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barc16

Do I really need to do this?

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My UofT wGPA is 3.89. My 2 year GPA for Queens and Western is 3.93/3.94 which I know is good but UofT is really my dream school. My wGPA is definitely the weakest part of my application (non-academic components are on lock.). I'm taking a gap year and thinking of taking a full course load to boost my GPA, with a mix of courses from Athabasca and YorkU (my alma mater). It's been really tough and de-motivating going through another application cycle and although I will be able to pay the tuition for taking courses as a non-degree student, it will really hurt my finances and savings and I'm wondering if I really really need this. Is 3.89 really impossible for UofT? If bumping my wGPA to 3.9+ would solidify my application then I'll do it because med school is my dream. I guess coming from a low income background I'm getting worried about having to dish out ~$7500 for taking courses that I possibly don't need. Would appreciate any honest opinions...

Someone posted earlier this week about feeling discouraged and de-motivated and I definitely empathize with them. It's exactly how I feel. But I'm willing to push through to do this.

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Any scenario, all other factors remaining static, that has you getting accepted into med school with let's say a 3.93 for Utoronto, but rejected with a 3.89, is so unlikely that it's not worth the ruinous expenditure of funds. It's up to you to decide what's more important; the slight increased odds, or the $7500 and other lost income and opportunities from losing a year. 

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Hi barc16,  If I read your other posts correctly, you already have taken 5 years and are now on a gap year correct ?.  To impact your UofT wGPA would require an additional year with full course load during traditional Sept-May timeframe.  If you have not done any courses so far in the fall term, you would need to do 10 full courses Jan-May.  U of T also has strong *recommendation* that upper-year courses need to be from the 3-4 year level.  I don't see how you can realistically do 10 more courses without actually risking damaging your wGPA.

3.89 GPA is OK for U of T.  It is also OK for other schools. You don't list your MCAT - it may be more important to re-write that to unlock other schools than try to inch up your 3.89 for U of T.

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19 hours ago, tavenan said:

Any scenario, all other factors remaining static, that has you getting accepted into med school with let's say a 3.93 for Utoronto, but rejected with a 3.89, is so unlikely that it's not worth the ruinous expenditure of funds. It's up to you to decide what's more important; the slight increased odds, or the $7500 and other lost income and opportunities from losing a year. 

Hey thanks for the input. I don't know if boosting my GPA from 3.89 to 3.93 is a slight increase in odds? Judging from the 2017 admission recap video I think GPA is ranked competitively so the higher the better although a 3.89 wouldn't be impossible, it's still on the edge. I just feel like it would really solidify my application. I'm clearly leaning towards doing it but the money is just bothering me, coming from a low socioeconomic background and what not.

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10 hours ago, Meridian said:

Hi barc16,  If I read your other posts correctly, you already have taken 5 years and are now on a gap year correct ?.  To impact your UofT wGPA would require an additional year with full course load during traditional Sept-May timeframe.  If you have not done any courses so far in the fall term, you would need to do 10 full courses Jan-May.  U of T also has strong *recommendation* that upper-year courses need to be from the 3-4 year level.  I don't see how you can realistically do 10 more courses without actually risking damaging your wGPA.

3.89 GPA is OK for U of T.  It is also OK for other schools. You don't list your MCAT - it may be more important to re-write that to unlock other schools than try to inch up your 3.89 for U of T.

Hey, that's correct I'm taking a gap year and working in research and community development. Long story short I can do the 28 credits required for wGPA eligibility. I will also be re-writing my MCAT -- GPA and MCAT are my 2 fizzy points. True that it would unlock other schools but UofT is truly my first choice and I'd be willing to do the courses if it'll significantly improve my chances

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9 hours ago, InternistInTraining said:

Uoft is not all about GPA, ive had lots of friends with 3.95+ get rejected pre-interview, while many more with high 3.8s low 3.9s get in. I think once you hit the 3.85 mark it doesnt make a significant difference anymore. There are people who got in with low 3.8 as well

Hey, thanks for the input. I've also known people with 4.0s get rejected pre-interview. But I also know 4.0s who got in and who had poor to mediocre ECs (although they could just have written their essays amazingly and had phenomenal references..). I know there are people here and there who get in with 3.8+ as an undergrad applicant but I don't know, next year would be my 3rd time applying and if a 3.9+ GPA would help me then...

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1 hour ago, barc16 said:

Hey, thanks for the input. I've also known people with 4.0s get rejected pre-interview. But I also know 4.0s who got in and who had poor to mediocre ECs (although they could just have written their essays amazingly and had phenomenal references..). I know there are people here and there who get in with 3.8+ as an undergrad applicant but I don't know, next year would be my 3rd time applying and if a 3.9+ GPA would help me then...

I know exactly how it feels, 3.89 is pretty good for uoft. I think a lot of it comes to the mental barrier of not crossing 3.9. just remember that 3.89 is almost equivalent to 3.9 or 3.91 (although the difference might feel huge mentally). Another question to ask yourself is how much would an extra year bring up your average? Realistically speaking lets say you score a 3.95 in that additional year, that would only really bring up your total into 3.9-3.91 which is almost equivalent to where you started...

This process feels like hell, but heres my advice : find a joy outside medicine and academia, its a long process and you need to do things you love outside school. It will help you pass through this tough time, enjoy your life better, and it will even help you adapt better later as a doctor

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On 12/10/2017 at 8:45 PM, barc16 said:

Hey, that's correct I'm taking a gap year and working in research and community development. Long story short I can do the 28 credits required for wGPA eligibility. I will also be re-writing my MCAT -- GPA and MCAT are my 2 fizzy points. True that it would unlock other schools but UofT is truly my first choice and I'd be willing to do the courses if it'll significantly improve my chances

Regardless of what you decide on the 6th year of courses, you do need to apply widely to all Canadian schools you are eligible. Focus on achieving the MCAT results to unlock as many as you can.  Banking on a single school for an interview is not good risk management.   You already know this from reading this Forum. 

Personal opinion  - trying to move a weighted 3.89 to a 3.91 (maybe) is not worth the risk/reward for the amount of effort it would take (10 course in a 4 month span ?).  The 3.90 boundary is purely symbolic and not a magic cutoff. 

Worse - What if you start and for some reason (illness/injury?) you cannot complete all 10 courses in Jan-May and suddenly you lose weighing at U of T.   Or What if you get <3.8 (or bomb)  2 of the 10 and you are no further ahead.   

I think you are greatly over-thinking this.      Breathe - MCAT - ECs for next 8 months.

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I would not do another year of random undergrad courses.  As someone like you, who is also applying from a low SES bracket, I recommend you get a job. If you don't have many employment prospects, try looking into college programs for a health technologist profession (if this is something that interests you). Most programs are 2 years long and have very high post-grad employment rates. If you eventually get into medicine down the line, a health professional certification will be something unique on your residency app. Long term, I also advise that you try and leave Ontario for less competitive provinces (maybe Maritime or prairies) when you are financially able. It's way too competitive here in ON, unless you're born in SWO or the north.  

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I agree with what everyone above has said. I don't think a boost from 3.89 to 3.90-3.91 is going to realistically improve your chances at UofT. You are right that GPA is graded competitively, but what most people attribute to a weak GPA is more likely a weakness in ECs or more specifically, in the way ECs are presented on the application. You may think you have your ECs locked down, but I know many with amazing ECs that presented them terribly and did a poor job communicating their path to medicine. Your time and money would be better spent pursuing things that will strengthen other areas of your application to UofT (such as ECs) or broaden your scope (MCAT). I would also make sure you invest quite a fair amount of time on putting together your application.

I think you also need to get over the idea that UofT is your dream school. For what it seems you are willing to do with an entire year of your life, its foolish to be so closed-minded on different opportunities. There is no med school in Canada that is bad and no matter where you end up, you will be happy with your experience and become a competent physician. If med school truly is your goal, you should maximize your chances and take what you can get. If you don't you're only hurting yourself. 

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On 12/10/2017 at 10:34 PM, InternistInTraining said:

I know exactly how it feels, 3.89 is pretty good for uoft. I think a lot of it comes to the mental barrier of not crossing 3.9. just remember that 3.89 is almost equivalent to 3.9 or 3.91 (although the difference might feel huge mentally). Another question to ask yourself is how much would an extra year bring up your average? Realistically speaking lets say you score a 3.95 in that additional year, that would only really bring up your total into 3.9-3.91 which is almost equivalent to where you started...

This process feels like hell, but heres my advice : find a joy outside medicine and academia, its a long process and you need to do things you love outside school. It will help you pass through this tough time, enjoy your life better, and it will even help you adapt better later as a doctor

That's true, wanting a 3.9+ is definitely the mental barrier in my head. I guess I just see all these super high GPA acceptances and want to increase my chances. 

Even with a few A's my wGPA would go up to 3.93 because of the weighting formula, I can shave off a couple of courses. 3.89 to 3.90-3.91 isn't much, but potentially up to 3.93 is a significant boost IMO. Can anyone deny that a 3.93 is definitely better than a 3.89? It's definitely a risk though which is why I have been stressing like crazy over it and I definitely agree with all the comments on my post. I probably do need to breathe and chill out for a bit.. thank you for the advice! 

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On 12/10/2017 at 11:27 PM, Meridian said:

Regardless of what you decide on the 6th year of courses, you do need to apply widely to all Canadian schools you are eligible. Focus on achieving the MCAT results to unlock as many as you can.  Banking on a single school for an interview is not good risk management.   You already know this from reading this Forum. 

Personal opinion  - trying to move a weighted 3.89 to a 3.91 (maybe) is not worth the risk/reward for the amount of effort it would take (10 course in a 4 month span ?).  The 3.90 boundary is purely symbolic and not a magic cutoff. 

Worse - What if you start and for some reason (illness/injury?) you cannot complete all 10 courses in Jan-May and suddenly you lose weighing at U of T.   Or What if you get <3.8 (or bomb)  2 of the 10 and you are no further ahead.   

I think you are greatly over-thinking this.      Breath - MCAT - ECs for next 8 months.

I should clarify - I did 5 degree years to finish my Bachelor's because of changes in my major etc. So this would be my first non-degree year but 6th year nonetheless. I agree banking on a single school is not a good idea, I'm definitely working hard for all schools and I should've been more clear about that. But I just think if you really want to do something you should be willing to do anything for it - I would be happy regardless of where I get in but why not work harder just for a few more months to increase my chances at UofT?

Like I mentioned above it's potentially moving a weighted 3.89 to 3.93, even with 3-4 A's, because of the extra courses I get to drop from my wGPA. So in that sense I think it would be a significant shift. It is the extra effort and money and time that is stressing me out, like I mentioned in my earlier post I am working this year and come from a lower SES background so while I wouldn't go bankrupt, it would be a significant hit to my finances.

I am known to be an over thinker and I probably am over thinking. I really appreciate the insight from everyone. I need to breaaaath :(

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On 12/11/2017 at 5:16 PM, jr2 said:

I would not do another year of random undergrad courses.  As someone like you, who is also applying from a low SES bracket with the exact same GPA (lol coincidence), I recommend you get a job. If you just did a run-of-the-mill BA or BSc, and don't have many employment prospects, try looking into college programs for a health technologist profession (if this is something that interests you). At least that's what I'm doing...most programs are 2 years long and have very high post-grad employment rates. If you eventually get into medicine down the line, a health professional certification will be something unique on your residency app. Long term, I also advise that you try and leave Ontario for less competitive provinces (maybe Maritime or prairies) when you are financially able. It's way too competitive here in ON, unless you're born in SWO or the north.  

Good luck in your app buddy with the same GPA and SES status lol! I do have a job, I have 2 in fact and both are in research. I am honestly not worried about employment prospects (not bragging but being realistic) since my experience in research is pretty solid and my workplace will keep me on as long as I want to stay. Unfortunately moving out of Ontario would not be a feasible option for me. It's definitely very competitive in Ontario which is why I was thinking I could try to increase my competitiveness by increasing my GPA but I clearly need to think about this more.

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1 hour ago, robclem21 said:

I agree with what everyone above has said. I don't think a boost from 3.89 to 3.90-3.91 is going to realistically improve your chances at UofT. You are right that GPA is graded competitively, but what most people attribute to a weak GPA is more likely a weakness in ECs or more specifically, in the way ECs are presented on the application. You may think you have your ECs locked down, but I know many with amazing ECs that presented them terribly and did a poor job communicating their path to medicine. Your time and money would be better spent pursuing things that will strengthen other areas of your application to UofT (such as ECs) or broaden your scope (MCAT). I would also make sure you invest quite a fair amount of time on putting together your application.

I think you also need to get over the idea that UofT is your dream school. For what it seems you are willing to do with an entire year of your life, its foolish to be so closed-minded on different opportunities. There is no med school in Canada that is bad and no matter where you end up, you will be happy with your experience and become a competent physician. If med school truly is your goal, you should maximize your chances and take what you can get. If you don't you're only hurting yourself. 

I'd like to clarify again it would actually be a potential bump from 3.89 to 3.93 (even with 3-4 A's) because I'd get to drop 2 more courses for the wGPA... I think a 4 point increase in wGPA would significantly increase my competitiveness, no? I agree that the way you present yourself on your application definitely matters, it's not enough just to have great ECs. I spent significant time on my app and got my boss (an MD) and a current med student to edit them, and read over them myself a ton of times...

Thanks for being frank with me. I know it sounds stupid to be hell bent over going to UofT but I personally think everyone has a secret preference for where they want to go and I'm just being open about it, it's UofT for me. But obviously beggars can't be choosers and I would be very happy to go anywhere I'm accepted. I know that the single best thing I can do to maximize my chances are to re-write my MCAT, which I am definitely going to do. But why not try to increase my chances to UofT? Next year is my 3rd time applying and I want it to be my best application possible...

The main reason I'm concerned about taking these courses is the toll it will take on my finances. But there are clearly other things I have to consider. This is so hard. I will definitely think about this more. Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it!

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On 12/14/2017 at 10:43 PM, barc16 said:

I'd like to clarify again it would actually be a potential bump from 3.89 to 3.93 (even with 3-4 A's) because I'd get to drop 2 more courses for the wGPA... I think a 4 point increase in wGPA would significantly increase my competitiveness, no?

Even if you manage to increase it to 3.93, I would still be hesitant to say that this would "significantly" increase your chances. Obviously any little bump in GPA will provide a little bit of an advantage, but you need to weigh that advantage against other ways you could increase your chances over the course of a year.

On 12/14/2017 at 10:43 PM, barc16 said:

I know that the single best thing I can do to maximize my chances are to re-write my MCAT, which I am definitely going to do. But why not try to increase my chances to UofT? Next year is my 3rd time applying and I want it to be my best application possible...

I applied 3 times as well before I was accepted and UofT was also my preferred school (my accepted wGPA was 3.9), so I understand where you are coming from. That being said, doing something to increase your chances at UofT only may not be the best approach. There are plenty of ways over a year to increase your chances, not necessarily specifically at UofT, but your OVERALL chances of getting accepted in Canada (such as MCAT). That should be your goal.

Imagine how much better the MCAT could go if you devote extra time to that, or if you devote extra time to that while working or volunteering only a few hours a week at somewhere that may help target a weaker point in your application (as opposed to studying for 5 courses at the same time). A year of your life is never just about the money. I understand that is your biggest concern, but you should also consider a year of your life as opportunity cost. Its important to consider all else you could do during that time that will benefit you.

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On 2017-12-14 at 10:43 PM, barc16 said:

I'd like to clarify again it would actually be a potential bump from 3.89 to 3.93 (even with 3-4 A's) because I'd get to drop 2 more courses for the wGPA... I think a 4 point increase in wGPA would significantly increase my competitiveness, no? I agree that the way you present yourself on your application definitely matters, it's not enough just to have great ECs. I spent significant time on my app and got my boss (an MD) and a current med student to edit them, and read over them myself a ton of times...

Thanks for being frank with me. I know it sounds stupid to be hell bent over going to UofT but I personally think everyone has a secret preference for where they want to go and I'm just being open about it, it's UofT for me. But obviously beggars can't be choosers and I would be very happy to go anywhere I'm accepted. I know that the single best thing I can do to maximize my chances are to re-write my MCAT, which I am definitely going to do. But why not try to increase my chances to UofT? Next year is my 3rd time applying and I want it to be my best application possible...

The main reason I'm concerned about taking these courses is the toll it will take on my finances. But there are clearly other things I have to consider. This is so hard. I will definitely think about this more. Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it!

A kind word of advice; you're setting yourself up for a bad time by only doing this for U of T. I can't see how this will help you in the long run if you end up burning out right before med school. Pulling a full time course load+redoing the MCAT is a huge effort as you probably know. You have better grades than I did when I got in. You mention this is your 3rd time applying, have you received interviews anywhere else?

If you're trying to improve your GPA just for U of T you should consider that you likely aren't getting screened out because of your grades. At the end of the day I think a stronger application (essays, ECs) with the 3.89 will beat out a weaker applicants 3.93 (please do correct me if im wrong).

Also may I ask your motivation for being so hell-bent on U of T? I'm not discrediting the school in any way; it is an incredible world-renown institution. Hell, if I got in there, I'm 99% sure I would have selected it simply out of convenience of being in Toronto. But things that should matter more to you than prestige, such as CARMs match rate, faculty-student ratio, overall competition within the program, curriculum (major overhaul right now, heard things are messy, but actual UofT students would be better to comment) are better at other schools. It's easy to be attracted towards the brand but the reality is that  in Canada anywhere you go you'll be trained at an extremely high standard.

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On 12/16/2017 at 9:17 AM, robclem21 said:

Even if you manage to increase it to 3.93, I would still be hesitant to say that this would "significantly" increase your chances. Obviously any little bump in GPA will provide a little bit of an advantage, but you need to weigh that advantage against other ways you could increase your chances over the course of a year.

I applied 3 times as well before I was accepted and UofT was also my preferred school (my accepted wGPA was 3.9), so I understand where you are coming from. That being said, doing something to increase your chances at UofT only may not be the best approach. There are plenty of ways over a year to increase your chances, not necessarily specifically at UofT, but your OVERALL chances of getting accepted in Canada (such as MCAT). That should be your goal.

Imagine how much better the MCAT could go if you devote extra time to that, or if you devote extra time to that while working or volunteering only a few hours a week at somewhere that may help target a weaker point in your application (as opposed to studying for 5 courses at the same time). A year of your life is never just about the money. I understand that is your biggest concern, but you should also consider a year of your life as opportunity cost. Its important to consider all else you could do during that time that will benefit you.

 

@gangliocytoma and @robclem21 : sorry for the late response, I haven't logged in in a while but did see your response. I still want to thank you (and the other posters in this thread) for instilling some common sense in me. I decided not to take courses because I realized I was overthinking it waay too much and that you're right - my time would be better spent elsewhere, particularly on the MCAT. So that's what I'm going to be focusing on (in addition to working - I do research - and my Taekwon Do, volunteering, etc.). 

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