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Upgrade Courses Or Special Year? Advice Much Appreciated


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Hey guys, I'm just looking for a bit of advice for what you would do if you were in my situation. I'm really stuck between doing one of Schulich's "special years", or just upgrading three of my lower marks for other schools.

Some background information:

MCAT: 14/10/14 (PS/VR/BS) total: 38

First year GPA: 3.51 (9 courses, unusable for Schulich)
First year summer GPA: 3.90 (2 courses)
Second year GPA: 3.73 (10 courses)
Third year GPA: 3.43 (9 courses, unusable for Schulich)
Fourth year GPA: 3.84 (10 courses)

My plan was to retake general chemistry (B in a first year course), differential calculus (B- in a first year course), and spectroscopy (75 in a third year course) since I feel that I can easily upgrade all three to acceptable grades. Of course, Schulich does not recognize retaken courses in their special year, so this puts me in a bit of a predicament.

If I wanted to fulfil the requirements for a special year, my fall schedule would be:

Metabolism
Human Physiology I
Ecology with lab
Genetics with lab
Electromagnetic Fields with lab

That's a pretty heavy semester, which scares me because it'd be a complete waste of time if my GPA for this special year was not over 3.73. Any thoughts would be much appreciated... I feel quite stuck right now.

 

EDIT: Somehow forgot to mention that I am SWOMEN, and was granted an interview last cycle. Sorry.

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Your 2nd and 4th year GPAs are both >3.70. I think GPA wise you would not be cut off by Schulich as long as you followed the 3/5 rule.

 

The 10 in VR would be the likely factor eliminating you from an interview, because for the past several years Western has required at least an 11. If you are SWOMEN, then your 10VR would be fine and 38 is an awesome score to apply with.

 

So really, special year or not, I don't think it matters because you seem eligible to receive an interview as of now (if you are SWOMEN).

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Your 2nd and 4th year GPAs are both >3.70. I think GPA wise you would not be cut off by Schulich as long as you followed the 3/5 rule.

 

The 10 in VR would be the likely factor eliminating you from an interview, because for the past several years Western has required at least an 11. If you are SWOMEN, then your 10VR would be fine and 38 is an awesome score to apply with.

 

So really, special year or not, I don't think it matters because you seem eligible to receive an interview as of now (if you are SWOMEN).

 

Oh right... silly me. I forgot to mention that I've applied in the past cycle and have gotten an interview (I'm SWOMEN). I guess I'm just trying to see which path would make my application more competitive. Thank you so much for replying.

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I'm afraid I'm not seeing what the predicament is here, or why you're considering either option.

 

You already have two years above Western's GPA cutoffs, so unless that cutoff rises (which in fairness, it could), a Special Year won't help you for Western. In addition, your MCAT is below what Western has accepted, so until that is rewritten, doing a Special Year won't help even if the GPA cutoffs changed.

 

So I guess doing your repeat courses makes more sense, but most Canadian schools don't accept repeated course grades at all. Is this being done for American schools?

 

Edit for not seeing the past posts - SWOMEN makes sense for the MCAT, but a Special Year still doesn't seem useful at all at this point, except as a hedge against a higher GPA cutoff.

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I'm afraid I'm not seeing what the predicament is here, or why you're considering either option.

 

You already have two years above Western's GPA cutoffs, so unless that cutoff rises (which in fairness, it could), a Special Year won't help you for Western. In addition, your MCAT is below what Western has accepted, so until that is rewritten, doing a Special Year won't help even if the GPA cutoffs changed.

 

So I guess doing your repeat courses makes more sense, but most Canadian schools don't accept repeated course grades at all. Is this being done for American schools?

 

I forgot to mention that I'm SWOMEN, so Schulich actually granted me an interview last cycle. Does GPA generally not matter at all post interview? I figured that if I was able to improve my Schulich GPA with a special year, I'd be a more competitive applicant.

 

As for the repeated courses, I know that Schulich doesn't consider them but I thought that McMaster and Queens did.

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I forgot to mention that I'm SWOMEN, so Schulich actually granted me an interview last cycle. Does GPA generally not matter at all post interview? I figured that if I was able to improve my Schulich GPA with a special year, I'd be a more competitive applicant.

 

As for the repeated courses, I know that Schulich doesn't consider them but I thought that McMaster and Queens did.

 

If GPA matters post-interview, it's not going to be a major component - your interview is the deciding factor.

 

Queen's and Mac consider all courses, including repeats, but those marks won't replace your old marks in those courses. It's no different than taking a new course, so there's no real advantage to repeating courses for those schools, and it could hurt if you want to improve your prospects at other schools.

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If GPA matters post-interview, it's not going to be a major component - your interview is the deciding factor.

 

Queen's and Mac consider all courses, including repeats, but those marks won't replace your old marks in those courses. It's no different than taking a new course, so there's no real advantage to repeating courses for those schools, and it could hurt if you want to improve your prospects at other schools.

 

This helps a lot, thank you so much for your insight. I'm thinking that I'll ditch the upgrades at this point!

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