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Convoluted road to medicine, UBC MD hopeful

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Hey all,


Hoping to get some feedback on my chances for UBC Med 2010/11. I go to Uvic currently.


This is a decently long read but...there are lots of twists and turns...it's like a movie! I need your feedback! Thanks peeps.


So I Graduated HS straight A's, distinction, yadda yadda in June 04. 1st year Uni comes along, Sept. 04, I wasn't on the medicine path as yet, I was doing languages. I took French, Spanish, and Japanese for about 5 years apiece, so I'm decent in all three, best with French though.


First semester I got decent grades...A/B/B+/B+. Second semester is where things got a little interesting to say the least. I was the victim of a pretty serious crime for a long duration of time - about 7 months. I was stalked and "intimidated" (in the legal sense of the word), and put to gunpoint to commit a felonius act (nothing sexual, nothing involving killing, no GTA, no drugs or weapons) over a couple months. Needless to say, my grades dropped pretty significantly. No fails, but I did get two C+'s and a C the next semester (Jan-Apr 05).


The person putting me under duress actually died afterwards of cardiac hypertrophy. Summer 05 finished. The next school year I took off (05-06), because of mental trauma, it kinda sucked. The following summer (summer 06), my best friend was stabbed to death, which also kinda sucked. I couldn't tell my girlfriend of five years anything about the criminal stuff because of threats. I guess she'd had enough of my personality change, because we broke up at the end of that summer.


I became very depressed, a mere shadow of the super-athletic, straight-A-getting, chatty kid I once was. I started school again that September 06 because I didn't want all this garbage to consume my life, but as it turned out, I had to drop 2/3 courses because I couldn't focus at school. The next semester (January) I enrolled in three more courses (low course load because I wasn't mentally able to handle any more), and completed them with a B+/B/C+. It was then April of 2007.


I ended up going to the police (about the criminal stuff) the October of the semester I went back to school (2006), and I was charged with "x". I had several police friends because I attended Police Camp (not the actual police training camp, it was a two-week long version of that for Grade 12s) just previous to my 1st University year. I spoke with them afterwards, they of course asked me why I hadn't come to them while it was happening. I don't really want to get too in-detail about it though. Anyways, I went away on a trip to a remote island in the Caribbean where the population was really low so I could have time to just get away from everything and think. I had several conversations with my brother, and he really helped me get settled down and determine that I wanted to take the path of medicine. It all made so much sense. I had many months alone on this tiny island, to think, and stare at the stars.


I came back to Victoria in September of 2007, and enrolled in physics, biology, chemistry, and this physical education (not gym class...actual physical education, ie: physiology, anatomy, etc) class at my University. I was no longer burdened by anything that had troubled me in the past, I ended up with straight A+'s that semester. The following semester, Jan-Apr 08, I got two A-'s, an A, and a B+ (damnit!). Summer 08 happened, I took summer courses and got two A-'s. I had also donated blood several times, and started playing league hockey and re-picked up piano.


Sept of 08 happened, I got an A, two A-'s, and a B+. For the Jan-Apr semester, and I got an A-, two A's, and an A+ (in ochem!). 90% of my classes are science courses. The other 10% are ones like Piano, Biomedical Ethics, etc. I continued to donate blood regularly, and I also got a job at my university as a TA in Human Anatomy. I taught for the whole 08-09 year, and got spectacular reviews. We (the anatomy TA's) get to go to the UBC Island Med building's cadaver lab and get lectured on the cadavers by a team of docs! I held a brain last Tuesday, it was pretty heavy. I think the coolest thing about that is that I can name every muscle, every nerve that innervates it, every bone, and every artery and vein I see. It's...SOOO...cool.


I play hockey competitively about 3 times a week, with one separate practice. I do gymnastics twice a week, and I practice my piano when I'm home on the weekends. I also train a student group in the university gym. I'm also in talks with this ultra-awesome doctor at a local hospital to start shadowing him for the summer.


So, my GPA was not great before I went away to the Caribbean, but since coming back (two years) I've knocked off all A-range grades save for two B+'s. I'm hoping that the trend will count for a decent amount, because all those crappy grades at the beginning can be (should be?) accounted for at least in PART by the life situation. They weren't science courses anyways.


Anyhow, I'm on track to write my MCAT in August, and I just don't want to go through this entire process only to be turned away because of red tape, so to speak.


If anyone is curious, with regards to my being charged with offence "x", my trial was in October of 2008, and I was discharged (at the request of the prosecutor!) because the judge pretty much looked at my character, my grades, my background, my volunteer work, me going to police camp etc, and made a decision. Also, the guy who put me under duress had a trillion priors for things like assault, sexual assault, break and enter, threats, etc. It was pretty crazy. Screw that guy. Canada was actually trying to deport him, before he died. I'm appealing the discharge, because I still have "something" on my record for three years apparently. If I'm applying to Med School for 2010 I'm not sure how good that'll look.


My cGPA is 3.4 and my sGPA is 3.8. Low cGPA due to you-know-what.


Think I've got a shot?


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I'll also post my NAQ stuff.

Volunteer activity:


-Alzheimer's/Dementia Group - 30 hrs (current)

-Hospital ED - 36 hrs (current)

-Food bank - 75 hrs (current)

-Blood bank - 64 hrs (current)

-University Human Anatomy Lab TA - 75 hrs (resumes in Sept when school starts again)

-Blood Donations - 3 (ongoing when I don't have league hockey)




-University Human Anatomy Lab TA (Paid) - 105 hrs (will resume in Sept)

-Exercise Supervision for Geriatric patients - new paid job, so only about 10 hours so far... (current)


Personal Activities:


-Kung-Fu - 6 years (not anymore)

-Gymnastics - 1 year, 2x/week (current)

-Ice hockey, competitive - 1 year, 4x/week (current)

-Roller hockey, competitive - 1.5 years, 2x/week (current)

-Weight training, 5 years, 4x/week (current)

-Piano, unsure about grade level. Practice a lot on my own and took two University level practical (hands-on) courses. - 2 years (current)

-Attended Police Camp in 2004 and got valedictorian

-Two friends and I record songs (with us singing) and are hoping to release a CD. Hah. ECs...anything that takes time away from studying, right?




-English - fluent

-French - 5 years of study

-Spanish - 4 years of study

-Japanese - 5 years of study

-Patois - My native Jamaican language




-Sports physiotherapist - 5 hours

-Oncologist - hasn't begun yet (will be current)



Life Experience:


-In my OP, there's a chunk of decent life experiences and maturity-conferring cirumstances. Also, I was born in Jamaica, not a very stable country. I lived there for close to 10 years, then relocated to Canada due to extreme violence. I have lived on my own in the Caribbean too, as I mentioned in the other post. I've also traveled out of the country on my own.


I know my shadowing is a bit thin, I will work on that. The oncologist I know is trying to hook me up with a research job at the cancer agency, so that's also a possibility.

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Did you take the MCAT? If yes how did you do? Your GPA is low and will be a hindrance and unfortunately with that in the way you might not get a chance to tell the adcoms your life story. I can't really say what your chances are without an MCAT score...also break down your GPA into Years 1 - ? ( I'm not sure where you are now).

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At Uvic we don't get our grades as percentages. I asked a friend of mine about how UBC differentiates between an A of 85% and an A of 89.99% and he said that most likely they take 87.5%? I'm not sure how much weight to put into that answer though.


I suppose my cGPA percentage would be 75-79%, and my sGPA percentage (including all the UBC pre-reqs except Biochem 300a/b) would be about 85%.


I'm registered for my MCAT for end of August. I've been studying pretty hard for it, got the summer all planned out around studying for it.

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GPA low???? I think your GPA looks just fine to me. The lower three C's will be buffered out by your higher ones so you don't need to sweat about this at all. The NAQ is pretty solid too. Unfortunately, no one can really say how your legal issues will affect your chances. My opinion is that you've made it this far and are just an exam away from finding out. It probably would do you some good to speak with the school you plan to attend, even anonymously, and a lawyer to see when and how your record can be repaired.

For now, though I would focus on two things:


Get yourself a respectable MCAT score and write a stellar essay. You could address your overcoming adversity without getting into gory details and how, despite these challenges, you continued to strive towards your goals. This coupled with how you became a better person and how your circumstances shaped your views and cemented core values that should be held by any esteem physician will go far in the eyes of the adcoms.


This will get you as far as the interview stage. Hopefully, you perform really well and you receive an acceptance. It is at this point that you will consent to a criminal record check. What happens next, I would imagine, depends on the seriousness of your charges, how recent they were, etc.


Wish I could give you the answer you were looking for; however, your situation is indeed unique and it may just be that you will have to find out empirically.

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Thanks very much Imhotep. I was pretty worried about the C's, but in addition to their being buffered by the upward trend, I think I will have a chance to explain them. Your advice is very good - I was definitely thinking of centering my essay around what you suggested. Thanks! I just have to keep my head down and keep plugging away at my MCAT books, I suppose. Take it one step at a time.


I will keep you posted!


Lev - That's lame!

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It's easy enough to calculate your grades.


If UVic provides a conversion table, or the grade letter requirements in percentages (like A= 85-90..) then use the lowest of each bracket for each letter grade (ie. an A would be 85 not 88 or 90).


If not, then take all your grades and convert them to UBC percentages using the lowest end of the bracket again.


A+ - 90%

A - 85%

A- - 80%

B+ - 76%

B - 72%

C+ - 64%

C - 60%

C- - 55%

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Hello Janitor,


Your culminative GPA seems to be slightly below the avg range of the admitted pool. However, as someone else had mentioned, GPA is not your first concern now.


Yes, the legality is more of a bigger concern to you down the road: not only during med school admission, but also in residency and further down training.

If you are admitted to UBC med school, you are required to do criminal record check. You also need to write to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC if you have been charged before. They have the right to reject you right at that step (by the College thus by the school) if they think your "charge" can post a threat to the public. After 4 yrs of med school, when you are accepted for a residency program, you have to do the same criminal check again. This can again hinder the options of what specialty and where you want to practice.


Your persistence is appreciated, but you may want to consult some legal advice of how your "charge" may go against you over the long run in your medical career. Sometimes, the reality is a bit cruel. Programs pick candidates who are equally good but who have a clean legal record. You don't want to waste all your time there before finding out that they don't let you in after the interview, etc... So, consider consulting a lawyer to seek legal advice. Unfortunately, UBC med does not allow any individual feedback/consults anymore. After all, there are many good applicants. Your NAD experience and GPA experience seems to be in average range, and of course, don't put blood donation in your CV.


All the best.

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Thank you for the reality check Flow. I will do some more digging and consult with a lawyer about this.


FYI, what I received was a conditional discharge. This is not the same as a conviction. My record will be entirely clean again after 2 years. In addition, there is an appeal to my discharge in progress right now. Hopefully things work out and the discharge is removed ASAP.

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So I'm going through the application right now, and I have less than five academic awards, and no publications. Is this a major deal? Or will my plethora of other ECs allow them to see my well-roundedness?:o


Don't worry. I had 3 minor academic awards and no pubs and I'm in.

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