in saying the level of sustained performance Ontario schools require is crazy when viewed from the outside, and that the differences at the top end are more reflective of luck (the number of times I slid into the A+ range by <1% is high) and course selection. Schools should really use cutoffs. Under the previous UofT system, they had some breathing room, 3/4 FCE worth typically. This goes a long way in making people feel better since it doesn't seem that their future is either "over" because of bad 1st year grades, or that they are on a razor's edge with their current courses. Reducing the number of drops adds pressure back on, and disproportionately benefits people with consistently excellent grades.

On the topic of high cGPA people, who do you think is going to have the best transition to 1st year university?

1. Someone who is the first person in their family to go to university, did not attend a post-secondary oriented high school, is likely lower SES (At the moment), and is adjusting to a strange environment that is fundamentally high SES in attitudes?

2. Someone who has two professional/managerial class parents, attended a high school designed to prepare them for university, is high SES (can fall back on mom and dad and apply over and over again), and feels quite comfortable in the university setting their parents subtly unconsciously mimicked at home? 

There is a (documented, evidence-based) correlation between social class/SES and GPA. There are many reasons for this, and the whole area is somewhat contentious, but for the UofT to try and use "equity" as a bludgeon here is foolish. I haven't seen hard evidence, but I would imagine (based off the existing social science) that the people who are going to disproportionately benefit here are the children of high SES individuals who can provide a highly supportive home environment and advice to ease the transistion. Doctor's kids, lawyer's kids, dentist's kids, professor's kids, etc... Anecdotal evidence is n=1, but I recently read a bio of a medical student at a Ontario university who talked frankly about the difficulty she faced being the first to attend university, and how she is now running a non-profit aimed at advising 16/17 yearolds similar to her to help overcome the knowledge gap that leads to worse first year grades or course selection decisions. You know, the kind of decisions >2 FCEs overcome.

4 hours ago, Medfool25 said:

Since I'm already making this post... I also have an issue with them citing low SES as a reason for reducing emphasis on the MCAT while simultaneously doubling down on GPA. With all the resources available online today, it is far more accessible and cheaper for a dedicated student to improve their MCAT than to pay tuition for a second undergrad/additional years in order to improve grades. I would love to hear other opinions on this. 

 

Absolutely. Anecdotal evidence, but the "premeds" I know who are turning 4 year degrees into 6 year ones are rich kids. Personally, I am in favour of dropping the "1 FCE/year" thing since it rewards exactly this kind of perpetual undergrad for extending bachelors degrees vs. getting a job, doing a Masters, moving on in life out of their undergrad, etc... I can understand someone wanting to drop more grades with more years, but it feels like this is an equity issue they rightfully identified and corrected. They should simply give a set number of FCE's to people applying in their 4th year (ala Alberta schools dropping 1st or 2nd year grades) or to people who have completed their degree (ala UBC). 

Despite the talk of equity I see this mainly as a move designed to stem criticisms. Sometimes they do good things in response to criticism (BSAP) but in this case it seems an attempt to be able to keep talking about the importance of "diversity", "equity", and "access" without a 3.96 average making them look bad. Diversity means not taking steps to favour a subset of applicant, reducing opportunities for others. Equity means thinking through the different applicant profiles they see and how changes affect each group and what the impact will be on each group. Access means not undoing progress you've already made. The only way this change could be balances out is by deemphasizing GPA. 

EDIT: 

One more thought, on the whole "full course load" aspect. I don't think anyone can honestly argue against testing someone's ability to handle a heavy workload before admitting them. The hours that physicians work are crazy in comparison to most other fields, even other professional ones. The CMA discipline profiles I was interested in looking at showed averages from 45 (Psych...) to the mid 50s for non-surgical specialties. It's fair for schools to evaluate the GPA/MCAT to see if someone can handle their curriculum, and it's fair to look at activities to see if someone has the non-cognitive and time management skills. But this should be "holistic", and definitely not as strict as the UofT's historical requirement. If someone needed to take less courses (but still a reasonable number, I don't know, 4/semester) because of work/other obligations a sketch evaluator should be able to see that and appropriately assess that person as being able to handle what lies ahead. Just a thought... 

 

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In my first year of undergrad, I completed 4.5 FCEs, but in every other year I completed 5 FCEs - do I qualify for wGPA? 

Not automatically. The only way to guarantee qualification for wGPA is a full course load in every year of your undergrad. If you have not taken a full course load, even just in one year, you are able to write an Academic Explanations Essay as part of your OMSAS application requesting special consideration. In some cases, the admissions committee may apply weighting based on the years where you were full course load. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and no decision on how your application is assessed is released to you. 

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Could anyone clarify if I'm understanding the bolded+underlined part correctly? So, say if in 1st year (of a 4 year undergrad), someone had 4 courses in one semester instead of 5. But every single other semester had 5 courses each. Then, if they write the AEE, the admissions committee might only look at GPA from 2nd+3rd+4th year (so 1st year wouldn't be looked at since it's not "full course load") AND drop 2 FCEs from those 3 full course load years being looked at?

If I interpreted this correctly, maaaaaaybe this change could be a bit helpful. I am feeling like that would be too good to be true though. Thoughts?

 

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9 hours ago, yeescience said:

In my first year of undergrad, I completed 4.5 FCEs, but in every other year I completed 5 FCEs - do I qualify for wGPA? 

Not automatically. The only way to guarantee qualification for wGPA is a full course load in every year of your undergrad. If you have not taken a full course load, even just in one year, you are able to write an Academic Explanations Essay as part of your OMSAS application requesting special consideration. In some cases, the admissions committee may apply weighting based on the years where you were full course load. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and no decision on how your application is assessed is released to you. 

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Could anyone clarify if I'm understanding the bolded+underlined part correctly? So, say if in 1st year (of a 4 year undergrad), someone had 4 courses in one semester instead of 5. But every single other semester had 5 courses each. Then, if they write the AEE, the admissions committee might only look at GPA from 2nd+3rd+4th year (so 1st year wouldn't be looked at since it's not "full course load") AND drop 2 FCEs from those 3 full course load years being looked at?

If I interpreted this correctly, maaaaaaybe this change could be a bit helpful. I am feeling like that would be too good to be true though. Thoughts?

 

That's correct, but they're talking about AEEs, and the bolded/underlined part is not any different than what has been done in previous years. 

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