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Hi all,

I have been a long time lurker on this forum and found a lot of encouragement from the posts I saw here. 

1st Year: 2.7 

2nd Year: 2.7

3rd year: 3.0 

4th year: 3.3 

5th year: 3.9 

However, by this point, I had heard too many stories about what the perfect medical student is like (what the grades/ECs should be) and I felt like I just did not stand a chance. I decided to find what else I could do with my life and find fulfillment in a different field. Having had 3 years to reflect on myself, I have finally found the courage to give medicine a real chance which required me to properly look at my grades and see where I stand. 

I am planning on taking the MCAT in January and hope to get a really good score on it. 

I have no idea where to begin. Is all hope lost? I am not sure if I should pursue a second degree or a masters? Should I apply internationally? Please help! Thank you! 

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Hi,

Hope is rarely ever lost— the fact that you're putting this much thought and planning into it is a great indicator of your potential success :)

You can start by looking at your stats, and then determining what schools will underline your strengths. In your case, you might want to look at schools that allow a weighing formula. Which province are you from? Rural setting? What are your ECs like? 

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Hi, 

Thanks for the reply! I am from BC. ECs are not spectacular compared to the stuff I have seen on this forum: volunteered many many hours at the hospital from 2006-2009, volunteered with RedCross throughout my undergrad. 

From what I have researched so far (and please correct me if I am wrong), Ontario schools have more of a weighing formula but I will be OOP for these schools.

Also, grades for my prereqs are abysmal  ... not sure if I should retake these? I am just unsure where to start. 

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The most important part of your ECs isn't really how impressive they are, but mostly how you sell them on your essays, your autobiographical sketch, etc (hint: canmeds competencies). Having 2-3 long term commitments can very well be better than 5+ short term activities, because they give you more time to learn and grow from them.

I am not sure about UBC in-province stats, so I will let somebody else chime in with that. Ontario schools don't discriminate whether you're IP or OOP, other than Mac, which limits 10% of its interview spots for OOP. Your cGPA is 3.12, if you can pull off a 130+ in CARS, I would definitely apply to Mac, you would have a fairly decent shot at an interview if you prepare well for CASPer. I would also apply to Queens; they can look at your last 2 years as opposed to your whole undergrad, and people have gotten interviews with 3.6 (which is what your last 2y is). If you took a full courseload all throughout your undergrad (i.e. the equivalent of 5 courses/semester, every semester), Toronto will drop your 8 lowest grades which would help. Do you happen to speak French?

Manitoba places a crazy emphasis on the MCAT, something like 70% of pre-interview score. 

Please note that any of these options are a long shot, though. If you're serious about Canadian med schools, I would look into enrolling in a second bachelor's degree. I'm not familiar with international schools, but I do know that it will be quite difficult for you to match at a Canadian residency as CaRMS is becoming increasingly competitive, so I suggest  staying in Canada as best as you can.

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While SoraAde describes some of the thinking involved, you need to be able to secure an interview before your EC write-ups will help.   I am less optimistic about your chances for an Ontario Interview with your current GPA.  

MAC won't work out as you would need to be one of the top 50 OOP applicants (33%GPA-33%CARS-33%Casper) to get an interview.  No matter how well you do on CARS/Casper, the 3.1 cGPA will be in the way as an OOP.  

Your weighted wGPA for Queens, Western, or Ottawa  wont get you to an interview.   While U of T has a potentially forgiving wGPA method and low +125 MCAT thresholds,  the average GPA acceptance is actually in the 3.92 GPA region so that would be a very long shot.

As an OOP for all other provinces you will not meet the cut offs.

You should contact UBC directly on the phone and discuss your situation and see what guidance they have for you.

A Masters will likely not help overcome your undergrad GPA.   I think you will need to find a way to boost your undergrad GPA. 

 

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Thanks SoraAde and Meridian for your insight/advice! Much appreciated! :) 

I am aware that I do not stand a chance on the basis of my current GPA. That's why I was wondering if I should do a masters in a field I am interested in (Public Health) or pursue a second degree in a Science related field. I think it would be redundant for me to apply unless I can make my application competitive (increase my undergrad GPA).  

Also, would you know if you can do a second degree from a different university or is it recommended to go to the same undergrad school (U for the second degree? 

 

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8 minutes ago, seenas said:

Thanks SoraAde and Meridian for your insight/advice! Much appreciated! :) 

I am aware that I do not stand a chance on the basis of my current GPA. That's why I was wondering if I should do a masters in a field I am interested in (Public Health) or pursue a second degree in a Science related field. I think it would be redundant for me to apply unless I can make my application competitive (increase my undergrad GPA).  

Also, would you know if you can do a second degree from a different university or is it recommended to go to the same undergrad school (UBC in my case) for the second degree? 

 

I would highly suggest a second degree. Grades obtained in a graduate degree do not count towards your GPA, and the marginal boost it does give at some schools will not boost your chances at any school, because you would still have a 3.1 GPA.

Go into any program that interests you at any school, it doesn't matter as long as you pull off great grades. Staying in BC will keep your BC residency, and keep you IP, and presumably you have ties to the province so no need to pack up and move :) Try to tailor your courses around schools that "forgive" past years/have a weighting formula that will work in your favour. Western only looks at your best two undergraduate years, Ottawa will only look at your last 3, Queens only last 2. 

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6 minutes ago, SoraAde said:

I would highly suggest a second degree. Grades obtained in a graduate degree do not count towards your GPA, and the marginal boost it does give at some schools will not boost your chances at any school, because you would still have a 3.1 GPA.

Go into any program that interests you at any school, it doesn't matter as long as you pull off great grades. Staying in BC will keep your BC residency, and keep you IP, and presumably you have ties to the province so no need to pack up and move :) Try to tailor your courses around schools that "forgive" past years/have a weighting formula that will work in your favour. Western only looks at your best two undergraduate years, Ottawa will only look at your last 3, Queens only last 2. 

I second what SoraAde said. A second bachelor's degree would definitely be a better choice here given that the extent to which graduate degrees play a factor in the admission process vary across medical school. Your safest bet is to do a bachelor's degree - and if you like public health, take some of those courses! The goal here is to boost up your GPA. 

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3 hours ago, SoraAde said:

Grades obtained in a graduate degree do not count towards your GPA, and the marginal boost it does give at some schools will not boost your chances at any school, because you would still have a 3.1 GPA.

 

This is not actually true of all schools. It might be the case in Ontario (I am not too familiar with the ins and outs of applications for schools there), but UBC at least (where I assume op also intends to apply?) includes all university-level courses in the GPA calculation. This includes all graduate level courses with grades. 

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7 hours ago, frenchpress said:

This is not actually true of all schools. It might be the case in Ontario (I am not too familiar with the ins and outs of applications for schools there), but UBC at least (where I assume op also intends to apply?) includes all university-level courses in the GPA calculation. This includes all graduate level courses with grades

This is true, however there's no way grades from a MSc would be able to boost the OP's GPA high enough to count. I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout my MSc and saw only a 0.1 boost to my overall GPA. 

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28 minutes ago, Chels1267 said:

This is true, however there's no way grades from a MSc would be able to boost the OP's GPA high enough to count. I maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout my MSc and saw only a 0.1 boost to my overall GPA. 

I did my JD and I did not score as high as I would have had it been just a non-professional undergrad. They look at "academic context" at a few schools to equalize across difficulties. They only award additional points for "academic context" if it was difficult by way of it being a professional program (i.e., lawyer, accountant, pharmacist, etc.).

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I personally think you should not do another bachelors degree. Since you did well in your 5th year, I would suggest doing a 6th year instead. That way you could be competitive for Queens, Western (assuming you make the MCAT cutoffs) and have a shot at Ottawa (weighted 3-yr gpa). Personally, it does not make sense to do another degree as that won't make you much more competitive. Do well 6th year and get a killer MCAT score

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Thank you everyone for the support!! 

KraftDinner: But i have already graduated; I am not sure if I can do a 6th year. Do you mean take courses as an unclassified student?

Wouldn't the GPA from a masters count as 1 year for some schools in their GPA calculation?   

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1 hour ago, seenas said:

Thank you everyone for the support!! 

KraftDinner: But i have already graduated; I am not sure if I can do a 6th year. Do you mean take courses as an unclassified student?

Wouldn't the GPA from a masters count as 1 year for some schools in their GPA calculation?   

Yes it would, however, those schools still take more than one year from undergrad into calculation. That would mean that you still need at least 2-3 years of competitive undergraduate GPA for a masters to help at all. The only schools that I can think of off the top of my head are Dalhousie and UofC that will substitute a year of undergrad for a year of MSc. 

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