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I will be applying for the first time this upcoming cycle and looking for some feedback for perhaps how to frame/structure some activities. I know my activities are average but I feel that I have a fighting chance being IP and want to give it my best shot this year. 

GPA: Likely 84-85

MCAT: TBD this summer

Activities: Research at 3 very different labs over 4 years (no publications/posters, 1 second-author clinical chart study currently submitted for publication), 4 years UG research conference organizer, 3 years academic club exec, 2 years generic uni leadership club exec, uni orientation leader,  15+ years of music experience and related private/group teaching and related leadership experience, founder & director of 2 non-profits (total 3+ years) - 1 of them being quite high impact in the community working with children and different families, other being much less impact but it is health-care oriented and I have networked with many individuals in many different roles in the field from it (which could maybe add some value), developed & led my own student seminar with mentorship from medical faculty (special program part of my uni - 1 year), a couple other random experiences and hobbies. 

I have no hospital volunteering, and feel like I'm lacking in the "service ethic" realm but am hoping maybe my NPO work could make up for that, while I hunt for more opportunities before next year's app. No awards (also worried this might hurt me). 

Is it possible for me to hope for an interview with these stats? 

Also, I've always been engaged with a bunch of creative hobbies since I have young, but have trouble thinking of what to exactly put down as "hobbies" on my app (esp since its so weird to put down verifiers for them) and how to make them appropriate/actually mean something in the context of a med application, so am also looking for some direction regarding this as well. 

Thank you so much!

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I'mma be real and blunt with you, do not take this the wrong way - I'm saying it out of realism and with hoping you can get in, rather than negativity to discourage you

With that being said:

84-85 is gonna be too low next year for IP. When you look at statistical probability that is. Of course, there will be those who are outliers, who receive such amazing NAQ scores from UBC that even with an 80 average (IP, obviously) they're able to get an interview. But we already saw it this year (and I'm speaking from experience), even people with 85 GPA and NAQ's above the 50th percentile did not receive interview invites this year. When just a few years ago, you would be a strong IP applicant if you had that.

Now, factor in grade inflation with students currently attending university (i.e. COVID --> online schooling --> cheating on exams and getting high marks), and it worsens the chances even more.

Then, factor in a record number of applicants as well, meaning that the cutoffs for interview invites will only get pushed higher and higher.

Your ECs sound pretty good, nice variation there, nice length of commitments as well. I can see it being above the 50th percentile, but I'm not confident of giving a higher estimate concretely (although in my mind, it would definitely be higher than 50th) because the NAQ scoring varies so much from year to year.
 

I think your chances are slim as it stands. Grades carry people a lot in this process, and you're gonna see people getting interview invites who are really awkward people/have not done much outside of getting straight A+ throughout their degree other than hobbies. It's going to be disheartening knowing that you're a more well-rounded person (probably) than those types of applicants, and yet they get the chance to proceed in the application process and not you.

I hope you get in for the sake of the 84-85 GPA gang having some representatives in the 2026 class (lol). But I would advise that you enroll in another year of school to try and push that GPA up if you really want this path. Because the COVID University students are coming, and they're coming in greater numbers and with greater stats than ever before.



It's a tough one. We can DM about framing activities etc sometime down the line, if you'd like (closer to next cycle opening up). Not sure if I'm going to still go for this career path myself though. I posted a comment on here some time ago with NAQ writing advice based on tips collated throughout the forums and irl feedback. Here is that comment https://forums.premed101.com/topic/110615-ubc-naq-advice/?do=findComment&comment=1202590

 

Edit just noticed that you replied to me over on my post on the invites/regrets thread this past year wondering about ECs being enough to carry a lower-end GPA and stuff...yeah so I guess you were familiar with my thoughts on this topic already. To be blunt with you, I'll have 90ish for my GPA next cycle, and I'm IP, and I STILL think I have a chance of no interview. The IP average is literally going to be 91.5 or something, watch this space.

 

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30 minutes ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

I'mma be real and blunt with you, do not take this the wrong way - I'm saying it out of realism and with hoping you can get in, rather than negativity to discourage you

With that being said:

84-85 is gonna be too low next year for IP. When you look at statistical probability that is. Of course, there will be those who are outliers, who receive such amazing NAQ scores from UBC that even with an 80 average (IP, obviously) they're able to get an interview. But we already saw it this year (and I'm speaking from experience), even people with 85 GPA and NAQ's above the 50th percentile did not receive interview invites this year. When just a few years ago, you would be a strong IP applicant if you had that.

Now, factor in grade inflation with students currently attending university (i.e. COVID --> online schooling --> cheating on exams and getting high marks), and it worsens the chances even more.

Then, factor in a record number of applicants as well, meaning that the cutoffs for interview invites will only get pushed higher and higher.

Your ECs sound pretty good, nice variation there, nice length of commitments as well. I can see it being above the 50th percentile, but I'm not confident of giving a higher estimate concretely (although in my mind, it would definitely be higher than 50th) because the NAQ scoring varies so much from year to year.
 

I think your chances are slim as it stands. Grades carry people a lot in this process, and you're gonna see people getting interview invites who are really awkward people/have not done much outside of getting straight A+ throughout their degree other than hobbies. It's going to be disheartening knowing that you're a more well-rounded person (probably) than those types of applicants, and yet they get the chance to proceed in the application process and not you.

I hope you get in for the sake of the 84-85 GPA gang having some representatives in the 2026 class (lol). But I would advise that you enroll in another year of school to try and push that GPA up if you really want this path. Because the COVID University students are coming, and they're coming in greater numbers and with greater stats than ever before.



It's a tough one. We can DM about framing activities etc sometime down the line, if you'd like (closer to next cycle opening up). Not sure if I'm going to still go for this career path myself though. I posted a comment on here some time ago with NAQ writing advice based on tips collated throughout the forums and irl feedback. Here is that comment https://forums.premed101.com/topic/110615-ubc-naq-advice/?do=findComment&comment=1202590

 

Edit just noticed that you replied to me over on my post on the invites/regrets thread this past year wondering about ECs being enough to carry a lower-end GPA and stuff...yeah so I guess you were familiar with my thoughts on this topic already. To be blunt with you, I'll have 90ish for my GPA next cycle, and I'm IP, and I STILL think I have a chance of no interview. The IP average is literally going to be 91.5 or something, watch this space.

 

Thank you so much for the thoughtful response. Yup haha I think we have communicated here before, and the I've been quite uneasy/unsure since this years interview invites so thats why I'm posting (just trying to keep a glimmer of optimism in myself though to get through this term of school honestly). Recently I have decided to do a fifth year so hopefully then my average after that will be a hair beneath the *current* admitted average of ~88 (as of c2023 stats, they still haven't updated the interim c2024 report). 

It really sucks because I remember checking threads here back in 2019 (for c2023) and there were a bunch of matriculants coming out of 4th/5th year UG with this GPA range, and what seemed like similar activities to mine so I had hope. Now I feel like my chances are certainly slim at best, but will also be applying at Western & Queens as well just to increase additive probability at this point. 

In terms of COVID university gang, I really don't know what to think like I feel a lot of these people also won't much more ECs to add since March 2020 but also this is entirely speculation and yeah your probably right, it will be much much more competitive in upcoming cycles. 

Also I'd be down to working on applications together in the summer!!! (I actually have an entire draft already written cuz I thought I was gonna submit this year too haha, so will be working on just polishing that tbh.)

If IP average becomes 91.5 im literally gonna cry

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I'll just chime in and say that nobody here will be able to accurately evaluate your chances. There are applicants with lower AQ scores who get accepted and others with higher AQ scores get rejected. I've seen this many times, and personally know many peers who have grades in the 90s that did not get accepted (for various reasons)...... and vice versa.

Your grades are lower than the marticulant average. Your ECs seem competitive (framing these in a constructive / meaningful way will be very important). You have an uphill battle, and I'd recommend taking a 'fifth' year to increase you grades, if possible.

You may need to perform above average on the interview and/or have an above average MCAT to gain admission. Again, increasing your AQ would relieve some of this stress, and reliance on more subjective scores.

Having said all this, if it's financially feasible, I'd submit an application and see where that leads you. Good luck!

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12 minutes ago, Pterygoid said:

I'll just chime in and say that nobody here will be able to accurately evaluate your chances. There are applicants with lower AQ scores who get accepted and others with higher AQ scores get rejected. I've seen this many times, and personally know many peers who have grades in the 90s that did not get accepted (for various reasons)...... and vice versa.

Your grades are lower than the marticulant average. Your ECs seem competitive (framing these in a constructive / meaningful way will be very important). You have an uphill battle, and I'd recommend taking a 'fifth' year to increase you grades, if possible.

You may need to perform above average on the interview and/or have an above average MCAT to gain admission. Again, increasing your AQ would relieve some of this stress, and reliance on more subjective scores.

Having said all this, if it's financially feasible, I'd submit an application and see where that leads you. Good luck!

"You may need to perform above average on the interview and/or have an above average MCAT to gain admission. Again, increasing your AQ would relieve some of this stress, and reliance on more subjective scores."

that is if they get an interview in the first place...which is difficult. 

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31 minutes ago, scubadancingg said:

Thank you so much for the thoughtful response. Yup haha I think we have communicated here before, and the I've been quite uneasy/unsure since this years interview invites so thats why I'm posting (just trying to keep a glimmer of optimism in myself though to get through this term of school honestly). Recently I have decided to do a fifth year so hopefully then my average after that will be a hair beneath the *current* admitted average of ~88 (as of c2023 stats, they still haven't updated the interim c2024 report). 

It really sucks because I remember checking threads here back in 2019 (for c2023) and there were a bunch of matriculants coming out of 4th/5th year UG with this GPA range, and what seemed like similar activities to mine so I had hope. Now I feel like my chances are certainly slim at best, but will also be applying at Western & Queens as well just to increase additive probability at this point. 

In terms of COVID university gang, I really don't know what to think like I feel a lot of these people also won't much more ECs to add since March 2020 but also this is entirely speculation and yeah your probably right, it will be much much more competitive in upcoming cycles. 

Also I'd be down to working on applications together in the summer!!! (I actually have an entire draft already written cuz I thought I was gonna submit this year too haha, so will be working on just polishing that tbh.)

If IP average becomes 91.5 im literally gonna cry

The average GPA to get an interview this year is 89....it will likely be 90+ next year due to COVID, online semesters taking into account, more applicants etc

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30 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

"You may need to perform above average on the interview and/or have an above average MCAT to gain admission. Again, increasing your AQ would relieve some of this stress, and reliance on more subjective scores."

that is if they get an interview in the first place...which is difficult. 

Haha yeah, I'm probably not getting an interview this year

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4 minutes ago, Hopefulm said:

Hello my friend, 

I have a similar (below average) GPA, been told by a bunch of people that I have no chance, yet guess what, I'm interviewing at UBC in 2 weeks. Hang in there, you know you always have a chance. :) 

Omg! Thank you for the encouragement, I really appreciate it. After my fifth year, maybe my grades will be in the 86-87 range which itself is still slightly below average, compared to my chances right now of 84-85 which honestly is probably a stretch for upcoming cycle. 

Best of luck for your interview!!! :)

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Just now, scubadancingg said:

Haha yeah, I'm probably not getting an interview this year

I'm confused about one thing. (and I agree with @Hopefulm, I don't mean for you to think it is impossible and that's why I had the whole "I'm not discouraging you" preface to my earlier comment)

Are you gonna have an 84-85, or an 88? It changes the whole perspective by so much more than the few points that it looks like.

Because 84-85 might be like 19-22 AQ, whereas 88 might be like 26-27

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33 minutes ago, offmychestplease said:

The average GPA to get an interview this year is 89....it will likely be 90+ next year due to COVID, online semesters taking into account, more applicants etc

ahhh.... yikes... (Lol mentally I was just choosing to ignore the decimal places and still count it as an 88:()

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3 minutes ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

I'm confused about one thing. (and I agree with @Hopefulm, I don't mean for you to think it is impossible and that's why I had the whole "I'm not discouraging you" preface to my earlier comment)

Are you gonna have an 84-85, or an 88? It changes the whole perspective by so much more than the few points that it looks like.

Because 84-85 might be like 19-22 AQ, whereas 88 might be like 26-27

for this upcoming cycle ill have 84-85 (all depending how this current term goes), but with my fifth year added (the cycle after that) if I maintain my fourth year marks I will be around 86-88

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6 minutes ago, scubadancingg said:

ahhh.... yikes... (Lol mentally I was just choosing to ignore the decimal places and still count it as an 88:()

It was 88.45% for IP. Maybe me saying 91.5% was a tad high, but it'll be in that ballpark imo.

I agree with your earlier comment, i.e. less opportunities to do more meaningful ECs during covid, which will benefit older applicants with years of ECs already. People still have hobbies and other creative things they can put on their apps tho (ex. virtual opportunities)

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I honestly would take these responses with a grain of salt. Nobody can predict how the average will change in any single year and I seriously doubt it will rise significantly in one given year. With that being said, your AQ is below average and you will need a high NAQ to just get an interview (will be difficult but possible), and a high MCAT could really help you post-interview. I would definitely try and boost your GPA as much as you can (even 1-2% makes a world of a difference sometimes) and keep focusing on your ECs in the meantime + future MCAT (trust me the MCAT is its own beast). I honestly think that with a solid MCAT test day and a slightly improved AQ, your chances are not bad at all (but of course, nobody can really know for sure). Hope this helps!

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I have about an 85-86 average and was lucky enough to receive an interview this year. I've applied 3 times before getting this shot to interview. 

It's definitely an uphill battle with a lower GPA because it really depends on how people evaluate your ECs. The higher your GPA is the better, so keep working hard on it :) Also, it's best to not set any huge expectations about whether you get an interview or not, just keep working at it if it's an important goal of yours. 

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13 hours ago, Matty66 said:

I honestly would take these responses with a grain of salt. Nobody can predict how the average will change in any single year and I seriously doubt it will rise significantly in one given year. With that being said, your AQ is below average and you will need a high NAQ to just get an interview (will be difficult but possible), and a high MCAT could really help you post-interview. I would definitely try and boost your GPA as much as you can (even 1-2% makes a world of a difference sometimes) and keep focusing on your ECs in the meantime + future MCAT (trust me the MCAT is its own beast). I honestly think that with a solid MCAT test day and a slightly improved AQ, your chances are not bad at all (but of course, nobody can really know for sure). Hope this helps!

Thanks for the taking the time to respond. From reading these comments I definitely think choosing to do a fifth year was the right choice instead of taking a gap year/doing a masters. I am aiming for a balanced 515-517 for the MCAT and will be aiming for that this summer (though I have seen people with low 80s GPA matriculating with 520+ MCAT score and I figure should really be shooting for that). I have taken the exam once already, and from that experience I feel I know how to approach it properly this summer for a much higher score. 

Ahh I just hate how much uncertainty there is now for a mid-80s GPA compared to even a few years ago. I see you're a current second year! I know a few people in your year who got in with 85ish grades after a gap year/final year of uni ....but idk for this upcoming cycle it feels really unfeasible...

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7 hours ago, ubcmedxx said:

I have about an 85-86 average and was lucky enough to receive an interview this year. I've applied 3 times before getting this shot to interview. 

It's definitely an uphill battle with a lower GPA because it really depends on how people evaluate your ECs. The higher your GPA is the better, so keep working hard on it :) Also, it's best to not set any huge expectations about whether you get an interview or not, just keep working at it if it's an important goal of yours. 

Congrats on your interview and best of luck!!! I really look up to applicants such as yourself and thank you so much for the motivation..

If you don't mind me asking, at what stage of your undergrad was your first application cycle? This will be my first application cycle (after my fourth year of uni) and I feel behind compared to peers who have been applying since end of second year. E.g. I am 2 application cycles "behind" compared to them, this upcoming cycle will be my friend's (who has not yet interviewed) third application cycle but my first application cycle. Because I chose to wait to increase my grades a few more points and my ECs, I am just praying it won't take me 4-5 cycles before getting an interview, which is what my friend is nearing towards, though it is very likely it will happen and I am preparing myself for it. 

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2 hours ago, scubadancingg said:

Congrats on your interview and best of luck!!! I really look up to applicants such as yourself and thank you so much for the motivation..

If you don't mind me asking, at what stage of your undergrad was your first application cycle? This will be my first application cycle (after my fourth year of uni) and I feel behind compared to peers who have been applying since end of second year. E.g. I am 2 application cycles "behind" compared to them, this upcoming cycle will be my friend's (who has not yet interviewed) third application cycle but my first application cycle. Because I chose to wait to increase my grades a few more points and my ECs, I am just praying it won't take me 4-5 cycles before getting an interview, which is what my friend is nearing towards, though it is very likely it will happen and I am preparing myself for it. 

Thank you!! :)

My first cycle was at the end of my 3rd year of university. I ended up taking 6 years to finish my undergraduate degree because I added on an extra minor and took part time school to boost my grades. I've been working full time in research for 2 years while finishing up school. I think it's really easy to compare and contract with peers (I know a few people who entered medical school after their 3rd year and got in after their 1st try), but I think it's important to not let it get to you too much. I think everyone's experiences are unique and will serve you in your personal and professional development. Looking back on it, I feel that the last 3-4 years has helped me learn a lot more about myself and the world and I've really valued that. 

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