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Advice for Non-Science Student

Guest smg

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This site seems pretty with it, so I was hoping someone could help me with my somewhat less traditional situation.


I'm currently in my 4th year of an Honours social science program and am currently writing my hnrs. paper on the causes and policy responses to the physician shortage. I've recently decided that medicine would be a much better career than policy analysis. I'll finish my degree with about a 3.6 or 3.65 (which is in the top 10 ppl. of my rather intense program). I volunteer on campus with our emerg. response team and my dept'l student society. I also hold down 2 jobs. I'm currently taking my 2nd 1/2 year bio class and am enjoying it, but that's the extent of my university science courses. I'm tentatively planning on picking up a chem, org. chem, physics and a 1/2 biochem next year before writing my MCATs next spring (Apr 04).


I was wondering if anyone had any advice about courses, better prep for the MCAT or what med schools I should be gunning for. (Oh yeah, I'm an Alberta res going to school in Ont.) Are my marks too low? I only took the full 5 classes in my 2nd year and have done 4.5 in the other 3 (plus the summer courses to make up the credits). Does this mess me up for schools like UWO? Any help would be awesome! :D

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Guest macdaddyeh

Hey SMG:


Welcome to the board! Concerning your situation, I am in your shoes as a soc. sci. student with a very similar GPA.


First, I don't think there is anything "non-traditional" about your background; it is an ever-increasing phenomena for socsci/arts students to apply AND for med schools to enroll them. I think well-roundedness is the key (ie. taken equal parts sciences, social sciences, humanities where possible).

That said, some people will question your decision to enter medicine with little science background and it may hinder your success on the MCAT. I too have yet to take chem or biochem.


In terms of what med schools you should be gunning for, I only appled to MAC b/c I have not taken MCAT and am short prereqs for elsewhere. I'm now just waiting for that hopeful invitation lettter :P . You must apply to Mac. Yes, as you stated. UWO will discriminate against you for having taken less than 5 courses every year, whereas many other schools I don't think will be so concerned, although U of T will change their acceptance formula for you as well.


It sounds like you're right on track with an intersting background, solid marks (which are NOT too low by the way) and great extra-currics. Keep it up with your head towards your ultimate goal.

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If you can pick up a full-time courseload next year along with those sciences, you can apply to UWO but you'll have to hope your 2nd year and 5th year make the cutoffs. The summer courses, sadly, do not count.


Edit: Which you can use to your advantage right now. Take the tougher science courses this summer so you get the benefit of NOT using the GPA from them towards you application GPA... (/edit)


Check out around your university for great "filler" courses. I was in the position of filling up a fifth year and still get med-school-worthy grades, and I found a whole bunch, so if you happen to be at Guelph by any chance, let me know, and I'll pass on the list. ;) Every school has a few and they're actually a lot of fun. My fifth year is my most memorable in terms of the variety of things I encountered academically.


Those science courses are going to be very tough even on their own, especially with a full course load and the MCAT. Unless there's a strong reason (applying to the US maybe) to be taking the April MCAT, why not take the August one?


Everyone's a bit different, but for me, the best prep for the MCAT in addition to having recently taken Chem, Orgo, and Physics is just practise practise practise. I think having biochem can help, and so does a background in writing forced essays. :P

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