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Hello everyone, I hope you've all had a safe and enjoyable long weekend. I'm starting this thread to ask about what I can do to improve my application while I'm still an undergrad student, and provide an opportunity for other undergrads to share advice and experiences on what they can do to strengthen their application. I'm going into my third year of undergraduate study (Nursing at Ryerson), and I'm wondering what I can do to round out my application while I've still got a few years to do so.

In terms of academics, my overall OMSAS GPA is 3.85 (3.86 with summer courses). Year 1 was 3.78, year 2 was 3.95. Definitely not the greatest, and I'm going to try and make the most of these next two years. In Year 1 of my program they gave us a heavy course load: 7 in first semester and 6 in second, but I knew it was going to be tough when I entered the program so that's no excuse. 

In terms of ECs, I've been volunteering at a homeless shelter in downtown Toronto since summer of 2017, and volunteering at a long term care residence since October of 2015 (this was actually where I decided to go into health care). I'm also the director of community outreach for a nursing student's organization, I'm part of UHN's learner leadership advisory committee, and I'm a Pharmacology/pathology tutor for lower year nursing students; I work with a few other classmates to create mock exams for them, which we then take up as a group. 

For research experience, I've recently found a professor who needs help with 3 studies she wants completed by the end of the summer. I'd be working with her and a team of other students to help coauthor these studies. This is qualitative nursing research, but I've been looking for an opportunity like this for a year now, so I'm thrilled to take any research experience I can get. I've also signed up for a 3 month research project in Brazil next summer (I'm working on my Portuguese). So on the research end of things, I think I've got some great opportunities coming up soon. It may not be biomedical research, but my thinking is that a) any research is better than nothing, and b) it could very well open the door for participation in clinical research projects during the next few years.

My question is, what are the things I can improve upon, and what should I focus on most of all? Right now, my main concern is my GPA, which I'll have the opportunity to improve over the next two years. Are there any other types of research or volunteer experiences I should be keeping an eye open for? If you're an undergrad student, also looking to see what you can do to improve, please, share your perspective or any concerns you have about your application as well.  

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Great start! Keep your GPA as high as you can, although remember schools have various GPA weighting formulas. You're definitely right, any research will hone your basic research skills and will open doors for clinical research etc. in the future. Your EC's also look great, keep pursuing activities that interest you and have a few that you can grow in over time (i.e. volunteer-->lead volunteer--> coordinator). Don't be afraid to pursue hobbies/interests that don't seem to be 'typical premed' activities.

best of luck, you're off to a good start!

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