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Previous Illness Affecting Full-Time Status

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Hi there,


I am currently in 2nd year (Life Sciences), hoping to do my first round of medical school applications in my fourth year. In first year, I took a full course load, and I intend on taking a full course load in third and fourth year as well.

I have been living with a severe illness for my whole life. I am not registered with any disability offices or anything, because I am usually able to maintain a normal work load. However, this past year my health took a turn for the worse (many hospital visits, multiple surgeries, many missed days of school etc.) so I took only 4 courses per semester for my 2nd year. I am back to "normal" now and will be able to resume full-time status in my next 2 years of school. I am taking a full year's credit course over the summer to make up for lost credits.


I have heard that not taking 5 courses per semester for the duration of your undergraduate degree is a huge disadvantage in your applications. Is there any way to get around this without being a registered disability student? I would really appreciate any advice on this!


ps. I'm not sure if it's really relevant to this issue, but my cum. GPA is currently a 3.9 and I have maintained 3 ECs with fairly heavy time commitments. 



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The short answer is that it depends on the school to which you're applying. I'm not sure where you intend to put forth an application, but I would suggest checking out the courseload requirements at each institution. For example, your situation will not affect an application to UofC or McMaster. However, you wouldn't qualify for the weighting formula at UofT and the 9-course year wouldn't be eligible to be utilized at Western or Queen's for their best-two-years formulae. If the illness is serious, perhaps special accommodation could be granted, but that's something you would have to investigate with each institution.

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You can sometimes apply for special consideration and I think they'd just care about the documentation from your physicians and not whether you're registered with your disability office.  Though, honestly, I really feel that everyone with a disability would do well to register even if you never need them.

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