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Advice needed on taking a 5th year


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Hi, I'm new to the forum, I had a chance to read some posts, I must say, it's quite intimidating.

 

I'm in undergrad at Ottawa U, and about to graduate this year, it's been my dream to become a physician, but alas, I struggled with undergrad biochem, and in 4 years have a cGPA 7.8 (B+) or 3.30 (OMSAS) to show for it.

 

I applied to Toronto and Ottawa for grad school doing research, however I don't think I am that passionate about research, so initially it was a place just to sit while applying for medicine. But this already has many negative implications stated earlier: leaving a professor midway, grad school grades usually not counting, and the fact that my undergrad GPA stops here.

 

However, I realize now, that in order to meet cutoffs ~3.70 I'd have to get an A-, so I was considering doing a 5th year at Ottawa. I'm just wondering if anyone else has insights into taking 5th year to increase their GPA...naturally, those that do so probably have less-than-competitive grades in the first place, which is a downer, but I still want to be persistent and not give up.

 

Do med schools care what courses you took in your 5th year, I haven't been able to find too much info on this. As far as I know OMSAS does the initial GPA calculation, so theoretically it's ok? I have friends taking all non-science 1st year bird courses...I mean isn't it cheating the system, since you are not even doing science. Obviously not everyone in med comes from science, but I was just wondering if it is better to do really easy couses for A+ or throw in some 4th year classes that often are tougher to get A+.

 

Thanks

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Some people will take an extra year to get some of the prerequisites and some will throw in a few courses that they really wanted to take but did not have a chance to. However, main point of taking a 5th year is to boost your average up. Since your GPA was not that competitive, it is VERY important for you to do the best you can in the 5th year. This means that you should be taking classes that are relatively easy, or those that you know you will do well at.

As far as I know, it doesn't matter if these are all 1st year courses (but I am not 100% sure), but I am pretty sure that you can find some year 2 or 3 courses that are relatively easy as well.

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Also, are you calcualting GPA by taking your % average and converting it to what it shows on the table? If you're doing that, then you're calculating it wrong. Check out this thread for the proper way to do it: http://www.premed101.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20903

 

Have you written the MCAT? 3.30 isn't very competitive for canadian schools. I have seen on the forum people who have done graduate work, and gotten into schools like UofT with a GPA around there... you might also consider doing a 2nd undergraduate degree to boost up the GPA.

 

Also, 3.30 isn't too too bad, you might want to consider applying to the US. If you have a high MCAT score, then it can offset your bad GPA if you apply early. Check out the american school forum for more info: http://www.premed101.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=39

 

Hope that helps!

 

ETA: Where there is a will, there's a way. I know you might feel like there is no hope right now, but there's always a way as long as you are willing to work hard and attain it. So don't feel too badly!

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I believe there are a couple other posts pertaining to the question of the 5th year. To put in my 2 cents (again :) ) I took a 5th year - calling it "going back for a BAmin", as I only needed a few more courses to fufill the requirements) - boosted up my application (volunteering/working/etc) during the school year AND boosted my marks (yey victory lap!). It must have worked, cause I'm now approaching the finish line on my 1st year in med school.

 

PS To all of you who are trying and trying, and starting to feel slightly disheartened, or begining to think you just don't have what it takes, it was my 3rd application - and I'm now doing just fine in med school and enjoying the sh*t out of it. :D

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Just wanted to add some options

 

1- Remeber some school like Queens and UWO in Ontario look at your best/recent two years. So if you did well in your last two years you could apply there or you could use the lap year to do this.

2- Ottawa looks at recent three years.

3- USA, as someone mentioned they open some more doors.

 

Good luck, just go after your dreams!

 

Note: Please correct me if I'm wrong about 1. ...really tired.

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Yeah, I realize some med schools take the last two years. As for research I just doing have a passion for it, and I've been told by profs that if you don't have a passion for research now, you will not succeed.

 

After calculating with the new method, I think my GPA is actually lower, as that 3.3 for B+'s really hurt. I don't think 5th year would pull up my GPA that significantly.

 

I'm writing the MCAT this summer, going to go hardcore studying, so perhaps american med schools would consider me. I think I just want to be a physician that much that I might also apply to an international med school (I know its the wrong forum).

 

Overall, I guess I'll have to email some schools concerning 5th year course selection, since it doesn't say anywhere explicitly, except for maybe UWO.

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