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New Admission Requirements For 2017/2018 Cycle

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https://medicine.dal.ca/departments/core-units/admissions.html

 

Looks like Dal has changed their requirements for next cycle.

 

Minium IP MCAT score bumped up to 503; OOP at 506

 

CASPer is also being introduced for interview decisions and won't be factored into the final application score.

 

How's everyone feeling about this?

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I wonder if it would really make that much of a difference though. Even the OOP's 506 minimum is likely to be much lower than most applicants' scores, no? (the 3.7 rule has already disqualified me from Dal, so I'm just asking out of curiosity).

 

With Dal, 3 schools total will be asking for CASPer, and UofA is also adding a new online portion of the interview. Seems as if schools are tending toward administering an "online MMI" before the actual MMI?

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I don't think it's right way to do. Any change like this should be advertised few years back. I think medical college selection process is not reflection of general consensus but the only few ones sit on adcom. I know nobody will speak out. 

 

Are you going to keep increasing the cut-off farther based on the applicant stats? I plead to announce it immediately. So, that no student makes multiple attempts to meet the bare minimum cut-off only to realize that score won't be valid next year.

 

Sadly enough, there are quite a few non-trad get into medicine recent years but I doubt they put any effort to make admission process less challenging for other non-trads. Once you cross the border, who cares the rest! 

 

There is a check mark to identify if you volunteer during school years. What about a non-trad mother who volunteers with infants? 

 

To be a family doctor or something on that line, you don't need perfect GPA and MCAT score. You need enough GPA and MCAT score to master the materials but what you need more is compassion and real interest in helping people. 

 

Wait until I get in :). I promise a change. 

I definitely agree with you. If they really cared about people from lower income backgrounds they would have given advance notice for a change in the application process. Many schools in U.S are still considering the old MCAT as long as its not older than 3 years. Also, the MCAT it self costs some 400 odd dollars. If schools really cared they would have pressured AAMC to lower their fees for Canadian students and provide fee assistance programs just like they do in the U.S. Also, they should consider that not everyone can afford a $2000 prep course every time a requirement changes. 

I would also recommend that maybe they make a Canadian MCAT just like how there is the Canadian DAT if it could help bring down the price of the test or just completely remove it like NOSM and Ottawa have. 

 

 With the MMI  all I have learned is that I have to work on  tailoring  my responses to what they want to hear. I have had arguments with Janet ( the MMI practice sessions coordinator) because the ideal responses to some of the MMI scenarios are complete BULLSHIT no one would ever do those things.   

Canadian schools in general do not look at your application holistically prior to offering an interview.

Also, with the ECs everyones verifiers should be contacted because 2 of my roommates luckily got in over the last couple of years with overly exaggerating their EC/volunteer/work involvement and none of their verifiers were contacted and they barely did the things they put on their application. 

 

I sometimes feel that politicians have a saying on how seats are allocated because if there is a shortage of  physician the government tries to recruit IMGs instead of increasing local med school seats when they think they will be having a shortage of physicians. Part of the reason I think they do this is because IMGs  don't cost the taxpayers much as they or their country of origin have paid for their medical education. Most IMGs are placed in rural communities where local candidates are not ready to work. In addition, the government keeps a low supply of doctors so that there is always a wait time.  

 

As a non-trad if I get in I would definitely try to enforce a fairer application process.       

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I certainly understand the frustration and I continue to fight the long journey into medical school acceptance as well. That said, I would have to respectfully disagree with the above. Dalhousie has historically been known to place less emphasis on the MCAT compared to other Canadian medical schools and with the lower IP and OPP compared to most schools I would have to argue that the new minimums are fair. The AAMC also released a guidance document recommending that medical schools lower their past cut-offs by ~10% with the introduction of the new MCAT, which is looks like Dal has considered.

 

Dalhousie has also placed a clause on their website that states the requirements are subject to change and reviewed on an annual basis, so I would also argue that they have been very transparent in regards to the potential change in requirements.

 

However, the admissions process of any medical school in Canada unfortunately tends to be less favorable for those coming from lower SES backgrounds which I do believe needs to change. The MCAT is a massive burden to those who cannot afford a 400 dollar test, or who cannot afford to travel to a location that offers a testing site, so I do agree that some form of financial assistance should be reviewed. The barriers over the MCAT and access to ECs, etc. are longstanding and have been debated by many for years. The medical admission process in Canada is a tough battle and certainly not perfect but I do see many schools starting to focus their efforts on evaluating applicants holistically.

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I think the cost of applying is my biggest concern. For example, the CASPer test costs $40 plus $10 for each school you send your results. For people in the U.S its only $10 and $10 to send it to each school and they also have the AAMC fee assistance program.

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I would suggest that DAL still has one of the lowest IP and OOP GPA and MCAT cut offs of all Canadian schools.  

 

I cannot comment much on the Casper as I never had to write it. What is a common complaint on the forum is one never really knows how they do on it which frustrates those that do not get an interview.   You could also argue that Casper is more fair in some ways as it has some level of standardization that occurs outside the school.  My take on it is that it may be reducing some of the workload on the individuals school while adding in another dimension to better balance out the interview selection process (maybe more fair?).

 

Schools reviewing your EC/Essays/Personal statements is also a bit of crap-shoot as it can depend on who/how your info is reviewed. It is done by a pool of human beings (not their normal day job) that can add their own bias and subjectivity no matter how well the process is defined.

 

Much the same can be said about the MMI or panel interviews. You do your best,  but still do not know in the end how you did.  Some schools try to qualify it with generic feedback - but that does not tell you how much more you need to improve.

 

 

Applying to Canadian Med Schools is still relatively inexpensive.  Consider a typical application round to USA schools will set you back well over $3000 beyond the MCAT cost.  Consider also that if you do get into Medical school in Canada you are setting yourself up for atleast a $150K liability - likely much more. Concern about a $400 MCAT or $40 Casper seems trivial in the scheme of things.  There is a real cost to set up and administer those tests. 

 

 

<Unluckydude>    "i think once you submit an application, your file should be scored using same formula at least for next few cycles."

 

That is not workable as every year is a new cycle with a new candidate pool.  You would not be compared equally to your peers if you had different treatment.  Your logic extended to everyone would prevent the school from ever modifying their process.

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I think many applicants won't like the Casper change here because its being used as an additional hurdle to pass to determine whether you actually even get that in-person interview and file review- I think it would be more welcomed if it was a supplement to the interview score you receive, that is to say if you meet the academic cutoffs, your file is reviewed regardless of the casper score. That being said, the Casper cutoff, like the gpa/mcat seems reasonable and I think it does help improve fairness as its another standardized metric schools can use and the questions that are asked (and the testing constraints placed on the applicant generally) do give them another valuable window into the applicant that the in-person interview may not provide. 

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It sucks that Dal is going to require casper this coming year.  I personally dreaded casper as I had to redo it several times before getting it right and getting accepted.  

 

What I found really helpful were the CASPer practice tests from APE and they are giving them away for free on StudentDoctor (SDN).  This might come in handy for those of you required to write casper in a few months time.

 

https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/sdn-admissions-prep-week-raffle-free-advisor-prep%C2%AE-full-length-casper-sim%E2%84%A2-practice-tests.1246330/

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It sucks that Dal is going to require casper this coming year.  I personally dreaded casper as I had to redo it several times before getting it right and getting accepted.  

 

What I found really helpful were the CASPer practice tests from APE and they are giving them away for free on StudentDoctor (SDN).  This might come in handy for those of you required to write casper in a few months time.

 

https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/sdn-admissions-prep-week-raffle-free-advisor-prep%C2%AE-full-length-casper-sim%E2%84%A2-practice-tests.1246330/

merci

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2 hours ago, PD23 said:

For those applying to McMaster/Ottawa in addition to Dalhousie, will we have to write the CASPer test twice?

No, you are only allowed to write CASPer once per application cycle.

From the CASPer website:

The CASPer test is only taken once per application cycle per program type. If you are taking CASPer for Dalhousie University in August and are also planning to apply to Ontario Medicine programs requiring an OMSAS ID, you can add these schools to your distribution list after the test has passed, once you have received your OMSAS ID number. Your distribution list is on your test record, on the reservations page. To add to your distribution list, click the small pencil icon, select schools and submit payment to secure your additions.

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On 1/23/2017 at 1:58 PM, UGDAL2016 said:

I definitely agree with you. If they really cared about people from lower income backgrounds they would have given advance notice for a change in the application process. Many schools in U.S are still considering the old MCAT as long as its not older than 3 years. Also, the MCAT it self costs some 400 odd dollars. If schools really cared they would have pressured AAMC to lower their fees for Canadian students and provide fee assistance programs just like they do in the U.S. Also, they should consider that not everyone can afford a $2000 prep course every time a requirement changes. 

I would also recommend that maybe they make a Canadian MCAT just like how there is the Canadian DAT if it could help bring down the price of the test or just completely remove it like NOSM and Ottawa have. 

 

 With the MMI  all I have learned is that I have to work on  tailoring  my responses to what they want to hear. I have had arguments with Janet ( the MMI practice sessions coordinator) because the ideal responses to some of the MMI scenarios are complete BULLSHIT no one would ever do those things.   

Canadian schools in general do not look at your application holistically prior to offering an interview.

Also, with the ECs everyones verifiers should be contacted because 2 of my roommates luckily got in over the last couple of years with overly exaggerating their EC/volunteer/work involvement and none of their verifiers were contacted and they barely did the things they put on their application. 

 

I sometimes feel that politicians have a saying on how seats are allocated because if there is a shortage of  physician the government tries to recruit IMGs instead of increasing local med school seats when they think they will be having a shortage of physicians. Part of the reason I think they do this is because IMGs  don't cost the taxpayers much as they or their country of origin have paid for their medical education. Most IMGs are placed in rural communities where local candidates are not ready to work. In addition, the government keeps a low supply of doctors so that there is always a wait time.  

 

As a non-trad if I get in I would definitely try to enforce a fairer application process.       

 

I'm couple years behind on this post, but still very very relevant. I've got a lot to say about the corruption in our system. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I'm happy to hear what others think.

1) As an applicant coming from a low SES background, the entire application process has been a nightmare. I applied to a total of 7 schools and so far paid $1473.13. Not including the $400+ for the MCAT (which is higher due to the low CAD value). My colleague applied to 11 medical schools in the US, spent a total of $540. 

2) School applicant preference. Canada apparently has no set standards for general admissions, so each province is free to set its own standards. As you'll see with every Canadian school, each province heavily favours accepting students from that province. Ex) Applicants from Calgary need minimum 3.3 GPA to apply, on the other hand, applicants from other provinces need a 3.8 GPA. This is not strictly for Calgary, but you can see it on all other schools as well. It's ironic though that each school claims they don't have preference and review "high competitive" applicants....but if the standards are that drastic, isn't obvious?

3) "holistic process" bull. Each school in Canada is now claiming they're transitioning to a holistic process of application reviews. However, you can get rejected within 24hrs application deadlines for "failing to meet requirements". Holistic review of applications means, each section (personal statement, MCAT, GPA, references, experiences, etc.) is reviewed and awarded points, the total points at the end SHOULD then determine if you qualify for an interview. I will use myself as a personal example. My GPA was 3.78, not meeting the 3.8 of University of Calgary, my MCAT was 521, my references, experiences, and statement all stacked!  The next day after their application cycle closed, I received an email my application was cancelled for failing to meet the 3.8 GPA requirement, but as part of a holistic process shouldn't my MCAT and other supporting documents make up for 0.02 points? Their website says Non-Albertan applicants need a minimum CARS score of 128, (and no minimum requirement for Alberta applicants), and I scored 132, but I guess it wasn't even reviewed? To my understanding, a holistic process would mean my other components would make up for where my GPA had lacked.

4) I'm a mature applicant, meaning I'm 29 years old and recently graduated. As a result of various life complications (that I don't wish to share in detail), I had to return to school later in life and finish my requirements. Because I've been out of school for so long, the MCAT was some next level wasabi in the throat. I have a wife and 2 kids, work full-time, and tons of other responsibilities. So, taking 3-4 months of dedicate to MCAT study was not a luxury I could afford. The $3000+ prep courses (more if you consider CAD value), was also something I can't afford, both financially or time. Yet with complete self study, limited access to MCAT material through the web, I managed to score what I believed to be a competitive score. Especially with schools transitioning to "holistic process", I figured I'd at least get an interview.

5) It's amazing to see the hypocrisy in the Canadian application systems. Schools are all claiming to be more considerate of scores, paths, experiences, and so much on SES, yet they maintain high application fees and are so quick to cancel/reject applicants. I understand schools receive anywhere from 1000-2500 applications and they can't review every single one, but each student has also paid their fees and is expecting a fair assessment of their application. 

6) This is probably the most infuriating point...A PHYSICIAN IS NOT A SCORE!! Has a patient ever asked his doctor what his undergrad GPA and MCAT scores were? Seriously though, I understand you should demonstrate a certain level of competence to pursue medicine; extensive material, dense readings, complicated training, etc., but there is more to a physician than scores. Rejecting so many applicants for not meeting unrealistic requirements is basically shutting down a persons dream before they start (I say unrealistic because each applicant is different, life, experiences, story, etc). I'm not saying accept a student with 2.9 GPA just because he/she has heart, NO...But if schools want to set FAIR standards, requirements should be requirements for ALL applicants...PERIOD, regardless of province. If a student is within a reasonable margin of that requirement, isn't fair for them to AT LEAST receive some consideration, rather than automatic cancellation.

7) My final rant, quite personal. For privacy, security, safety, etc., names or schools will not be mentioned....A colleague has also completed his applications and awaiting responses for this cycle. The school he applied to has a minimum requirement of 3.7 GPA and MCAT of 126 (in 3 sections), when speaking to the school on the phone, they made sure to stress, "3.7 GPA and MCAT scores ARE FIRM, NO EXCEPTIONS!!"....(I'll add, I didn't qualify to apply because they don't consider Summer courses (even if it's full-time), which I thought was whack...but whatever). His GPA was 3.64 and MCAT failed to meet one of their requirements (out of the 3). Turns out, he received an invitation for interview...interesting. I forgot to add, his family doctor wrote his reference letter, teaches at the school....and is on the admissions committee. But I guess this makes sense and is very clear when you go to the emergency room, and get silly, uneducated questions about your symptoms only to be told they don't know what's wrong and if it happens again go see your family physician. I guess schools haven't yet realized that not everyone "dreaming of medical school" is actually "dreaming of medical school". Students who's parents are doctors are guided to the position, free of charge, just to uphold the family name. Students who have dedicate a life to medicine are....picking up extra hours at work so they can afford applications, applying everywhere, and "looking forward to next cycle".

What a wonderful system we have. The ethical, moral, academic, compassionate, and genuine physician qualities are being replaced by a corrupt and ethically disgusting system. Since the people with power or authority are the ones passing through the systems and pushing their kids through the system, everyone else cruises by blindly accepting it, believing, "better luck next time". I genuinely and sincerely pray it changes for future generations of applicants. Canada is needs more doctors, yet the system is designed to restrict so many from being doctors (especially those from low SES). It's counterproductive, it's shameful, it's hurting many students and their limited finances, wasting a lot of time, and just sad. Let's see where it will go next year; I'm curious when AAMC will decide to add Music, Art, and Phys Ed to the MCAT because they demonstrate "physician qualities". Don't forget AAMC sells past material to prep programs.

 

PS: if you think I'm writing this rant because I'm butt hurt for being rejected...I'm not. In fact, I didn't meet the minimum requirement for University of Calgary, but I was good enough for early decision at Harvard Medical School (god bless). I'm writing this rant because as a Canadian, (a low SES Canadian), I had to work 3 times as hard as many other students to compete/surpass them, but was still not good enough. I hope this reaches enough people or the right people and a real difference can be made. 

Bless all of you and I pray you all get into your first choice schools.

PEACE

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2 hours ago, AnonMD said:

 

I'm couple years behind on this post, but still very very relevant. I've got a lot to say about the corruption in our system. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I'm happy to hear what others think.

1) As an applicant coming from a low SES background, the entire application process has been a nightmare. I applied to a total of 7 schools and so far paid $1473.13. Not including the $400+ for the MCAT (which is higher due to the low CAD value). My colleague applied to 11 medical schools in the US, spent a total of $540. 

2) School applicant preference. Canada apparently has no set standards for general admissions, so each province is free to set its own standards. As you'll see with every Canadian school, each province heavily favours accepting students from that province. Ex) Applicants from Calgary need minimum 3.3 GPA to apply, on the other hand, applicants from other provinces need a 3.8 GPA. This is not strictly for Calgary, but you can see it on all other schools as well. It's ironic though that each school claims they don't have preference and review "high competitive" applicants....but if the standards are that drastic, isn't obvious?

3) "holistic process" bull. Each school in Canada is now claiming they're transitioning to a holistic process of application reviews. However, you can get rejected within 24hrs application deadlines for "failing to meet requirements". Holistic review of applications means, each section (personal statement, MCAT, GPA, references, experiences, etc.) is reviewed and awarded points, the total points at the end SHOULD then determine if you qualify for an interview. I will use myself as a personal example. My GPA was 3.78, not meeting the 3.8 of University of Calgary, my MCAT was 521, my references, experiences, and statement all stacked!  The next day after their application cycle closed, I received an email my application was cancelled for failing to meet the 3.8 GPA requirement, but as part of a holistic process shouldn't my MCAT and other supporting documents make up for 0.02 points? Their website says Non-Albertan applicants need a minimum CARS score of 128, (and no minimum requirement for Alberta applicants), and I scored 132, but I guess it wasn't even reviewed? To my understanding, a holistic process would mean my other components would make up for where my GPA had lacked.

4) I'm a mature applicant, meaning I'm 29 years old and recently graduated. As a result of various life complications (that I don't wish to share in detail), I had to return to school later in life and finish my requirements. Because I've been out of school for so long, the MCAT was some next level wasabi in the throat. I have a wife and 2 kids, work full-time, and tons of other responsibilities. So, taking 3-4 months of dedicate to MCAT study was not a luxury I could afford. The $3000+ prep courses (more if you consider CAD value), was also something I can't afford, both financially or time. Yet with complete self study, limited access to MCAT material through the web, I managed to score what I believed to be a competitive score. Especially with schools transitioning to "holistic process", I figured I'd at least get an interview.

5) It's amazing to see the hypocrisy in the Canadian application systems. Schools are all claiming to be more considerate of scores, paths, experiences, and so much on SES, yet they maintain high application fees and are so quick to cancel/reject applicants. I understand schools receive anywhere from 1000-2500 applications and they can't review every single one, but each student has also paid their fees and is expecting a fair assessment of their application. 

6) This is probably the most infuriating point...A PHYSICIAN IS NOT A SCORE!! Has a patient ever asked his doctor what his undergrad GPA and MCAT scores were? Seriously though, I understand you should demonstrate a certain level of competence to pursue medicine; extensive material, dense readings, complicated training, etc., but there is more to a physician than scores. Rejecting so many applicants for not meeting unrealistic requirements is basically shutting down a persons dream before they start (I say unrealistic because each applicant is different, life, experiences, story, etc). I'm not saying accept a student with 2.9 GPA just because he/she has heart, NO...But if schools want to set FAIR standards, requirements should be requirements for ALL applicants...PERIOD, regardless of province. If a student is within a reasonable margin of that requirement, isn't fair for them to AT LEAST receive some consideration, rather than automatic cancellation.

7) My final rant, quite personal. For privacy, security, safety, etc., names or schools will not be mentioned....A colleague has also completed his applications and awaiting responses for this cycle. The school he applied to has a minimum requirement of 3.7 GPA and MCAT of 126 (in 3 sections), when speaking to the school on the phone, they made sure to stress, "3.7 GPA and MCAT scores ARE FIRM, NO EXCEPTIONS!!"....(I'll add, I didn't qualify to apply because they don't consider Summer courses (even if it's full-time), which I thought was whack...but whatever). His GPA was 3.64 and MCAT failed to meet one of their requirements (out of the 3). Turns out, he received an invitation for interview...interesting. I forgot to add, his family doctor wrote his reference letter, teaches at the school....and is on the admissions committee. But I guess this makes sense and is very clear when you go to the emergency room, and get silly, uneducated questions about your symptoms only to be told they don't know what's wrong and if it happens again go see your family physician. I guess schools haven't yet realized that not everyone "dreaming of medical school" is actually "dreaming of medical school". Students who's parents are doctors are guided to the position, free of charge, just to uphold the family name. Students who have dedicate a life to medicine are....picking up extra hours at work so they can afford applications, applying everywhere, and "looking forward to next cycle".

What a wonderful system we have. The ethical, moral, academic, compassionate, and genuine physician qualities are being replaced by a corrupt and ethically disgusting system. Since the people with power or authority are the ones passing through the systems and pushing their kids through the system, everyone else cruises by blindly accepting it, believing, "better luck next time". I genuinely and sincerely pray it changes for future generations of applicants. Canada is needs more doctors, yet the system is designed to restrict so many from being doctors (especially those from low SES). It's counterproductive, it's shameful, it's hurting many students and their limited finances, wasting a lot of time, and just sad. Let's see where it will go next year; I'm curious when AAMC will decide to add Music, Art, and Phys Ed to the MCAT because they demonstrate "physician qualities". Don't forget AAMC sells past material to prep programs.

 

PS: if you think I'm writing this rant because I'm butt hurt for being rejected...I'm not. In fact, I didn't meet the minimum requirement for University of Calgary, but I was good enough for early decision at Harvard Medical School (god bless). I'm writing this rant because as a Canadian, (a low SES Canadian), I had to work 3 times as hard as many other students to compete/surpass them, but was still not good enough. I hope this reaches enough people or the right people and a real difference can be made. 

Bless all of you and I pray you all get into your first choice schools.

PEACE

....I mean, you're right, but at the same time I want to challenge you on a few things. Mainly, I think it is really easy to criticize the flaws of a system, but it is also important to realize that, ultimately, it was created by smart people who want things to be fair, and who are trying to deal with some of the inequalities you mentioned. The problem is that medical schools want to recruit intelligent and compassionate people, yet have a hard time finding them. In the process, they yse as many tools as possible to help them in this effort--metrics like GPA, CASPer, MCAT, ECs etc. But you're right, none are sufficient to fully explain an applicant. So, given this short-coming, what can we look at instead? You've suggested full file reviews. That would be amazing, but the problem is that a full file review takes a lot of resources to accomplish. A full file review requires many pairs of eyes and man power. I have no idea how much, but probably like 30 minutes multiplied by 4 reviewers at least. So, maybe 2hrs. Now multiply that by 5'000 applicants that some schools like McMaster recieves. 10'000 hours of file reviews that needs to take place in the short period of time between application deadlines and interview invites. The alternative option is to make some hard cut-offs to reduce that pool of applicants. Honestly, if I was running that organization, i would feel bad about being so cut-throat, but do it anyways for the sake of not sinking my organization. 

As for the nepitism you mention, I'm 100% sure it exists, but my feeling is that medchool does a pretty good job at reducing it as compared to other industries. 

Finally, medical education is heavily subsidized by the province it takes place in, which is why these schools get to decide exactly how their admissions are going to work. For instance, a school from Alberta is going to be more comfortable hiring Albertan residents who have roots here because the province knows that, at the end of the way, those medical graduates are going to give back to the province. It is less clear that someone from BC who gets accepted to an Albertan school will do the same (especially when it is so green in BC and a winter waste-land in AB). 

I think you are right that the financials required to get into an MD program are bullshit. But I don't think it is limited to medical school. Rather, its everwhere. People with less financial stress have more resources to perform better. How is a single mom working two jobs going to be able to get the same grades as a student who lives at home, regardless of how driven? The world is frustratingly unfair. 

 

Anyways. Also, are you serious about Harvard? It comes off as an almost comically strong flex. If you actually got into Harvard, good job. If you didn't and are just saying that, then you confuse me. 

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He's lying by implying he has an ED entry to Harvard because:

Quote

Admission Decisions

HMS does not have an early decision program or a rolling admissions policy. All admissions decisions are sent out via email on the same date in early March, whether candidates are accepted, declined, or waitlisted. All admissions decisions are final.

https://meded.hms.harvard.edu/admissions-timeline

 

I can understand feeling anger at being rejected by Calgary despite being so close, but I would hardly call them "unrealistic" standards. Yes, applying to Medicine is expensive, it's unfortunate, and there could definitely be more work in this area. I don't see any schools failing to say they have preferences for IP over OOP. As mentioned, it makes perfect sense. If I'm an Albertan taxpayer I want my tax dollars paying for the education of someone who is more likely to stay in Alberta. It's the same for any province (except Ontario, largely). It's also worth noting standards are high because they can still easily fill their classes. When you have 10 applicants per seat (at least) you can afford to be picky in choosing cutoffs. 

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