Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Recommended Posts

10 minutes ago, zoxy said:

This rampant grade inflation is the main reason you would want to use the MCAT. It's the great equalizer. It's a shame UBC doesn't use it pre-interview.

Fair point, but they do have some reasoning as to why they don't I am sure (ex. MCAT is a test that lends itself to better performance for those high in SES)

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

Fair point, but they do have some reasoning as to why they don't I am sure (ex. MCAT is a test that lends itself to better performance for those high in SES)

That is interesting. I am skeptical a little though. Is MCAT more correlated to SES than GPA? As a poor student from a low SES background, I wished it was 100 percent MCAT honestly. With GPA, it is hard to maintain it when you need to work full time to support yourself during school for 4 years, when you have family members to take care of it. With MCAT, it can be done in a few months of concentrated studies if the student is a bright one!

Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

Fair point, but they do have some reasoning as to why they don't I am sure (ex. MCAT is a test that lends itself to better performance for those high in SES)

GPA also correlates with SES. The only difference is that the MCAT is standardized but GPA is not, plus you can take the MCAT multiple times but a freshman year calcuclus class will stay with you for years. Plus, the best single correlate to performance in medical school is the Bio section of the MCAT according to a study done by UCalgary.

If you were unlucky enough to do something like engineering that has grade deflation, you can kiss your chances of an interview at UBC goodbye. One of my labmates had a 525 MCAT but an 84 GPA average since he was an electrical engineer, and didn't start university with the intention of being a Doctor. He got rejected pre-interview from UBC two years in a row and his GPA was also too low for Sask and Manitoba OOP. Sure, the MCAT isn't perfect but putting so much emphasis on the GPA without taking course difficulty, degree difficulty,and institution difficulty into consideration pre-interview is asinine. And then people wonder why Mac Health Sci gets 7000 application a year. The median science undergrad GPA at Princeton is 3.4.  Is a 3.5 in kinesiology from Vancouver Island University more valuable than a 3.4 in biochemistry from Princeton? For UBC med though, the 3.5 is definitely more valuable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, zoxy said:

GPA also correlates with SES. The only difference is that the MCAT is standardized but GPA is not, plus you can take the MCAT multiple times but a freshman year calcuclus class will stay with you for years. Plus, the best single correlate to performance in medical school is the Bio section of the MCAT according to a study done by UCalgary.

If you were unlucky enough to do something like engineering that has grade deflation, you can kiss your chances of an interview at UBC goodbye. One of my labmates had a 525 MCAT but an 84 GPA average since he was an electrical engineer, and didn't start university with the intention of being a Doctor. He got rejected pre-interview from UBC two years in a row and his GPA was also too low for Sask and Manitoba OOP. Sure, the MCAT isn't perfect but putting so much emphasis on the GPA without taking course difficulty, degree difficulty,and institution difficulty into consideration pre-interview is asinine. And then people wonder why Mac Health Sci gets 7000 application a year. The median science undergrad GPA at Princeton is 3.4.  Is a 3.5 in kinesiology from Vancouver Island University more valuable than a 3.4 in biochemistry from Princeton? For UBC med though, the 3.5 is definitely more valuable.

In many ways, Princeton is also a bastion of privilege (i.e. one third are legacy admits) as compared to Vancouver Island which goes against equity in admittance.  

Yet UBC does accept the most IMGs for residency, mostly who are CSAs and usually a product of very privileged backgrounds as well.  So there is a somewhat paradoxical acceptance and rejection of privilege at the same time.  

But, one can imagine the status quo serves to satisfy both the mostly elites (who can send their children away for medicine) and the general public that demand equity and accessibility.   

I think unfortunately there is no perfect system, but I agree that cases like your friend show how the system is not always equitable, or great at recognizing ability, which in itself is a nebulous concept and truthfully likely specialty dependent.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, indefatigable said:

In many ways, Princeton is also a bastion of privilege (i.e. one third are legacy admits) as compared to Vancouver Island which goes against equity in admittance.  

Yet UBC does accept the most IMGs for residency, mostly who are CSAs and usually a product of very privileged backgrounds as well.  So there is a somewhat paradoxical acceptance and rejection of privilege at the same time.  

But, one can imagine the status quo serves to satisfy both the mostly elites (who can send their children away for medicine) and the general public that demand equity and accessibility.   

I think unfortunately there is no perfect system, but I agree that cases like your friend show how the system is not always equitable, or great at recognizing ability, which in itself is a nebulous concept and truthfully likely specialty dependent.

That's true, Princeton is the most conservative and legacy friendly of the Ivies. But being a privileged admit doesn't mean that they get handed easy grades while they're there. I used Princeton as an example because it's the most grade deflated of the Ivy League schools.

The University of Chicago, Caltech, and UPenn also have tough grading schemes. But the beauty of the US med school admission is that their system allows more nuance. I know a UChicago undergrad with a 3.7 who's doing an MD/PHD at Washington University in St.Louis. Her GPA is lower than the average for Canadian medical school but the adcoms in the US realized that rigour of a biochem/math double major at UChicago. Of course, their system does allow for more manipulation behind the scenes than the Canadian one.

As for UBC's preference for CSAs with connections, I always go back to the case where UBC kept one of its two Cardiac Surgery spot open for a CSA in 2013. He just happened to have the head of Cardiac surgery at St.Paul's as his dad and a BC MLA and cabinet minister as his mom. A lucky coincidence wouldn't you say? To my knowledge, UBC had never offered two Cardiac surgery positions before or after that, and has never matched another IMG. Currently, they seem to take one CMG every other year. Of course, the investigation yielded nothing and everyone got to keep their jobs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/5/2021 at 6:56 PM, zoxy said:

That's true, Princeton is the most conservative and legacy friendly of the Ivies. But being a privileged admit doesn't mean that they get handed easy grades while they're there. I used Princeton as an example because it's the most grade deflated of the Ivy League schools.

The University of Chicago, Caltech, and UPenn also have tough grading schemes. But the beauty of the US med school admission is that their system allows more nuance. I know a UChicago undergrad with a 3.7 who's doing an MD/PHD at Washington University in St.Louis. Her GPA is lower than the average for Canadian medical school but the adcoms in the US realized that rigour of a biochem/math double major at UChicago. Of course, their system does allow for more manipulation behind the scenes than the Canadian one.

As for UBC's preference for CSAs with connections, I always go back to the case where UBC kept one of its two Cardiac Surgery spot open for a CSA in 2013. He just happened to have the head of Cardiac surgery at St.Paul's as his dad and a BC MLA and cabinet minister as his mom. A lucky coincidence wouldn't you say? To my knowledge, UBC had never offered two Cardiac surgery positions before or after that, and has never matched another IMG. Currently, they seem to take one CMG every other year. Of course, the investigation yielded nothing and everyone got to keep their jobs.

You're right that some of the US schools are known for having rigorous curriculums with tough grading standards - I agree completely about Chicago and Caltech.  Caltech students likely trade in GPA for outstanding opportunities in academia or industry - the spinoffs are probably worth trillions, counting Intel.  It's hard to get admitted and hard to get through.  I know less about UPenn.  

Some of the students at the private universities especially come from high-end independent feeder schools which probably better prepare students - like the Roxbury Latin School.  I doubt subjects like Latin are even taught in the public system, anywhere.  

Interesting about the post-mortem of the CSA case at UBC which is a classic.  One would think they could try to "hide their tracks" by admitting a random IMG, but I suppose there wasn't enough motivation as there were probably some favours called in after the infamous "miraculous" match.  People don't want to stick out their necks unless they have to or it could help them, usually.   

To be honest, if the son had been a CMG, then it would hardly raise an eyebrow.  There's a surprising number of "dynasties" in some small specialties (less transparency and tight links) - the children are like the medical system version of "nobility" - doubtless great people, but  "inheriting" a little bit more than the average CMG.  Inheritance can be seen as the extreme end of the more standard "patronage" system.    

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, indefatigable said:

Interesting about the post-mortem of the CSA case at UBC which is a classic.  One would think they could try to "hide their tracks" by admitting a random IMG, but I suppose there wasn't enough motivation as there were probably some favours called in after the infamous "miraculous" match.  People don't want to stick out their necks unless they have to or it could help them, usually.   

To be honest, if the son had been a CMG, then it would hardly raise an eyebrow.  There's a surprising number of "dynasties" in some small specialties (less transparency and tight links) - the children are like the medical system version of "nobility" - doubtless great people, but  "inheriting" a little bit more than the average CMG.  

The most blatantly corrupt thing about the UBC CSA thing is that Macleans had previously covered this family's nepotism when they covered the CSA's mother who was BC minister in 2012, a year before the match. She'd been trying to implement a policy to give CSAs preference over IMGs in a report she wrote called “Action Plan for Repatriating B.C. Medical Students Studying Abroad” without once mentioning that her son was studying abroad. Imagine the sheer gall to be called out for your nepotism in Canada's national magazine in 2012 and then pulling their stunt in the match in 2013.

And I know of some of the dynasties, but as long as they're CMGs it would be difficult to pinpoint blatant nepotism. After all, many folks like the idea of following in their parent's footsteps. But I can imagine how much easier it is to make connections, get letters, and do research when your parent knows everyone in the field. In medicine in Canada everyone's equal, but some are more equal than others.

 

Link:

https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/a-motherhood-issue/

Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, zoxy said:

The most blatantly corrupt thing about the UBC CSA thing is that Macleans had previously covered this family's nepotism when they covered the CSA's mother who was BC minister in 2012, a year before the match. She'd been trying to implement a policy to give CSAs preference over IMGs in a report she wrote called “Action Plan for Repatriating B.C. Medical Students Studying Abroad” without once mentioning that her son was studying abroad. Imagine the sheer gall to be called out for your nepotism in Canada's national magazine in 2012 and then pulling their stunt in the match in 2013.

And I know of some of the dynasties, but as long as they're CMGs it would be difficult to pinpoint blatant nepotism. After all, many folks like the idea of following in their parent's footsteps. But I can imagine how much easier it is to make connections, get letters, and do research when your parent knows everyone in the field. In medicine in Canada everyone's equal, but some are more equal than others.

Link:

https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/a-motherhood-issue/

That does take some nerve - impressive!  I like how the plan was framed so positively and productively.  Thanks for sharing the link.  

With respect to CMGs - it likely goes beyond the factors you've mentioned though when the child is admitted to the very same program where the parent (or relation) is very senior staff (and yes, I've seen this a few times).  But, I agree, as a CMG it's much harder to point a finger when the factors admitting a candidate can be so nebulous anyways and usually some form of acquired patronage in smaller programs.   

I like your last point especially.  I think it extends beyond simple child/parent though.  

Most obviously is language "tribalism" where explicit and implicit barriers make it less likely or harder to match outside of the language "tribe" in competitive specialties especially - less true of the Montreal schools - perhaps because Montreal is the most bilingual city in Canada, despite being officially French.    

Nonetheless, there's also a degree of tiering within each "tribe" based on research opportunities, actual or perceived strength of the education or students, school bolstering/protecting of its students etc..  These systemic features don't really get examined, but it's more likely to match from some schools into certain programs or other schools based on these features - this goes beyond home school or home province preference.         

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...