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2nd undergrad in 2 years?


steph-oh

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Hi,

I've been reading a lot of posts about people getting second undergrad degrees to improve their GPA, but being able to do it in two years.

Is it common practice to be able to get an undergrad degree in only two years if you already have one? Does this mean that people plan on taking courses throughout the summer?

I thought at most schools to get any undergrad you had to take min 3 years.

 

Thanks

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Guess it might depend on what area your second degree is in. If you do another science degree, then it might take only two because you can transfer credits from the first degree. Might take longer if your second degree is completely unrelated to the first as there will not be as much overlap.

 

But what always baffles me about people who do second degrees is the thinking they can actually improve their GPA. I mean, if you screwed up the first time around what will be different the second time? Maybe I'm missing something? I guess if you've been out of school for a while and require pre-reqs then doing a second degree might make sense. Maybe there were health issues, deaths to deal with, etc., but that stuff happens in life (happens when practicing medicine too!) and there is nothing to prevent it from happening again during your second go around. Nevertheless, going from one degree right to the next is quite a risk given that the only thing you've really proven yourself capable of doing thus far in your university career is racking up a less than stellar GPA. Maybe I'm out to lunch here.

 

All the best.

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hi Steph-Oh,

I'm doing a second undergrad. The academic counsellor I talked to at my university said that second degrees are usually two year degrees and are in place for students who have done poorly in their first degree. I can technically finish the degree in 1 year because of course transfers, however I am planning to do the two years so that I can have really good two years to apply to Queens and Western. I would think summer classes are not a good idea and it would be better to do the second degree full time from sept-april. This is because a lot of med schools don't count summer courses as part of your GPA calculation and most schools require full course load for the academic year. As for the previous post on why people do a second degree.....for me I didn't know I wanted meds in my first degree, which is why I didn't aim for stellar marks. This time around, knowing what marks I need to be competitive to apply to med schools, I think I will do much better in the undergrad classes.

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Yes I agree with you in some ways and disagree in others. While the 2nd undergrad degree may seem a long shot at getting into medicine (somewhat overtly optimism), there are people who have done it. Some people learn from mistakes, others mature in ways that makes them think they can try harder second time around. Still others like me who have had health problems couldn't keep their GPA high enough (may be its just a sweet excuse). But there are hardly any people who I know pursuing a second undergrad and still stinking their GPA. I say if you believe in yourself, then go ahead.

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Why do a second undergrad? My marks from first year, which was 7 years ago are still coming back to haunt me. Brutal. I really didn't know what I wanted to do so my GPA was not reaaally of concern. Needless to say I have very different priorities now and will make sure my marks are top this time around. I'm just scared thinking about how old I'm going to be at the end of all this.... :eek:

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From what I heard the courses you take should be leading toward an undergraduate degree. Otherwise it's quite iffy since you could have a full course load with all bird courses.

 

On a second note, does the intensity of the program make a difference as long as the applicant has all the pre-reqs? i.e. biomed engineering vs psych (no offense) ;)

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I don't know why doing a second undergraduate degree is better than taking courses at a university as a non-degree student, I mean if you took a full course load. That's what I was told at U of T.

 

Thoughts?

 

It depends upon which school you are applying to. Chances are, if you are looking at a second degree, you are applying to schools that look at just 2 years of undergrad marks - Queen's, Western, Dal, Saskatchewan. Queen's doesn't care if you are in a progrmor not. Western does. You either need to be in a degree program, or have one year from a degree program plus one "special year", which has more stringent requirements than degree years. I don't know if Dal cares or not. I don't remember reading anything either way. I don't know about Saskatchewan, as I didn't apply there.

 

If you are only looking at a small number of schools, and doing a second degree with allow you to apply to all of them, rather than only an even smaller number of schools, I would choose the path of the second degree. That said, if you have one year above 3.7, I would (and did) choose a "Special Year" instead.

 

Elaine

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Thanks for all the great comments :)

 

So, how does it look if you do a 'special year' after your first degree, and while you're doing it you're technically enrolled as an undergrad again, in a second degree, but your intention is really only to do one year of that and then apply to meds?

I ask because I will graduate this spring, geography, and have no prerequisites or background for the MCAT. I was originally just going to enroll as a non-degree, get the courses I need next year and then write the MCAT, but I've applied to some summer positions that require me to be a "degree student". So I had to change my application from non-degree to degree.

 

Will it look like I tried to get a second degree but couldn't so dropped out? I haven't really thought much about getting a second undergrad. I think I would rather spend my time getting a masters, as my first degree is in geo, not many of my credits would transfer over to get a degree in science, so I don't know if I could do it in two years.

 

I hope this has all made sense!

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So, how does it look if you do a 'special year' after your first degree, and while you're doing it you're technically enrolled as an undergrad again, in a second degree, but your intention is really only to do one year of that and then apply to meds?

I ask because I will graduate this spring, geography, and have no prerequisites or background for the MCAT. I was originally just going to enroll as a non-degree, get the courses I need next year and then write the MCAT, but I've applied to some summer positions that require me to be a "degree student". So I had to change my application from non-degree to degree.

 

Will it look like I tried to get a second degree but couldn't so dropped out? I haven't really thought much about getting a second undergrad. I think I would rather spend my time getting a masters, as my first degree is in geo, not many of my credits would transfer over to get a degree in science, so I don't know if I could do it in two years.

 

I hope this has all made sense!

 

Western will not allow you to be registered in a degree program while doing a "Special Year".

 

Elaine

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I guess it should not matter if you do a "special year" vs. first year of a second degree. Because if you get into meds after the first year you can just not complete the second degree and have those classes just on your transcript as extra upgrading classes. My concern is, would any schools not consider you when you apply in the first year of a second degree/special year. I don't think it should matter, if you already hold an undergrad degree. I still can't find info for Toronto, Ottawa and Mac on how they will look at the second degree...

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I guess it should not matter if you do a "special year" vs. first year of a second degree. Because if you get into meds after the first year you can just not complete the second degree and have those classes just on your transcript as extra upgrading classes. My concern is, would any schools not consider you when you apply in the first year of a second degree/special year. I don't think it should matter, if you already hold an undergrad degree. I still can't find info for Toronto, Ottawa and Mac on how they will look at the second degree...

 

Western will only count marks earned in one degree. As such, you must be registered as a "non-degree" or "post-degree" student in order to apply to Western using your special year plus one year of your undergrad. If you start a new undergrad, you must do a minimum of 2 years in that program, and have two years above the GPA cut-off.

 

McMaster counts all the courses you've ever taken, regardless of your registration status. I believe Toronto is the same (minus any courses dropped due to the weighting formula, should it apply). I'm not sure about Ottawa, but I don't think they consider non-degree years in your GPA calculation.

 

Elaine

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  • 1 month later...

Advice from someone that just finished the first year of a second degree...

 

Graduated from kin in 07

 

GPA (2.7,2.5,3.6,3.6)

Only began to think seriously about medicine at the end of year 3..... year 4 I had a 3.75 going into finals.... bombed one final and fell below 80 in another that seemed safe and kapow there goes the whole year.....

 

I knew I had it in me... after a day of sulking.... I met with advisors....

Joined up for a second degree in Rehab Sci, or basically a Health Sci degree with a few extra courses.... able to get it done in 2 years.

Midway through first semester I thought to myself why on Earth would I jam upper level courses into tough semesters in order to gain a 2nd undergraduate degree in 2 years (IMO useless to have) so I then spread out the coursework and took more electives 2nd semester.

 

Finished my 1st year of rehab sci where I was the equivalent of a second year students witha 3.89 and 1% away from a 3.91....

 

Which gives me an interview at Western next year and the chance at a conditional acceptance(barring something wacky admissions wise) with the right MCAT marks and a very longshot at Queens (3.745) over the last two years.

As it was mentioned earlier Western won't pick years from each degree and you would need to be in the 2nd year of the degree.

Will apply to MAC as I have a former faculty admissions officer to help me with my Mac application for the Niagara Campus (hometown). He has said I'll definitely get consideration for an upward trend, and unofficially they like Niagara applicants for the Niagara program...

 

the reason you can do a second degree in 2 years at least at western is you don't have to do you electives again.... 11.0 credits from your old degree can be used for your new degree meaning all you have to do is go get the core courses for the new degree.

 

But again, for me I just started taking electives again because I don't care whether I get the new degree and have been told both at Western and Queens because I have one degree I can apply at anytime during my second one.

 

In the end its up to you.... I knew I had it in me with G.P.A. and have parents that are very supportive tuition wise to see me get into medicine.... and got over the fact that I was wasting a few years to do course work that really wouldn't advance me as a person.... To my surprise the coursework in health science is excellent from an interview perspective, Ethics, Health Professions, Critical thinkink, and epidemiology methods course.... and I am thankful I took that route versus starting a 2nd degree in science....

 

That's all I can think of as to why a 2nd degree and what it might take... I'll edit it if I can think of something else.

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Quick question.

In order to avoid this debate between 2nd and first degree, during my first degree I kept changing my majors around (life science, business, health studies/anthro) and finished 7 years of undergrad with 3.9 in my last two years (according to OMSAS weighting). Would that put my in a disadvantage?

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