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Non-Science Undergrad Seeking Advice

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Hey all,

I am a non-science major seeking some advice/opinions about my current situation about increasing my chances in getting into medical school. I originally graduated with a BA in Psychology and Visual Art, and did some soul searching after that. I recently went back to uni in the Fall 2019, and I am currently enrolled in a BA Honours Psychology program. I'm taking extra courses to upgrade my former GPA of 3.0. I know its not great, but coming back as a mature student (I'm 27 years old), I know what direction I want to take in my life.

I've also been volunteering at my local hospital for nearly 3 years and for hospice centres for about 1 year with medical school in mind. I'm not sure how to pick up my academic record though. I've been told that the best thing for me to do is another undergrad degree or a masters degree, but I'm not sure if doing that is feasible. Another option I have is going overseas, but I do not want to risk not having opportunities here down the road. I also don't have any science pre-requisites, but I am considering starting by taking grade 12 science credits online in the next month, as a way to get into university level science courses in the Fall this year. That is my short-term plan so far. 

I would prefer to stay in Canada, but I feel like I have zero chances in getting into a Canadian medical school, even after upgrading my current academic record. I hear that it is easier to get into medical school in USA, but I am aware it is very expensive, which I do not have the funds for (but I'm still considering my chances). 

Is anyone aware of any programs or routs I should consider for boosting my GPA, other than starting all over with a new degree? Also, has anyone with a non-science background had success in getting into medical school in Canada or at least in USA?

I appreciate any constructive feedback, but I ask kindly not to be rude or make fun of my previous life choices that affected my low GPA. I've been seeing that quite a bit on these forums and I don't think its helpful or fair to anyone.

Thanks :)    

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Not all medical schools have prerequisites in terms of specific courses you need to have completed.  Having a non-science background puts you at a mild disadvantage during admissions because you won't have access to the labs, middle-author publications, and numerous awards that are available to science students, which allow them to bolster their CVs during undergrad.  And it puts you at a considerable disadvantage compared to your classmates once you are admitted to medical school, since ~98% of them will have a science background to draw on during studying and exams, while you won't.  This doesn't "level out after the first semester" as some administrators like to claim.  These things can be managed, but understand that this path has a higher degree of difficulty than the standard one.

In the US there are post-bac programs for people with a GPA that is not in the standard medical school range.  You can read more about them on SDN.  In Canada I don't know of a lot of good options besides a second undergraduate degree.  The system here is considerably less flexible, it seems.  Also, where are you located?

EDIT: It seems there is a relatively small number of people who get into US medical schools with GPAs in the 2.5 range.  2.5 GPA with an MCAT of at least 506 or so has a ~25% acceptance rate. I'm not sure if they are MD or DO schools. https://www.aamc.org/system/files/2020-04/2019_FACTS_Table_A-23_0.pdf

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Hey fellow psych major!

To give you hope, I am 29 and currently on the good waitlist for med school in Quebec.

3 is indeed pretty low, so you'll have to take more undergrad classes to increase that for sure, if you want to try in Canada. If you have 2 or 3 awesome full-time, full course-load years in a second undergrad, you would totally become competitive in Canada for some med schools, like uOttawa (3 last years), Western (2 years), Queen's (2 years), McGill (best undergrad), etc. Some schools let you drop your worst year, some remove the worst classes. Some have a lower cutoff for IPs.

If I were you, the first thing I would do is build an excel spreadsheet and calculate all my GPAs for each medical school in Canada. I would also do a free mock MCAT exam (Kaplan, Princeton Review) without studying anything. This way, I would have an idea of how much i should increase my GPA and how much I have to study for the MCAT. By doing so, you'll be able to assess your chances and if it's still worth it.

As for research, Psychology is the perfect social science for that! Since a lot of psych major want to go in grad school anyway, there's a lot of lab and research opportunities. Just look out for your professors and their research interests (their publications and if they are part of a lab)! Maybe some of them have cool research topics and they are looking for undergrad research assistants. Write them an email and tell them why you would like to work with them and who you are. You would be able to do stuff like litterature reviews, transriptions and some data analysis, either with nVivo or SPSS, for example.


Hope it helps! Good luck! <3

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