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U Of Alberta Interview Invites/regrets 2017

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Result: Reject

GPA: 3.90

Year: 4th year UG

MCAT: 519 (130/129/130/130)

ECs: Average? The typical premed ECs I'd think, plus hundreds of hours of first aid volunteering and in an international mobile clinic. The schools I applied to aren't EC heavy schools, so don't have much to compare to.

Geography: OOP

Will also be curious about the comparison score, should be interesting (though I'm hoping to not have to apply a second round).

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Result: Reject

GPA: 3.95

Year: 2nd year of PhD @ UofA

MCAT: 513

ECs: Strong academic components: Over $200k in graduate scholarships, multiple publications, selection for podium presentations at international/national conferences, international presentation awards, mentoring undergraduate and HYRS summer students in the lab. Other ECs include executive roles in a student group, membership on faculty councils, planning committees for large events at UofA, and approx ~300 volunteer hours at various non-profits in the past couple years. 

Geography: IP

Considering I got an interview last year and thought I improved my ECs substantially since the past cycle, I'm shocked. Guess it is time to consider writing the MCAT for the second time to help boost my scores...

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Result: Invite 

wGPA: 3.82

Year: 4th Year UG

MCAT: 518 (Not bad for a first time MCAT taker)

ECs: Can't speculate since this is my first cycle applying for medical school. My EC's are heavily focused on research.

Geography: IP

 

Congrats to the good folks who got called for an interview. I am genuinely surprised I was selected - I guess numerical GPA is not everything even with the UofA. 

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Result: Invite

Time Stamp: Feb 6th

Interview Date: march 18th 8:00am 
wGPA: 3.59 (yeah... pharmacy school is tough)

Year: 2 years of Bsc. and 2nd year of Pharmacy (total of 4 years but no degree)

MCAT: 500 (lol!)
ECs: must have been what they were looking for... 

  Worked as a car salesman for 2 years, full time 2 years of missionary work for my church, variety of experiences from starting ESL program for underprivileged immigrant population, Student Exec Finance dealing 6 figure budgets, ran successful business part time while going to school full time... etc..

Geography : IP 

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Result: Invite

Time Stamp: Feb 6th

Interview Date: march 18th 8:00am 

wGPA: 3.59 (yeah... pharmacy school is tough)

Year: 2 years of Bsc. and 2nd year of Pharmacy (total of 4 years but no degree)

MCAT: 500 (lol!)

ECs: must have been what they were looking for... 

  Worked as a car salesman for 2 years, full time 2 years of missionary work for my church, variety of experiences from starting ESL program for underprivileged immigrant population, Student Exec Finance dealing 6 figure budgets, ran successful business part time while going to school full time... etc..

Geography : IP 

 

 

 

I feel like you're trolling...ahahahaha...if not though, just wow.

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lol, i can assure you I'm not trolling. still floored that I got an interview. 

 

Congrats man! Did they let you remove the lowest year as well, seeing as you're 4 years in? Also, out of curiosity, what did you apply into and get in pharm with in terms of GPA? I hear they don't really care about your ECs.

 

Also, sick ECs man. 2 years of missionary work is pretty great. Where did you go/do? And with which church, if you don't mind me asking.

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Result: Invite!! 


Time Stamp: 8:04AM


Interview Date: March 19th, 10:20AM


wGPA: 3.96


Year: Undergrad completed in 2013


MCAT: 520 (130/128/132/130)


ECs: A variety of activities with varied time commitments, I thought they were slightly sub par but admissions committees like them! PM me for details.


Geography: IP


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Result: Invite

Time Stamp: 8:04 am

Interview Date: March 18th 10:20

wGPA: 3.66 (my first degree really dragged my GPA down)

Year: BSc, professional degree,

MCAT: 510 (129/127/128/126)

ECs: 7 years of practice in allied health profession, many and varied with years of commitment, a few publications.

Geography : IP

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Result: invite

Timestamp: 7:03am Feb 6

Interview Date: March 18th, 2017, 8:00am

GPA: 4.00

Year: Graduated H.B.Sc Geology/Physics in April 2015

MCAT: 519 (130/131/129/129)

EC's:An unconventional average? University athlete, competed nationally. Competed provincially in multiple sports. Decent non-medical volunteering (tutoring and coaching, involvement with a church). Diverse work and hobbies: wildland firefighter for 4 years with a year as a leader, musician, woodcarver haha. Other random helping out in communities. Rural upbringing probably helped.

Geography: OOP (rural Manitoba and northern Ontario)

 

Congrats to all with invites, and good luck to everyone in all applications. This was my last chance so very happy with the result. Bit of a scare accepting, but managed it late from the land down under!

 

Cheers!

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Result: Reject


wGPA: 3.97


Year: 4th Year UG


MCAT: 509


ECs: Music performance, Youth education, Few coordinator roles at student groups, Research, Volunteering at nursing homes, etc


Geography: IP


 


Oh well.. time to retake MCAT!


 


 

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Result: invite

Timestamp: 7:03am Feb 6

Interview Date: March 18th, 2017, 8:00am

GPA: 4.00

Year: Graduated H.B.Sc Geology/Physics in April 2015

MCAT: 519 (130/131/129/129)

EC's:An unconventional average? University athlete, competed nationally. Competed provincially in multiple sports. Decent non-medical volunteering (tutoring and coaching, involvement with a church). Diverse work and hobbies: wildland firefighter for 4 years with a year as a leader, musician, woodcarver haha. Other random helping out in communities. Rural upbringing probably helped.

Geography: OOP (rural Manitoba and northern Ontario)

 

Congrats to all with invites, and good luck to everyone in all applications. This was my last chance so very happy with the result. Bit of a scare accepting, but managed it late from the land down under!

 

Cheers!

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@gradschooldream..To be honest, as happy as I am for the successful applicants, it is pretty discouraging seeing that so many applicants with stellar stats are being rejected..... 

Yea some of these ones are pretty strange to me. Especially AdHominem's one. Crazy EC's, crazy stats, no invite.

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Thanks for the kind words, carebthenarb. 

Ultimately, I think this overall trend speaks to the admissions office trying to de-emphasize academics in the admissions process. The 'old pillars' of the system like GPA, MCAT, and science pre-reqs are going to be things of the past at most schools soon enough. Pre-reqs are gone at many places already, and the value of MCAT and GPA in applicant evaluations are gradually shrinking.

I know that UofA is planning to phase out GPA as a scored admissions criteria in the future, their new system will simply be a yes/no as to whether the applicant has a GPA beyond the minimum value (likely 3.3/4). These sorts of yes/no criteria are already used at other schools, at least for the MCAT (if the MCAT is used at all). 

The sad thing is that to excel in research (or any other work-intensive discipline), you don't have as much time for anything else. These are well-established and fairly obvious trade-offs. I speculate that the relative lack of diversity (by admissions standards, not mine) in my application is what hurt my scores. I recall last year an admissions officer told me that I had "too much research" in my application during my file review . That baffled me, since she was advocating I replace a notable achievement with something else to appear more "well-rounded". I understand the value of appearing well-rounded and not like a '4.0 robot'-- but I think that is really what the interview is about. I stand by my response to that admissions officer, which was that "I find nothing impressive or appealing about being a jack of all trades and a master of none".  Moreover, I think admissions appreciates that sentiment too- but only in certain ways (i.e. Olympians or other elite athletes are highly regarded by admissions). 

 

Could be potentially because he is currently enrolled in a PhD. 

They allow current graduate students to apply though, so I don't think that's the reason.

If you're right and that is the case though, I better be getting a refund on my application fee. That being said, I would be more angry that they had me waste the time of my referees and verifiers rather than the wasted money.

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Thanks for the kind words, carebthenarb. 

 

Ultimately, I think this overall trend speaks to the admissions office trying to de-emphasize academics in the admissions process. The 'old pillars' of the system like GPA, MCAT, and science pre-reqs are going to be things of the past at most schools soon enough. Pre-reqs are gone at many places already, and the value of MCAT and GPA in applicant evaluations are gradually shrinking.

 

I know that UofA is planning to phase out GPA as a scored admissions criteria in the future, their new system will simply be a yes/no as to whether the applicant has a GPA beyond the minimum value (likely 3.3/4). These sorts of yes/no criteria are already used at other schools, at least for the MCAT (if the MCAT is used at all). 

 

The sad thing is that to excel in research (or any other work-intensive discipline), you don't have as much time for anything else. These are well-established and fairly obvious trade-offs. I speculate that the relative lack of diversity (by admissions standards, not mine) in my application is what hurt my scores. I recall last year an admissions officer told me that I had "too much research" in my application during my file review . That baffled me, since she was advocating I replace a notable achievement with something else to appear more "well-rounded". I understand the value of appearing well-rounded and not like a '4.0 robot'-- but I think that is really what the interview is about. I stand by my response to that admissions officer, which was that "I find nothing impressive or appealing about being a jack of all trades and a master of none".  Moreover, I think admissions appreciates that sentiment too- but only in certain ways (i.e. Olympians or other elite athletes are highly regarded by admissions). 

 

They allow current graduate students to apply though, so I don't think that's the reason.

 

If you're right and that is the case though, I better be getting a refund on my application fee. That being said, I would be more angry that they had me waste the time of my referees and verifiers rather than the wasted money.

 

I don't often post here, but I feel this is kind of an important point. With all due respect, I think I'd tend to agree with the officer on this. It's a cliche nowadays but I think it still holds some weight: medicine is every bit as much an art as a science. Having a well-rounded application demonstrates to an admissions committee that you have real world experience - that when you are dealing with patients, you will be able to operate on the same level as them. This is what compassion and empathy are all about. When I go to the doctor, certainly I want someone who is intelligent and appreciates the academic side of their job (which your scores and achievements certainly speak to!), but I also want someone I can relate to. I see a lot of accomplishments but not a lot of personality in your ECs.

 

Sorry if this came off a bit harsher than I intended to - I realize my opinion wasn't asked for, but perhaps it will help you and others in the same boat better rationalize things?

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I don't often post here, but I feel this is kind of an important point. With all due respect, I think I'd tend to agree with the officer on this. It's a cliche nowadays but I think it still holds some weight: medicine is every bit as much an art as a science. Having a well-rounded application demonstrates to an admissions committee that you have real world experience - that when you are dealing with patients, you will be able to operate on the same level as them. This is what compassion and empathy are all about. When I go to the doctor, certainly I want someone who is intelligent and appreciates the academic side of their job (which your scores and achievements certainly speak to!), but I also want someone I can relate to. I see a lot of accomplishments but not a lot of personality in your ECs.

 

Sorry if this came off a bit harsher than I intended to - I realize my opinion wasn't asked for, but perhaps it will help you and others in the same boat better rationalize things?

I understand your viewpoint completely, I just don't necessarily think more "well-rounded" ECs are going to be good predictors for how empathetic, compassionate, or relatable a physician is. The major issue is that the scoring of the EC component is far too subjective, especially considering the weight it is given in the process. I would be in favor of the UofC top ten system, as it allows people to expand on the impact of their activities rather than just listing them as is essentially done for UofA. It would allow applicants to simultaneously demonstrate their personality while also displaying their accomplishments.

 

For example, why would I rather state I play rugby instead of listing my publication record in the diversity of experiences section? In real terms, what value does playing a sport generate for an applicant? I would guess people say team-work is a pillar of sports and what admissions may look for, however science is a team sport too. You almost never see 1 name on a publication. I am concerned with the arbitrarily high values placed on some things (i.e. sports or certain kinds of volunteerism), but not others. That is my point. The applicants need to be given a better opportunity to justify their EC choices. 

 

As for the art vs. science debate, it really comes down to the assumption that academically focused people are socially inept. I disregard that stereotype, and again would argue that it can be determined whether that is the care during the interview. Many of the interview questions allow for applicant personalities to shine through.

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I mean like for adhominem you said in your earlier post

 

" mentoring undergraduate and HYRS summer students in the lab. Other ECs include executive roles in a student group, membership on faculty councils, planning committees for large events at UofA, and approx ~300 volunteer hours at various non-profits in the past couple years." as part of your EC's.

 

this doesn't even include all your academic excellence stuff. To me, this is kinda strange because my EC's are basically "300 hours of community volunteering" x6 at different places, with essentially 0 academic excellence stuff(except a few scholarships), and I got an invite.

 

Yet, I'd say that your EC's are equally as good(non-academics stuff), just not as many hours maybe. And of course your academics blow mine out of the water. Perhaps they gave me a little lee-way since I'm 2nd year, while they expect more out of a PhD student? idk, but I was really surprised.

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Something seems to be off with adhominem's interview decision. With these stats, you are pretty much guaranteed to get an invite. Either the reviewers really disliked your EC's (or the way you described them) or maybe some of your verifiers didn't confirm what you wrote.

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Something seems to be off with adhominem's interview decision. With these stats, you are pretty much guaranteed to get an invite. Either the reviewers really disliked your EC's (or the way you described them) or maybe some of your verifiers didn't confirm what you wrote.

 

Honestly, I think half of it is what  you say and the other half how  you said it. For example stating what you did is fine but it's just a description, I think people get more out of the 300 characters( or whatever it is now), if you talk about the impact, what you learned, how you did it. Say you volunteered at X club. There is a difference when you say I was the VP of Y, responsible for a, b, and c. VERSUS In this role I learned to plan, organize and execute a, b, and c by using skills 1, 2, 3, etc.

 

I know it can generally be assumed that if you were the Captain of a sports team let's say, you had some level of leadership. Otherwise you might not be the leader, right? But if you included the things you did, that showed you were a good leader( helped resolve conflict between team members, liaison between coaching staff and team, motivation of team), I think that can be very helpful to an application and also to the reviewer because then it is very obvious to them what you have done and they don't have to infer. To use someone else earlier example of Olympic athlete. It's not enough to just say that, the level at which you competed is actually not important, it's the dedication, time management , etc. that you explain on the app, that showcases the skills the file reviewer is looking for. 

 

I think a med school app is less like a CV or list and more like a narrative of all the skills and traits you have acquired.

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