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Anyone Out There Who Had To Apply More Than Once Who Can Offer Advice?


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So, with the release of our GPAs from ORPAS, I can't help but face the reality that my chances of getting in this year are extremely small. This is devastating news for someone who has already taken an extra part-time year to raise their average. I was wondering if anyone on these boards who was in this position at some time could offer some advice on how to proceed or at least some motivating words?
My plan is to do a post-bac (even for just a semester) to erase my nasty 3rd year that is bringing my average down, and possibly take a few prerequisites to allow myself to apply to American schools as well. Any other advice? I'm in a bit of a panic because one of the professors that wrote me a letter this year won't be available next year, along with other complications of applying again. 

Thank you!

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I am actually in a similar situation due to a bad semester in my 3rd year that was not in my last 60 credits, yet was calculated as part of my subGPA. When the bad semester happened, I actually took an additional 20 credits in order to make sure that the semester wasn't in my last 60 credits not realizing that they would just take the average of the whole year rather then just a semester. My plan for next year, if I don't get in this year is to take a summer semester and a fall semester as part of a post-bacc in order to remove my 3rd year from my subGPA. In that time I am going to try and find a new academic reference as I don't want to bother the ones I used this year again. Although it will be extremely disappointing if I don't get in this year I have to remember that a lot of people don't get in their first time, in fact I have only spoken to one person who got in their first try and she had a 4.0. If this is what you really want it will eventually be worth it plus you will have a better understanding of the application process for next year.

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Thank you, Brody. I appreciate the response. Generally the same thing happened to me too - the fact that they averaged the entire year kind of killed my average. Looks like we have a similar plan, too. 
It's kind of comforting to know that I am not alone. Good luck with your coming year, and maybe we can hope that this year is a little nicer with its cutoffs?
Thanks again.

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OT_OneDay, I thought you had mentioned in a previous thread it had dropped about 0.03? That's not too bad! Don't give up hope :)

It had dropped .3, yeah. It is just very discouraging to see the GPAs of the people on the accepted/waitlisted/rejected forums from last year, as I thought I could compete, but now I am not even close. If the cutoffs are anything how they were last year, I highly doubt I have a chance at this point :( 

 

I appreciate your optimism though! 

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It had dropped .3, yeah. It is just very discouraging to see the GPAs of the people on the accepted/waitlisted/rejected forums from last year, as I thought I could compete, but now I am not even close. If the cutoffs are anything how they were last year, I highly doubt I have a chance at this point :( 

 

I appreciate your optimism though! 

I totally agree- it is discouraging, but don't forget that there are about a thousand applicants and only a handful of those people post here! Also, over the past two years the cutoff levelled out just a bit. It only went up by 0.01-0.02 during that time. Let's keep our fingers crossed that that pattern continues :)

 

As for the actual advice (LOL) I've seen many people recommend doing Athabasca courses (online) to bring grades up! And don't worry too much about references. One of my references, I only just met this year in a class but we established a good rapport with me occasionally emailing her to ask questions about course content, participation, etc. I'm sure you could find another one -- just email, email, email and if you can, start as early as possible. Even taking some summer courses could open these doors for you -- smaller classes mean more contact with a prof and also an earlier start to getting to know them :)

 

And remember that there are some Canadian schools that look at ECs with lower GPAs!

 

I wouldn't write it completely off, but I also think it's good that you're already preparing. If you think about it, there's less than a year to make some boosts to applications and when you think about what you can fit in that timeframe as a plan it doesn't seem as long!

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So, with the release of our GPAs from ORPAS, I can't help but face the reality that my chances of getting in this year are extremely small. This is devastating news for someone who has already taken an extra part-time year to raise their average. I was wondering if anyone on these boards who was in this position at some time could offer some advice on how to proceed or at least some motivating words?

My plan is to do a post-bac (even for just a semester) to erase my nasty 3rd year that is bringing my average down, and possibly take a few prerequisites to allow myself to apply to American schools as well. Any other advice? I'm in a bit of a panic because one of the professors that wrote me a letter this year won't be available next year, along with other complications of applying again. 

 

Thank you!

 

Just chiming in from a similar situation. I failed a physics course in my third year, retook it in my fourth year (passed with a 59), and now am in my fifth year but doing full time status, working to a completely new joint major. If I would offer any advice for people thinking about taking another year it would be this:

  • Calculate your grades and realistically look at if the amount of courses you plan on taking are enough. So, for instance, I originally thought I would need 3 courses to boost my subGPA. Then I realized once you get into incomplete years they take your last full year, and then to make up the weighted grade difference they average from the 2nd last year to reach 20 credits (in my case it would have been my pretty bad 3rd year average of 3.1). I ended up taking a full course load because I needed a lot of credits to counter that poor score - and I still don't think my grades are good enough. See example below.
  • j9zOiqz.png
  • Along that line, I wish I had taken summer school last year to get a full course load before this fall semester. Because even though I'm in class right now, these winter semester grades won't be used on my ORPAS transcript, only the classes completed before January will be used for the calculation. 
  • Do not retake courses that you will not do well on the second time around. I made that mistake in my fourth year by retaking that failed Physics class. I was all "it'll show determination that I finally pass the class!" - No, just concentrate on getting good grades. If you think that you will not get a good grade by retaking a class, do not risk it. Physics is my big weakness and I let the F get to my ego and wanted to pass it, not considering that a barely pass does not help my GPA. 
  • Also, if you're spending another year out of grad school, concentrate on boosting your application extra circulars if you can, without harming your GPA. You may have helped with a hockey team the year before but in another year when you re-apply to grad school, it may look outdated and to prevent that from happening, keep volunteering. Get more experience with different populations, in different settings, and shadow an OT (or several more if possible) to really get a look at if this is what you truly want.
  • Prof/reference leaving the next year so you're worried about applying that year? Get to know a new prof with that extra year you have! That may be done through taking a smaller upper year course in your degree that you didn't have time for the last year, take a small seminar course lead by the prof, visiting a prof's office hours a few times during the next year, volunteering/getting a job in prof's lab the next year, do a thesis(!! big time requirement, maybe just look into a research practicum, reading course, or internship). It can be done, it just requires a bit of effort.
  • Back to the grades thing: take courses that interest you and you know you can do well in. For instance, I could have focused on neuropsychology courses I haven't taken yet but are in my degree. Notoriously hard, does not really interest me as I'm more of a holistic, social and cognitive psychology kind of girl. Instead a friend recommended to me a design course in the computer science department, and because I fiddle with Photoshop for fun/took it in high school, I aced that computer class.
  • Research more into the application process, read through this forum in depth. Look for good blogs (gottabeot, otsweetpea, otstudent) on the process, learn tips on how to do better on the essays and next year's application. Write these tips down in a file somewhere for next year's application process. For instance, I have MMI stuff saved away. Knowledge is power.
  • Finally, the attitude and motivation stuff. I too felt screwed over by the ORPAS standards. Guess what? I will not be complaining about this or dwelling on this - that is just time wasted that could be used to boost my future GPA and OT school application. You cannot change the past, your past grades, or the ORPAS conversion system. You have to accept those things and how you react to this adversity, or challenge, is what defines you. Let it define you by studying that much more in the future, to edit your papers so you hit 85 instead of 84, and by not whining about how the system screwed you over. I'm sorry if this is a tad harsh, I understand the original shock/need to vent/comfort in others also struggling with the same issue but at this point in this application process (February) it's should be a well known occurrence to lose a bit of your GPA to the scale. By thinking about upgrading though you're moving the right way forward. 
  • No one can make you want this goal of getting into grad school, only you can decide if it's worth the extra time, effort, and perhaps money if you are looking into academic upgrading. I know personally though if I looked back 20 years from now and I was in my plan b career, if I looked back and didn't put in the extra year's worth of energy, I would always wonder what would have happened if I tried harder. In the mean time it helps to visualize how small of a portion just one more year's worth of effort is compared to the 22 years I've already lived. We're always in such a rush to grow up but really it's fine to take it a little slower! Focus on how awesome it is to sleep in as a student the odd time, how you have so much freedom for activities, and the good in your current life (ex. time with friends) instead of lamenting about how awesome it will be to be an OT in 5 years with a steady job and helping someone day to day. Look at everything as an opportunity to get closer to your goal. Hate your part-time customer service/retail job? Think of as a chance to work on interpersonal skills!
  • I will always believe that looking for motivation is useless. No one can make you work your butt off to get into grad school. Instead, it is about self-discipline. Discipline beats motivation when motivation quits. Another spin from Miracle (2003), the legs feed the wolf. The wolf would never eat if it didn't put in the effort in and use it's legs; it takes hard work to get the goal. When you're opening up Facebook for the 7th time 15 minutes, do not wish you had the motivation to do that dull reading. Instead, actually put in that effort and get shit done. Day after day put in that work. Be the person who does a bit of homework on the weekend but still balances a social life and other obligations. If you need a little help quitting Facebook/**DELETED**/Twitter, look into Stayfocused or similar browser extensions and delete the useless apps. Get a day planner if you find organization is your problem, put it all your assignments on a calendar so you can see them coming. Make daily to do lists, I really recommend the Chrome extension Momentum for that. 

Hope that helps somewhat. I have a lot feelings about this subject haha.

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HopefulOT, thank you for the post, I really appreciate it. Much of what you said, motivation wise, and whatnot, is similar to my own philosophy on determination and working hard. While I'm doing much better today, yesterday came as a shock (I had been working out what to get in each course, etc for the last 2 years and turns out this entire time I was calculating GPA incorrectly), and I felt that those philosophies of doing something (and successfully bringing up my average a substantial amount) had failed me. 

I appreciate the advice, and I have been looking into how many courses/what I need to achieve in them/ where to go for my post-bac that will give me the best chance, etc. I have quite a bit of volunteering and shadowing experience directly in OT, so I can keep up with that hopefully. I am also looking into international schools that still have open applications right now to use as a solid plan B. And then if nothing works, I still have my plan C. 

Again, thank you.

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HopefulOT, thank you for the post, I really appreciate it. Much of what you said, motivation wise, and whatnot, is similar to my own philosophy on determination and working hard. While I'm doing much better today, yesterday came as a shock (I had been working out what to get in each course, etc for the last 2 years and turns out this entire time I was calculating GPA incorrectly), and I felt that those philosophies of doing something (and successfully bringing up my average a substantial amount) had failed me. 

 

I appreciate the advice, and I have been looking into how many courses/what I need to achieve in them/ where to go for my post-bac that will give me the best chance, etc. I have quite a bit of volunteering and shadowing experience directly in OT, so I can keep up with that hopefully. I am also looking into international schools that still have open applications right now to use as a solid plan B. And then if nothing works, I still have my plan C. 

 

Again, thank you.

 

No problem, seriously, and sorry if I came off a tad harsh at all. I'm a bit of tough love believer but I do completely understand what you're going through. After my exhaustive calculations, I have an ORPAS cGPA way lower than I even expected with all my calculations. It was just posted today and you can imagine my feelings when I saw that my cGPA is below 3.0 and the only school I bothered applying to was Queen's, who basically says they only want a cGPA of 3.0 or higher. Same boat! We just have to keep our heads up and give it our all. 

 

Sounds like you are on the right track though and you have a level head. I really hope you achieve your goal and all the best in the future! Always here for support so keep questions rolling if you have them or even PM me if you need to vent one day because you're tired of being 22 year old in class with 18 year old people like I some times feel (or for some other reason).

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No problem, seriously, and sorry if I came off a tad harsh at all. I'm a bit of tough love believer but I do completely understand what you're going through. After my exhaustive calculations, I have an ORPAS cGPA way lower than I even expected with all my calculations. It was just posted today and you can imagine my feelings when I saw that my cGPA is below 3.0 and the only school I bothered applying to was Queen's, who basically says they only want a cGPA of 3.0 or higher. Same boat! We just have to keep our heads up and give it our all. 

 

Sounds like you are on the right track though and you have a level head. I really hope you achieve your goal and all the best in the future! Always here for support so keep questions rolling if you have them or even PM me if you need to vent one day because you're tired of being 22 year old in class with 18 year old people like I some times feel (or for some other reason).

Thank you! And I get what you mean - I'm 23 and in my 5th year. We definitely seem to be in the same boat. I appreciate the help though, and I wish all the best for you!

 

If we want it, we'll get it! It just may take a bit longer than we thought! Good luck!

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I'm sorry, I know this has probably been asked many times...but how do you calculate the subGPA then?

 

This is my first time appying. I'm planning to take a few courses this year to boost my GPA; will they only count grades if they are from a full course semester (4-5 courses) or do they also count the semesters when I took only less than 3 courses? Also what does this averaging to make up the 20 credits mean?

 

Thanks in advance!

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I'm sorry, I know this has probably been asked many times...but how do you calculate the subGPA then?

 

This is my first time appying. I'm planning to take a few courses this year to boost my GPA; will they only count grades if they are from a full course semester (4-5 courses) or do they also count the semesters when I took only less than 3 courses? Also what does this averaging to make up the 20 credits mean?

 

Thanks in advance!

Hey, don't apologize for asking - it's a stressful time and no matter how many times it is explained, we all like to hear it explained again, I'm sure. 

 

If you applied through ORPAS, your sGPA and cGPA will have been calculated for you. If you log in to ORPAS, it will take you to a page of links of options - click on the one that says "You should review your current application data on file with ORPAS" and then scroll down to the calculation charts. 

 

They definitely count all courses going back to make the 20 credits. Part time, full time, summer, etc. The way ORPAS does this is by converting each individual grade (which is where they got me and my GPA went down) and then averaging the converted grades. The averaging that we were all discussing above happens when you can count back a few courses, but then only need to take part of one year to make up the full 20 credits. Instead of taking the individual courses of that year, ORPAS will average out the year, and then use that average as the grade for the remaining number of credits. 

 

So, for example, ORPAS used the individual converted grades of 11 of my courses (starting with Fall 2014 grades), but then only required 9/10 of my grades from my 3rd year to make the full 20 credits. So they averaged my entire 3rd year and used that avg 9 times. 

 

Hope this helps! Good luck!!!

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Thank you! And I get what you mean - I'm 23 and in my 5th year. We definitely seem to be in the same boat. I appreciate the help though, and I wish all the best for you!

 

If we want it, we'll get it! It just may take a bit longer than we thought! Good luck!

Can't help smiling when I saw your words. You are so young and the whole world is beyond you. I am almost a decade older than you and now try to get back to school to start a new career for the second time. Honestly speaking, it is not easy, especially when there is so much at stake. What you said is upbeat and inspiring, which gives me some strength to hold on. Thank you and good luck! 

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