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albertaboy11

Business Major Aspiring For Med School

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Hey everyone,

I'm currently an Alberta resident going to school at Arizona State University and set to graduate in Spring 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance. I've recently decided to look into the possibility of applying to med school in Alberta since becoming a doctor is something I've always wanted to do but didn't think possible. I haven't really taken any of the pre-reqs (being a business major and all) and have a 3.81 cGPA. I am at ASU as a D1 athlete which is why i never pursued a science undergraduate, and have one year of eligibility left after this to potentially knock off some pre-reqs or get some clinical or research experience. I've heard some schools like U of C and U of A don't require pre-reqs. I haven't written the MCAT but feel I could achieve an average or slightly above average grade if I studied hard for it. On top of that, I feel overall I have a pretty good resume considering extracurriculars serving in leadership positions on sports teams but no clinical or research experience. I would just like to get some thoughts on whether I even have a chance at getting into med school in Alberta and what I need to do to improve my chances. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 

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Look at the U of C applicant manual.

You certainly have a shot if you choose to pursue this route. 

Spend some time reflecting on why you are interested in pursuing this path and looking into the application requirements of different schools you are interested in.

Business/finance isn't a bad route to pursue either.

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Hi! I can provide limited insight, though I am a current applicant for this cycle so I obviously cannot say whether the route I took has been ultimately helpful in getting me into medical school. I can keep you posted as we will be hearing by early February whether we have secured interviews. I have a BA, a bachelor of social work degree, and a master of social work degree. Currently I work for Alberta Health Services as a mental health therapist. In spite of this non-traditional background, medical school has been a dream of mine since childhood. It took me awhile to decide that studying for the MCAT was worth my while and to subsequently commit to my dream of becoming a physician. Personally, I needed some clinical experience to see which aspects of working with people I really enjoyed. If you have another year left at ASU and feel like you are lacking in clinical experience, perhaps that is something you can look at. Are there any internships or even volunteer opportunities where you can get a taste of whether medicine might be something you would enjoy?

During my undergrad, I took two semesters of first year chemistry and two semesters of first year biology as far as science goes, but no physics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, or upper-year biology classes. In addition to that, studying for the MCAT while working full-time with my other commitments was difficult. I knew that because Calgary gives significant weight to CARS, it was best to focus my effort on that section, although the “overall academic merit” piece meant that my other sections would be noted. If I had the luxury of taking a year off to take all of the prerequisites and study for the MCAT with the vigor I wanted to, I absolutely would have, so if it would be easy for you to do this and you get to keep competing in your sport I say go for it. 

Again, take my opinion as an applicant with a grain of salt, but I think the fact that you have no clinical or research experience is okay. If you have an opportunity, by all means pursue it, but I personally don't think it's the end of the world. My research experience consisted of my 4th year thesis in undergrad, and that definitely wasn't published. I was passionate about it and adored writing it, but it wasn't conventionally successful in the sense that the Canadian Journal of Sociology never picked up my little qualitative study with ten participants, lol. But to me it wasn't about that - I tried to convey how much fun I had doing this research and how fantastic my supervisor was and how it has actually inspired me to pursue an MD in conjunction with perhaps a social science PhD years down the road. I SO admire undergrads and master's level students who have been published, but a MSW is a practicum-based degree so that just was not in the cards for me right now. I think a business degree might be similarly lacking in research? That's okay. We are non-traditional students and this is normal for us.

I wanted to share this with you because I know it can be hard after you have invested time and energy on a less traditional pre-med subject, wondering whether you can successfully write the MCAT. I think us non-science students have a lot to offer as potential physicians and from what it seems like Calgary is one of the Canadian schools that makes it easier for us to apply and be competitive.

I hope some parts of my experience were helpful. Good luck with the rest of your degree! 

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@catlady403 Wow thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with me! It is super helpful and answered some great questions I had. I will definitely look into some possible clinical or research experience for next year. It sure seems like you were in a similar situation so if I think of some questions I may ask you if you don't mind. Thanks again and best of luck, I would love an update if you receive an interview invite!

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@albertaboy11 No problem! If you take a look at the admissions stats from last year for the total applicant pool, you will see there are very few outliers as far as the initial pre MMI (new review) score goes. It looks like approx two people scored in the low 120s, and two people scored a 130. What that says to me is that not all of us are superheroes. Those four likely excel in all areas, but we all make sacrifices and sometimes this leads to putting all of our eggs in one basket. You're a D1 athlete! I competed in the CIS for my sport during my BA (only for two years), and I understand how time consuming it is with practices and meets/games... we even traveled internationally, and this was during the school year. It's safe to say we sacrifice many things at the expense of this commitment, like being consistently on campus and getting involved in other opportunities. 

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I am a UofC student in my last year and had a previous career in a completely unrelated field. UofC tends to "like" applicants with a diverse background and this is quite apparent if you look at the demographics in our class. You don't need to have any specific pre-reqs for UofC, but I would take a look at the applicant manual to get a sense of the "full-time status" that is required at UofC. I know many college athletes carry less than full course loads while competing at a high level and understandably so. Your gpa is fine for UofC and if you do well on CARS, I think it will really come down to how you present your personal experiences as they relate to the CanMEDS roles. You have a good shot.

Also, research experience is not necessary to get into medicine. Following your personal interests and relating them to how they will make you a good doctor is far more important.

Best of luck! Happy to answer any questions you might have about the program.

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