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skylerjc

Be Realistic And Honest; What Are My Chances?

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Hey guys,

 

So I'm currently a student at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) and I'm about to go into my 4th year pursuing a double major in Human Biology and Psychology (HBSc.). As of now my current GPA is a 2.83 and by the end of my final year I hope to at least bump it up to a 3.0-3.18; which is the only realistic goal I can work to obtain at this point. I'm trying to look into research opportunities and all I really have in terms of any relevant scientific/volunteer experience is about 10 months of volunteering at a local hospital (while my other extracurriculars just involve working administrative jobs on campus and leadership experiences). I'd appreciate any form of guidance from you guys as to what I should do from here on out to maximize my chances and please don't hesitate to be honest. I'm just at a loss right now and so disappointed in myself for ruining my undergraduate standing to a point where I don't see any hope in terms of getting into school in Canada. I would like to know if you guys have any other suggestions on other possible pathways that I can embark on in hopes of still achieving that dream. Thanks everyone.

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A year by year breakdown as well as courseload per year would make it easier to provide suggestions. As it stands you will need to ace your 4th year (3.9+) and likely need 1-2 more years of undergraduate studies at the least.

 

If you get 2 years with a solid GPA while meeting Western's courseload requirements you will have chances at both Western and Queen's. A third year with a 3.9+ will put you in the running for Ottawa (which only looks at your last 3 years and for now does not consider the MCAT).

 

You will need a very good MCAT score for both Western and Queen's. I would prepare to write it next summer right after your 4th year while applying for medicine at the same time.

 

I would not worry about EC's right now. In fact if I were you I would drop all time-consuming activities and solely focus on getting as high a GPA as possible in 4th year. This is all that matters right now.

 

If you are committed to doing more undergraduate studies to get into medicine, I would also recommend taking a 2nd degree that provides you with an alternative career path which you would be happy with should you not be successful (or at least give you something to work toward while still applying as many times as you want to medicine).

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FIT DYEAR

Here's my Academic History

 

FIRST YEAR - FALL

2013 Fall - Honours Bachelor of Science

Sessional GPA   2.53  Cumulative GPA  2.53

 

Status: Not assessed

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOA01H3  Life on Earth: Unifying Principles       0.50  68  C+     C+

CHMA10H3  Introductory Chemistry I: Structure and  0.50  67  C+     C+

          Bonding

PSYA01H3  Introductory Psychology: Part I          0.50  76  B      C+

Credits Earned:   1.50

 

FIRST YEAR - WINTER

4 Wier - Honours Bachelor of Science

Sessional GPA   2.62  Annual GPA      2.59  Cumulative GPA  2.59

 

Status: In good standing

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOA02H3  Life on Earth: Form,Function and         0.50  70  B-     C+

          Interaction

CHMA11H3  Introductory Chemistry II: Reactions and 0.50  56  D      C

          Mechanisms

CLAA06H3  Ancient Mythology II: Greece and Rome    0.50  81  A-     B-

PSYA02H3  Introductory Psychology: Part II         0.50  82  A-     C+

STAB22H3  Statistics I                             0.50  65  C      C+

Credits Earned:   2.50

 

 

SECOND YEAR - FALL

 

214 Fall - Honours Bachelor of Science

Sessional GPA   2.82  Cumulative GPA  2.68

 

Status: In good standing

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOB10H3  Cell Biology                             0.50  65  C      C

BIOB33H3  Human Development and Anatomy            0.50  65  C      C+

BIOB50H3  Ecology                                  0.50  70  B-     C+

PSYB10H3  Introduction to Social Psychology        0.50  84  A-     B-

PSYB32H3  Abnormal Psychology                      0.50  82  A-     B-

Credits Earned:   2.50

 

 

In March 2015, the University of Toronto was

affected by a labour disruption.  As a result,

some students were graded on the University's

approved Credit/No Credit scale (see transcript

key), rather than receiving a letter or numeric

grade, for courses completed in Winter 2015.

For more information, see:

http://www.transcripts.utoronto.ca/guide

 

SECOND YEAR - WINTER

2015 Wintr - Honours Bachelor of Science

Sessional GPA   2.15  Annual GPA      2.63  Cumulative GPA  2.61

 

Status: In good standing

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOB11H3  Molecular Aspect of Cellular and Genetic 0.50      CR     C

          Processes

BIOB51H3  Evolutionary Biology                     0.50      CR     C+

PSYB30H3  Personality                              0.50  64  C      C

PSYB51H3  Perception and Cognition                 0.50  67  C+     C

Credits Earned:   2.00

 

SECOND YEAR - SUMMER

 
Sessional GPA   3.33  Cumulative GPA  2.73

 

Status: In good standing

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOB34H3  Animal Physiology                        0.50  73  B      B-

PSYB01H3  Psychological Research Laboratory        0.50  84  A-     C+

PSYB64H3  An Introduction to Physiological         0.50  77  B+     C

          Psychology

Credits Earned:   1.50

 

 

THIRD YEAR - FALL

2015 Fall - Honours Bachelor of Science

Sessional GPA   3.50  Cumulative GPA  2.81

 

Status: In good standing

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOC32H3  Human Physiology I                       0.50  78  B+     B

LINA01H3  Introduction to Linguistics              0.50      CR     B-

PSYC14H3  Cross-Cultural Social Psychology         0.50  82  A-     B-

Credits Earned:   1.50

 

THIRD YEAR - WINTER

ter - Honours Bachelor of Science

Sessional GPA   2.94  Annual GPA      3.10  Cumulative GPA  2.83

 

Status: In good standing

 

Crs Code  Title                                    Wgt  Mrk  Grd  CrsAvg

BIOC34H3  Human Physiology II: Lecture             0.50  70  B-     B-

BIOC39H3  Immunology                               0.50  63  C      C+

PSYC11H3  Social Psychology Laboratory             0.50  82  A-     B

PSYC12H3  The Psychology of Prejudice              0.50  78  B+     B-

PSYC18H3  The Psychology of Emotion                0.50  74  B      C+

 

And there you have it. My complete academic history. It's tragic butI just want to know where to go and what to do from here. I'm about to go into my 4th year and trying to take some courses this summer to boost my GPA. I hope this helps!

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Uh okay that definitely helps but you didn't have to post your entire transcript from ROSI!

 

What's troubling here though is that you haven't received a single grade 85+. From now on you will need 85-90+ grades in everything (although U of T considers 85+ 4.0, 85-89 is converted as a 3.9 for OMSAS).

 

You will really need to evaluate what it is that you are doing that hasn't been working and fix it ASAP (is it that your major is not of your interest? is it your study habits? is it your time management?). No one else can really answer that for you.

 

Summer courses are not going to help, they will not be considered in your GPA for most schools.

 

Take some time to reflect, and if you decide that this is really what you want to do and are willing to do whatever it takes, form a good plan for 4th year and go at it 100%. Study every day, visit profs regularly at office hours to clear up confusion, get past tests/materials to figure out how the course evaluations are done, and talk to TA's for advice and feedback. Other than that you can follow the advice from my previous post.

 

What happens from here on in depends on how committed you are and if you believe the extra work and risk required is worth it for you (it may not be and that's okay!). If it is, I wish you the best. It has been done before many times so you are not alone.

 

Cross the MCAT/EC bridge once you get there (I would only start thinking about these after 4th year). GPA comes first.

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Thanks so much for all of your help Artier. I'm just really embarassed with myself and just depressed because I have tried my best with these last few years tbh, I dont slack off and for the most part my majors and courses that I take do genuinely interest me. I just feel like I'm not competent enough especially now that I;m about to wrap up my undergrad entering my final year. And well I've actually started doing some of my final year courses in the summer (Final Year Social Psych - for my Psychology major; Comparative Animal Physiology - for my Human Biology major requirements; and Advance Data Analysis/Statistics). For the most part I'm pulling 85+ for my marks atm but now that I hear that they probably wont look at Summer courses I feel discouraged. Would med schools look down upon a final year that's for the most part intro courses (with the exception of like 2 3rd year level psychology courses)? That's the only way I can really plan to try and achieve 85-100s in all of my courses and secure a high GPA for my final year. :(

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1. I've noticed that none of your years have 5.0 FCE - This will automatically disqualify you for Western MD.

 

2. Your current cGPA does not meet the cut-off for any MD program in Ontario.

 

3. Mac does look at summer courses (they look at every mark), but even with As and A+s in a couple of summer courses, you probably won't be competitive...

 

I think the most realistic thing is to figure out why you are not getting the marks you would like. I think it would be difficult to even get into a school in the states unless you have a stellar MCAT. A second undergrad is probably the best option moving forward if you are serious about pursuing medicine.

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Hello! Nothing is impossible, but I think that the GPA may have pigeon-holed you into a place where it will be difficult to come back from. If GPA is the issue, I would try to fix that, but if its not salvageable, then I think its best to get REALLY good extracurriculars. The nature must be so amazing that it will wow the admissions committee. This is difficult to do... And I can't really tell you what you should consider, because I think my ECs were the weakest portion of my application.

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InstantRamen: Hmm yeah I have looked into ECs but I'd probably focus on that after my undergrad due to the fact I wanna maximize what I can. I've only had some minimal volunteer experience (a 10 month stint at a hospital) but I was looking to come back to it plus look for research/lab opportunities that I can volunteer for as well. If you dont mind me asking, what made you feel like you were lacking in the EC dept.? I have also looked into other careers for sure and while respectable, the dream is still to get that M.D. one day hopefully.

 

P.S. Thank you for all of your responses. I know my situation is hard to claw out of - but I appreciate all the advice y'all are giving me. Wakes me up for sure.

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Hello! Nothing is impossible, but I think that the GPA may have pigeon-holed you into a place where it will be difficult to come back from. If GPA is the issue, I would try to fix that, but if its not salvageable, then I think its best to get REALLY good extracurriculars. The nature must be so amazing that it will wow the admissions committee. This is difficult to do... And I can't really tell you what you should consider, because I think my ECs were the weakest portion of my application.

 

Hmm yeah I have looked into ECs but I'd probably focus on that after my undergrad due to the fact I wanna maximize what I can. I've only had some minimal volunteer experience (a 10 month stint at a hospital) but I was looking to come back to it plus look for research/lab opportunities that I can volunteer for as well. If you dont mind me asking, what made you feel like you were lacking in the EC dept.? I have also looked into other careers for sure and while respectable, the dream is still to get that M.D. one day hopefully.

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Uh okay that definitely helps but you didn't have to post your entire transcript from ROSI!

 

What's troubling here though is that you haven't received a single grade 85+. From now on you will need 85-90+ grades in everything (although U of T considers 85+ 4.0, 85-89 is converted as a 3.9 for OMSAS).

 

You will really need to evaluate what it is that you are doing that hasn't been working and fix it ASAP (is it that your major is not of your interest? is it your study habits? is it your time management?). No one else can really answer that for you.

 

Summer courses are not going to help, they will not be considered in your GPA for most schools.

 

Take some time to reflect, and if you decide that this is really what you want to do and are willing to do whatever it takes, form a good plan for 4th year and go at it 100%. Study every day, visit profs regularly at office hours to clear up confusion, get past tests/materials to figure out how the course evaluations are done, and talk to TA's for advice and feedback. Other than that you can follow the advice from my previous post.

 

What happens from here on in depends on how committed you are and if you believe the extra work and risk required is worth it for you (it may not be and that's okay!). If it is, I wish you the best. It has been done before many times so you are not alone.

 

Cross the MCAT/EC bridge once you get there (I would only start thinking about these after 4th year). GPA comes first.

 

Thanks so much for all of your help Artier. I'm just really embarassed with myself and just depressed because I have tried my best with these last few years tbh, I dont slack off and for the most part my majors and courses that I take do genuinely interest me. I just feel like I'm not competent enough especially now that I;m about to wrap up my undergrad entering my final year. And well I've actually started doing some of my final year courses in the summer (Final Year Social Psych - for my Psychology major; Comparative Animal Physiology - for my Human Biology major requirements; and Advance Data Analysis/Statistics). For the most part I'm pulling 85+ for my marks atm but now that I hear that they probably wont look at Summer courses I feel discouraged. Would med schools look down upon a final year that's for the most part intro courses (with the exception of like 2 3rd year level psychology courses)? That's the only way I can really plan to try and achieve 85-100s in all of my courses and secure a high GPA for my final year.  :(

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Hello! Nothing is impossible, but I think that the GPA may have pigeon-holed you into a place where it will be difficult to come back from. If GPA is the issue, I would try to fix that, but if its not salvageable, then I think its best to get REALLY good extracurriculars. The nature must be so amazing that it will wow the admissions committee. This is difficult to do... And I can't really tell you what you should consider, because I think my ECs were the weakest portion of my application

 

I don't agree with the bolded part of this statement - if you don't at least meet the GPA cut-offs, your application won't even be looked at by the adcoms.

 

See how your final year goes. Figure out why your marks are not 85+. Try to take a full course load (5.0 FCE). If you get a 3.8+ GPA in 4th year with 5.0 FCEs, then I would look into a 5th year to be eligible for Queen's and Western. Otherwise, I feel like the only way to make a comeback GPA wise would be a 2nd undergraduate degree...

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Would med schools look down upon a final year that's for the most part intro courses (with the exception of like 2 3rd year level psychology courses)? That's the only way I can really plan to try and achieve 85-100s in all of my courses and secure a high GPA for my final year.  :(

 

Mostly no, but some schools (mainly Western) has a policy that you need to have 3/5 FCEs be at your academic level.

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Hello! Nothing is impossible, but I think that the GPA may have pigeon-holed you into a place where it will be difficult to come back from. If GPA is the issue, I would try to fix that, but if its not salvageable, then I think its best to get REALLY good extracurriculars. The nature must be so amazing that it will wow the admissions committee. This is difficult to do... And I can't really tell you what you should consider, because I think my ECs were the weakest portion of my application.

Not trying to pick on you but this is completely and totally wrong. EC's mean so very little, are calculated in a very objective way, and require a much larger time investment versus grades to stand out. Plus I have heard of Olympic athletes, fighter pilots, and people who worked for the space agency who have been turned down for interview, what possible EC could the OP do that is going to wow an admissions committee beyond that?

 

As has been mentioned, if you don't make cut-offs your ECs may not even be read. There are some people on this forum who should work on ECs but this person is not one of them. They need to up their GPA through a second undergrad taken full-time to have a realistic shot. 

 

OP: I would advise not doing any ECs and focusing on your grades as it seems that that is your weakest area and you need to free of distractions. My 2 cents. 

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New suggestion:

 

Take a break from full-time school and figure out how to get 90's. There's a difference between a low GPA with mixed grades, and consistently getting 70's. There's a huge difference in the commitment required to get a 3 and a 3.9+ GPA for a full-time term, and expecting a major jump instantaneously is unrealistic.

 

My advice would be to not enter a 5th year yet, and take 1-2 courses next fall/winter. Do whatever you can to try and get 85+ in those. Learn what it feels like to know all the material inside out and backwards. Memorize that feeling, and figure out how you got there.

 

If it works, then look at a second (2yr usuallly) undergrad 

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New suggestion:

 

Take a break from full-time school and figure out how to get 90's. There's a difference between a low GPA with mixed grades, and consistently getting 70's. There's a huge difference in the commitment required to get a 3 and a 3.9+ GPA for a full-time term, and expecting a major jump instantaneously is unrealistic.

 

My advice would be to not enter a 5th year yet, and take 1-2 courses next fall/winter. Do whatever you can to try and get 85+ in those. Learn what it feels like to know all the material inside out and backwards. Memorize that feeling, and figure out how you got there.

 

If it works, then look at a second (2yr usuallly) undergrad

 

Yes. And choose a second undergrad that will provide you with a career that interests you, should you never make it into medicine.

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If you GPA is < 3.0 after three years, it's reasonable to consider a second undergrad. But before you do that, you need to really find out what caused you to get poor grades in your first degree and fix it. You should try some summer, evening, or online courses first and see if you can get 80-85s straight. If you can, it may be a sign that you can pull it off in a second degree. You could be going from sub 3.0 to a 3.9 in a new degree in just 2.5-3 years when you can begin applying again to schools that look at only 2-3 best years like Western, Queen's, Ottawa, and U of T (I believe).

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Try to do second undergrad if possible!

 

Please don't start a second understand if you don't get med-school quality grades this upcoming year. If you feel that you've tried your hardest and just can't get the marks, then this might not be the path for you. The fact is that you won't be competitive even if you get 90s this year, but only after you give it your all and get great marks should you start considering doing extra years.

 

Right now you only have one job, ace your classes in your last year to prove to yourself that you can handle it. If you're able to do that, then great start planning. If not, don't bang your head against the wall, you may be happy with another career anyway.

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EC's mean so very little, are calculated in a very objective way, and require a much larger time investment versus grades to stand out. 

 

 

100% agree, except I think you mean subjective rather than objective. If ECs were calculated objectively premed 101 wouldnt see nearly as much traffic haha. 

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Thanks for all your replies guys. It's clear that my only shot at this is to try and understand how to get a 4.0 and to take it into another undergrad before moving forward. With this in mind, does anyone here know how that actually works? I was looking into 2 year Nursing and PA programs after graduating, so lets say I took those as a new undergrad and was able to maintain a competitive GPA - would they combine it with my original HBSc GPA or? What if I went through a graduate school process instead after my undergrad, how would that reflect my current GPA (would it build upon it, or is it a completely different entity med schools look at?) You guys have been so honest and helpful, I know I seem kinda clueless about everything so I appreciate all the help I can get! 

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Thanks for all your replies guys. It's clear that my only shot at this is to try and understand how to get a 4.0 and to take it into another undergrad before moving forward. With this in mind, does anyone here know how that actually works? I was looking into 2 year Nursing and PA programs after graduating, so lets say I took those as a new undergrad and was able to maintain a competitive GPA - would they combine it with my original HBSc GPA or? What if I went through a graduate school process instead after my undergrad, how would that reflect my current GPA (would it build upon it, or is it a completely different entity med schools look at?) You guys have been so honest and helpful, I know I seem kinda clueless about everything so I appreciate all the help I can get! 

Graduate school won't affect your GPA for the most part (there are very few schools where it will affect your GPA i.e. NOSM, U of C) but it can boost your overall application at certain schools.

 

If you take a 2nd undergrad, all of your years will be considered the same (so just think of it as 6 separate undergraduate years rather than 2 undergraduate degrees of 4 + 2). Some schools like McGill will only consider the 2nd undergrad for grades if you have enough credits in it.

 

Realistically for your situation, 2 years of undergraduate studies will help you the most. Nursing is a great option, and I just want to point out that it would open up the NP route which would allow you an increased scope of practice similar to a doctor (not the same thing but something to consider), and this is especially true in rural settings where you could have a lot of responsibilities and independence. I don't know how easy it is to get a good GPA in nursing though as I've heard mixed stories. You would have to do your research on that, but I do know there are nurses accepted to medical school all the time. Whether or not that's a great idea in your situation where you would really want 3.9+ years without much room for error will require more thought.

 

I would not do PA as I've heard people have trouble finding jobs afterward and it's not as much of an "established" field but I could be wrong, just do your research if you want to go that route.

 

I would say apply to all of the 2nd undergrads you would actually consider attending, and then put it out of your mind and focus on 4th year. Based on your 4th year results, you can see for yourself if a 2nd undergrad is feasible (i.e. if you get 3.9+ in your 4th year and you realize for yourself you are capable and committed, maybe go all in for a 2nd undergrad science degree which you have experience succeeding in and apply for med and if not then accept a nursing offer and re-evaluate if you still want to do med but at least you have another solid career path to fall back on).

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