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Hi everyone, 

 

New to the forum and thought I would post a bit about myself. I am applying this year to Canadian med schools for my third time. I'm 26 years old, have a BA double major in psychology and philosophy, and am halfway through my MSc in neuroscience. Undergrad GPA isn't super hot - depending on the calculation method, it varies, but average is about 3.3. I was a competitive athlete and enjoyed a lot of volunteering and extracurricular stuff in undergrad, which I think has helped make me well rounded, but I had less time to study hence the low GPA. But I have always wanted to be a doctor. After undergrad I did 2 years of part time undergrad courses to take more of the hard sciences (ochem, bchem, anatomy, physics etc.) and I also worked in a clinic and gained lots of hands on experience. My master's research is clinical, so I have a lot of really awesome patient experience that I think will make me a good candidate... plus, my MSc. marks are all A+, woo! So, I am hoping that will help me this round. Also re-writing the MCAT in September to try and boost my last mark (9 PS, 10VR, 10BS). I've volunteered in clinical settings a ton, I have some scholarships and conference presentations from my master's as well, and I have very strong reference letters. I really hope I make it this time!!

 

Any tips/feedback or just fellow non-traditional applicants who want to reply to this and share their stories are welcome. Just trying to get a little support :)  

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Hi everyone, 

 

New to the forum and thought I would post a bit about myself. I am applying this year to Canadian med schools for my third time. I'm 26 years old, have a BA double major in psychology and philosophy, and am halfway through my MSc in neuroscience. Undergrad GPA isn't super hot - depending on the calculation method, it varies, but average is about 3.3. I was a competitive athlete and enjoyed a lot of volunteering and extracurricular stuff in undergrad, which I think has helped make me well rounded, but I had less time to study hence the low GPA. But I have always wanted to be a doctor. After undergrad I did 2 years of part time undergrad courses to take more of the hard sciences (ochem, bchem, anatomy, physics etc.) and I also worked in a clinic and gained lots of hands on experience. My master's research is clinical, so I have a lot of really awesome patient experience that I think will make me a good candidate... plus, my MSc. marks are all A+, woo! So, I am hoping that will help me this round. Also re-writing the MCAT in September to try and boost my last mark (9 PS, 10VR, 10BS). I've volunteered in clinical settings a ton, I have some scholarships and conference presentations from my master's as well, and I have very strong reference letters. I really hope I make it this time!!

 

Any tips/feedback or just fellow non-traditional applicants who want to reply to this and share their stories are welcome. Just trying to get a little support :)

 

I am also a nontrad with a mediocre GPA. I just decided not to start applying this year because I'm no where near I need to be with my MCAT, and I think the 2015 one is going to be better for me. I only just started on pursuing this goal in February, and it's going to be such a long haul! It feels like I've been working on this forever, but I've barely even started! It's awesome at you're applying for the third time, I'm sure it's going to take me a bunch of times too, and I'm 5 years older than you! I've learned that the most important thing is to keep going. I've heard of people applying 7 times and finally getting in. There are premeds in their late 40s! Time and perseverance is all you need. We have lots of both so we will definitely get in one day! :D

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BizMarkie,

 

Good for you! It's a tough road but I know exactly what you're going through. Good call on waiting for the 2015 MCAT - may as well since it is eventually going to completely replace the current one. And I agree, age doesn't matter! I would rather be 60 and glad I pursued my dream than be 60 and regretful that I gave up. Even if it doesn't work out, at least I know I gave it my absolute best shot (but I'm kinda banking on it working out) :) 

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Your GPA is a bit low, and unfortunately (for myself including) Graduate studies courses are not included in schools' GPA calculation. ):

Try your hand at UofT for sure - they are very open to applicants with graduate degrees, and have an entirely separate part of the application for them (Academic CV, more reference letters). They were the only school to have taken a look at me last year.

Good luck!

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Your GPA is a bit low, and unfortunately (for myself including) Graduate studies courses are not included in schools' GPA calculation. ):

 

Try your hand at UofT for sure - they are very open to applicants with graduate degrees, and have an entirely separate part of the application for them (Academic CV, more reference letters). They were the only school to have taken a look at me last year.

 

Good luck!

 

Some medical schools will give you a bonus for having a graduate degree; others will consider one of your graduate school years when calculating your GPA.  So you can't make a blanket statement that graduate students aren't included in GPA calculation.  Some medical schools DO consider one year of graduate studies, and others will give you a bonus for having a grad degree.

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Which schools look at one year of grad studies, and how do they combine it with the undergrad GPA?

Calgary does, if you've completed your graduate degree. You would have to check their applicant manual to find out exactly how they use it (I believe it just replaces one undergrad year). Someone told me Dalhousie will also look at one year of graduate marks, but I would have to confirm that.

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Some medical schools will give you a bonus for having a graduate degree; others will consider one of your graduate school years when calculating your GPA.  So you can't make a blanket statement that graduate students aren't included in GPA calculation.  Some medical schools DO consider one year of graduate studies, and others will give you a bonus for having a grad degree.

 

Thanks, I didn't realize some schools had a policy like that. However giving a "graduate degree bonus" is not the same thing as modifying your GPA...are there any other schools besides Calgary that allow you to count your courses as an applicable year?

 

As a slight correction, Calgary does not consider "one year of graduate studies" it considers your entire graduate courseload, but gives it the weight of a single year (http://wcmprod3.ucalgary.ca/mdprogram/files/mdprogram/ApplicantManual2014-2015June18.pdf Pg 12), and this only counts if the degree has been conferred (Pg 15). I'm not trying to be a pain here, but this small detail will make a big difference for some applicants.

 

So if for example, you had a 3.2, 3.2, 3.2, 3.2 and graduate courses were 4.0, your GPA would be approximately 3.36, using this method as I understand it. Or in other words, they do not weigh by individual courses, but rather by entire years of full time studies.

 

EDIT: Reading more, yes this seems to be exactly what they do. Please see Pg 28.

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Calgary does, if you've completed your graduate degree. You would have to check their applicant manual to find out exactly how they use it (I believe it just replaces one undergrad year). Someone told me Dalhousie will also look at one year of graduate marks, but I would have to confirm that.

 

To reiterate what has already been said, although it's true that Calgary does incorporate your graduate degree into your GPA calculation, it's nothing to get excited about.  They include every 24 credit/year in their calculation, and if you completed more then two years they'll drop your lowest year.  However, if you completed a graduate degree they'll replace your lowest year with your graduate GPA.  That difference isn't going to help you unless your GPA is 'almost at the cut-off' already.

 

Queen's and UofT are the only other schools that come to mind that really benefit a student with a graduate degree.

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DarkGhost,

 

Yes you're correct about that. UofT and Queen's look at grad degree holders in a different way than undergrads - we are assessed in a different pool.

 

For UofT, if you are a grad applicant, you need a 3.0/4/0 in undergrad and a minimum of 9 on all MCAT sections to make the first cut, and then they focus much more on research accomplishments, essays, references and biographical sketch. It's unclear how much weight they put on each of the supplementary materials, but I get the sense that they look at grad applicants more holistically than they do undergrad applicants.

 

For Queen's, if you are a grad applicant and you don't make the undergrad GPA cut but you do make the MCAT cut (which they don't publish) then you get a separate file review, which again is much more holistic. It's unclear how they prioritize everything in this separate review, but it would make sense that they look at your success as a graduate student both in terms of grades and research productivity, references and such. 

 

Here is the link for Queen's: http://meds.queensu.ca/education/undergraduate/prospective_students/graduate_students

 

The way I see it, it's much better to do a graduate degree rather than a second undergraduate degree, for several reasons: 1) I think that as a person, you will develop much more as a graduate student than you will as a returning undergrad student... I can speak from experience and say that my master's has definitely allowed me to grow academically and personally. I feel much more mature and prepared for med school than I ever was before, 2) I think that getting a graduate degree allows you to advance further in life than a second undergrad does, so even if medicine doesn't work out it's good to have the master's degree, and 3) I think med school application committees prefer to see you challenge yourself than do the same thing over again. A graduate degree takes a lot of discipline and passion to do well in.

 

Really, bottom line is you need to do what you love and work your butt off - med schools will be able to see that. Make yourself stand out by being who you are! We are all unique, no question about it. It's about finding what you love and harnessing it, letting yourself shine.  

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