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Impact of an incomplete grad degree on CaRMS matching


Guest Apollo

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Guest Apollo

Hey there,

 

I'm hoping that someone can shed some light on the issue of withdrawing from a research-based grad degree (ie: 2-year M.Sc.) to enter medical school and its future impact on CaRMS matching. After visiting the CaRMS website and reviewing the application requirements, I've noticed that typically, only the competitive programs (ie: Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Plastic Surgery...etc.) require you to include a premed academic transcript.

 

Therefore, if I did withdraw from my research-based grad program, would its incomplete status on my premed transcript hurt my chances of matching to one of these competitive programs? What if I choose a less competitve program that doesn't require me to include my premed transcript?

 

Thanks for the advice

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Guest Apollo

Hey ffp,

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

My impression is that for most (non-competitive) specialties, the letters of reference carry much more weight compared to anything else.

 

I, however, didn't know that certain fellowship programs asked for premed transcripts. Not finishing a BSc degree is one thing, but not finishing a research-based MSc degree might be looked down upon, especially when applying for a fellowship program. What do you think?

 

I guess it'll all depend on my status when May 15th rolls around. If I'm able to defer for a year to finish my MSc, then I most certainly will. But if my request for a deferral is denied and I'm not required to complete my MSc degree, then I don't think it would be feasible for me to turn down the offer and reapply next year; I would probably just take my chances with an incomplete grad degree.

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Hi there,

 

This year, quite a few Radiology programs (around 4-5 or so) requested pre-med transcripts. I suppose this might be reflective of the competitiveness associated with entering the residency as other competitive residencies seem to have added different criteria for selecting candidates, e.g., psychological profiles, etc.

 

One Radiology Program Director noted that graduate work is weighted more heavily than academic work completed earler and that they used this data to help refine their rank list. As mentioned above, however, other selection factors tend to be weighted even more heavily than these factors.

 

Lastly, during CaRMS interviews I was asked about my graduate degree and the work therein, so questions on these subjects are fair game. Minimally, you should be prepared to answer any questions surrounding why you chose not to complete the degree.

 

Cheers,

Kirsteen

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Guest Apollo

I'll take a closer look at the CaRMS website to figure out which programs require a premed transcript. Regardless of the outcome on May 15th, I need to remember that the premed transcript requirement does not disqualify me from applying to a certain program. If the rest of my application is solid and I interview well, then the incomplete grad degree may not have a considerable impact on my ranking.

 

Here's hoping that everything works out on the 15th.

 

Thanks to both of you for the info.

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I was under the impression that medschools, at leat U of T, require graduate applicants to finish their grad degree as a condition for acceptance.

Maybe you should check with individual school's admissons office and verify their policy on grad work completion.

 

Take me as an example, I had to get a deferral b/c I coudn't finish within the deadline specified by U of T med last year. And my acceptance this year is still conditional upon me finishing my degree before the deadline in June.

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  • 2 months later...

This thread is relevant to me so I'll first explain my situation.

 

I'll be entering fourth year meds in Sept and with CaRMS matching coming up soon, I'm worried about my academic history.

 

Three years ago, I was accepted into meds during the first year of my two-year thesis-based MSc degree (I was doing research in basic sciences - molecular biology). At that point, I had received numerous graduate scholarships, presented a poster and oral presentation at a major conference, and published a paper. My research was pretty much complete, but I needed to take another grad course before I satisfied the requirements for an MSc. The option to defer was not available to me, so I dropped out of my MSc and started MEDS.

 

Among the various CaRMS sections, three entail providing descriptions of awards/scholarships, research activities and research publications. But I'm worried that by including the scholarships, presentations and my publication from my unfinished MSc, the people reviewing my application will realize that I dropped out of my MSc. Even though the work in my MSc was completely unrelated to the field I want to specialize, I still feel that I accomplished alot in one year. I just don't know what to do!

 

Should I include my accomplishments from my unfinished MSc or leave it off my CaRMS app?

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Hey Chemgirl

 

Tough one, since that sounds like good experience to include in your CaRMS app (but what do I know, I'm only in 2nd year).

 

Are CaRMS applications generic, or tailored to each school to which you apply? Is it likely some of the programs at your home institution already know your backstory (ie you've done rotations there and they'll be like "Ahh, Chemgirl. Wasn't she in the MD/PhD program at one point?") If that's the case you might as well include it, since it might come up anyway.

 

Have you completely burned your bridges regarding the PhD? Is it technically possible for you to resume it at some point in the future? If so, perhaps the angle you could use is that you intend to return to it at a later date...maybe as a research year during your residency? Though that opens up a whole other can of worms...

 

Not knowing your situation I'm just sort of thinking out loud here.

 

Hmm...

 

pb

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Thanks ploughboy. The door is still open for me to finish, my supervisor would still give me a positive reference if needed, no bridges were burned in the undoing of this degree. I just don't know if I can finish it. If I do, it will be after the carms application process, so I think it would be a fair question. I guess i could say that I will attempt to finish it. In all honesty, I probably will make at least one more attempt.

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Hey chemgirl,

 

I sent you a PM.

 

Our situations are quite similar in that we both would like to disclose our graduate level accomplishments on the CaRMS apps, but are concerned about the stigma associated with our incomplete degrees. Furthermore, we are afraid of having to discuss the underlying reasons for our withdrawals.

 

Although our situations appear challenging, I read in the CaRMS forums that residency program directors place considerably more emphasis on research completed during medical school (just search for "research" in the CaRMS forums). Furthermore, that research should be related to the residency program that you are planning to apply. Research performed during med school in an unrelated field is given lower recognition, while unrelated research prior to med school is given the lowest consideration. Therefore, even if we included the accomplishments from our grad studies, we wouldn't gain any major points, especially since we were doing research in the basic sciences. For my situation, I guess it might be easier to simply omit the accomplishments that I achieved in one year. But you would need to do exclude your accomplishments over three years. Also, they might ask you what you did for three years prior to beginning your MD/PhD.

 

I really wish we could somehow figure out whether residency program directors would look down harshly on people who quit their graduate degrees for med school. What I do know is that the grad degree completion policies at most med schools were instituted a few years ago because too many grad students were quitting their degrees.

 

Best of luck with your year

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