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Freshmen year forgiveness? Which universities (that offer med) are the most forgiving?


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So my whole plan for ever since I could remember has been to be a doctor (cheesy and sappy i know). I was always quick to learn everything and never really had difficulty with anything I encountered academically.  Pretty much, tests and the actual "learning" part of school came super easy to me, but I never truly got the grades that people expected of me. Mostly because I struggled with assignments, it's not that I couldn't do them; in fact I could do them so easily that I often got really frustrated with the repetitive nature, it's just that I always genuinely forgot to complete them, and when I did finish the assignments, I would lose or forget to hand them in and find them a week later at the bottom of my backpack or behind my bed.

All that did a real number on my confidence and well being, because although I was getting 85-95% as my test averages, I was getting 20-80% on my homework averages; depending on how much attention the teacher the class gave me. So my high school average upon graduation was 78% (87% on my provincials) .

I pretty much gave up on myself at that point in being anything, but still went to do my undergrad, I didn't really know what else to do. I was just going to a local college because I didn't have the confidence, or the money, to apply anywhere else. The semester started out insignificantly but things quickly went downhill as my "work ethic" problems got worse, I was also  working two part-time jobs (I had no money and only received one scholarship), and my family issues quickly grew (brother ran away, father kicked my mother out of the house and canceled all her cards, my father got a cancer diagnosis, and I voluntarily left for three weeks because being there with my misery and self hatred got to the point I genuinely wanted to kill myself and would have if I wasn't naturally a coward), and with all this my already bad mental issues got much much worse.

All this was over the three months of first semester and I ended up failing three of my five classes (really ashamed of it but I figure there is no use in lying). I failed the actual class of calculus but bio and chem I failed the classes due to failing the labs. After all that my mental health went so quickly downhill that my friends had pretty much forced me to see a shrink because I was becoming increasingly reckless (with my drinking, speeding, starting fights, at one point a friend caught me cutting my chest, etc.), so I went to the school counselor and she suggested I see a doctor about the attention and memory problems, and see a psychiatrist about the other mental issues. I got a referral to a shrink and in the mean time my family doctor told me that I have very bad ADHD that was somehow never picked up in grade school. I was put on a few trials of meds (currently on Adderall) and almost instantly things became incredibly better, I didn't forget nearly as much, I became tidier, and didn't have to put so much intense focus into focusing.

I kept going to school and took the second half of my first year physics (calc based), English, Calc 1 (repeat of the class i failed), and two social science filler classes, I later went on to repeat bio and chem (along with a few other filler courses) the following year and my currently in second semester (pretty much it took me two years to do my first year). My grades have improved more then I ever thought they could, and if I don't count that first semester last year my GPA is now 3.8 (this is after midterms) and I like to imagine it will only get better with time as I work out some other things (among other stuff it seems, according to my shrink and my own inspection, that I am some form of ftm trans and that is probably a big part of the social anxiety, apathy towards life, depression, and just desire to simply not exist that I had from far too young an age).  So yeah that's a lot. 

I know all that information was very much not necessary but i figure if i am ever going to need to put in an explanation for my freshman year i will probably need to say it anyways, so might as well get feedback on what is and is not relevant or good to mention.

I am just wondering, as i go on to my second year, is there any point in thinking about medical school as an option for the future? I know its a fairly early time to ask that, but it will impact not only what courses I take but also which schools i apply to for my graduate studies, which with my limited income really matters because I need to plan many years in advance for any option. 

If there is a chance, are there any schools (that offer med) that are specifically known to be more "forgiving" if you show significant improvement? 

If not, are their any specific schools (that don't need to offer med) that are "forgiving"?

Thank you for any comments, everything helps.

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Some schools have weighting for grades that could help you out. For example:

UBC takes off your lowest year after you've completed 120 credits (essentially graduated).

Toronto removes a certain number of lowest grades depending on number of years of full course loads you take.

Ottawa weighs your later years more than previous years (subject to their requirements).

Queens considers your past 2 years or overall GPA and takes the higher one.

As long as you can continue down a path of improvement, one semester won't hurt you that much. Especially if you can explain it in your application/interview.

 

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First off you should be really proud of yourself for seeking help for your mental health and improving your GPA that's no easy feat!

I think almost every school is fairly forgiving in some sense:

  • UofT lets you remove 6 of your lowest half credit courses if you apply after your 3rd year of undergrad, drop 8 half credits if you apply after your 4th year, or drop 10 of your lowest half credit course grades if you complete a 5th year and apply after your 5th year
  • UBC and UofA remove your lowest year, UBC removes your worst year if you apply after 4th year and UofA if you apply after your 3rd year I believe
  • I think Dal looks at your best 2 years and rounds to the nearest tenth for your GPA as long as each GPA year is above 3.7
  • I believe UofC and Mac look at all of your GPA years but you can be competitive if you can bring your cumulative GPA above a 3.7
  • Queens and UWO look at your best two years, similarly you can be competitive if you can bring your best two years above 3.7
  • UOttawa weighs your later GPA years more (ie. average of first year GPA X1 + second year GPA X2 + third year GPA X3 + fourth year GPA X4 if you choose to apply after your fourth year)
  • I'm not sure about the other prairie schools, MUN, or McGill but you could search through those school websites to get a better sense of how they would calculate your GPA. Make sure you have enough credits/ meet the criteria for the weighted GPA calculations which usually entails taking a full course load!

Many of the schools are moving towards a more holistic approach in evaluating candidates and some have included a space for applicants to write an "about me" essay or academic explanations essay where you can detail some of the challenges that you have experienced, how that affected your academic performance, and how you overcame them. 

Also GPA is just one piece of the pie, if you can work hard for a good MCAT score, write good application essays, have unique/ diverse/ meaningful extracurricular activies or jobs, and do well on Casper you can very well continue pursuing your dream of medicine, best of luck!

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7 hours ago, ballercat said:

First off you should be really proud of yourself for seeking help for your mental health and improving your GPA that's no easy feat!

I think almost every school is fairly forgiving in some sense:

  • UofT lets you remove 6 of your lowest half credit courses if you apply after your 3rd year of undergrad, drop 8 half credits if you apply after your 4th year, or drop 10 of your lowest half credit course grades if you complete a 5th year and apply after your 5th year
  • UBC and UofA remove your lowest year, UBC removes your worst year if you apply after 4th year and UofA if you apply after your 3rd year I believe
  • I think Dal looks at your best 2 years and rounds to the nearest tenth for your GPA as long as each GPA year is above 3.7
  • I believe UofC and Mac look at all of your GPA years but you can be competitive if you can bring your cumulative GPA above a 3.7
  • Queens and UWO look at your best two years, similarly you can be competitive if you can bring your best two years above 3.7
  • UOttawa weighs your later GPA years more (ie. average of first year GPA X1 + second year GPA X2 + third year GPA X3 + fourth year GPA X4 if you choose to apply after your fourth year)
  • I'm not sure about the other prairie schools, MUN, or McGill but you could search through those school websites to get a better sense of how they would calculate your GPA. Make sure you have enough credits/ meet the criteria for the weighted GPA calculations which usually entails taking a full course load!

Many of the schools are moving towards a more holistic approach in evaluating candidates and some have included a space for applicants to write an "about me" essay or academic explanations essay where you can detail some of the challenges that you have experienced, how that affected your academic performance, and how you overcame them. 

Also GPA is just one piece of the pie, if you can work hard for a good MCAT score, write good application essays, have unique/ diverse/ meaningful extracurricular activies or jobs, and do well on Casper you can very well continue pursuing your dream of medicine, best of luck!

I believe U of C looks at best three years as well, and will drop your worst year if you graduated, and have completed all four years of undergrad. If you finish a masters program, they will calculate the best three years of undergrad and one year of the master's GPA, if I am not mistaken. If you graduate undergrad in three years, they will take the GPA of your best two years of undergrad. I got the information from their 2019-2020 medical school admissions manual, https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/sites/default/files/teams/4/Admissions/19_20applicant-manual_june28_2019final.pdf, page 35.

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On 2/21/2020 at 7:36 PM, fun said:

I believe U of C looks at best three years as well, and will drop your worst year if you graduated, and have completed all four years of undergrad. If you finish a masters program, they will calculate the best three years of undergrad and one year of the master's GPA, if I am not mistaken. If you graduate undergrad in three years, they will take the GPA of your best two years of undergrad. I got the information from their 2019-2020 medical school admissions manual, https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/sites/default/files/teams/4/Admissions/19_20applicant-manual_june28_2019final.pdf, page 35.

You're right there's too many schools to keep track of in my head hah...

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Sounds like you've been through a lot! I am happy you were able to reach out and get help and have improved.

You're still only in first year and have already improved so much! You are definitely on great track. One semester will not hurt you, a lot of students are actually in the same boat of not doing so well in their first semester/first year. Adcoms will be happy to see the upward trend in your grades so keep it up, and yes they'll look at your grades as a whole for the most part. Lots of schools have a system where they take off a certain number of credits/weighed gpa/two recent years/two best years/ etc like UofT, Queen's, Western, Ottawa. I'm sure there's more schools with similar systems

I wish you all the best of luck You got this!

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