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Seeking Advice about EC's (3rd year undergrad)

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Hey everyone,

I'm currently a third year undergrad, I haven't taken the MCAT yet but I'm feeling confident about it, and my current GPA is 3.5 (1st year: 3.23, 2nd year: 3.83) and this year it should be around 3.95. I was wondering because of my low GPA, how competitive my EC's would make me; I'm not sure how strong they are and I have absolutely no clue how to improve them, if anyone could offer any advice I would really appreciate it.

President & founder of social justice club, legal affairs specialist (volunteer) for maternity research company, 3 case competitions (and poster presentations), exec for 2 health disparities clubs, mentor through two different programs, produce music during my freetime (hobby) and run 3 blogs; one health-related, one social justice-related, one about advice on how to apply to university/how to study effectively. I've worked at a telecommunications company for one summer and I've played the piano for 12 years, but don't have any references for it since it's also a hobby. I just started volunteering at a Hospice and have an interview for a distress centre line soon.

I don't have any research or publication experience and I've sent out over 400 emails this season with no success, so I'm not sure what to do in that department. What I can say is that everything I've done so far has provided me with a meaningful experience that reinforced my desire to go to med school, but I'm not sure if I have enough on my plate to qualify to apply for this year.

If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it, I'm feeling kind of burnt out and lost right now and beating myself up for not having done more. I'm in my third year and basically have no research or volunteering experience lol. I'm fine with doing a masters or a gap years if it comes down to it.

Thank you in advance!

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  • curiouspaint changed the title to Seeking Advice about EC's (3rd year undergrad)

Hey Curiouspaint! 

In all honesty I don't know how qualified I am to judge your ECs haha but hopefully I have a few pieces of knowledge to share LOL. My advice is always that passion and growth will win out in the ECs department - meaning if you can speak/write passionately about an experience and how it has helped you become who you are, and you can show growth within that EC (i.e. going from general member to president) it is more impactful than a 'flashy' EC that you did for three weeks and didn't care about. It sounds to me like you have a lot going on that you ARE passionate about so thats a good thing! One thing I did was start a list of my ECs and write down how they related to canmeds roles and how they impacted me/what I learned. When it came time to fill out my application, I was able to detail WHY my ECs were great and why they'd make me good candidate for medical school - that might be a useful thing for you to do! 

As for research, I didn't have any on my application. I did a fourth year thesis, but that wasn't considered under the research portion of the autobiographical sketch because it was a part of my degree. It wasn't an issue for me! I've also played piano since I was a child, and I put that and my other hobbies down with myself as a verifier. I've heard mixed things about doing that, but again it wasn't an issue for me. I had very little volunteering on my application. Most of my ECs were school clubs/groups, sports, employment, and hobbies. 

My advice would be to go ahead and apply in the next cycle after you've written your MCAT. ECs mean different things to different schools. Try not to beat yourself up too much (easier said than done, I know) and focus on finishing the involvement you do have off in a strong and meaningful way as you come to the end of your undergraduate career. 

Maybe this advice wasn't exactly what you were looking for but I hope its a bit helpful/reassuring at least. If you ever want to chat about your application shoot me a message and best of luck with everything! :)

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