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Record Number of Applications? + other COVID effects


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I've seen some comments on threads over on r3dd1t saying that UBC received a record number of applications this year for med - was hoping to ask if anyone knows where this information is coming from? I don't see any official stats on it or anything.

Relatedly, do you guys think it'll affect the competitiveness of this cycle? I think it certainly will, we might see higher IP and OOP interview cutoffs. And the next few years are gonna be a bloodbath as well, what with everyone having inflated GPAs due to online school (which, put simply, is more conducive to cheating on tests).

I almost wonder if med schools (in Canada, at least) will transition exclusively to a model of "have GPA at least X and MCAT at least Y (with the sections scores all being at least Z) then we only differentiate applicants based on non-academics". Maybe something like 85% GPA and 510 MCAT (with min. 124 in each section) for UBC IP applicants and 92% GPA and 513 MCAT (with min. 125 in each section) for OOP applicants.

Because if you keep the current model, then there's going to be a lot of people next year cruising their way to an acceptance based on potentially 4 semesters of online school (i.e. 90+ GPAs).

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4 minutes ago, BabyYoda said:

I've heard a lot of people say that there are more applicants this year, generally, compared to previous years. I'm a bit confused as to why more people are applying this year?

I'll answer this based on part of the post on r3dd1t that I was initially referring to:

  • Most people graduating can't find jobs due to decreased opportunities. I know many people who were initially going for jobs now applying to masters, phd, pharmacy, etc.

  • People realized how volatile the job market is, especially during a crisis like the covid pandemic where tens of thousands of people got laid off. In contrast, healthcare field gained a positive image of being "heroes" and almost no one lost jobs.

 

In the comments section of this post, though, people were literally saying "UBC already said they received a record number of applications." And I'm like...where lol

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20 minutes ago, BabyYoda said:

I've heard a lot of people say that there are more applicants this year, generally, compared to previous years. I'm a bit confused as to why more people are applying this year?

I'm not surprised why there's more people applying this year. This is purely anecdotal, but I know people who initially didn't want to get into medicine did apply this year after realizing how the job market can be so volatile in times of pandemic.

With the removal of prerequisites, many people can easily fill out and submit their applications. Plus, because of the lockdown, many were given the opportunity to actually spend time to study for the MCAT.

47 minutes ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

I've seen some comments on threads over on r3dd1t saying that UBC received a record number of applications this year for med - was hoping to ask if anyone knows where this information is coming from? I don't see any official stats on it or anything.

Relatedly, do you guys think it'll affect the competitiveness of this cycle? I think it certainly will, we might see higher IP and OOP interview cutoffs. And the next few years are gonna be a bloodbath as well, what with everyone having inflated GPAs due to online school (which, put simply, is more conducive to cheating on tests).

I almost wonder if med schools (in Canada, at least) will transition exclusively to a model of "have GPA at least X and MCAT at least Y (with the sections scores all being at least Z) then we only differentiate applicants based on non-academics". Maybe something like 85% GPA and 510 MCAT (with min. 124 in each section) for UBC IP applicants and 92% GPA and 513 MCAT (with min. 125 in each section) for OOP applicants.

Because if you keep the current model, then there's going to be a lot of people next year cruising their way to an acceptance based on potentially 4 semesters of online school (i.e. 90+ GPAs).

I'm assuming that we will see a high interview cut-off this year considering a large influx of applications they have received so far! I'm not surprised if my AQ score will be below 18 considering an A- average is not impressive to begin with. :( Maybe UBC will keep its cut-offs (GPA + MCAT) the same as it will generate more revenue for them, but I think it will comes down to raising the cut-off scores, which is already a steep number (especially to those with low average).

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9 minutes ago, marsaturn20 said:

I'm not surprised why there's more people applying this year. This is purely anecdotal, but I know people who initially didn't want to get into medicine did apply this year after realizing how the job market can be so volatile in times of pandemic.

I'm assuming that we will see a high interview cut-off this year considering a large influx of applications they have received so far! I'm not surprised if my AQ score will be below 18 considering an A- average is not impressive to begin with. :( Maybe UBC will keep its cut-offs (GPA + MCAT) the same as it will generate more revenue for them, but I think it will comes down to raising the cut-off scores, which is already a steep number (especially to those with low average).

Yeah genuinely...the med school admission process in Canada seems like it's no longer going to be something you can tough out and say "do you want it bad enough" but rather something that is super insanely highly competitive and just not worth going for anymore. I don't want to be applying 6 times for med school

Maybe that's just neurotic premed thoughts though lol

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10 minutes ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

Yeah genuinely...the med school admission process in Canada seems like it's no longer going to be something you can tough out and say "do you want it bad enough" but rather something that is super insanely highly competitive and just not worth going for anymore. I don't want to be applying 6 times for med school

Maybe that's just neurotic premed thoughts though lol

Sadly, gone are those times when I hear people getting interviews with an A- average. It sus picking a hard major. In retrospect, I was proud of myself for getting B+ and A- mostly considering our class averages are always between C+ and B-. I was so naive back then! Will see how this year's pan out for us.

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It totally makes sense about lack of employment and opportunities, etc. that people are using this time to apply to school. But I guess I'm confused (and maybe impressed?) that someone who applies to med school on a "whim" already has all these other ECs and non academic components to even be able to apply. Having not the best academic history.....it has taken me a lot of purposeful organization to improve other parts of my application.

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54 minutes ago, ketamine said:

It totally makes sense about lack of employment and opportunities, etc. that people are using this time to apply to school. But I guess I'm confused (and maybe impressed?) that someone who applies to med school on a "whim" already has all these other ECs and non academic components to even be able to apply. Having not the best academic history.....it has taken me a lot of purposeful organization to improve other parts of my application.

Same for me, however, it is true that everyone will have some ECs theyve engaged in that theyre passionate about and dedicated to

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I think another big part of the increase in applications is due to OOP students not having to travel for interviews. So in this case, it's not actually more people applying, it's just more applications (ex- someone who previously would have only applied to Ontario is now applying to UBC, Manitoba, etc. so there are 3+ more applications for the same 1 person)

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On 11/2/2020 at 11:19 AM, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

I almost wonder if med schools (in Canada, at least) will transition exclusively to a model of "have GPA at least X and MCAT at least Y (with the sections scores all being at least Z) then we only differentiate applicants based on non-academics". Maybe something like 85% GPA and 510 MCAT (with min. 124 in each section) for UBC IP applicants and 92% GPA and 513 MCAT (with min. 125 in each section) for OOP applicants.

Because if you keep the current model, then there's going to be a lot of people next year cruising their way to an acceptance based on potentially 4 semesters of online school (i.e. 90+ GPAs).

I personally hope this model doesn't happen....I just don't think cheating is as rampant as people think. As well, over-relying on ECs will really benefit privileged people more - A lot of ECs depend on connections, time, luck, wealth, etc. I think academics (though not perfect) is somewhat of a more even playing field than ECs are. 

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1 hour ago, Fast_Layne said:

I personally hope this model doesn't happen....I just don't think cheating is as rampant as people think. As well, over-relying on ECs will really benefit privileged people more - A lot of ECs depend on connections, time, luck, wealth, etc. I think academics (though not perfect) is somewhat of a more even playing field than ECs are. 

Very fair point. And (Canadian/Western) medicine is already filled with over-representation of these types of populations (i.e. well-off, educated, well-connected etc). A heavier focus on ECs would only increase that

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11 hours ago, Fast_Layne said:

I personally hope this model doesn't happen....I just don't think cheating is as rampant as people think. As well, over-relying on ECs will really benefit privileged people more - A lot of ECs depend on connections, time, luck, wealth, etc. I think academics (though not perfect) is somewhat of a more even playing field than ECs are. 

 

9 hours ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

Very fair point. And (Canadian/Western) medicine is already filled with over-representation of these types of populations (i.e. well-off, educated, well-connected etc). A heavier focus on ECs would only increase that

You’re right that those who are well connected and don’t have to work may have more of a certain kind of EC. And higher socioeconomic status makes it a lot easier to get in to medicine. But UBC has been trying in the past few years to make the process more equitable  (Including getting rid of prerequisites). Employment counts for a lot as well. The heavier focus on ECs could actually even the playing field a bit, depending on how they are scored. 

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34 minutes ago, frenchpress said:

 depending on how they are scored. 

Very true! It depends a lot on scoring.

Tbh, employment should indeed count for a large amount imo. There's a decent chunk of premeds that don't clock 20 hours a week at all their volunteering/clubs/research combined, but if someone is working 20 hours a week during school without doing research etc I would be inclined to rate that person's ECs higher than the first one's

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/2/2020 at 11:19 AM, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

I've seen some comments on threads over on r3dd1t saying that UBC received a record number of applications this year for med - was hoping to ask if anyone knows where this information is coming from? I don't see any official stats on it or anything.

Relatedly, do you guys think it'll affect the competitiveness of this cycle? I think it certainly will, we might see higher IP and OOP interview cutoffs. And the next few years are gonna be a bloodbath as well, what with everyone having inflated GPAs due to online school (which, put simply, is more conducive to cheating on tests).

I almost wonder if med schools (in Canada, at least) will transition exclusively to a model of "have GPA at least X and MCAT at least Y (with the sections scores all being at least Z) then we only differentiate applicants based on non-academics". Maybe something like 85% GPA and 510 MCAT (with min. 124 in each section) for UBC IP applicants and 92% GPA and 513 MCAT (with min. 125 in each section) for OOP applicants.

Because if you keep the current model, then there's going to be a lot of people next year cruising their way to an acceptance based on potentially 4 semesters of online school (i.e. 90+ GPAs).

 

On 11/3/2020 at 9:20 AM, Psych said:

I think another big part of the increase in applications is due to OOP students not having to travel for interviews. So in this case, it's not actually more people applying, it's just more applications (ex- someone who previously would have only applied to Ontario is now applying to UBC, Manitoba, etc. so there are 3+ more applications for the same 1 person)

Thought I'd chime in here - currently going through the US cycle (much earlier timeline than Canada) and almost all schools that I've interviewed at/interacted with have said that they have some X amount more apps this year (for most ~1000+ more, but US schools get a lot more apps). I think the introduction of virtual interviewing is a big reason for the increase. I've spoken with several people who said there's no way they would be attending as many interviews as they have if they had to pay for flights, accommodation, etc., but I'm sure its a combination of a bunch of things mentioned above. 

In terms of UBC, as someone who has applied multiple times (interviewed and WL last cycle at UBC), I am worried for future iterations, especially those applicants who have been applying for multiple years (of which there are many in Canada) or the more non-traditional applicants. I definitely don't have the answer as to what the best approach would be, and even now, there is an aspect of luck to Canadian Med, but I do hope its looked into and there is some more transparency in the process for future applicants.

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On 11/3/2020 at 12:20 PM, Psych said:

I think another big part of the increase in applications is due to OOP students not having to travel for interviews. So in this case, it's not actually more people applying, it's just more applications (ex- someone who previously would have only applied to Ontario is now applying to UBC, Manitoba, etc. so there are 3+ more applications for the same 1 person)

If this is the case Ontario is gonna suck the most. Other provinces have set quota so IP applicants wont be affected but for most Ontario schools this isn't the case. Definitely don't want things like travel fees to hold back applicants but it still feels crappy lol

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On 11/2/2020 at 11:19 AM, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

UBC received a record number of applications this year for med - was hoping to ask if anyone knows where this information is coming from?

This is correct, at least compared to the previous 5 MD admission years starting in 2015/16. The total # of applications was 2,558 for 2019/20, while it was 2,398 in 2018/19. It is worth noting that in 2016/17 there were 2,485 applicants (though there were at 298 disqualified applicants that year compared to the average across other years which is ~249 disqualified applicants/year. 

It's worth noting that this past year people did interview in-person, so there was still the "travel-fee" cost associated with applying, and COVID-19 wasn't a thing at the time of initial application due dates.

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