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Graduate or not? (non-degree vs 5th year)


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Hello there!

Hope everyone is doing well and most importantly safe!

As a 4th year student, I was supposed to graduate after this term. Unfortunately, I did not get any interviews this year and I am currently studying for MCAT (re-taking it sometimes this summer).

My initial plan after graduating was to get a full-time job related to my science degree and make some money while I wait for application cycles. However, given the coronavirus pandemic circumstances, I am concerned with finding jobs with my science degree. Regardless of working full-time or not, I still need to come back to school to take some pre-requisite courses so that I can apply more broadly next cycle. 

I will be taking the pre-requisite courses on a part-time basis (only need 1-2 courses really).

I am worried about red flags that may be raised if admissions committees see that I did not graduate on time even though I already have more than enough credits and will only be taking 1 course. So I am debating between graduating and returning as a non-degree student or postpone graduation and stay for a 5th year.

I came up with pros of each option and I would really appreciate any advice and suggestions.

Pros of graduating and returning as a non-degree student

-DEGREE (hopefully it will get me full-time jobs, fingers crossed)

-I was notified that I was a runner-up for Valedictorian for this year's graduation and not graduating means I may lose this "title" next year.

-not sure about this one, but I would assume non-degree student taking 1 course looks more favourable than staying as a 5th year student taking 1 course (please correct me if I am wrong!)

Pros of not graduating and returning as a 5th-year student

-a possibility of being the president of a club that I am passionate about (you must be an undergraduate student to be the president, you can't as a non-degree student)

-a possibility of being selected as a Valedictorian (I will be running for it again if I return as a 5th year, you get selected based on a speech)

-a possibility of doing NSERC USRA (you must be enrolled in an undergraduate program prior to submitting the application, you can't as a non-degree student)

-can work on-campus part time jobs (my boss does allow you to work 1 term after graduating, but being a 5th year student means that I can work all-year around from September to April)

As you can see, the majority of pros of not graduating is a possibility and uncertain. I have no idea whether I would actually get NSERC award, become the president of the club or be selected as a Valedictorian. I am returning to school next year to take a few pre-requisite courses, NOT to boost my GPA (cGPA is 3.95>). If anything, I am looking to strengthen my ECs and become eligible to apply to more schools by completing the pre-requisite courses. I just hope taking 1 course won't be looked down upon by admissions committees.

Thank you for reading my post and have a great week!

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Can you attain the missing prerequisites this summer/fall online ?  Many schools do not include summer courses in GPA calc so no worry about impacting your excellent GPA.   Sounds like you need to focus 150% on CARs from now til you write MCAT in late summer.    Open up as many schools as you can to apply to.  You don't need a 5th year to bring up GPA. 

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32 minutes ago, Meridian said:

Can you attain the missing prerequisites this summer/fall online ?  Many schools do not include summer courses in GPA calc so no worry about impacting your excellent GPA.   Sounds like you need to focus 150% on CARs from now til you write MCAT in late summer.    Open up as many schools as you can to apply to.  You don't need a 5th year to bring up GPA. 

I tried to look for the missing pre-reqs online, but no luck :( I have been definitely focusing on CARS since I started studying for MCAT this year. I am not doing a 5th year to bring up my GPA but just to take the pre-reqs and strengthen my ECs. I am not sure I should do a non-degree or stay for a 5th year given the pros of each option.

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14 hours ago, conditional knockout said:

Also consider OSAP, cuz if you’re not longer enrolled you have to start paying back.

My only regret is that I went on to improve other areas that were not as critical as my weak CARS score...

Fortunately, I was able to pay off all my loans already and so OSAP is not my concern as of now. I am working hard to practice CARS everyday but really not sure what I should do for next year!

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