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Competition Extra Stiff This Year?


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I'm wondering if this happened to anyone else. For others who were rejected pre-mmi, your scores are now available on ucan!

 

I was checking, and my pre-mmi score is 8 percentile points HIGHER than my score last year. However, last year I actually got an interview, so they must be keeping those interviewed to a pretty high standard this year!

 

Anyone else in the same boat? Kinda discouraging knowing that even though I did better overall, I still didn't make the cut I made previously.

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It seems to be the same at U of A. I was interviewed and waitlisted last year, but this year I didn't even receive an interview. There are other people on this forum in the same boat unfortunately. 

 

I know that it was addressed by Dr. Walker in the U of C admissions blog. U of A doesn't have anything similar, so I e-mailed the faculty to inquire. They wouldn't give me application numbers, but just said that the "application pool changes every year."

 

I hope that you (and others in the same situation) have better luck next year.  :)

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I don't even know what to say... Frustrated may be putting it lightly. Most of my scores went down by 20-66 percentiles, with a pretty similar application. Last year, I scored in the 94th percentile for Commitment to Communities / Advocacy and this year I scored in the 28th percentile. I find this frustrating as I used the same referee (same reference letter), PLUS added more work and experience in  community/advocacy (HIV awareness campaign and a board member for a national park), and a full-time job in health care where health promotion is a huge part of my job. This is only one example of where my application scores were wayyyyyy different than last years (and all in the wrong direction). I had 4 current U of C med students and a 5th year resident who has been a part of the selection process review my app.

 

At this point, it has never been more apparent to me that getting into U of C is more of a lottery than it is a fair application process. 

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I don't even know what to say... Frustrated may be putting it lightly. Most of my scores went down by 20-66 percentiles, with a pretty similar application. Last year, I scored in the 94th percentile for Commitment to Communities / Advocacy and this year I scored in the 28th percentile. I find this frustrating as I used the same referee (same reference letter), PLUS added more work and experience in community/advocacy (HIV awareness campaign and a board member for a national park), and a full-time job in health care where health promotion is a huge part of my job. This is only one example of where my application scores were wayyyyyy different than last years (and all in the wrong direction). I had 4 current U of C med students and a 5th year resident who has been a part of the selection process review my app.

 

At this point, it has never been more apparent to me that getting into U of C is more of a lottery than it is a fair application process.

That is really frustrating. I think though, the variability is the trade off for having such a huge focus on ECs (and therefore giving people with low GPAs and MCATs a chance). The only way to fix it would be to have way more reviewers for each file, which isn't possible unless they were to first cut the application pool via gpa/MCAT cutoffs. So it's a viscious circle. The limitations of the system mean that yes, there's definitely an element of luck involved. Especially for those in the middle of the pact. I think doctor Walker spoke really well about that on his blog, when he mentioned that getting in should be thought of as a multi year process, because things like this do happen.

 

That said, I'm really sorry this happened to you.

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I am also curious as to why people who interviewed last year did not get an interview this year. The only reason I can think of is the number on new applicants. From what I recall, Dr. Walker posted on his blog that there were ~185 new, completed applications this year. I met quite a few strong interviewees this year who were interviewing for the first time - around 10 were sitting at a table with me on interview day. I was also a first-time interviewee. Other than the large number of successful new applicants this year, I can't really point my finger on the reason behind the variability of scores. That being said, I'm really sorry to hear that this has happened to some of you. This information scares me because I will likely have to re-apply for the next cycle (bad interview lol). As Dr. Walker and amichael have said, to reduce variability of scores they would need to increase the number of file reviewers, meaning extra time and resources are needed. In order to reduce costs, workload, and time, they would have to introduce a higher minimum/cut-off for GPAs and/or MCATs. This would affect applicants with weaker academic scores, which I'm assuming is usually the case for non-traditional applicants such as myself.

If anyone who did not get an interview this year would like to compare their ECs with mine, don't hesitate to message me. I don't know if that's gonna help anyone, but I'm just putting it out there.

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It's such a tough process and I definitely feel for those of you cut pre-MMI. Especially those of you that were rejected from schools, like Friendly Magpie, who were so close to acceptance the previous year. I'm not sure what the answer is regarding the score variation. I feel like if you were to submit applications each year for 10 years, you would probably start to see your scores floating around a median value. I remember my scores last year felt low in many areas as well. I suppose this year I got luckier, but also worked hard on my weak areas and my writing style to speak to specific elements that the school values. I found that it's less about the specific task you're doing and more about how that task relates to the qualities assessors are looking for when they're reading our files.

 

I think that admissions releasing of pre-MMI scores so early in the year is a huge bonus for those people who applied this year, but weren't successful. It was hard to learn from mistakes previously with pre-MMI scores released much later in the year and if you compare UofC to really any other school in Canada, I think you'll see how much less of a mystery Calgary really is. I really do think that the Cumming School of Medicine admissions team works hard to give more power and transparency to applicants and genuinely puts in effort to make the process fair and with open dialogue.

 

Perhaps I'll find myself in the previous posters' frustrating situation next year if I am unsuccessful following interview assessments this year.... I hope you both continue to grow and have better luck next year. It's so difficult in Canada.

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I hear the frustrations and I firmly believe (no inside word for either UofA or UofC) that every year it is getting tougher to get an interview. That said, every time you apply it is a new year, and you're evaluated against the group that apply in that cycle.

 

FWIW, first time I applied I interviewed at U of A and U of C, got waitlisted at both, and didn't get in. Next year, I got interviewed and waitlisted at U of A with U of C rejection pre-MMI. Didn't get in.  The third year I got interviewed and into U of C but was rejected pre-MMI by U of A.

 

Also, my pre-MMI scores for Calgary were fairly strong, then dropped precipitiously, then surpassed the scores of the first year when I got it. It isn't a perfect process but it is the best they've got. The admissions committee constantly revisits how to make it as fair as possible but it will always have an element of subjectivity that may or may not favour you.  Accept it. It's life.

 

Just wanted to shed some perspective from someone who's been there, eventually got in, and is now on the resident side! :)

best,

LL

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Honestly, if you're willing to do whatever it takes, I would recommend doing a MSc at U of C and then applying through LIM. Tons of those guys get in.

 

Ian Walker claims that Leaders in Medicine applicants don't get any special treatment. If it is the case that tons of LIM people get it, it might be due to some confounding variable (e.g. because having an MSc by itself is viewed as really good, etc.).

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Honestly, if you're willing to do whatever it takes, I would recommend doing a MSc at U of C and then applying through LIM. Tons of those guys get in.

 

Just wanted to clarify something about LIM.. You cannot join LIM unless you've been accepted into both a post-grad program (ie: MSc/PhD/MBA) at UofC as well as the medical school. You have to be accepted to both separately, and are then able to apply to join LIM. Many people apply to medical school part way through their MSc/PhD and then join LIM so that they can defer their acceptance to medical school in order to finish their other degree.

 

So yeah, joining LIM has nothing to do with getting into med school, since you have to have a med school acceptance before you can get into the program haha.

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Just wanted to clarify something about LIM.. You cannot join LIM unless you've been accepted into both a post-grad program (ie: MSc/PhD/MBA) at UofC as well as the medical school. You have to be accepted to both separately, and are then able to apply to join LIM. Many people apply to medical school part way through their MSc/PhD and then join LIM so that they can defer their acceptance to medical school in order to finish their other degree.

 

So yeah, joining LIM has nothing to do with getting into med school, since you have to have a med school acceptance before you can get into the program haha.

 

Mhm that's what I've been told at the interviews too.

LIM application happens after one secures both grad program and MD acceptances at UofC.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anybody else find it very strange that only 20% of your application (10% after the MMI) is subjective? Yes, subjectivity cannot be avoided (until we get a career chips type process like in Futurama  :D ), but placing 90% of your application on subjective opinion seems extreme to me. Academic success is no reliable indicator of how well of a doctor you would be, but it is objective and therefore more fair.

 

I'd be interested in seeing how UofC med graduates match up in residency programs vs. other schools.

 

EDIT: http://www.ucalgary.ca/mdprogram/admissions/national-ranking-outcome-measures 

Just found this, kudos to the UofC.

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I'm assuming you meant objective. It's not 20%, its 30% (2x GPA + 1x MCAT VR). So, that would make it 15% after the MMI. Regardless, the reason more and more schools, including the US, are using the MMI, is that it seems to be a better predictor of both clinical outcomes and the standardized medical licensure exams. 

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I'm assuming you meant objective. It's not 20%, its 30% (2x GPA + 1x MCAT VR). So, that would make it 15% after the MMI. Regardless, the reason more and more schools, including the US, are using the MMI, is that it seems to be a better predictor of both clinical outcomes and the standardized medical licensure exams. 

 

I saw a UC Davis presentation on YouTube that outlined how predictive the MMI and MCAT are for medical student performance. Even the MMI, which is more predictive than any section of the old MCAT, was only moderately predictive for clinical outcomes and performance on licensure exams--somewhere in the neighbourhood of a .27 correlation coefficient? I don't recall, exactly. Alas...I do get the impression that an extrovert would fair better, or at least be more comfortable, in an MMI situation as compared with an introvert. Regardless, if you were to alter the formulae that Calgary uses and replace it with something that injects more "objective" criteria, I think you would fall into the same rubric issues (from an applicant perspective) faced at more academically weighted schools such as UofT, UofA, and other institutions of that ilk. There isn't just one way to assess an applicant's fit as a doctor and I'm glad there is some variation in assessment amongst medical schools in Canada. Ultimately, there are issues to be addressed with any sort of assessment, including "objective" measures which are still quite subjective, in my opinion.

 

@bearpuppy: pretty certain we were seated next to one another following the MMI. Nice meeting you and hope you have some good news come mid-May.

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To be honest, I'd prefer if schools used GPA and MCAT for cut-offs (e.g. 3.8 and 30) then solely assess LORs, MMI, ECs. This system wouldn't favour me in the slightest because I have academic success in the application, but if a few reviewers saw my application and said "wow, this person would be a great physician" or "I'd want him to be my doctor", then it's worth having such a heavy subjective component. I'm tired of seeing certain applicants getting in because they spent 2 years in undergrad getting 4.0s and high mcat scores and they get in, not out of jealousy but the fact that you need time to develop as a person. That's why I hope to get into UofC so I'm surrounded by people with great experiences and depth in life. 

 

Also, how are you all finding each other at the MMIs? 

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I saw a UC Davis presentation on YouTube that outlined how predictive the MMI and MCAT are for medical student performance. Even the MMI, which is more predictive than any section of the old MCAT, was only moderately predictive for clinical outcomes and performance on licensure exams--somewhere in the neighbourhood of a .27 correlation coefficient? I don't recall, exactly. Alas...I do get the impression that an extrovert would fair better, or at least be more comfortable, in an MMI situation as compared with an introvert. Regardless, if you were to alter the formulae that Calgary uses and replace it with something that injects more "objective" criteria, I think you would fall into the same rubric issues (from an applicant perspective) faced at more academically weighted schools such as UofT, UofA, and other institutions of that ilk. There isn't just one way to assess an applicant's fit as a doctor and I'm glad there is some variation in assessment amongst medical schools in Canada. Ultimately, there are issues to be addressed with any sort of assessment, including "objective" measures which are still quite subjective, in my opinion.

 

@bearpuppy: pretty certain we were seated next to one another following the MMI. Nice meeting you and hope you have some good news come mid-May.

Hey :) that'd be cool if it was you.. would be great to have you there also!

 

As to the correlation stuff: I don't recall what the published literature says about the MMI predictiveness, but I remember it was supposedly better than other measures... And yes, there is a weak but positive correlation for extrovertedness... not really a surprise when the MMI requires you to talk openly and let ideas flow -- more of a monologue than a dialogue really. 

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To be honest, I'd prefer if schools used GPA and MCAT for cut-offs (e.g. 3.8 and 30) then solely assess LORs, MMI, ECs. This system wouldn't favour me in the slightest because I have academic success in the application, but if a few reviewers saw my application and said "wow, this person would be a great physician" or "I'd want him to be my doctor", then it's worth having such a heavy subjective component. I'm tired of seeing certain applicants getting in because they spent 2 years in undergrad getting 4.0s and high mcat scores and they get in, not out of jealousy but the fact that you need time to develop as a person. That's why I hope to get into UofC so I'm surrounded by people with great experiences and depth in life. 

 

The thing is, there are lots of studies that show that GPA is an effective tool at predicting cognitive capabilities in medical school. The ideal candidates will display excellence in both cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and so it makes sense to differentiate applicants based on the degree that they exhibit both traits. 

 

Additionally, I think you're over-valuing the subjective assessment as a tool to select for the best doctors. Research seems to suggest that the an ABS isn't always a good predictor for non-cognitive skills (I'm assuming that the OSCEs are meant to assess non-cognitive skills here, someone please let me know if I'm wrong), which I think is the primary reason for having it in the first place, so it doesn't seem too valuable to base an interview offer on how much a reviewer would want the applicant to be a doctor. See table 2 from the initial paper on the MMI as a predictor of preclerkship performance (I also highly recommend giving the entire paper a read if you haven't had a chance to already).

 

 

As to the correlation stuff: I don't recall what the published literature says about the MMI predictiveness, but I remember it was supposedly better than other measures... And yes, there is a weak but positive correlation for extrovertedness... not really a surprise when the MMI requires you to talk openly and let ideas flow -- more of a monologue than a dialogue really. 

 

There are many traits commonly associated with extroverts that are also helpful for a good physician to have -- confidence, optimism, sociability, energy. These aren't mutually exclusive to introverts, its just that extroverts have an easier time with them. If they're valuable to a life as a doctor though, is it really wrong for the admissions process to select for them?

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