Time Stamp: 12:37
MCAT: 130/126/132/130 - 518
Current year: current MSc student, graduated BSc in 2018.
EC: Generally diverse, with strong research background and volunteering in both healthcare and community settings.
This comes as a shock, as last year I got an interview and was wait-listed for a spot in the class of 2023 at Queen's.
Yes, it depends on whether the aim is develop one's research profile, versus demonstrate interest in a field and network for residency matching. From the OP's previous posts, it seems they are primarily trying to improve their competitiveness for CaRMS.
It depends. Depending on the quality, a publication shows that you have the experience/ability to do peer-reviewed research, even if its not directly related to your chosen field. However depending on the chosen field, the topic of research, its relevance/importance then it might be better. Ideally do both.
Reference letters tend to be more helpful when they come from people who are known to the selection committee. Therefore, all other things being equal, an academic physician is often the better choice.
Is that your OMSAS GPA? were those full time years?
Assuming yes, and full time years, Let's go coast to coast:
UBC: Your AQ is likely too low for an insane NAQ to compensate in the OOP pool.
Prairie schools: Your MCAT is too low.
UofM; Highly unlikely, your MCAT and GPA are far below OOP standards.
That leaves you with Ontario/McGill/Atlantic schools.
For Ontario McMaster is likely out (you'd need an insane CASPer), Western (MCAT) and Ottawa (GPA) are out, UofT might work (what's your aGPA?), Queens may cut you for the 125, and NOSM is a mission school.
McGill has fierce OOP competition, as do the Maritime schools. You're likely below the Memorial MCAT cutoffs.
So, if you haven't detected the theme, rewrite your MCAT and face CARS to open up more schools. For maximum opportunities you should only rewrite if you are in the 128+ CARS territory (ideally more to compensate for your cGPA at McMaster).
You're in the same boat as a good portion of students who would make great applicants and possibly great doctors. It's hard to know for sure but your chances are as good as that of the average matriculant out there. Just make sure you can translate all your experience into written forms for essays/OMSAS sketch, and maybe focus on CASPer. Otherwise your chance is solid for most schools.
Publications aren't the only thing that matters, but there are many competitive specialties in which some amount of research is pretty much expected.
Also I personally think that because of the elective change (maxing out at 8 weeks in any discipline) research might become even more important. If you can't distinguish yourself by doing a ton of electives in ophthalmology and making good impressions on different programs, having an impressive research portfolio might fill that role instead. Maybe I'm wrong, but I see that as a possible outcome. Something will have to fill that void when there's an 8 week max.
As for summer vs. other, whatever you want. The role of medical students in a lot of research projects is just data collection, so it's not a big deal to do a bit of that during the years. You can get involved in multiple projects over the 4 years without a massive time commitment.
Research for CaRMS is more about working with faculty who are in your specialty of interest, becoming known to the department and making connections. You should be trying to work with the academic MDs in that department.
Hey everyone! Happy holidays
Lots of Qs about research below please help if you can
I am wondering the importance of research for CaRMS matching in general and also for competitive specialties? Is it crucial that I get a publication out of it? Is it important that it is in the same field as my potential specialty choice? Should I just cold-call (email) researchers and do they have to be associated with their university's medical program? Would a research assistant position over the summer provide enough experience for CaRMS or should it be longer term? Is it usual to get a publication from a summer research assistant position? Do researchers typically pay their assistants through their funding or do I need to secure a 'summer studentship' grant?
Being a multiple re-applicant (and finally interviewing for the first time last year), the annual process of writing essays, applications is really taking it's toll. I'm retaking the MCAT AGAIN (3x) to open more doors. Family is of lower SES, so my family is usually never around due to difficult work schedules. When I want to vent to friends to at least get rid of the bottled up feelings about this process, they either don't understand that feeling of being a reapplicant OR simply tells me to "give up, it's not worth it." But to me, medicine extremely worth it and I am intrinsically motivated to succeed . But when times get rough, it would be nice to have a support system to rely on.
Has anyone been in the same situation as a reapplicant? What has helped you?
So sorry to hear about cancer but the fact that you made it through and worked so hard for the last few years is truly inspiring.
You might have a chance at Western and Queen's since both only look at your best 2 years of undergrad. Although for Western, there is a stipulation that those 2 years have to be full course load. But Western also has an extensive amount of Supplementary Info in the application for you to explain your life circumstances, and you got some unique challenges here. Queen's does not have any additional supplements outside the standard OMSAS application but your MCAT is solid and you might have a chance there too.
I don't know about UBC and Alberta. But one school out-of-province that you will almost be guaranteed an interview is U of Saskatchewan. They only consider the MCAT for OOP applicants (no GPA, no ECs necessary) and you're pretty much guaranteed an interview invite with a 520+. So if you don't mind going to a distant province for 4 years, USask makes for a great backup (it is for me in case I don't get in this year).
Have you considered maybe doing a second undergrad instead of prolonging your current one? It might help more to boost your GPA and with full course load in that second undergrad, you may be eligible for UofT's weighted GPA as well.
Do we expect more rejections this week or will that be all... scared still :/ Have received no emails yet and nothing in my OAS.
Sorry to everyone who has received an email today, I empathize. Like everyone has said, keep trying if this is really what you want. I am on my 3rd cycle, so I can relate.
Keep working on your activities, take more courses if you need to fix your gpa, make sacrifices for this. I have and I hope it will prove worthwhile in the end.
Sigh. To offer a different perspective, I was rejected for student loans because I have reached my lifetime maximum. Meaning I will have to pay the remaining student loan balance (nearly 35,000, down from 78,000 at the end of my Masters) with the LOC. Meaning after tuition and the cost of relocating across the country, I will be STARTING med school with a nearly 70,000 dent in the LOC. Right off the bat. Oh well, it’s not like I have a choice. It’ll all be worth it in the end, right?
Well... this story is five years in the making so bear with me for length... It is quite the novel!!
I wrote in the forum 2 years ago with hopes of gaining acceptance to UBC... hoping to write in this thread. Turns out it wasn't going to be that year, but finally... FINALLY .... this year. This is the year I get the honour of writing my success story!!
For anyone struggling right now, it took me FOUR years of applications to get an acceptance! If you are continually improving yourself and your application/interview skills/grades/etc. stay focused on your goal and hang in there!
I am 33 this year and began this journey five years ago while deciding to change careers from environmental/animal biology towards medicine. My first step was to go back to school for some prereqs for UBC during the summer. I had asked for time off from work and was so lucky to receive it.
I completed the courses with good grades and began studying for the old MCAT. Then I saw that the MCAT was changing and got crazy stressed out so I signed up for a Princeton Review course to learn what exactly was going to be tested on this new MCAT. I found it difficult to focus my attention 100% on the MCAT as I was concurrently working fulltime. A tragedy struck my family and I had to take a month off from studying, and shortly thereafter decided to quit my safe, full-time job to float by on a part-time job and savings while dedicating myself 100% to my goal and dream: getting a good score on the MCAT and getting into medschool.
I pushed my test date ahead once or maybe twice, can't remember, and when finally the day came for my test I arrived sleep-deprived because my cat had been sick all night and it was so hot out that I couldn't sleep... No matter! I scored decently well regardless (511) and forged onward with my first ever set of medical school applications! I applied broadly and received pre-interview rejections from all schools. I hadn't expected much because I knew it takes an average of 3 applications in Canada to get in. That fall (2015) I had gone back to school to take medically-relevant courses as I had not really done so during undergrad (just had done typical bio degree courses) so I had a lot to focus on regardless. I finished those up with awesome grades in April 2016 and began the process of reapplying. I rewrote all of my descriptions for UBC and added new activities and grades.
I took some first aid courses and started working as a medic on construction/oil/gas sites. During the 2016-17 cycle I received one interview: UBC. I prepared extensively with the interview groups, taking time from work to focus on preparing. Interview day came and went and I felt confident but not overly hopeful so as to spare myself in case of rejection. Mid-May rolled around and the offers, rejections, and waitlist emails came out and I was gutted to find I had been rejected... No matter! Forging onward. It has only been 2 applications so far anyways... After a brief pity session I regained my composure and determination and set myself up for taking even more university courses and enrolling myself in an additional course that would eventually grant me employment as a paramedic. I felt the fire of my passion fueling me onward: “I will get in” was the feeling. I went back to school again at more than one institution and did a heavy load, full-time and got A+ in most of my classes... “This will be my year”... I got another interview with UBC for Feb 2018. Second interview, third application; this has to be my year!
Mid-May 2018: post-interview rejection. “Ok.. I can recover.. I guess. One more try... I have all those courses I did... does that open any doors for me?? Oh, Queen's! McMaster?? Do I take the MCAT again? Ok, let's do that – I really don't want to”... I was scared I would get a worse score somehow... And to have to redo that test and work and ... “Let's just try re-applying again this year without redoing the MCAT... one last shot with this score and then I will re-evaluate”.
I begin crafting my OMSAS applications, and re-doing my UBC application. All is well I think. I will probably get my UBC interview at least! (fingers were crossed) and maybe I would score an Ontario interview...
December 2018 UBC interview results day comes: PRE-INTERVIEW REJECTION... My TFR dropped over 10-15 points, just like my jaw... my NAQ dropped from mid 30's to in the low 20's... What??? I was shocked... How??? I had added hours, courses, activities, my wording was excellent, I had been receiving interviews for two years in a row????? HOW!!!???
If you look back through the UBC threads around that time you will see that I wasn't doing well with the news and I wasn't expecting much from Queen's either as I had never received an interview with them thus far (I applied during my first application round in 2015-16 also).
After feeling low for a few weeks or so I began to slowly gather my broken dream and tried to see a way to improve, again. Fifth time will be the charm I guess, mostly ignoring that I still had apps out in Ontario... I go on vacation to the Caribbean and forget for a while that OMSAS will be releasing interview invites. I don't have much hope but I check my email the morning of the second day of my vacation there to see I had received an interview!!! I cry with happiness!! This cycle may yet provide positive news!!
I finish my vacation and return home. I take a month off work and set to focusing on my interview. I watched Ted talks, read, practiced solo and otherwise relaxed. Planned my trip to Ontario and set off in March 2019...
The interview felt amazing. I loved the school, the people, the curriculum design... The panel was awesome, and I felt so confident when I got back to my hotel room. I spent the rest of the night in a positive buzz and then came home reservedly hopeful...
The wait between interviews and decision day was agonizing... I had started to think about my 'what-ifs' for the year... If I get in – do I buy/rent? Do I get a new car? What about this? What about that? If I don't get in... redo MCAT? Go up north for work? Move to Alberta? Move to Ontario? Start Australia applications? Go to the States? What about Ireland... and on and on and on... to the point where I had considered quitting this goal and beginning to brain-storm alternate careers... I reluctantly decided I would give it one last try before giving up if I didn't get in for this cycle. This process had taken so many years from me and I felt stuck in limbo and stagnant.
Mid-May rolls around... Waitlisted... Ok I guess that's better than being outright rejected, but man... MORE WAITING!!!
I commit to my daily activities to stay busy. I have some hope but I try not to let it get too high – the waitlist for Queen's notoriously moves a lot, according to historical trends (as noted in the Queen's threads)...
Many on the Queen's forum think that the first wave of waitlist offers are coming out May 28, 2 weeks after initial offers... I check my email like a crazy person early in the morning on May 28... and also the forums to see if there was any news yet...
I go to bed (in the morning cuz I am a night person) only to be woken an hour later by a gardener with power tools... Okay, well if I am going to be awake for a bit again may as well see how the forum is doing...
The waitlist thread is hot... “oh.. jeez, it's happening... let's see – yep people are getting offers. Better rip off the bandaid and check my email...”
Queen's School of Medicine-----
Oh my god. I don't even have to open this email to know what it is...
On behalf of the Admissions Committee of Queen's School of Medicine, we are pleased to provide to you a conditional offer of acceptance...
I didn't even read any further than this, I just started sobbing...loudly... with the windows open... someone probably thought something terrible had happened... I start running around in my house sobbing and shaking!!
All the years of hard work and determination and sacrifice I had made. All the hours I had spent working at this... Everything I had done in the past five years finally FINALLY paid off... I GOT INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL!! I feel almost moved to tears just writing this sentence.
I called my dad and I couldn't even speak, I was just sobbing hysterically into the phone... between sobs I said “I got in” and started losing it again... he came over to my house right away with flowers and a card.
I ran around all day telling those important to me that I finally got in. My family and I went to dinner that night to celebrate and I am planning a party to celebrate as well.. Logistics of this process have set in and I am working on all the info I have to provide for the school and getting finances in order and looking for a place to live but... the magnitude of this washes over me randomly throughout the day and I feel so elated and proud and like crying again all over.
I AM GOING TO BE A DOCTOR!!
I am the first in my immediate family to attend university. And within my family there are not many doctors (though I have learned I have at least 2?). This was a huge goal for me. From its inception in 2014 to its realization in 2019 I have grown so much as a person and with every decision I made towards improving myself and my application I reaffirmed my passion for medicine.
It took five years of hard, gruelling work and determination, sleepless nights working on projects and courses, sacrifice, and planning to get where I am. It took four years of applications to get an acceptance. And I am finally in. I am finally in.
PS: for those of you who are struggling or otherwise needing guidance on your applications I am willing to provide insight and advice
I checked and it says that the last date is August 31st (release date October 1st) but the deadline to receive the score is October 1st (4pm Pacific time).. so if anything happens that the score isn't released in time (system crash or something), you're pretty much screwed. I changed my date to the 17th just to be on the safe side. I didn't want to risk it.