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Hi everyone, 

I'm looking for some advice. I am entering my fourth year at McMaster earning my B.Sc. Here are my stats converted using OMSAS:

1st year: 3.388 (sem1: 3.3 + sem2 3.5 (only took 4 courses)).

2nd year: 3.73 (sem1 3.62 + sem2 3.84)

3rd year: 3.78 (sem1 3.6 + sem 2 3.96) I know some schools aren't taking winter 2020 anymore:( 

 Had I not taken organic chemistry in the Fall 2019 term (my third year, first semester), which I should not have because it was an elective my GPA fall 2019 would have been a 3.925 :( Bringing my third year grades to a 3.942. I wish I could remove this grade it would change a lot. 

4th year: aiming for 4.0 (only taking electives this year) 

I know these grades are terrible, especially first year I had a very difficult time mentally. In the semesters that followed I've gotten nearly all As but have always had 1 class a year bring me down significantly. I am hoping to do really well in my fourth year but even then I feel like its not enough. 

I am taking the MCAT August 15th for the first time. 

Here are my ECs: 

Red cross swim instructor, Inclusion Instructor (children with special needs), will be intro psych TA in Fall 2020, 1 year research with department chair and will be continuing next year, volunteer tutoring services, copy editor for undergraduate journal, macchangers team (find solutions for Hamilton community during Covid-19), international buddy (aid international students), volunteer hospital (clinical) around 60 hours, volunteer hospital (administrative/research assistant) around 30 hours, volunteer in cardiology clinic around 200 hours, in hs: dance team, leadership, chaplaincy, volunteer at elementary school 50 hours, volunteer at rec centre 20 hours...

I am willing to go to any school in Canada or US MD that would accept me. Do I have any chance with my GPA anywhere? If I do what is the minimum MCAT score you think I need? I appreciate your honesty, opinions and advice. Thank you :(

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You definitely have a chance at Queen's, Western and Mac, all depending on MCAT (CARS for Mac) and your upcoming GPA this year.  Your second year gives you one good year for Western and your third year may count GPA for Queen's+Western (you should double check).  Your GPA isn't competitive for Ottawa nor UofT, unfortunately.    

For US MD you may have a chance, but a lot depends on MCAT.  US education is extremely expensive and requires co-signors for loans and usually additional disposable cash.  

OOP is generally more competitive - some people considering relocating provinces to improve their chances which could be a viable strategy for you.  

Good luck :) 

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Indefatigable nailed it for the OMSAS schools, I would add that Western is using fall grades for the whole year so you'd be applying as a conditional year applicant (you'd need to get a 3.7+ in 4th year) which is likely possible but something to bear in mind this year. Based on historical data posted here you may be below Queen's cutoff, unfortunately, but if your MCAT is there and you have the money it may be worth it, you don't know if you don't try.

One last thing I would add is, depending on how many "bad" courses you have, you may be able to write an academic explanations essay to overcome your GPA issue. I wouldn't count on it, but try calculating your new Toronto wGPA (assuming they give it to you) and see how competitive it looks.  

OOP your GPA torpedoes your odds at most schools. A typical OOP applicant has a high GPA, MCAT, and decent ECs since there are hundreds of applicants for only a handful of seats. Dal/Memorial are steep climbs for an OOP applicant, you could try applying, but don't expect a whole lot. Trying calculating your Manitoba wGPA to see what it is, but I doubt it'll be high enough to be competitive. If you blew out the MCAT you may have a shot at Manitoba, take a look at their formula and averages. Saskatchewan would require an amazing MCAT and, IIRC, has a decently high OOP % cutoff as well. If you score in the 520s it would be worth exploring applying to Saskatchewan. Alberta schools might be possible if you beat the 128 CARs minimums and your Alberta GPA is good enough to beat their minimums, but competition will be fierce. If you do really well on CARs Calgary might be an option. UBC is probably out, without calculating your GPA in their % scale (minimum of 85%), at least without wGPA you get after graduating.  

 In essence, you need to decide if the faintest chance somewhere OOP (assuming a great MCAT) is worth a couple hundred bucks to you. 

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I'm not sure how exactly to reply so I apologize if I am doing this wrong. I appreciate your advice! I will keep this in mind when applying. I am aiming for a high MCAT but I acknowledge that I will most likely to need to rewrite unless I do extremely well. I am FULLY interested in applying OOP if I have a chance and in the US as well. I have parental support financially so while it would not be ideal it is possible. Had I not taken organic chemistry in the Fall 2019 term (my third year, first semester), which I should not have because it was an elective my GPA fall 2019 would have been a 3.925 :( Bringing my third year grades to a 3.942. I wish I could remove this grade it would change a lot. 

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42 minutes ago, Jessica12091 said:

I'm not sure how exactly to reply so I apologize if I am doing this wrong. I appreciate your advice! I will keep this in mind when applying. I am aiming for a high MCAT but I acknowledge that I will most likely to need to rewrite unless I do extremely well. I am FULLY interested in applying OOP if I have a chance and in the US as well. I have parental support financially so while it would not be ideal it is possible. Had I not taken organic chemistry in the Fall 2019 term (my third year, first semester), which I should not have because it was an elective my GPA fall 2019 would have been a 3.925 :( Bringing my third year grades to a 3.942. I wish I could remove this grade it would change a lot. 

I'm sorry that Organic Chem did not go as well as you wanted, I know that it can be quite discouraging when 1-2 courses really get your GPA. With that said above, try your best to do well on the MCAT, secure a good score and apply this year. However, you always have the option of taking a 5th year as well - a lot of students do it and it can really help in the long run. 

 

Goodluck to you!

 

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3 hours ago, sweaterweather said:

I'm sorry that Organic Chem did not go as well as you wanted, I know that it can be quite discouraging when 1-2 courses really get your GPA. With that said above, try your best to do well on the MCAT, secure a good score and apply this year. However, you always have the option of taking a 5th year as well - a lot of students do it and it can really help in the long run. 

 

Goodluck to you!

 

So you think I should do a fifth year rather than a masters?

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5 hours ago, MedicineLCS said:

Indefatigable nailed it for the OMSAS schools, I would add that Western is using fall grades for the whole year so you'd be applying as a conditional year applicant (you'd need to get a 3.7+ in 4th year) which is likely possible but something to bear in mind this year. Based on historical data posted here you may be below Queen's cutoff, unfortunately, but if your MCAT is there and you have the money it may be worth it, you don't know if you don't try.

One last thing I would add is, depending on how many "bad" courses you have, you may be able to write an academic explanations essay to overcome your GPA issue. I wouldn't count on it, but try calculating your new Toronto wGPA (assuming they give it to you) and see how competitive it looks.  

OOP your GPA torpedoes your odds at most schools. A typical OOP applicant has a high GPA, MCAT, and decent ECs since there are hundreds of applicants for only a handful of seats. Dal/Memorial are steep climbs for an OOP applicant, you could try applying, but don't expect a whole lot. Trying calculating your Manitoba wGPA to see what it is, but I doubt it'll be high enough to be competitive. If you blew out the MCAT you may have a shot at Manitoba, take a look at their formula and averages. Saskatchewan would require an amazing MCAT and, IIRC, has a decently high OOP % cutoff as well. If you score in the 520s it would be worth exploring applying to Saskatchewan. Alberta schools might be possible if you beat the 128 CARs minimums and your Alberta GPA is good enough to beat their minimums, but competition will be fierce. If you do really well on CARs Calgary might be an option. UBC is probably out, without calculating your GPA in their % scale (minimum of 85%), at least without wGPA you get after graduating.  

 In essence, you need to decide if the faintest chance somewhere OOP (assuming a great MCAT) is worth a couple hundred bucks to you. 

Thank you so much. What do you mean by new Toronto wGPA? 

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6 hours ago, indefatigable said:

You definitely have a chance at Queen's, Western and Mac, all depending on MCAT (CARS for Mac) and your upcoming GPA this year.  Your second year gives you one good year for Western and your third year may count GPA for Queen's+Western (you should double check).  Your GPA isn't competitive for Ottawa nor UofT, unfortunately.    

For US MD you may have a chance, but a lot depends on MCAT.  US education is extremely expensive and requires co-signors for loans and usually additional disposable cash.  

OOP is generally more competitive - some people considering relocating provinces to improve their chances which could be a viable strategy for you.  

Good luck :) 

Thank you so much. 

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6 hours ago, Jessica12091 said:

So you think I should do a fifth year rather than a masters?

A fifth year is DEFINITELY better than a masters for raising GPA. Almost all Canadian schools (with a few exceptions) only look at undergraduate grades and don't count graduate grades at all. Some schools give you a small boost for having a grad degree (Mac would give you an extra 1% on your application for a masters and u of T has a separate stream for graduate applications but still only looks at undergrad grades), but if your GPA is on the lower end an extra year of undergrad to raise it will help you out much more

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1 hour ago, MedicineLCS said:

2.0 FCE max instead of 1.0 FCE/year. 

I don't think I'm eligible for Toronto's wGPA because I only took four courses in my second semester of first year since I withdrew from a course. I ended up redoing the course in second year and getting an A and taking an extra course this year to make it up but I still think I am not eligible. Otherwise that would also make a huge difference (if I'm calculating correctly it would bring me up to a 3.8+) 

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You're currently not eligible, but if they accept your academic explanations essay they may grant you the weighting, which would change your setting. You won't know because they won't tell you if they accept your essay, but if I'm remembering the talk correctly, they accept a substantial number of essays every year so if you have the time/money (and don't set your expectations high) it may still be worth it. It's your call. 

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On 7/15/2020 at 9:27 PM, MedicineLCS said:

Indefatigable nailed it for the OMSAS schools, I would add that Western is using fall grades for the whole year so you'd be applying as a conditional year applicant (you'd need to get a 3.7+ in 4th year) which is likely possible but something to bear in mind this year. Based on historical data posted here you may be below Queen's cutoff, unfortunately, but if your MCAT is there and you have the money it may be worth it, you don't know if you don't try.

One last thing I would add is, depending on how many "bad" courses you have, you may be able to write an academic explanations essay to overcome your GPA issue. I wouldn't count on it, but try calculating your new Toronto wGPA (assuming they give it to you) and see how competitive it looks.  

OOP your GPA torpedoes your odds at most schools. A typical OOP applicant has a high GPA, MCAT, and decent ECs since there are hundreds of applicants for only a handful of seats. Dal/Memorial are steep climbs for an OOP applicant, you could try applying, but don't expect a whole lot. Trying calculating your Manitoba wGPA to see what it is, but I doubt it'll be high enough to be competitive. If you blew out the MCAT you may have a shot at Manitoba, take a look at their formula and averages. Saskatchewan would require an amazing MCAT and, IIRC, has a decently high OOP % cutoff as well. If you score in the 520s it would be worth exploring applying to Saskatchewan. Alberta schools might be possible if you beat the 128 CARs minimums and your Alberta GPA is good enough to beat their minimums, but competition will be fierce. If you do really well on CARs Calgary might be an option. UBC is probably out, without calculating your GPA in their % scale (minimum of 85%), at least without wGPA you get after graduating.  

 In essence, you need to decide if the faintest chance somewhere OOP (assuming a great MCAT) is worth a couple hundred bucks to you. 

 

I am not sure if I am calculating my Manitoba gpa correctly but from what I understand for 90 credit hours (which is what I have) you can remove your lowest 15 hours (which is 5 courses at McMaster). If I remove my lowest five courses and convert to the 4.3 scale my GPA is a 4.145. Would you consider this too low? 

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Manitoba uses a 4.5 scale (https://umanitoba.ca/student/admissions/media/medicine_bulletin.pdf), try converting to that scale and compare yourself to the OOP average:

http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/health_sciences/medicine/education/undergraduate/media/CL2023_Statistics.pdf

If you're around the OOP average (above the minimum at least) and do do well on the MCAT it may be worth an application. The MCAT is worth 50% so a fantastic score could make you competitive. 

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2 minutes ago, MedicineLCS said:

Manitoba uses a 4.5 scale (https://umanitoba.ca/student/admissions/media/medicine_bulletin.pdf), try converting to that scale and compare yourself to the OOP average:

http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/health_sciences/medicine/education/undergraduate/media/CL2023_Statistics.pdf

If you're around the OOP average (above the minimum at least) and do do well on the MCAT it may be worth an application. The MCAT is worth 50% so a fantastic score could make you competitive. 

Sorry I meant 4.145/4.5! Okay thanks.

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