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Second Undergrad Degree? I'M LOST


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Hi everyone,

I am completely non-traditional. I did my first year at western, then switched to uoft, and did 4 years there. Total of 5 years (i'm completing my 5th year). I screwed up my entire undergrad, even have late withdrawals on my transcript and 3 fails. I have a projected cGPA for around 2.8 by the time I graduate. Basically, after getting 50s and 60s in first year, I became really depressed and gave up on my dream of getting into medical school and becoming a surgeon or a psychiatrist. I did my degree at uoft in psychology (which I love btw), and just gave up on medicine. But i had the sudden realization that some med schools in ontario do look at the second undergraduate degree, and there are people who have gotten in after taking this route. Anyways, I have struggled a lot with family and personal problems throughout undergrad and my focus was not properly on school. My EC's and research experience are really great, I just don't have the grades or the MCAT (i haven't written it). 

I have currently applied to the uoft msw program, and all the nursing programs I possible could, because if I don't get into med school with my second degree, at least my second degree could be in something that would land me a job and would still be in health care (nursing, then becoming a nurse practitioner). Anyways, my question is, what should I do my second undergrad degree in? I'll have a BSc in psych, so should i do another BSc but in something like biomedical sciences, or should I do a BA in something else? BScN? I've already taken a bunch of bio courses, but I would want to retake some of them since I did so crap in them. 

Please help. I realized I shouldn't have given up on my dream, and it's the one thing that I've always wanted but just lost hope for. I'm hoping I still have a fighting chance if I work hard and dedicate my life to getting in. 

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7 minutes ago, Meridian said:

What is your GPA in each of your last 2 years ?  Some schools use a weighted wGPA only look at your last or best 2 years.  Read up on Queens and Western.   

Hey, my GPA from the last 2 years is around a 2.5, and I also didn't take a full 5 courses in all those semesters (max I had was 4, I did summer school), so basically my whole record is a mess. That's why I wouldn't be eligible for queens or western either

 

*The only reason I applied to Uoft MSW and nursing program at uoft is because they look at only the final year of study, and my projected for that is around a 3.6

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Get a second degree in something that you believe very strongly that you can be good at. Most Canadian schools these days don't look at specific programs anymore as long as you check off prerequisites. And some don't even have prerequisites! So if you're good on the prereqs side (having completed Bio, intro chem and orgo, and maybe Biochem), pick whatever you think you'd be doing a good job in and getting 3.9+ in it.

Secondly, in order to know for sure if you are academically fit for med school despite your struggles in undergrad, try studying for and taking the MCAT. If you happen to do well (a 510+ should be competitive in many places) , you'd go into your second degree with the confidence that you can still crack it. And that confidence might help sustain you in the second undergrad. 

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On 12/7/2019 at 5:04 PM, DrOtter said:

Get a second degree in something that you believe very strongly that you can be good at. Most Canadian schools these days don't look at specific programs anymore as long as you check off prerequisites. And some don't even have prerequisites! So if you're good on the prereqs side (having completed Bio, intro chem and orgo, and maybe Biochem), pick whatever you think you'd be doing a good job in and getting 3.9+ in it.

Secondly, in order to know for sure if you are academically fit for med school despite your struggles in undergrad, try studying for and taking the MCAT. If you happen to do well (a 510+ should be competitive in many places) , you'd go into your second degree with the confidence that you can still crack it. And that confidence might help sustain you in the second undergrad. 

Thanks, this makes sense. What about my EC's? Killed myself to have all the EC's I do now, but I just don't see it being worth it for me to continue the multiple EC's I used to have. I was thinking of just securing a paid research position at a good hospital or university lab, and mental health volunteer work. Maybe try to get a publication too. I don't think I'd have the capacity to do more, but I also know just stopping all my EC's wouldn't look good on my applications. Thoughts?

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1 minute ago, PsychSurgMD said:

Thanks, this makes sense. What about my EC's? Killed myself to have all the EC's I do now, but I just don't see it being worth it for me to continue the multiple EC's I used to have. I was thinking of just securing a paid research position at a good hospital or university lab, and mental health volunteer work. Maybe try to get a publication too. I don't think I'd have the capacity to do more, but I also know just stopping all my EC's wouldn't look good on my applications. Thoughts?

Oh yeah do continue some ECs, not just for the sake of med school but it will give you something to do other than school. To be fair, I'm not the most EC-oriented candidate so my idea of of ECs are working at a lab, having a side job, and volunteering in a clinical setting. Do continue doing research though if that is something you're passionate about. But there's definitely no need to keep up 5+ activities if it's going to jeopardise your GPA, especially if you have already committed for 1+ years for all of them?

But assessing ECs is super subjective and maybe it would be good for you to sit down and think about what you'd write about these activities and what you've learned from them. If the details are rich and meaningful enough, there's not much harm in prioritising academics over ECs now.

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Some things to consider. 

Your current Undergrad GPA does not give anything to build on.  A projected 3.6 in year 5 won't help. Reflect on how you will change  your learning habits to move up to a consistent +3.9 GPA.  Essentially that is mainly 90's and no course below 80%.  Need to do that at full course load.

You need to complete at-least 2 full years in the second undergrad and have the marks before you can start to apply.   Queens, Western, Dal open up first after 2 years.  Careful about repeating any courses. Check on how repeat courses are considered at the med schools you may apply. 

Nursing is a great 2nd undergrad for a career path.  It may not be the best for med school applications.  Do more research on premed101. Nursing can have pass/fail courses and have placement terms which does not contribute towards your med school GPA that you are trying to build up.  Pick something that you believe you can achieve 3.9 GPA.

Keep doing a couple of long term ECs.  Ones that you enjoy and can write up against CanMeds attributes.

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Hi PsychSurgMD,

If your desire toward med was so strong, I wouldn't worry about the backup plans.

Just focus on how to make your 2nd undergrad cGPA >3.9.

I was in a similar boat a few years ago (I did my first undergrad at St.Mike, U of T) and later I pursued my second UG at York U.

I did Kinesiology (BA) there and it was the best decision that I had ever made.

If you ever decide to do your 2nd undergrad at York, keep in mind a few things:

  1. Try your best to maintain your cGPA "minimum" >8.0/9.0 (ideally, >8.5/9.0 on York U GPA scale)
  2. Must take a full course load
  3. Do all the EC and research diligently
  4. Do well on MCAT

It is not just about getting good marks; rather it is about how you can handle all the tasks in a given time efficiently.

And always make sure that you keep your own standard much higher than other people whom you will meet in your 2nd UG.

After all, you are going to compete with individuals who come from different institutions with diverse backgrounds.

It is not easy but definitely doable.

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On 12/9/2019 at 2:47 PM, DEJ said:

Hi PsychSurgMD,

If your desire toward med was so strong, I wouldn't worry about the backup plans.

Just focus on how to make your 2nd undergrad cGPA >3.9.

I was in a similar boat a few years ago (I did my first undergrad at St.Mike, U of T) and later I pursued my second UG at York U.

I did Kinesiology (BA) there and it was the best decision that I had ever made.

If you ever decide to do your 2nd undergrad at York, keep in mind a few things:

  1. Try your best to maintain your cGPA "minimum" >8.0/9.0 (ideally, >8.5/9.0 on York U GPA scale)
  2. Must take a full course load
  3. Do all the EC and research diligently
  4. Do well on MCAT

It is not just about getting good marks; rather it is about how you can handle all the tasks in a given time efficiently.

And always make sure that you keep your own standard much higher than other people whom you will meet in your 2nd UG.

After all, you are going to compete with individuals who come from different institutions with diverse backgrounds.

It is not easy but definitely doable.

Thanks so much for your response! All of these points help a lot. Is there any reason you chose to do the BA in kin at york over other UG's you could've chosen? Also was your UG from uoft a BSc in life sci? Also I was wondering, do you know/heard of anyone applying to Uoft MD with a second UG? They posted on their admissions blog that you can use the Academics Explanation Essay on OMSAS to explain to them why they should look at only your second UG and not your first and they take that into consideration when admitting people. 

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On 12/9/2019 at 9:07 AM, Meridian said:

Some things to consider. 

Your current Undergrad GPA does not give anything to build on.  A projected 3.6 in year 5 won't help. Reflect on how you will change  your learning habits to move up to a consistent +3.9 GPA.  Essentially that is mainly 90's and no course below 80%.  Need to do that at full course load.

You need to complete at-least 2 full years in the second undergrad and have the marks before you can start to apply.   Queens, Western, Dal open up first after 2 years.  Careful about repeating any courses. Check on how repeat courses are considered at the med schools you may apply. 

Nursing is a great 2nd undergrad for a career path.  It may not be the best for med school applications.  Do more research on premed101. Nursing can have pass/fail courses and have placement terms which does not contribute towards your med school GPA that you are trying to build up.  Pick something that you believe you can achieve 3.9 GPA.

Keep doing a couple of long term ECs.  Ones that you enjoy and can write up against CanMeds attributes.

Thanks so much, will check out the info about repeat courses. 

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5 hours ago, PsychSurgMD said:

Thanks so much for your response! All of these points help a lot. Is there any reason you chose to do the BA in kin at york over other UG's you could've chosen? Also was your UG from uoft a BSc in life sci? Also I was wondering, do you know/heard of anyone applying to Uoft MD with a second UG? They posted on their admissions blog that you can use the Academics Explanation Essay on OMSAS to explain to them why they should look at only your second UG and not your first and they take that into consideration when admitting people. 

It was mainly because of my OSAP eligibility.

If you already have a BSc degree, you cannot get the OSAP if you pursue BSc again at different institution.

Yes, I did Human Biology (HBSc) at UofT.

Back then, I had a few options with either BA or BHSc degrees at the York University: Psychology, Health Studies, and Kinesiology

Personally, I was not a big fan of psychology since different schools/concepts in psychology were always ambiguous to me whenever I took psyc courses.

For Health Studies, it is like public health in which you need to incorporate different concepts from diverse areas such as health science, sociology, humanities, etc.

Might be because of my previous background, I felt more comfortable with Kine program; plus I also wanted to learn more about 'practical' part of human biology.

I liked everything about York except the commuting time (usually it took 4 hrs/day to commute from the south end of Scarborough to York).

Kine program at York is very well structured and it gives you a lot of opportunities along the way (practicum, research, peer tutoring, scholarships/grants, etc.).

I have always been very grateful by the fact that York gave me a second chance to do well at school and prepare for the next step of my academic career.

I had a few friends who went to UofT, McMaster, and Queen's Med but they all got in with their first UG degrees.

One person whom I got to know in the lab went to Calgary Med with their 2nd undergrad degree.

And the other person went to Caribbean Med with with their 2nd UG degree as well.

These people were all in Kine program (either BA or BSc).

Try your best in your last semester at UofT. All the struggles and difficulties you have had will turn into a great asset in your academic career.

I hope you make the best decision for yourself and get into your dream med program in the near future!

 

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  • 9 months later...
On 12/11/2019 at 6:16 PM, DEJ said:

It was mainly because of my OSAP eligibility.

If you already have a BSc degree, you cannot get the OSAP if you pursue BSc again at different institution.

Yes, I did Human Biology (HBSc) at UofT.

Back then, I had a few options with either BA or BHSc degrees at the York University: Psychology, Health Studies, and Kinesiology

Personally, I was not a big fan of psychology since different schools/concepts in psychology were always ambiguous to me whenever I took psyc courses.

For Health Studies, it is like public health in which you need to incorporate different concepts from diverse areas such as health science, sociology, humanities, etc.

Might be because of my previous background, I felt more comfortable with Kine program; plus I also wanted to learn more about 'practical' part of human biology.

I liked everything about York except the commuting time (usually it took 4 hrs/day to commute from the south end of Scarborough to York).

Kine program at York is very well structured and it gives you a lot of opportunities along the way (practicum, research, peer tutoring, scholarships/grants, etc.).

I have always been very grateful by the fact that York gave me a second chance to do well at school and prepare for the next step of my academic career.

I had a few friends who went to UofT, McMaster, and Queen's Med but they all got in with their first UG degrees.

One person whom I got to know in the lab went to Calgary Med with their 2nd undergrad degree.

And the other person went to Caribbean Med with with their 2nd UG degree as well.

These people were all in Kine program (either BA or BSc).

Try your best in your last semester at UofT. All the struggles and difficulties you have had will turn into a great asset in your academic career.

I hope you make the best decision for yourself and get into your dream med program in the near future!

 

Hey @DEJ I'm in the exact situation you were in , I'm just finishing my Life sci (human bio/csb majors) at UofT, I expect to finish this December with approx 2.95-3.0 GPA if I ace this last semester. I'm thinking of doing a 2nd BSc (Biomedical, Biotech, Bio, Kinesiology) at York or Ryerson. Could I ask how many transfer credits they gave you for Kine? How long does it take minimum to finish the degree? I am leaning more towards Kine because I'm kinda tired of biology but still okay with either lol. But since I want to start the second degree in January 2021, and I have to apply now (Oct 15 deadline), I can only choose Biomed, biotech, or biology cuz kinesiology only has fall 2021 entrance. I was thinking of starting the biomed in January anyway and potentially changing to kinesiology later in fall so I make use of this time at least. Do you think the transfer credits I would receive for 1st/2nd year of a biomed degree could be eligible for 1st/2nd year of Kinesiology after I request the program change and they reassess the transfer credits? Lastly, do you know if the BA vs BSc are easier?

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I think since your first degree in in psychology, something in life science or biology would fit well. However, if there is an area you think you are especially good at or passionate about go for it for sure. Start your second degree, if you could maintain a 3.9/4 GPA then continue. if your GPA in your first year followed the same trend of your first degree (anything below 3.8), then maybe, you should drop out to pursue other career choices rather than spending another 4-5 years with no avail. This mindset also would take pressure off. You don't need to spend 5 more years on a second degree if you see you cannot have a super high GPA. You only need 1 year or so to decide

 

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