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Applicant Manual For The 2015-2016 Cycle Has Been Posted!

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I'm curious about what exactly is meant for 5.4...

 

It says people that "demonstrate an exceptional ability to assist the Cumming School of Medicine in meeting its social accountability mission" can be offered admission even if these individuals do not meet the cutoff score for admission.

 

We already have an admissions process where 60% of the scoring system is based on non-cognitive attributes. What section 5.4 is essentially saying is that if the admissions committee gets hard enough over something you did, you can get admission...even if there is a more qualified applicant. It's taking a seat away from somebody who deserves it more.

 

I'll be interested in reading Dr. Walkers thought process about adding this in the inevitable blog post about this topic.

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It almost sounds like a "way" for Doctors children or faculty members friends to possibly gain admission. I always loved U of C's policy of honesty and integrity with admissions; however, this seems to show the opposite!

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It almost sounds like a "way" for Doctors children or faculty members friends to possibly gain admission. I always loved U of C's policy of honesty and integrity with admissions; however, this seems to show the opposite!

 

This... Is not at all the idea behind 5.4. Did you miss the 'social accountability' information there? I am sad to see that people think that Dr. Walker and the admissions committee, which is constantly dedicated to trying to get a more diverse population into medical school (ie: people who come from lower SES, aborignal applicants, rural applicants who will likely go home to their rural areas to practice etc..) would promote an admissions process allowing a special back door for children of doctors or faculty members. Come on guys!

 

I am sure Dr. Walker will discuss this at his info session on July 6th, so please feel free to ask him about it then. I know the application process these days is daunting and a bit scary, and nobody likes to think they will get left out of an avenue of admission! But try not to jump to conclusions about this addition to the applicant manual haha. :)

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It says people that "demonstrate an exceptional ability to assist the Cumming School of Medicine in meeting its social accountability mission" can be offered admission even if these individuals do not meet the cutoff score for admission.

 

We already have an admissions process where 60% of the scoring system is based on non-cognitive attributes. What section 5.4 is essentially saying is that if the admissions committee gets hard enough over something you did, you can get admission...even if there is a more qualified applicant. It's taking a seat away from somebody who deserves it more.

 

I'll be interested in reading Dr. Walkers thought process about adding this in the inevitable blog post about this topic.

 

So stupid! Well from what I understand, there were some Olympians in this years' cycle but I don't think they got in so maybe because MMI or GPA or whatever didn't give them high enough scores for acceptances, this might be a way to allow "extraordinary" applicants to get in. 

 

BUT I hope it's what Hyperalgesia mentioned! :) 

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This... Is not at all the idea behind 5.4. Did you miss the 'social accountability' information there? I am sad to see that people think that Dr. Walker and the admissions committee, which is constantly dedicated to trying to get a more diverse population into medical school (ie: people who come from lower SES, aborignal applicants, rural applicants who will likely go home to their rural areas to practice etc..) would promote an admissions process allowing a special back door for children of doctors or faculty members. Come on guys!

 

I am sure Dr. Walker will discuss this at his info session on July 6th, so please feel free to ask him about it then. I know the application process these days is daunting and a bit scary, and nobody likes to think they will get left out of an avenue of admission! But try not to jump to conclusions about this addition to the applicant manual haha. :)

 

I didn't go to Calgary. However, social accountability (or equivalent term) is something that many medical schools across Canada are working on. It's aims are to provide opportunity to those who otherwise, based on circumstances (potentially outside of their control), would not be able to apply/be accepted to medical school as compared to the average medical school applicant.

 

It's a bit sad to see some of the negative conclusions people have about this, especially since people so often talk about how medical school should be more accessable to more populations.

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I think everyone is jumping to some ridiculous conclusions.  In my experience, Calgary is by far one of the most fair and transparent med schools when it comes to admission.  I think what they're doing is great and I'm sure that anyone that fits in this category would be a truly extraordinary applicant. I don't think "social accountability" would include a bump up for olympians, but for example, what about someone with a low SES who failed out of first year because they had to work full time to support themselves or their families but they then went on to excel in school but not enough to meet GPA cutoffs?  Sure they could use the ten year rule, but that would be a huge time and money burden to them and would probably discourage them from continuing on this path.  

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Yes, saying that faculty members friends can gain admission this way is obviously a bit ridiculous.

 

I think we should maybe refrain from drawing any conclusions from the single paragraph in the manual, and wait for what Dr. Walker says on this topic.

 

Sticking to the facts, this is a way for people who wouldn't normally meet admissions requirements to gain admission. Obviously people with a low SES have an inherent disadvantage in some regards when applying to Medical School. But, how fair is it this new alternative admissions process to those individuals that would have been good enough (score-wise), and have gone through the entire application process, that now have to sit it out and play again?

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Glad to see some positive comments. I definitely agree! Not everyone is dealt a fair hand in life, and this gives the admissions committee a unique opportunity to accept someone who would be a great doctor, but doesn't meet the competitive admission criteria. And in regards to the comment on this benefiting children of doctors and faculty, I highly doubt this is necessary, as they usually get in the regular way - with a high GPA and MCAT. And if an Olympian gets in because of this special clause, isn't that a positive thing? Professional athletes need doctors too, and one professional athlete treating another professional athlete probably has a lot of advantages. 

 

I get that med school is hard - there is a lot of information and GPA and MCAT scores are good predictors of someone's performance in med school, but these criteria don't assess how good a doctor is. If patients constantly feel belittled and unsupported by their doctor, it doesn't matter that their doctor had a 4.0 and excels at standardized tests, because the patient outcome is going to suffer.

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Yes, saying that faculty members friends can gain admission this way is obviously a bit ridiculous.

 

I think we should maybe refrain from drawing any conclusions from the single paragraph in the manual, and wait for what Dr. Walker says on this topic.

 

Sticking to the facts, this is a way for people who wouldn't normally meet admissions requirements to gain admission. Obviously people with a low SES have an inherent disadvantage in some regards when applying to Medical School. But, how fair is it this new alternative admissions process to those individuals that would have been good enough (score-wise), and have gone through the entire application process, that now have to sit it out and play again?

 

There are always plenty of applicants who meet cutoffs but are not admitted. This happens at every school, every single year. 

 

This is a positive move by U of C.

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Wow. So much negativity. I know this process is competitive and that's frustrating, but some of this comments come across as very bitter.

 

People need to remember that medical schools exist to serve the population, not let you in. I know that's hard to hear. I know it seems unfair. But if it helps better serve the population, it's a positive.

 

I'm almost offended on behalf of my school that people think the school would do something like that. :/

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I totally agree with the above posts. Although I can empathize with the frustration following another rounds of changes in the admission process, we have to remember that the profession of medicine is (wisely) evolving and adapting in order better serve its patient population. Next time you are in the hospital or emergency room, notice the demographic of people around you and who is generally over/ under represented. From personal experience working in the hospital for 6 years, its not the middle class, twenty something, university educated patient that faces barriers to discharge and tends to consume the most healthcare resources. I think it is summarized well here: 

 

"Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges1 show that over 60% of medical students come from families in the top quintile of household income, with only 20% coming from families who earned in the bottom three quintiles. Similarly, the median family income of American medical students is over $100,000.1 In other words, the average medical student comes from the upper 15% of America. Patients, on the other hand, are often in a different boat—They are all of America: rich, poor, and in between. The unfortunate consequence of this is that patients sometimes struggle to be understood by well-meaning but, ultimately, privileged doctors who sometimes cannot relate to patients from other backgrounds."

 

 

 

Again, from a personal perspective, I think its critical that people understand how their social background contribute to implicit social biases and ideas of fairness. I am not saying that privileged (middle class, white, heterosexual,male..etc) individuals can't be good doctors (because I would be excluding myself) but I think there is a greater onus on us to be informed about how our background biases, unchecked, have the potential to undermine an effective doctor-patient relationship.  

 

So I agree, kudos to U of C for thinking outside the box...... and it appears it is not the only medical school changing its policies..

 

 

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/U-of-M-looking-to-make-changes-to-medical-school-admission-in-2016-303522391.html

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I think it's a great addition to their already holistic process. It won't benefit me most likely, but if it means someone else who gets in that has an amazing story and will be a fantastic doctor.. Then why not? I wish they would do a bit more work on the global academic merit bit too. I am not feeling so great about my application this year as I have heard from an insider that my undergrad is in a "soft science" that is generally looked down upon by file reviewers. Despite taking it because I was passionate about it, doesn't seem to really matter. Kind of disheartening to be honest. Took a path with employability potential that helps people... But not sciency enough... F*** me right?

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I think it's a great addition to their already holistic process. It won't benefit me most likely, but if it means someone else who gets in that has an amazing story and will be a fantastic doctor.. Then why not? I wish they would do a bit more work on the global academic merit bit too. I am not feeling so great about my application this year as I have heard from an insider that my undergrad is in a "soft science" that is generally looked down upon by file reviewers. Despite taking it because I was passionate about it, doesn't seem to really matter. Kind of disheartening to be honest. Took a path with employability potential that helps people... But not sciency enough... F*** me right?

Knowing the composition of the student body, I am very skeptical that what this person told you was true. Plenty of non science people.

 

Even if it were true, it likely wouldn't be true across all reviewers since it is, by definition, a subjective assessment.

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Knowing the composition of the student body, I am very skeptical that what this person told you was true. Plenty of non science people.

 

Even if it were true, it likely wouldn't be true across all reviewers since it is, by definition, a subjective assessment.

I'm sure there are non-science people in the school... I don't doubt that. However it is disheartening to know that someone will rank you low on your application as a whole due to a bias about what degree you took. I know you can't remove bias... It's inherent in the subjective process, but it should only affect that one section, not bleed into the others.

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I'm sure there are non-science people in the school... I don't doubt that. However it is disheartening to know that someone will rank you low on your application as a whole due to a bias about what degree you took. I know you can't remove bias... It's inherent in the subjective process, but it should only affect that one section, not bleed into the others.

I think you should take that info with a gigantic grain of salt.

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We already have an admissions process where 60% of the scoring system is based on non-cognitive attributes. What section 5.4 is essentially saying is that if the admissions committee gets hard enough over something you did, you can get admission...even if there is a more qualified applicant. It's taking a seat away from somebody who deserves it more.

 

 

 

I don't think you could have found a more offensive way to word this. 

 

My thoughts on this are probably going to repeat some of the sentiments above.

 

First, let's be clear - as mentioned by others, the "social accountability" is the key factor here. It is NOT about taking a seat away from someone who "deserves it more". It's about acknowledging the fact that different groups have faced enormous amounts of oppression and systemic barriers that have subsequently left them unjustly disadvantaged or marginalized when applying to medical school when compared with the typical population of medical school applicants. Jean Anyon's work on the hidden curriculum is a good place to start if you are curious what kind of disadvantages I'm talking about.

 

So instead of being upset that the admissions committee can make the decision to admit what is, frankly, an INCREDIBLY small number of people based on alternative qualifications or exceptional factors (and please note the fact that alternative measures were used do not mean that these applicants are less deserving or undeserving of their spaces - I imagine you have to be pretty dang exceptional to even be considered for this admission route), perhaps those of us who don't qualify for this type of admission should be thankful for the fact that we grew up in a system that afforded us the amount of privilege inherent in meeting the general admissions criteria. Would it be nice if everyone could be fairly assessed based on the same criteria? Yes, it would. But that is not the reality of the world and, frankly, I find it incredibly promising that the U of C medical school admissions team is acknowledging that and trying to take steps to address it.

 

Will I qualify for this alternative admissions program? I highly doubt it and I would never ask to be considered for it because I recognize that the system already favours applicants like me. Ultimately, at the end of the day, if I meet the academic criteria and get edged out by someone with alternative criteria that the admissions committee honestly believe will make a better doctor when all is said and done? Well, that sucks for me... but not for the field of medicine. Will I be sad? Of course I will be disappointed and crushed that I didn't get in, but you will never hear me argue that I 'deserved' it more than the person who was chosen. That's not my judgement to make. Frankly, I would argue that if you manage to be so exceptional that you are considered for alternative admission that you very well could be the more qualified applicant and bring an incredibly important amount of experience and perspective to the profession.

 

TL;DR: Alternative admissions criteria do not unfairly advantage unqualified applicants. They merely attempt to even the playing field for those who have been marginalized by systemic injustice but who have gone on to accomplish incredible things despite the oppression they have faced. So instead of being upset that these applicants are being assessed on their unique merits, perhaps you should be thankful that you have had a life privileged enough not to need this program. 

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Well, I've long held the (likely false) belief that medical schools already do 5.4 behind the scenes. It's not fair to all applicants, but they do it to suit the needs of the community, which is the focus of this change, as others have pointed out. Good on Calgary for being transparent about this- if this 'alternative route' occurs at any other school, I would be shocked if they actually announced it publicly- largely because that school would want to avoid some of the heat, similar to some posts above.

 

Also, lots of you seem to be suggesting that the applicants who would take this route faced some sort of hardship that hindered their GPA, MCAT or interview- but I interpreted 5.4 to suggest that applicants who had some fantastic quality would be exceptionally offered a seat (it doesn't necessarily involve their position on the social ladder). I imagine someone who is an absolute all-star in terms of what they would provide to the community would be a candidate for this path, NOT someone who won an Olympic gold medal (how the heck does a medal help the community?). Basically, their potential as a physician would override things like GPA and such.

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Well, I've long held the (likely false) belief that medical schools already do 5.4 behind the scenes. It's not fair to all applicants, but they do it to suit the needs of the community, which is the focus of this change, as others have pointed out. Good on Calgary for being transparent about this- if this 'alternative route' occurs at any other school, I would be shocked if they actually announced it publicly- largely because that school would want to avoid some of the heat, similar to some posts above.

 

Also, lots of you seem to be suggesting that the applicants who would take this route faced some sort of hardship that hindered their GPA, MCAT or interview- but I interpreted 5.4 to suggest that applicants who had some fantastic quality would be exceptionally offered a seat (it doesn't necessarily involve their position on the social ladder). I imagine someone who is an absolute all-star in terms of what they would provide to the community would be a candidate for this path, NOT someone who won an Olympic gold medal (how the heck does a medal help the community?). Basically, their potential as a physician would override things like GPA and such.

 

Good point. Reading 5.4 I could totally see this also being a potential outcome. But if someone really has a quality that is deemed so fantastic as to override their GPA then the community of medicine is lucky to have them.  :)

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First, let's be clear - as mentioned by others, the "social accountability" is the key factor here. It is NOT about taking a seat away from someone who "deserves it more". It's about acknowledging the fact that different groups have faced enormous amounts of oppression and systemic barriers that have subsequently left them unjustly disadvantaged or marginalized when applying to medical school when compared with the typical population of medical school applicants. Jean Anyon's work on the hidden curriculum is a good place to start if you are curious what kind of disadvantages I'm talking about.

 

Very well-stated post. I think an additional piece to include here is to consider applicants in this category who understand the circumstances faced by underserved/marginalized/under-represented populations, that many of us cannot begin to understand, and who have made a significant, positive impact to change these circumstances. I would be proud to consider these sorts of applicants my colleagues and I applaud UofC for overtly stating their position of inclusivity.

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Does anyone know how the new MCAT will be used for global assessment of academic merit (10%) section? In the past, it also looked at the past MCAT sittings/history. With the new MCAT in place, will they still look at the history prior to 2015?

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