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Advice on what schools to try for?


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Hi everyone, 

I made a post a little while back detailing some of my concerns about starting the non-trad journey (feeling a little intimidated tbh!). At the time, I was thinking about taking an extra year of science courses to a) hopefully boost my GPA, b) help prepare for the MCAT, and c) show med schools that I am capable of taking a full course load (my undergrad was pretty much entirely part-time). 

I know that my biggest weaknesses right now are ECs, so I've decided not to do that extra year of classes (at least for now), and focus instead on ECs while studying for the MCAT alone. According to this plan, I will graduate from undergrad this spring and will have a full year to focus on ECs/MCAT.

I was reassured that UBC doesn't seem to negatively view part-time semesters during undergrad. I'm a BC resident and feel like UBC is my best shot. However, I feel like putting all of my eggs into one basket is a little risky. I've looked into some other schools (mostly Ontario), but I'm a little confused about whether or not I have a realistic shot for these schools, since my course load is all over the place. I know that UofT is out for now since I don't have the science prereqs. From what I understand, I might be in the running for some other schools, but without the various GPA boosters that are given to full-time students. Then again, I'm not even sure if I would be competitive with an 88-89% GPA as an OOP applicant... 

Just wondering if anyone has thoughts about this. I plan to apply as broadly as possible, but (based on grades alone) is UBC my best shot as an IP applicant with part-time classes? 

Thank you in advance for any advice/feedback! :)

Stats: 

  • Spring 2016 (4 courses): 83.75%
  • 2016-2017 (8 courses): 90.00%
  • 2017-2018 (3 courses): 86.67%
  • 2018-2019 (7 courses): 90.00%
  • 2019-2020 (8 courses): 91.75%
  • 2020-2021 (3 courses): 91.33%

cGPA: 88.92%

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This will be a bit tough to judge without ECs or MCAT regardless, but it would help in gauging your GPA's competitiveness for the ON schools if you know what your GPA is by the scale that Ontario schools actually use (the omsas scale), and with each of the weighting formulas for each school which may apply. The UBC system can yield pretty different results between students with similar omsas GPAs due to the differences in calculation. That said, your grades seem pretty ok for IP UBC, though I have heard it's been getting much more competitive in recent years. I think I remember reading something about how the average accepted IP applicant is around a 90% these days, but happy to be corrected by someone who knows better if that's off. In any case, UBC will almost certainly be your best shot given your IP advantage

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10 minutes ago, TheFlyGuy said:

This will be a bit tough to judge without ECs or MCAT regardless, but it would help in gauging your GPA's competitiveness for the ON schools if you know what your GPA is by the scale that Ontario schools actually use (the omsas scale), and with each of the weighting formulas for each school which may apply. The UBC system can yield pretty different results between students with similar omsas GPAs due to the differences in calculation. That said, your grades seem pretty ok for IP UBC, though I have heard it's been getting much more competitive in recent years. I think I remember reading something about how the average accepted IP applicant is around a 90% these days, but happy to be corrected by someone who knows better if that's off. In any case, UBC will almost certainly be your best shot given your IP advantage

Thank you for your response! I'll spend some time trying to figure out my omsas GPAs for the various schools.

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Your GPA falls on the average GPA of accepted IP UBC applicants so I wouldn't worry about that part. If you only manage to boost your EC to the around the average of the accepted applicants (whatever it means), then you would have a good chance for UBC. Spending 9 months  to 1 year of research and doing some community volunteering (in a hospital, library, etc) might be a good start.  If you don't have the background with MCAT, this along side with studying for MCAT would fill up all time you have probably.

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3 hours ago, neurologist19 said:

Your GPA falls on the average GPA of accepted IP UBC applicants so I wouldn't worry about that part. If you only manage to boost your EC to the around the average of the accepted applicants (whatever it means), then you would have a good chance for UBC. Spending 9 months  to 1 year of research and doing some community volunteering (in a hospital, library, etc) might be a good start.  If you don't have the background with MCAT, this along side with studying for MCAT would fill up all time you have probably.

Thanks for your reply. This is kind of what I was thinking... Given my current below-average ECs it would be difficult to gain more experience AND take courses AND study for the MCAT. 

I've been looking into some community volunteer opportunities. You mention spending this next year doing some research as well. Do you have any experience with this or any general advice for doing research outside of school? It's unclear to me how people find research opportunities once they are out of school. I did an undergrad honours research project (not in science), with a poster presentation and an award, but that's it. Not sure what else to do now to boost this part of my application.

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Even though UBC is your best shot, I know many people who have tried many many times to get into UBC, but were not successful. I definitely do not advise putting all your eggs in one basket and to apply as broadly across Canada as you can. I think your GPA is competitive. Med Admissions isn't all about GPA. There are some schools, like Mac, who don't look at ECs, so you should try applying there for sure.  

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