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totesmcgoats

Engineering Grad Thinking Of Career Chance, Asking For Advice...

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Hey everyone,

 

I am a recent grad from engineering and am looking for a change in careers to med. Essentially the question I want to ask is: what should I do in the next year(s) to maximize my chances? Any suggestions/critique is highly welcome! 

 

Please excuse me if I include unecessary details below, I am not sure what is eligible for my application and what isn't!
 

Background:

I graduated from Engineering Physics at UBC (pretty much a double major of honours physics and electrical/computer engineering) and also minored in honours math.

 

Originally I wanted to go into medical imaging, topological disease modelling, or surgical robotics (i.e. lots of applied math, physics, and engineering) with heavy research but found the physician pathway recently attractive due to being able to mix front end practice and also participate in research projects. Thus I found that the physician path provides rich opportunities to be a leader in both practicing and advancing medical knowledge such as interventional radiology (which I think my applied math/engineering background could contribute to analyzing topological models of NMR/MRI/Ultrasound imaging). So I am keen on pursuing medicine rather than pure engineering.

 

Academic Stuff and Background:

Degree in Engineering Physics, minor in honors math, adjusted GPA = 80.2% ( :(), upward trend to 85% in last 2 years, total 220 credits in 4 academic years, 2 publications (latter author, not first or second), 

 

Employment:

Research engineering co-op (4 months), Software devleoper co-op (8 months), Research student (4 months), Data science intern (4 months), Software engineer (full-time) (1 year and counting).

 

Volunteering:
Youth Outdoor/Camp/Personal Development Leader (~1200 hours over 10 years, with national awards), sailing instructor (300 hours over 7 years), water rescue pilot/first aid attendant (300 hours over 5 years), quartermaster (200 hours over 3 years), research assistant (50 hours over 1 year), data science software volunteering (30 hours over 6 months and counting), webmaster (100 hours over 1.5 years), tech support (70 hours over 2 years), personal tutor (100 hours over 3 years).

 

Athletics:

Sailing (500 hours over 9 years, table tennis on a team (400 hours in 8 years), dragon boating on a team (100 hours over 2 years), UBC REC hockey (50 hours over 2 years - does this even count?), REC volleyball (50 hours 2 years), dodgeball (60 hours over 2 years), canoeing (100 hours over 5 years).

 

(Nothing with distinction at the national level or anything though...)

 

Misc. Volunteering Hobbies (these ones I am super unsure if they are applicable or not):

-Captained high school trivia team (100 horus over 2 years)

-Won a google software competition

-Participated in autonomous robotics competitions (over 300 hours spent)

-Built electrocardiogram from scratch (~10 hours)

-Built cellphone microscope in collaboration with a company (~120 hours)

-Part of student team to build a solar car (~100 hours)

-Built own website and various data analytics software projects (~100 hours)

-Misc. mechanicall prototyping with 3d printing, laser cutting, and waterjet cutting gifts and statues (~30 hours)

-Built a tron video game from scratch using an FPGA board as controls (~10 hours)

-Investigated processor algorithms to increase speed of processor branch predictions by 5% (~10 hours)

-Played piano, level 8, theory level 3 (1200+ hours over 7 years)

-Super casual playing guitar, harmonica, clarinet, ukulele...

 

So anyway, the question I have is:

1. Should I commit to different volunteering activities? I probably have room for a 5 hour comittment a week unless I forgo other commitments.

2. Do personal projects count? What about projects done as part of schoolwork?

3. I have 0 volunteer experience at a medical facility (only remotely close thing I've done is first aid and water rescue...), is this a major problem?

4. Some of my volunteer experiences are extensions of previous employment (i.e. I volunteer my time after my employment ends at a lab) - does this still count as volunteering?

5. Is any extra credit given on my degree that I should emphasize (taking on average 8 engineering/physics/math courses a term)? Or does it simply not matter...

6. What else can I do in the follow year(s) to maximize my chances?

 

Any input is welcome, I know it's a taxing read so thanks in advance!

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You are a diverse candidate and have a clear plan for why you want to go in to medicine. This will serve you well in the NAQ score.

 

Your academic score is a little low but if the adcoms factors in the degree difficulty it'll look good for you. Perform well on the MCAT and it will make up for the lower score. Aim for 515+

 

Everything counts for UBC but it is said that degree difficulty is not factored in before interview. You should be aiming to get an interview. Check the admission stats page to see where you need your file review score needs to be.

 

I would recommend that you shadow physicians or work on case reports or volunteer at an emergency department to actually experience what medicine is like. This will help you not only on your application but also in your plan.

 

Best of luck

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Hey everyone,

 

I am a recent grad from engineering and am looking for a change in careers to med. Essentially the question I want to ask is: what should I do in the next year(s) to maximize my chances? Any suggestions/critique is highly welcome! 

 

Please excuse me if I include unecessary details below, I am not sure what is eligible for my application and what isn't!

 

Background:

I graduated from Engineering Physics at UBC (pretty much a double major of honours physics and electrical/computer engineering) and also minored in honours math.

 

Originally I wanted to go into medical imaging, topological disease modelling, or surgical robotics (i.e. lots of applied math, physics, and engineering) with heavy research but found the physician pathway recently attractive due to being able to mix front end practice and also participate in research projects. Thus I found that the physician path provides rich opportunities to be a leader in both practicing and advancing medical knowledge such as interventional radiology (which I think my applied math/engineering background could contribute to analyzing topological models of NMR/MRI/Ultrasound imaging). So I am keen on pursuing medicine rather than pure engineering.

 

Academic Stuff and Background:

Degree in Engineering Physics, minor in honors math, adjusted GPA = 80.2% ( :(), upward trend to 85% in last 2 years, total 220 credits in 4 academic years, 2 publications (latter author, not first or second), 

 

Employment:

Research engineering co-op (4 months), Software devleoper co-op (8 months), Research student (4 months), Data science intern (4 months), Software engineer (full-time) (1 year and counting).

 

Volunteering:

Youth Outdoor/Camp/Personal Development Leader (~1200 hours over 10 years, with national awards), sailing instructor (300 hours over 7 years), water rescue pilot/first aid attendant (300 hours over 5 years), quartermaster (200 hours over 3 years), research assistant (50 hours over 1 year), data science software volunteering (30 hours over 6 months and counting), webmaster (100 hours over 1.5 years), tech support (70 hours over 2 years), personal tutor (100 hours over 3 years).

 

Athletics:

Sailing (500 hours over 9 years, table tennis on a team (400 hours in 8 years), dragon boating on a team (100 hours over 2 years), UBC REC hockey (50 hours over 2 years - does this even count?), REC volleyball (50 hours 2 years), dodgeball (60 hours over 2 years), canoeing (100 hours over 5 years).

 

(Nothing with distinction at the national level or anything though...)

 

Misc. Volunteering Hobbies (these ones I am super unsure if they are applicable or not):

-Captained high school trivia team (100 horus over 2 years)

-Won a google software competition

-Participated in autonomous robotics competitions (over 300 hours spent)

-Built electrocardiogram from scratch (~10 hours)

-Built cellphone microscope in collaboration with a company (~120 hours)

-Part of student team to build a sola rcar (~100 hours)

-Built own website and various data analytics software projects (~100 hours)

-Misc. mechanicall prototyping with 3d printing, laser cutting, and waterjet cutting gifts and statues (~30 hours)

-Built a tron video game from scratch using an FPGA board as controls (~10 hours)

-Investigated processor algorithms to increase speed of processor branch predictions by 5% (~10 hours)

-Played piano, level 8, theory level 3 (1200+ hours over 7 years)

-Super casual playing guitar, harmonica, clarinet, ukulele...

 

So anyway, the question I have is:

1. Should I commit to different volunteering activities? I probably have room for a 5 hour comittment a week unless I forgo other commitments.

2. Do personal projects count? What about projects done as part of schoolwork?

3. I have 0 volunteer experience at a medical facility (only remotely close thing I've done is first aid and water rescue...), is this a major problem?

4. Some of my volunteer experiences are extensions of previous employment (i.e. I volunteer my time after my employment ends at a lab) - does this still count as volunteering?

5. Is any extra credit given on my degree that I should emphasize (taking on average 8 engineering/physics/math courses a term)? Or does it simply not matter...

5. What else can I do in the follow year(s) to maximize my chances?

 

Any input is welcome, I know it's a taxing read so thanks in advance!

1) if you committed time to additional extracurricular activities (volunteering or otherwise) it would certainly help your application.

2) not sure about this one, you can email Ubc md admissions to ask or phone them between 1-4pm mon-fri. The majority of them are very knowledgeable and helpful wrt application.

3) this does not hurt you in Canada I believe. At least not for most schools and certainly not for Ubc I believe. America might be another story.

4) it just depends if you were paid for your time. If it was salary and the lines are blurred once again call them.

5) Yes!!!! Uoft has a weighting formula for taking a full 5 credit load. And additionally there is a section of the app that lets you describe other factors in your application. Taking 8 courses should fall under that, and they may see your side. I personally think Uoft would love you.

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1) if you committed time to additional extracurricular activities (volunteering or otherwise) it would certainly help your application.

2) not sure about this one, you can email Ubc md admissions to ask or phone them between 1-4pm mon-fri. The majority of them are very knowledgeable and helpful wrt application.

3) this does not hurt you in Canada I believe. At least not for most schools and certainly not for Ubc I believe. America might be another story.

4) it just depends if you were paid for your time. If it was salary and the lines are blurred once again call them.

5) Yes!!!! Uoft has a weighting formula for taking a full 5 credit load. And additionally there is a section of the app that lets you describe other factors in your application. Taking 8 courses should fall under that, and they may see your side. I personally think Uoft would love you.

 

Thank you for the response! Unfortunately I don't have 2 full course equivalents in life sciences to meet UofT's admission requirements. I emailed them and they didn't accept nuclear physics or biomedical signalling (NMR, PET, CAT scan theory, nuclear medicine...) as accepted courses :(  I could take 3 more courses at UBC, not sure if it is worth it for a chance at UofT though...

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Hey totesmcgoats

 

I think you are embarking on a worthy pursuit. If you are interested in combining medicine with research, there is nowhere better to be. It sounds like the hurdle now is just getting into medical school for you. There were lots of engineers in my class, so it is definitely very doable. You have completed a degree (grades is alright). You have had some very interesting and impressive accomplishments. If you ask me, this is how I see your situation:

 

Pre-application: 

- GPA --> done and completed. unless you want to complete further educations, don't worry about it.

- MCAT --> you gotta do well

- extracurricular --> you have done lots already. Especially in the area of academics, research, innovation, sports. I think you likely have enough materials to potentially put together a very strong application. I wouldn't worry about having specific health-related volunteering opportunities for the purpose of accumulating volunteering hours unless you are looking to gain a better understanding of what being a doctor is about.

 

This is where you are right now, and I would focus on getting a good MCAT score at the moment.

 

When it comes to the applications, you are looking to set yourself apart through the personal statement, extracurricular lists, and interviews using your knowledge and experience.

 

 

1. Should I commit to different volunteering activities? I probably have room for a 5 hour comittment a week unless I forgo other commitments. 

 

Like I said, I don't think you need to worry about more volunteering for the purpose of accumulating volunteering hours

 

2. Do personal projects count? What about projects done as part of schoolwork?

 

Everything counts. It's a matter of how you present it on the application.

 

3. I have 0 volunteer experience at a medical facility (only remotely close thing I've done is first aid and water rescue...), is this a major problem?

 

I do not think this is a huge issue. Unless you have a purpose beyond accumulating volunteering hours, there are better ways to spend your time.

 

4. Some of my volunteer experiences are extensions of previous employment (i.e. I volunteer my time after my employment ends at a lab) - does this still count as volunteering?

 

Yes. Again, what matters more is how you present it on your application.

 

5. Is any extra credit given on my degree that I should emphasize (taking on average 8 engineering/physics/math courses a term)? Or does it simply not matter...

 

No. Medical schools do not differentiate between your degree. My classmates in med school ranged from regular science-based degrees to music majors.

 

6. What else can I do in the follow year(s) to maximize my chances?

- get a kick-ass MCAT score

- maintain an active lifestyle (I don't mean physically, though if you want to too, that's good. I meant you should be involved and doing things that are meaningful to you)

- determine whether you meet the requirements to apply to the schools you want, and decide if you want to take further courses to meet those requirements

Then, when all those are done, put together a kick-ass application and do very well on the interview.

 

Happy to chat more (you can PM me). Good luck buddy.

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If I were you, I would do as many online courses as you can before June 1 that are somewhat relevant and you know you will do well in. If you can do five or something by June 1 and get an A, that will up your GPA a bit. More than 5 would be even better if you can do well in them! I would suggest TRU open learning or Athabasca. Maybe like anatomy physiology and maybe a general biology course. And maybe even like a sociology and psychology course that will help with the MCAT section and just general knowledge. Biochemistry and chemistry would also be good if you haven't taken those. You can also take health policy or health science type courses through TRU I think.

 

I would also suggest volunteering in a medical setting. I agree that you don't need it to get into med school. But I don't know how you can truly know if you want to be in medicine if you don't do some sort of shadowing/volunteer experience with doctors. I would try to spend as much time as you can! While medicine has research of course, it is a lot of working with people, so make sure you want to work with patients, etc. 

 

 

Yes, then do as well on the MCAT as you can as others have already said! 

 

Hopefully that helps. Good luck!

 

Be prepared to give the application process a few years as well 

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If I were you, I would do as many online courses as you can before June 1 that are somewhat relevant and you know you will do well in. If you can do five or something by June 1 and get an A, that will up your GPA a bit. More than 5 would be even better if you can do well in them! I would suggest TRU open learning or Athabasca. Maybe like anatomy physiology and maybe a general biology course. And maybe even like a sociology and psychology course that will help with the MCAT section and just general knowledge. Biochemistry and chemistry would also be good if you haven't taken those. You can also take health policy or health science type courses through TRU I think.

 

I would also suggest volunteering in a medical setting. I agree that you don't need it to get into med school. But I don't know how you can truly know if you want to be in medicine if you don't do some sort of shadowing/volunteer experience with doctors. I would try to spend as much time as you can! While medicine has research of course, it is a lot of working with people, so make sure you want to work with patients, etc. 

 

 

Yes, then do as well on the MCAT as you can as others have already said! 

 

Hopefully that helps. Good luck!

 

Be prepared to give the application process a few years as well 

 

Thank you all for the reply. Currently I am considering the following options:

 

1. Continue current commitments, and keep reapplying

2. Continue current commitments, take time off to take courses at UBC (~3 courses a term as an unclassified student, hopefully will be able to bring up GPA compared to 8 courses a term...) for a year to qualify for Queen's 2YGPA using my final UG year and the time off year and reapply

3. Continue current commitments, apply for Master's (would be finished masters June 2018 tentatively) and reapply

4. Continue current commitments, quit pursuing MD in general

5. Continue current commitments, take second 2-year UG degree (finishing June 2018) and then reapply

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Thank you all for the reply. Currently I am considering the following options:

 

1. Continue current commitments, and keep reapplying

2. Continue current commitments, take time off to take courses at UBC (~3 courses a term as an unclassified student, hopefully will be able to bring up GPA compared to 8 courses a term...) for a year to qualify for Queen's 2YGPA using my final UG year and the time off year and reapply

3. Continue current commitments, apply for Master's (would be finished masters June 2018 tentatively) and reapply

4. Continue current commitments, quit pursuing MD in general

5. Continue current commitments, take second 2-year UG degree (finishing June 2018) and then reapply

 

 

 

Have you already applied to medical school or are you thinking about applying for the 2017-18 application year?

 

All seem like they could be great options. I guess my only advice is always keep something else open while applying to medical school as it usually takes a few years to get accepted. Not always of course. Some people get in after one try and others take years to get in. But I think I read somewhere that the average is three applications or something in Canada. 

 

Online courses as an unclassified student instead of taking them at UBC do allow you to work at your own pace and be able to still keep a job and volunteer would be my only suggestion if you are going to do that route. 

 

I personally would NOT do another undergrad degree unless it is a professional undergrad degree such as nursing, social work, teaching etc.  As I don't think this opens up any more job opportunities at the end if you are not successful with medical school. A master's allows you to apply for more upper level jobs.

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Have you already applied to medical school or are you thinking about applying for the 2017-18 application year?

 

All seem like they could be great options. I guess my only advice is always keep something else open while applying to medical school as it usually takes a few years to get accepted. Not always of course. Some people get in after one try and others take years to get in. But I think I read somewhere that the average is three applications or something in Canada. 

 

Online courses as an unclassified student instead of taking them at UBC do allow you to work at your own pace and be able to still keep a job and volunteer would be my only suggestion if you are going to do that route. 

 

I personally would NOT do another undergrad degree unless it is a professional undergrad degree such as nursing, social work, teaching etc.  As I don't think this opens up any more job opportunities at the end if you are not successful with medical school. A master's allows you to apply for more upper level jobs.

Thinkin of applying in 2017-2018 cycle and onward. I am open to applying to more schools in Canada. Unfortunately, since UBC started removing pre-reqs, it is entirely likely that med would be even more competitive :(...

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