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UofA --> Concordia --> UofAMed

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I have completed 2 years at the U of A as a science student, and I am sitting borderline with a 3.6gpa right now. I was thinking of transferring over to Concordia University for my 3rd and 4th years where I heard getting higher grades is much easier. My question is whether or not going from the U of A to Concordia and then applying for med school back at the U of A hinders my chances of getting in? Does going to Concordia weaken my application or does it not matter?

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It won't impact your UofA, since the university and major are not taken into account. However, ti may impact UofC. Also, you might not be able to graduate by the end of the 4th and all the courses may not be transferable... unless ofcourse if the programs are exactly the same.

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I was one of the students who got into the U of A from Concordia!!! That's so exciting, you've heard of me? It's like I'm famous....:P


However, I wouldn't say that courses at Concordia are any easier (although, I'm biased, of course. I just think that smaller universities are unfairly labeled as being 'easier' than courses at the U of A, when I know that I worked just as hard, if not harder, than my colleagues at the U of A).


There's a couple of reasons that I claim this. First of all, 3rd and 4th year classes at Concordia are not on the curve or scaled, so to get an A you require 90% or higher (and in some chemistry/math/IT courses, you require a 95% for an A and a 98% for an A+). At the U of A, chances are your 3rd and 4th year courses will be curved more generously than they were in your 1st and 2nd year; I know my boyfriend's 3rd/4th year kinesiology courses at the U of A are curved so that the class average is an A- (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). This definitely does not happen at Concordia, an 85% in a class (however difficult it may be) will never get you an A.


Secondly, because the classes are smaller, you can't depend on multiple choice exams. All of your science courses will be long answer/essay-response, and you will find that you actually have a lot more writing assignments and major presentations throughout the semester (though whether or not that is a good or a bad thing depends on the person).


Finally, I think Concordia needs to have high standards for its students to keep up with much bigger institutions like the U of A (people would start to notice if our star graduates were woefully unprepared for life outside of Concordia), so the standards at Concordia have to at least be comparable to those at the U of A.


All that being said, Concordia is actually a wonderful school to do your undergraduate degree for a number of reasons.


#1. Professors

The professors expect a lot from you but they are also readily available for advice and support (and you get to know them well which helps your reference letters!)


#2. Research

There are also tons of opportunities for hands-on research for undergrads. For example, I was required to develop a research proposal in Bio 480, and then carried it out in a full-year research project in Bio 488 and 489. I did an NSERC award last summer and had to turn down another NSERC this summer (they had extras, I just didn't have time to work full-time), and I'm submitting a paper for publication sometime in the next couple of weeks. I would be very prepared for grad school right now if that's the route I decided to take.


#3. The environment on campus

The students at Concordia are great, I made some incredible friends there. It's a supportive environment rather than a competitive one (ie. if you miss a class, no one will hesitate to lend you their notes). There's also lots of clubs and extracurricular activities to get involved in, and it's much easier to join student council or be president of a club since the overall population base is so much smaller (extracurriculars were a huge part of my application).


#4. Miscellaneous

You have access to the same online journals and library materials as the U of A, and the food is pretty decent (they got rid of Aramark last year and now they have the same private chef who does the food at Kings University College. They make unreal homemade cinnamon buns. On the downside, there's no Tim Horton's on campus). Parking is way cheaper than the U of A, and if you're willing to park a block or two away it's free (the transit situation is less desirable than the U of A, but it's improving). They make you take some really cool arts courses that end up being super useful (eg. Writing 300). And there's also some really good scholarship programs there so I didn't actually have to pay for any of my undergraduate education :o


My overall point is this: Concordia is a great school for your undergraduate education, and I really don't think it should negatively impact your med school applications (I got into U of A, UBC, and U of C this year from Concordia). However I would caution against the mindset that it's the easy way out (and, even if I'm wrong, underestimating the workload probably won't help you much).


Let me know which courses you're thinking of taking (or even which program) and I'll let you know what I think of those courses or professors :)

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Thanks for that post, it actually cleared up alot of stuff up and answered some other questions :) Good to hear about the research, I received funding from Northern Alberta Clinical trials and research this summer, was worried I wouldnt next summer if I went to Concordia.. I guess there is nothing to fear.


I realize that Concordia and U of A does require alot of hard work, but being a smaller school with profs that you actually know really appealed to me because I attended a small school my whole life, but ya being a stresscase, I definitely wont take Concordia for granted, as being alot easier.


Im still waiting to for them to evaluate my transcript and see what courses are transferable, but I will most likely be aiming to complete the 4 year Bachelor of Science with a Bio major along with a psych minor.


Ill send you any questions I have when i make my schedule, thanks again! :)

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