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Hi everyone! I am graduating with a BA (Hons.) in Music this spring. A couple of years ago, after a couple of life-changing diagnoses, I decided that I want to work in healthcare as a physician. Unfortunately, my cumulative GPA is NOT competitive (it's a 3.7) and I do not have a science background (just a few life sci courses I took out of interest). My dream school is McMaster because their values align closely with my own and I love Hamilton! I applied to McMaster this past application cycle so I could get a feel for the application process. As I expected, I did not receive an interview.

 

  • My OMSAS GPA was a 3.7
  • My CARS score was a 128
  • I felt as though my performance on the CASPer test was probably mediocre 
  • I have no lab experience, but I have ethnomusicological fieldwork experience with older adults (LTC/retirement home residents)
  • I have decent ECs 

- 4yrs in a competitive university chamber choir

- 2yrs Volunteering in the ED and Day Surgery unit of my local hospital

- Facilitating sexual wellness workshops for high school students 

- 3 semesters with Student Accessibility Services (multiple roles working closely with students who experience disability)

etc.

 

My current plan is to rewrite CARS this summer and to prepare better for the CASPer this time around. If I have to apply again after that (which is very likely), I will have to make some big decisions about how I want to move forward. I could try to improve my GPA by taking first and second year science courses that many traditional premed students take (I am getting my high school match/sci. courses this fall), I could do a post-degree BSW program to boost my GPA and gain knowledge that could be valuable to a physician, I could do an MA . . . 

Many of your success stories on this forum have been SO inspiring to me. I would love ANY words of wisdom form other applicants who graduated with a BA and who might have more experience with this process than I do. 

Thank you!! 

 

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Hey there!

 

My story is somewhat similar to yours :) I did my BA (hons). in philosophy, with just a few science courses (I like math & physics electives). My undergrad GPA OMSAS conversation is 3.69 and my cars score is 129. I did a masters in bioethics and got a 3.9 but most schools don't consider that much (McMaster gives me a 1%). It took me three years but I was finally accepted this year to Memorial University and waiting for McMaster! In looking at your options here is what I would say:

 

Increasing CARS: Yes, it is practical and something you should be able to increase with if you practice often. Your 128 is still competitive but increasing your score would help offset your GPA concerns

 

Increasing GPA: This is harder to do because 1) its time consuming 2) its expensive (possibly) and 3) how much can you get it up and do you think it will make a difference? I think a 3.7 is competitive, I am an OOP applicant and I got an interview at McMaster with an OMSAS converted score of 3.69 and 129 cars, so increasing GPA might not be worth the trouble. 

 

Increasing CASPR performance: This is crucial because its obviously a pretty dynamic category. Practice as much as possible but more importantly, stay informed, read the news, etc..this goes a long way (just being aware of issues can help make you better on reflecting quickly on a random issue). 

 

Masters: graduate school is great, do it if you want the degree, it can be an awesome experience. I would not recommend doing it simply for the sake of increasing your chances at McMaster. They give you a 1% on your pre-interview score. Technically it could make the difference but worth it? Not sure...that being said, having a masters has its own benefits so its a good option to keep open. 

 

In general, being a fellow BA, I recommend owning your skills and bringing that to the table. Don't take science courses because you think they may look good, etc..it doesn't matter unless its a required course. Taking some standard science courses that traditional pre-med students take might be a bore. PLus it might be worth your time to take an ethics course, especially medical ethics, and related topics because it will help you on the caspr and the interview when you get one! I did that for a few courses and I was always asking myself why I cared about this and that. Anyways, good luck with everything and If you have any questions at all feel free to PM me!

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Hey there!

 

My story is somewhat similar to yours :) I did my BA (hons). in philosophy, with just a few science courses (I like math & physics electives). My undergrad GPA OMSAS conversation is 3.69 and my cars score is 129. I did a masters in bioethics and got a 3.9 but most schools don't consider that much (McMaster gives me a 1%). It took me three years but I was finally accepted this year to Memorial University and waiting for McMaster! In looking at your options here is what I would say:

 

Increasing CARS: Yes, it is practical and something you should be able to increase with if you practice often. Your 128 is still competitive but increasing your score would help offset your GPA concerns

 

Increasing GPA: This is harder to do because 1) its time consuming 2) its expensive (possibly) and 3) how much can you get it up and do you think it will make a difference? I think a 3.7 is competitive, I am an OOP applicant and I got an interview at McMaster with an OMSAS converted score of 3.69 and 129 cars, so increasing GPA might not be worth the trouble. 

 

Increasing CASPR performance: This is crucial because its obviously a pretty dynamic category. Practice as much as possible but more importantly, stay informed, read the news, etc..this goes a long way (just being aware of issues can help make you better on reflecting quickly on a random issue). 

 

Masters: graduate school is great, do it if you want the degree, it can be an awesome experience. I would not recommend doing it simply for the sake of increasing your chances at McMaster. They give you a 1% on your pre-interview score. Technically it could make the difference but worth it? Not sure...that being said, having a masters has its own benefits so its a good option to keep open. 

 

In general, being a fellow BA, I recommend owning your skills and bringing that to the table. Don't take science courses because you think they may look good, etc..it doesn't matter unless its a required course. Taking some standard science courses that traditional pre-med students take might be a bore. PLus it might be worth your time to take an ethics course, especially medical ethics, and related topics because it will help you on the caspr and the interview when you get one! I did that for a few courses and I was always asking myself why I cared about this and that. Anyways, good luck with everything and If you have any questions at all feel free to PM me!

 

 

Hi MunMed, 

 

Thank you so, so much for taking the time to reply to my post!  :)  Congratulations on admissions to MUN, it makes me so happy to hear non-trad success stories. I appreciate your perspective. It actually didn't occur to me to take an ethics course or two. Maybe that's something I can do through continuing education or distance ed while I'm working this year. I am determined to feel better about my CASPer performance this year! Are there any text books from the ethics courses you've taken that you would recommend? I've read through Doing Right a couple of times.

 

Thank you and all the best!

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