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Strictly speaking unpaid research should fall under volunteer, but categorizing it under 'research' is not necessary something readers would frown upon, since a lot of us did that anyway. If I recall correctly, I think the only type of research that OMSAS explicitly say should not be categorized as such is "research that was conducted as part of your course work for credit." (I think this information is from the little information bubble they had for research, don't know if it's still there/If I am remembering correctly). So really, something like 4th year thesis should not be categorized as research but some do it anyway, and didn't seem to affect the outcome of their applications. 

 

TL;DR: Don't think there is any penalty for categorizing unpaid research as research.

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Don't you just have to pick your top three from each category for Ottawa? Or am I misunderstanding that?

yep you just pick the top 3 that happened during your university years, what i meant is that i don't have enough activities to fill up certain categories so was planning on moving things around to be able to get at least 3 activities for each category

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