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I had a 10-10-12 (32) on my first MCAT and the second one was 13-9-12 (34). On the website for Queen's it says they will look at my best MCAT, which is my second MCAT. But it doesn't meet their VR cutoffs... :( Does anyone know if they would look at the first one then if this doesn't meet the cutoffs?

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Just in case anyone is wondering, I called queens and they said they only look at highest MCAT and if you dont meet their 'cutoffs' your file isn't looked at. Don't you think it is weird how they don't even disclose the cut offs for last year? They just want evenryone to apply and waste money...

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Just in case anyone is wondering, I called queens and they said they only look at highest MCAT and if you dont meet their 'cutoffs' your file isn't looked at. Don't you think it is weird how they don't even disclose the cut offs for last year? They just want evenryone to apply and waste money...

 

THIS. Analogous to UofT having a cutoff of 3.60 for undergrads and 3.0 for grads. 

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They don't disclose the cutoffs because they change from year to year, based on the pool of applicants that apply. Look at Western, people don't apply anymore with a low Verbal score which puses up the cutoff for that section and others. But this is why we here on the forum try to keep track of it each year for the subsequent applicants, so that you know whether or not you have a realistic shot of getting an file review.

 

For the MCAT, I'm not actually sure which they would look at. Whether better is the overall score or the score that would allow you to pass on all the cutoffs.

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I understand how frustrating it is for them not to disclose the cutoffs for the MCAT, by I actually think it makes sense. If they were to disclose the cutoffs, people wouldn't apply or would be less likely to apply if they did not make the previous years cutoff. This would limit their pool of applicants and would make it very hard for them to lower the cutoff since everyone who had not made the cutoff did not apply. 

 

For example, look at the amount of people who apply to western compared to other schools? People assume they will not make the cutoff based on previous years (there is also less applicants because people cannot apply from third year).

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I understand how frustrating it is for them not to disclose the cutoffs for the MCAT, by I actually think it makes sense. If they were to disclose the cutoffs, people wouldn't apply or would be less likely to apply if they did not make the previous years cutoff. This would limit their pool of applicants and would make it very hard for them to lower the cutoff since everyone who had not made the cutoff did not apply. 

 

For example, look at the amount of people who apply to western compared to other schools? People assume they will not make the cutoff based on previous years (there is also less applicants because people cannot apply from third year).

 

I don't think publishing hard cutoffs and providing students with some information about previous cycles is necessarily the same thing.

 

While I agree that having strict cutoffs posted may not be advisable (although I think this is saving a lot of grief for students who are throwing away their money applying to Queens simply because they don't have GPA/MCAT cutoffs), this is up to the discretion of the adcom and their emphasis on the MCAT. Even though applications to Western are lower, that school has one of the most honest MCAT policies - they publish those stats because they are only interested in interviewing candidates who are able to get those MCAT scores.

 

Posting stats from previous years (like UofT does) and an increased emphasis on transparency is important. The reality is, average MCAT scores are increasing - what may have been considered average 15 years ago is no longer the average score now (the same is the case for GPA). As such, previous pools of accepted applicants provide a good indicator of what students should expect from their application. After all, pm101 members are constantly trying to predict and answer the "what is competitive now?"question. Interestingly, we have managed to "create" cutoffs for Queens med in pm101 - so of course patterns exist in adcom decisions. 

 

As for limiting their pool of applicants, the adcom is already actively trying to do that when they decide that your file is not going to be looked at based on your GPA/MCAT score. If then, GPA/MCAT score is a determinant of full-file review, more concerted efforts should be placed on providing resources for unsuccessful/future applicants as opposed to saying there are no cutoffs, when in fact, cutoffs exist. I may be being cynical, but a part of me still echoes the sentiment that they just want more people to apply and waste money - I don't see a realistic alternative to why Queens is the only school in Ontario that doesn't publish/release any information about past application cycles. 

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I don't think publishing hard cutoffs and providing students with some information about previous cycles is necessarily the same thing.

 

While I agree that having strict cutoffs posted may not be advisable (although I think this is saving a lot of grief for students who are throwing away their money applying to Queens simply because they don't have GPA/MCAT cutoffs), this is up to the discretion of the adcom and their emphasis on the MCAT. Even though applications to Western are lower, that school has one of the most honest MCAT policies - they publish those stats because they are only interested in interviewing candidates who are able to get those MCAT scores.

 

Posting stats from previous years (like UofT does) and an increased emphasis on transparency is important. The reality is, average MCAT scores are increasing - what may have been considered average 15 years ago is no longer the average score now (the same is the case for GPA). As such, previous pools of accepted applicants provide a good indicator of what students should expect from their application. After all, pm101 members are constantly trying to predict and answer the "what is competitive now?"question. Interestingly, we have managed to "create" cutoffs for Queens med in pm101 - so of course patterns exist in adcom decisions. 

 

As for limiting their pool of applicants, the adcom is already actively trying to do that when they decide that your file is not going to be looked at based on your GPA/MCAT score. If then, GPA/MCAT score is a determinant of full-file review, more concerted efforts should be placed on providing resources for unsuccessful/future applicants as opposed to saying there are no cutoffs, when in fact, cutoffs exist. I may be being cynical, but a part of me still echoes the sentiment that they just want more people to apply and waste money - I don't see a realistic alternative to why Queens is the only school in Ontario that doesn't publish/release any information about past application cycles.

 

I agree with your post that they should be more transparent and at least disclose past averages for the entering class. I am not sure why they do not do this.

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I will say all this can work in the reverse - there were a time when the GPA cut off for Western was 3.75 for instance. A whole lot of people didn't bother to apply as it was too high from the prior year. Then the DROPPED the cut off to 3.7. That wasn't pretty.

 

It is useful to have some idea of what it is (which I guess we do) and beyond that it doesn't matter much.

 

The other reason people don't want to release things is just that is causes a huge admin headache when the rules change. You would be amazed on how much the offices get called when things are updated after the fact. Schools don't like revealing too many secrets as it doesn't help them to do so, and actually makes their job harder.

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It's also possible that there is no hard and fast cutoff - We seem to think it's a 10VR + 32 Amalgamated, but it's possible someone with great extracurriculars, 9 VR and 35 Amalgamated still got accepted.

Not publishing that kind of data allows for freedom to make those kind of "executive decisions" though they really are special cases and we seem to have a decent idea about the general trend.

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It's also possible that there is no hard and fast cutoff - We seem to think it's a 10VR + 32 Amalgamated, but it's possible someone with great extracurriculars, 9 VR and 35 Amalgamated still got accepted.

 

Not publishing that kind of data allows for freedom to make those kind of "executive decisions" though they really are special cases and we seem to have a decent idea about the general trend.

 

That's completely possible. Nevertheless, I believe information on past application cycles is still useful for students to predict their own success. UofT does the same thing, publishing their information every year, but their GPA cutoffs remain very low. This allows for making those "executive decisions" (assuming those GPA cutoffs actually hold ground). 

 

Publishing information online is especially important if GPA/MCAT score is in fact a determining factor for full-file review and an assessment of those great ECs. Great ECs aren't going to help if your file is tossed out without a second look based on MCAT score/GPA. This is clearly the case for Queen's med who consider applications in sequential steps: http://meds.queensu.ca/education/undergraduate/prospective_students/frequently_asked_questions

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Not publishing that kind of data allows for freedom to make those kind of "executive decisions" though they really are special cases and we seem to have a decent idea about the general trend.

The downside to this is that "executive decisions" allow for unfairness and corruption. I totally get the argument that people below the cutoff would not apply though.

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The downside to this is that "executive decisions" allow for unfairness and corruption. I totally get the argument that people below the cutoff would not apply though.

 

Well that's a bit harsh, no? I agree that it would be nice if there was a bit more transparency in the process, particularly at Queen's, but it's not like they have some sort of obligation to their applicants. Perhaps it's unfair, but I don't see how it's corrupt. I mean, they reserve the right to conduct their selection process however they see fit, even if it means changing it without us ever knowing. It sucks, but such is life :(

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The downside to this is that "executive decisions" allow for unfairness and corruption. I totally get the argument that people below the cutoff would not apply though.

 

I couldn't disagree more. If the entire process revolved around GPA and MCAT cutoffs alone, and such executive decisions were never made, then that to me, would be a system rife with unfairness and corruption. Furthermore, publishing enough information would allow some applicants, particularly those with substantial resources, to game the system.

 

High GPA and High MCAT scores are strongly correlated to those with vast amounts of resources, and while the system is getting better, it largely remains a profession dominated by those who are financially privileged in the first place. If strength of character can be shown in ways besides raw numerical data, then I feel this should be taken into account...even if the vast majority of applicants would be furious/interpret this as unfairness.

 

Now of course I cannot say with absolute certainty that favouritism has never been a factor... but I don't think it's right to automatically default to that assumption. Given your response is not unique and many pre-meds would respond the exact way you have, I'd probably keep my selection criteria a secret too, if I were in their shoes.

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I couldn't disagree more. If the entire process revolved around GPA and MCAT cutoffs alone, and such executive decisions were never made, then that to me, would be a system rife with unfairness and corruption. Furthermore, publishing enough information would allow some applicants, particularly those with substantial resources, to game the system.

 

High GPA and High MCAT scores are strongly correlated to those with vast amounts of resources, and while the system is getting better, it largely remains a profession dominated by those who are financially privileged in the first place. If strength of character can be shown in ways besides raw numerical data, then I feel this should be taken into account...even if the vast majority of applicants would be furious/interpret this as unfairness.

 

Now of course I cannot say with absolute certainty that favouritism has never been a factor... but I don't think it's right to automatically default to that assumption. Given your response is not unique and many pre-meds would respond the exact way you have, I'd probably keep my selection criteria a secret too, if I were in their shoes.

 

The availability of extracurricular positions is also correlated with the socioeconomic status of the applicant. Richer individuals or those from richer places will have more opportunities and a richer ABS. 

 

Every step of the application process is made easier if you are well-off, GPA, MCAT and ABS . 

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The availability of extracurricular positions is also correlated with the socioeconomic status of the applicant. Richer individuals or those from richer places will have more opportunities and a richer ABS. 

 

Every step of the application process is made easier if you are well-off, GPA, MCAT and ABS . 

 

Not to mention, the application cost itself tends to limit one's options...

 

I think the ABS content is a bit debatable. It's certainly true that the wealthy can have better access to organized, costly ventures (studying abroad, or volunteering in a third world country for example), but there is a paradigm shift of the med school application process in progress. Most (possibly all) Ontario schools have a clause that says something to the effect that "unorganized" activities have every right to be in your ABS, and that medical related or international experiences are not always necessary. Schools tend to be moving away from accepting the "cookie-cutter pre-med."

 

I think if you're not well off, you can still have a great ABS, in fact if I may be so bold, perhaps even a superior ABS... you just have to look for opportunities in your local community that don't cost anything besides your time. In fact for some schools, this specific quality is seen as virtuous.

 

---------------

 

In either case, I'm not trying to argue that it's easier for the ABS content specifically, or anything to that effect. I'm simply saying any attempts they make to holistically assess an applicant and make decisions at their discretion because they notice something out of the ordinary, is a good thing. Yes it may be more difficult for impoverished applicants (which I'm only using as an example) in all areas (GPA/MCAT/ABS), but it's even more difficult to have all three above a threshold simultaneously. That's why I feel some leeway is helpful (from the adcom's perspective).

 

Case 1: Disadvantaged applicant excels at GPA and/or MCAT, but has a bad ABS - in this case the process is already virtually as favourable as it will get.

 

Case 2: Disadvantaged applicant has poor GPA and/or MCAT but phenomenal ABS (which anecdotally, is the more likely scenario) - in this case, some leeway is helpful for disadvantaged applicants, as many schools will not even look at their ABS before automatic rejection.

 

(Note that I'm still saying applicants should be exceptional, just that some leniency is in order in certain cases).

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It's also possible that there is no hard and fast cutoff - We seem to think it's a 10VR + 32 Amalgamated, but it's possible someone with great extracurriculars, 9 VR and 35 Amalgamated still got accepted.

 

Not publishing that kind of data allows for freedom to make those kind of "executive decisions" though they really are special cases and we seem to have a decent idea about the general trend.

 

But they don't even look at your file if you don't meet their GPA and MCAT cut offs. I called them and I was told there is a cutoff and if I don't meet that they will just filter me out before file review.

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My logic so far in this topic:

 

1) Queens has a reason for not publicizing data, and I don't know what it is.

2) I hope/hypothesize that it is in order to make "executive decisions"

3) I feel we should give the benefit of the doubt regarding the motives if it isin fact for the purpose of making executive decisions. We shouldn't default to the worst case scenario, ie corruption.

4) Disadvantaged applicants deserve special consideration

 

They may or may not receive it, but it seems as though schools are taking a step in the right direction.

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My logic so far in this topic:

1) Queens has a reason for not publicizing data, and I don't know what it is.

2) I hope/hypothesize that it is in order to make "executive decisions"

3) I feel we should give the benefit of the doubt regarding the motives if it isin fact for the purpose of making executive decisions. We shouldn't default to the worst case scenario, ie corruption.

4) Disadvantaged applicants deserve special consideration

They may or may not receive it, but it seems as though schools are taking a step in the right direction.

These schools are always trying to be fair within very limited resources - they spend a lot of time on this, and it is hard work.

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The availability of extracurricular positions is also correlated with the socioeconomic status of the applicant. Richer individuals or those from richer places will have more opportunities and a richer ABS. 

 

Every step of the application process is made easier if you are well-off, GPA, MCAT and ABS . 

 

I agree. For example, someone who has to pay for their schooling, or has people depending on them, may need to work during the semester and therefore will not have the luxury to volunteer their time.

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Don't get me wrong I'm not accusing anybody of anything. I Just said that it allows for it to happen. Also, let me correct myself. Just because something is not transparent, it doesn't mean its unfair. You can have at the same time the most opaque process being the most fair. You can also have the most unfair process being the most transparent. 

 

I'm just saying transparency promotes fairness more than opaqueness.

 

Also, while there may be no legal basis for any school to reveal anything about admission procedures, it is in their interest to do so because it's good for their public image because applicants value transparency.

 

You can also make "executive decisions" even if you have a transparent process. Take U of C for example. Transparency is not a prerequisite for valuing EC's over pure numerical scores.

 

Sorry if I offended anyone if you interpreted me saying that Queen's is a corrupt school. Because that is not what I meant.

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Not to mention, the application cost itself tends to limit one's options...

 

I think the ABS content is a bit debatable. It's certainly true that the wealthy can have better access to organized, costly ventures (studying abroad, or volunteering in a third world country for example), but there is a paradigm shift of the med school application process in progress. Most (possibly all) Ontario schools have a clause that says something to the effect that "unorganized" activities have every right to be in your ABS, and that medical related or international experiences are not always necessary. Schools tend to be moving away from accepting the "cookie-cutter pre-med."

 

 Oh yes, I agree for sure. 

 

What I mean though is not necessarily the "quality" of the activities themselves, but simply having the time to do them. Being in an environment that promotes you doing them (i.e. successful parents/siblings who set great examples). Having parents who have the time in your youth to take you skill-building activities, like piano lessons. The absence of stress from issues like poverty, mental illness, etc that can promote balanced life styles. 

 

Of course, not every well-off person can be described this way. I only speak in likelihoods... 

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