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Hello everyone,


I have been visiting this website for as long as I can remember (though not always having been a member). I am really interested in what you guys think about my current situation.


Here is my entire story up until today:


I screwed up highschool, but scored A average in my last grade and barely made it into UBC Engineering. I screwed up first year engineering (entirely due to negligence and a lack of motivation), and ended up with a 59% average or a C- or a 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) GPA for those who attend schools without percentage grades. Please keep in mind that this was, and remains to be my only full course load year. I transfered to Biological Sciences (cell biology and genetics, not honors) hoping for a fresh start but didn't work hard for it. My subsequent year averages (excluding summers) were 71% for 9 courses (B- or 2.70), 75% for 8 courses (B or 3.0), 77% for 7 courses (B+ or 3.3), and 89% for 7 courses (A or 3.9). So that accounts for a 5 year undergrad which demonstrates a rising trend but still not good. I wrote the MCAT during the summer after undergrad and received 15/9/15 R. Though that may appear to be an acceptable score, the 9 in VR cripples me for Queens 10 cutoff which would otherwise have likely been my best chance:( .


During my years in undergrad, I did do some minor volunteer work. Here is a list:

2008 - 2010 Canadian Diabetes Association

2008 TD Bank’s BC Children’s Hospital Fund Raising Campaign

2008 Vancouver General Hospital Thrift Store

2006 – 2008 Private Tutor

2006 – 2007 St. John’s Ambulance Richmond Brigade

2006 – 2007 Vancouver General Hospital

2005 – 2008 Student Study Group


I also did part time jobs to fund my education. Here is a list:

2007 – 2008 TD Canada Trust Bank

2007 – 2008 Forest Economics and Policy Analysis research unit (FEPA)

2007 Pediatric Dental Group

2004 – 2006 Sasamat Pizza Factory

2003 – 2004 Bagel Street Café

2002 – 2003 McDonald’s Restaurant


I know the volunteer and work list is not impressive and worse-yet, mostly irrelevant and insignificant compared to some other pre-meds that I know of as well as some of you on this forum who have posted their ECs.


I applied right after undergrad to UBC med and got killed. I scored 17 on the AQ and 12 on the NAQ and was rejected pre-interview straight up. The cutoff for interview that year was 36ish so I was about 7 points off, which is huge.


After my undergrad, I decided to come to Edmonton to do a grad degree hoping that it would boost my chances at UofA, Queens, UT, and Calgary. After some research on how schools evaluate grad students, I realize that it may not have been the best of choices. It turns out that my GPA, according to UofA's calculation is 3.27 and their minimum requirement is 3.30 without considering grad courses so that goes out of the window. Calgary will consider my grad courses for the minimum requirement but they consider a full year to be 8 courses and my best were 7 courses. Clearly I did not think things through and am paying the price now. Queens will consider best 2 years but my best 2 years are my last two and they are still weak, not to mention not meeting the 10 on VR. UT I can pretty much forget until I finish my grad degree. As if I haven't dug a deep enough hole to bury myself alive yet, I started my grad studies in a December and my supervisor refuses to let me graduate until I complete 3 years for my MSc meaning I will graduate December 2011 earliest. This means I can't apply for the year I grad in as med starts in September, though considering my other predicaments, this is actually the least of my worries.


My best option at this moment is to work hard and do well in my MSc in cardiac sciences. Though it is hard as I have Hitler and his gang of Nazis for my supervisor, I am actually doing some volunteering and ECs. Here is a list:

2010 LEAF - The Centre for Family Literacy

Founder and President

2009 - 2010 CHARIOT

Founder and President

2009 - 2010 Premedical Student Association

2009 - 2010 Graduate Student Association

2009 - 2010 The Centre for Family Literacy

2009 - 2010 Summer Student Lab Mentor

2009 The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Appreciation Day


Yeah I know, some of these aren't even technically "volunteering". I am also doing some part time work for Kaplan:

2008 - 2010 Kaplan

MCAT classroom instructor

Campus Representative/Teacher recruiter (2009-2010)


Aside from these I have also shadowed 2 doctors on 2 different occasions as well as wrote 2 newspaper articles which published in 24Hours and Chinese Canadian Times.


So far, I have taken 2 graduate level courses and scored A+ in both. I am beginning to think that maybe I am not actually dumb but just didn't try before.


In either case, I am also trying to get published but its pretty tough. I have published 2 co-author articles and a first author book chapter. I am trying to work on 3 projects right now as first author but I am not sure how many can get published as data is not coming smoothly. Realistically, I think maybe 2 will get published before I finish. More co-authors are coming so a very realistic estimate of my total publications after I grad from masters is 2 first authors (at least 1 should be in a journal with impact factor of 9 and my supervisor wants to aim for Nature with the other one but I think he is on crack and I think it will instead get into a journal with an impact factor of 5), 4 co-authors (all will be in journals with impact factor around 10), 1 book chapter, and maybe 1 invited review (we have been invited but my supervisor does not want me to work on that until I finish my current project).


I have also presented my work at 3 local conferences and 1 international conference in 2009 and won a total of 3 abstract awards (2 from local 1 from international). I have heard back about my applications for presentations this year and will be presenting different abstracts at 3 local conferences and 1 (maybe 2) international conference. I don't think I will win awards this year as the abstracts I am presenting this year are not as voluptuous as last year.


I have NO funding or studentships/scholarships but just have a few small awards (from the conference and from the graduate student association). I understand that this is a major weakness and I will be trying for a scholarship again this year but my poor undergrad GPA really hinders this.


I also play sports but only at the recreational level. I haven't attended any organized teams nor any competitions. I can play instruments as well as a cow can sing.


Ok, enough with background. Here is my proposed plan but before I continue, I thank those of you who took your valuable time to read up until now and I really appreciate any feedback from anyone about my situation.


I think the best thing for me to do now is to complete my MSc with the best of my ability as well as take the MCAT again. This is difficult as I won't be able to study at the lab because Adolf will be watching but I think is necessary because I need that 10 on the VR to have a shot at Queens. I also want to take a second undergrad to boost my GPA but am unsure of which one to take. Anyone have any ideas? Most of the ones that I feel I can do well on are science based and I have taken most of the courses in them already. I don't want to do unclassified studies as that would hurt me for some schools though Queens and Calgary don't seem to mind.


Please, everyone, let me know what you think I should do and whether you think I have a chance at any Canadian Med school. My parents do not support me financially so I do not have the luxury of looking into Caribbeans, Australia, or the States. I understand that my current situation is entirely my own doing but I really hope for another chance to redeem myself as medicine is really for me.

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Seems like since you picked it up you could have just done an extra two years and got another degree and reapplied. But now just stay commited and keep working hard like you are and you will get in eventually. Stay in Canada man, clearly you got the smarts, and it seems like you got the work ethic now as well

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Wow! Never thought I would find another person with a story like mine. Aside from your crazy MCAT score, we are in very similar situations.


- 5 year undergrad at UBC (full time each year) with a cGPA 70% (<<<3.0)

- best two years 80% (~3.7)

- MSc at UofC (gpa 3.7)

- not published yet but still in year 1 of my masters, we'll see...

- Volunteer: Coached 3 yrs, standard volunteer abroad in an orphanage, 4 years summer research experience (Canada/USA), volunteer AB Children's hospital (3-4hrs/week)

- 5 years working - same job (all through undergrad to pay for tuition)


I too am now considering doing a second degree to boost my GPA. I need to boost is WAY WAY up but from what I have read regarding schools looking at your second degree, it might be do-able, especially for schools like Dal, Queens, Calgary where your recent two years are big. I'm writing the MCAT in June...and unless I can raise my verbal about 8 (any more similarities you want!?!?) I'm screwed.

I've looked into Australia/Caribb/Ireland A LOT! And I do mean A LOT. I've spoken with Ozztrek, various admissions officers at Australian schools, spoken to Canadian students at Caribb schools and read countless opinions/facts/statements about Irish schools on various forums.


I'm at a crossroads. Risk doing a second degree and being the laughing stock of my family (everyone is a doctor, all my cousins just got into med school...I'm the only one, and am reminded of it fairly often) or go abroad. No clue what to do now...


FYI: You can get loans that are big enough to subsidize an Australian education. Caribb works out cheaper than Oz so you can definitely go there. If you become an Alberta resident you'll get truckloads of money upfront as well as a private line of credit from RBC or one of the banks. From what I understand, having a med school acceptance letter in your hand is a very big bonus when it comes to getting one of these loans.

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Hi Rayjay,


What are you MCAT's scores looking like?


Thanks for the input and wow we are very similar!

In regards to the Queens question, there is a nice thread on the queen's page here at premed101 where someone compiled all the MCAT scores of people who posted and either accepted or rejected. You can clearly see that anyone with a 9 on VR was consistently rejected without interview. This, and I called Queens and they told me that they do have individual cut-offs and the total score thing that they posted on their website is outdated and that they don't care about overall score. I was really panicking because I asked them if my score was 15/9/15 and the cut off was 10/10/10 do I not get a break? and the lady told me that in the previous few years it was looking more like a 10/10/10 and if that is the case this year, someone who gets 10/10/10 is the same in their eyes as someone with 15/15/15. I was shocked and hurt.


You may want to call them and confirm that this is true and not just my misunderstanding.


In regards to the second degree, I say he who laughs last, laughs the loudest. I understand that family pressure is difficult to handle. In fact, my mother tells me to do something else everytime we talk on the phone because she feels my chances are slim. I also heard from talking to ppl here (another similarity) that if you go abroad to carrib or austr, then your chances of returning are nil. If you were American and went to carrib then your chances are ok, but not so much Canadian. You should also decide for yourself what is more important to you, going to school in Canada, or going abroad. Honestly, you will face the difficulty at one point or another, whether its actually getting into med, or getting back from abroad.


Australia and Carribean are last resorts for me so I think for now I will try to work for a second degree. Most schools, except for some in Ontario, don't require you to finish your second degree so just use it as a GPA booster.


You also came from UBC right? So UBC is actually a good chance for you believe it or not. If you think about their pre-interview selection criteria, the NAQ, it actually gives grad students a solid bonus, though there is no direct bonus. Because their NAQ includes publications (from grad school), awards (from conferences or scholarships), and experience, which as a grad student, you have more time to obtain.

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Yeah I suppose I would have a shot at UBC IF I met their minimum 75% cutoff. It is listed that you need a minimum 2.8/70% but then just below says IP applicants with less than 75% will nit receive a full file review. I emailed to ask about grad students and the response was basically if I don't have 75% minimum then my grad school means nothing in terms of NAQ because my file won't be looked at...thanks UBC. I'm glad I spent $20k in tuition there.


Also, I wouldn't say "nil" for returning. It's tough yea, but there are stats every year posted about students returning. The minute you get on that plane however, the ownus is on you to make things happen back home. 100+ canadians wouldn't go to Australia every year if there was no possibility of coming back. Needless to say, it is also my last resort but at some point I have to ask myself "when do I want to get into med school. I don't want to e starting in my 30s and Canada isn't a guarantee. Someone on these forums gave me some good advice. While it may be worth your while to so another degree,there is never a guarantee you'll get in Canada. I look at the Irish thread and am shocked to see students with solid GPAs AND grad school getting rejected and abroad. I think this is a decision I'm going to deal with at the end of my masters. There's nothing that can be sone now.


(sorry for any typos, I'm on a bus onmy iPhone...)

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Yeah I agree.


I don't tell anyone either as it becomes quite stressful when people start asking random questions. Something common that happens is when people talk about UBC application, they always say "oh well EVERYBODY gets 25 on the AQ score". Then I just feel like an idiot.

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I can actually. I do plan to in fact. Just on that note, does anyone know of any good choices for second degree? My first one was a BSc in Cell Biology and Genetics (not honors)

Ever thought of Geology/Earth Science?

My first undergrad is in earth sci... it's definitely science but not something many people really look into. Pretty heavy on the chemistry (inorganic).

I wouldn't say it's easy, but there won't be that many others trying to compete for med school, I assure you. The class sizes are smaller, so you can actually get to know the profs.

You probably won't have taken many/any of the second year courses already.

Oh, and at the moment, people are actually hiring. The starting salaries are pretty good.

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Ever thought of Geology/Earth Science?

My first undergrad is in earth sci... it's definitely science but not something many people really look into. Pretty heavy on the chemistry (inorganic).

I wouldn't say it's easy, but there won't be that many others trying to compete for med school, I assure you. The class sizes are smaller, so you can actually get to know the profs.

You probably won't have taken many/any of the second year courses already.

Oh, and at the moment, people are actually hiring. The starting salaries are pretty good.


I am wondering the same thing as I plan on taking another UG as well .. my first UG was a B.Sc (Biology), a 3 year program as well ..


the fact that not many classmates will be going for med in the Goelogy/Earth Science .. how is that good? you'd still have to do great and meet med requirement GPA-wise either way, a lil competition sure helps I think..


anyone has an idea about doing UG#2 in Social Sciences or Psychology? how easy will that be? and how can it be used in the working world? any jobs with those degrees?

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the fact that not many classmates will be going for med in the Goelogy/Earth Science .. how is that good? you'd still have to do great and meet med requirement GPA-wise either way, a lil competition sure helps I think..

There is competition, but you really stand out from the crowd. I managed to get quite a few scholarships/research opportunities that I wouldn't have been able to get (or at least they would have been harder) in Bio.

You can do great, GPA-wise. I did pretty well, I think. The med GPA is certainly meet-able in geology. There are enough other students working hard on their grades that there is competition, but more than competition I found comradeship. We're willing to help each other, because we're not all going for the same few spots. My fellow students were all really really supportive of me, and were always willing to help. They still are willing to help! I have several who will be reading my apps this year.

Maybe it depends on the type of person you are. I'm certainly competitive (as my sports background can attest to!), but I LOVED being mentor and unofficial tutor to my fellow (younger) students.

Another really really important aspect of having smaller classes is the opportunity for more public speaking. I had to give a 10-min (or more) presentation in nearly every class at some point in the term. I'm comfortable talking in front of people, I'm comfortable wearing a suit and talking to people. I used every talk I gave as an opportunity to prep for med school interviews (in the "being comfortable public speaking" sense), and I feel pretty confident that I will give a good interview. There are not many degrees that give you 100+ minutes of public speaking practice in front of classmates/profs/deans, for marks, in one year.

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