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  1. Hello everyone, I am currently a Master's student in a research-based program at UofT. This will be my first time applying to medical school (as well as a few MD/PhD programs), and I am hoping to hit most of the Ontario schools and McGill. I would love and appreciate some honest (but maybe hopeful) advice as an applicant for this upcoming cycle. I was born and raised in rural Ontario, but I went to do my undergraduate degree at UofCalgary, which in hindsight, has not benefitted me at all. Their grading system was awful (my already-low GPA drops a bit after OMSAS conversion I believe), and I do not meet the minimum statistics for their OOP applicant eligibility. What is holding me back is my low GPA. My cGPA (not converted to OMSAS) is: 3.434 and this is the yearly breakdown: 2.860, 3.464, 3.570, and 3.840. My MCAT is a 510: 128/126/128/128. I have taken full course loads each year, and I even over-loaded in my second year each semester. To be completely honest, undergrad was an extremely traumatic time for me. Especially in the first two years, I had a lot of family issues, personal issues, and issues with a supervisor that really lowered my self-esteem and put me into a deep and dark depression. My only instinct at that point in undergrad was not to think ahead and to pursue my goals like my peers, but just to survive. How do I get through this degree was something I was thinking every single day. I did not want to transfer closer to home because I felt like I was giving up, and I wanted to kick depression in the ass. Of course, I will write an AEE to explain these circumstances. My ECs are decently diverse. I have loads of research experience, attended conferences, won a few awards, leadership experience for long years (student-run committees, national-level committees, scholarship committees), volunteering experience (hospitals, etc. Most got cancelled with COVID-19 since I moved from Calgary), industry case competitions, scientific communications-related ECs (I'm a regular show host on a podcast, started a scicomm blog, on sci comm committees, a lot of outreach stuff), involved in athletics at my institution to name some general ones. I really wrestled with the idea that I wanted to pursue medicine. It was something I've always wanted to do and I can see myself doing, but I always told myself to stop dreaming about it because of my low GPA. I explored research, industry, other professions, but my heart always comes back to medicine. I want to be able to take this opportunity and make myself "competitive" as an applicant despite my low stats. I truly believe that I am doing well as a graduate student, but it definitely is upsetting that my future seems to be so reliant on some of my darkest years when i was 17-21. If anyone has any thoughts, advice, or comments, please let me know. I appreciate everything!!
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